Guide Kickoff 2023

As we cycled through the medieval streets of Beaune during B&R's annual Guide Kickoff, Bernard, one of our seasoned guides, imparted words that would echo throughout the week: "To be a great guide is to wake up every day and strive to be the best version of yourself."

Think of it as a week-long training extravaganza from our office in the heart of Burgundy, where our guides from all around the world come together to prepare for the start of our season. Bernard’s statement stuck with me, as it perfectly captured the ethos of each and every one of our guides.

From savvy veterans to bright-eyed newbies, our guides are truly the most interesting people in the world, bringing with them a unique skill set and outlook on life that made me eager to experience a B&R trip with every single one of them. They speak multiple languages, they know all the best restaurants in town, and they’re keen to share their outlook and intense knowledge of life and culture. 

Take Maria, an Argentinian living in Croatia, who decided to take a break from her stint as an acrobat to guide for B&R. Or Aurelie, who hails from Alsace and was kind enough to spend most of her night translating every single ingredient on the menu for me during a dinner in town (I promised her next year I would brush up on my French!).

Beyond honing their skills in the bike atelier, our new guides had the chance to connect with B&R's local friends who cater our Burgundy Wine Country Biking trip, discover the charming L'Hôtel de Beaune, the first hotel on trip, and explore the routes that await our travellers this season. Connecting with partners and digging deep into a region are key elements of a successful B&R trip.

Throughout the week, the energy was electric and the generosity of our guides was unparalleled. From how they looked out for one another on our afternoon rides to the infectious enthusiasm they brought to every conversation, it felt like being at a party where everyone was the host. No glass of Pinot was ever left behind at dinner, no detail overlooked. 

During one hilly bike ride to the Meursault vineyards, I found myself trailing behind. It was then that I knew our travellers were in good hands this season, as our guide Urban voluntarily pushed me up the hill while riding his own bike with ease. Urban, who guides our Norway Biking trips, later confirmed that he had done the same for our travellers while tackling the imposing Trollstigen Pass. 

This was one of many experiences during my time with our guides that highlighted their unwavering dedication – even off the clock. Our guides really are the best people in the world, and I left the Kickoff feeling like I had not only met the incredible people who guide our trips, but also a new family of inspiring and passionate leaders.

From mastering their mechanical skills in the atelier to savouring the flavours of Burgundy, our guides have been through an intensive week of training to ensure that every B&R trip is nothing less than exceptional. Enjoy the highlights from Kickoff as they prepare for an extraordinary season ahead.