The Weekly Rider - Sam Wood

The Weekly Rider - Sam Wood

Sam Wood runs Bike Odyssey Cycling Adventures. He is a archaeologist, come TV presenter for the BBC and National Geographic, come Bike Tour operator.

He now runs historically based long distance bike tours around the world. The first of these was Hannibal - Baracelona to Rome which was based on the documentary he made for the BBC called 'On Hannibal's Trail'.

You know when someone lists their home as Barcelona and Berry it's going t vibe interesting.

Name: Sam Wood

Where do you live? Split between Barcelona, Spain and Berry, NSW

Dream Bike?

A pink Saeco Cannondale CAAD3 from the 90's to go with my bad selection of vintage cycling glasses! I know most people go for a classic steel frame or maybe a high end carbon but generally I go for the biggest worst sunglasses and bad 80's and 90's cycling kit!

What is your favourite local ride

The Block. 35km, 1,000m of elevation and some good 15% sections. I am lucky enough to ride in some lovely places around the world with my work but whenever I come home I do wonder if it is the best of them. This ride always sorts me out too and lets me know where my body is at!

What is your current cycling goal

I have a few! Strength on the flats. My riding at the moment is all short, steep sharp stuff as time is short I need to work on my flat riding - too many triathletes put me to shame! and more extensively I am looking to get another documentary off the ground hopefully again with the BBC. Lots of planning going into this which will hopefully be a cycle tour cross documentary.

When I am on the bike I....

...make plans, clear my head and think about where to ride next! Every time I jump on even if it is just to the shops it is such freedom and that isn't just because I am escaping the children at home!

How did your love of bikes come about?

I always rode but when I hit 20 I moved to Europe and with friends it became the way to explore. We crisscrossed Europe several times 6 of us on bikes riding and camping and I just loved it. At this stage I was working as an archaeologist around Europe and then for the British Museum. I loved that work too and was always looking for a way to combine the two things I loved.

This came first with the documentary work when I rode and chatted about Hannibal, then with the bike touring business. There is no better way to see a country or continent than from a bike saddle and no better way to live history than to ride through it and feel the atmosphere of it.

 Austrian Alps on the Lionheart - Venice to Aquitaine tour

Austrian Alps on the Lionheart - Venice to Aquitaine tour

Share a cycling memory

Riding Hannibal for the BBC we rode from Cartagena in Southern Spain up around through France in Italy and down through the book off to Tunisa. The filming schedule was pretty intense so we spent most of the days filming till 6 or 7pm as they needed the good light. Then we would get on the bikes proper as the crew headed off to the camp site 120km or so down the road. Hence a lot of our riding was done at night.

One amazing night we were riding through the French Alps, it was pitch black, it was about midnight and we were screaming down a beautiful banking winding road. We couldn't see beyond the barriers so we knew nothing of what was out there besides the white line of the road and a few metres either side of it in the glow of our lights. It was an amazing descent and the whole ride was surreal and beautiful in the dark. We got into our campsite and the crew were super happy to see us and were saying how scary the road was. We couldn't see anything more than the road so we laughed at them.

A year later I was running this trip as a tour and we were scouting. We came to a road which was terrifying. - steep, windy, with about a 200m drop off on one side into a steep gorge. I started to have flashbacks and quickly realised that that night I was a lot luckier than I thought!

 Bike Odyssey - Che - Bariloche to Santiago

Bike Odyssey - Che - Bariloche to Santiago

I love to ride because....

...of the freedom it gives me. The way it feels when you ride from one country to another and across continents is hard to beat. The distance you can cover, the ambiance and atmosphere you can absorb and experience. There is no better way to travel and learn about the places you ride through and about yourself.

Sam runs Bike Odyssey - check them out at 

Bike Odyssey specialises in running journeys of a lifetime. We only tour in exceptional corners of the world. We only create exceptional routes. We only follow exceptional historical figures. Unsurprisingly, our tours are exceptional. We love them and you will too.

We are now running trips from Bariloche, Argentina to Santiago, Chile in the footsteps of Che Guevara and Venice to Aquitaine in the footsteps of Richard the Lionheart and of course Hannibal - Barcelona to Rome.

Disclosure - This is not a paid post. We just love ah tSam is doing!