Thanks for visiting our website and finding your way to Ben’s Blog.
I’m your host, owner and operator of Mountain Madness Tours. We’re a pretty small operation, for the most part just myself and a couple of part time helpers which makes us super passionate about what we do and how we do it.
Thought I’d give you a bit of background of where I came from, and how it all started so you can get to know me a bit before trusting your experience of cycling the rockies with me and Mountain Madness Tours!
I’m originally from Australia and besides the regular flow of growing up and working for a living, I trained hard for many years in the sport of Rowing.
With big Olympic dreams, after 10 years of many races won and lost and lots of lessons learned, it was time for a new adventure. I quit my job, gave away all my belongings, jumped on a plane, starting travelling and never looked back.
I traveled around the United Kingdom and Europe for a couple of years before moving to Canada in 2009.
During my travels I met some amazing people who seemed to really get the most out of life. They were living a dream life of adventure and travel and I couldn’t wait to join them!
Some of my pre Canada adventures included:
- Skiing and ice climbing in Zermatt, Switzerland, and climbing the Matterhorn (4477m).
- Climbing Mt Elbrus in Russia, the highest mountain in Europe (5642m).
- Road Cycling, Mountain Biking and Rock climbing in the French Alps and climbing Mt Blanc, (4810m).
- Climbing Aconcagua in Argentina, (6962m).
- Climbing, hiking and mountain biking in the Dolomites, Northern Italy and rock climbing in Thailand.
Following these great experiences I felt it was time for some adventures in the legendary Canadian Rocky Mountains, and in 2009 through a series of random events and quick decisions I found myself in Edmonton, Alberta.
At first it didn’t seem the hub of adventure that I was looking for, but all the same a great base to regroup, restock the empty bank account and make a new plan.
I found some labouring work at first, outdoors in a brisk Canadian winter (-20 and colder) then Canadianized my Aussie trade certificate. At first it seemed a step up but pretty soon shift work in a noisy, dirty factory started to take its toll and I felt a million miles away from living the dream in the mountains.
It was during this time though that a generous co-worker loaned me his sweet 10 passenger Mercedes Sprinter van to take some mates to the mountains, and with that Mountain Madness Tours was born.
We started with an almost free ski tour to Marmot Basin ski area in Jasper with my new Aussie friends that I’d met in Edmonton. With electrical tape decals on the van, a hope and a dream I knew a new life was around the corner and there was no turning back.
A number of years was spent experimenting with different tours (ski tours, wine tours, transport to white water rafting and skydiving operators, stags, stagettes, bike and athlete transport to Ironmans and ultra race support crewing) you name it we tried it.
Finally stumbling across something that we could specialize in, we ran our first custom supported cycling tour for a local bike club in Edmonton and I knew something great was about to happen.
On the surface you might think ‘Why would you need a cycling tour operator to go on a bike tour’? It seems easy enough to do yourself, especially if you have a bike, some drive and a sense of adventure.
What we found out was that we could offer a ton of support and logistics to a group, couples or individuals coming together to see such a great part of the world at the right pace, from the seat of a bike.
From finding unique and awesome ways to transport your pride and joy, providing good quality rental bikes to those without a bike or from abroad, booking hotel or hostel rooms in advance, organizing group dinners and breakfasts at the hotel restaurants, Transporting guests in top quality vehicles from our base in Edmonton to the start point in Jasper, carrying all your luggage so that you can ride free and easy, and supplying snacks and drinks during the day whilst you’re on the road having fun. We found our niche and have been busy making it more awesome each year.
We now operate thirteen or so of these tours between June and September each year with our most popular version being a 4 day, 3 night Jasper to Banff cycling tour. Typically we’ll get 3 or so custom groups per year that do some version of the Jasper to Banff route be it taking more or less days and including other activities and sightseeing along the way.
Thanks for getting to know me a little better and I look forward to meeting you in person, finding out your story and supporting your next cycling tour through the rockies.
Livin the dream, till next time, see ya round the bend my friend
In May 2016 I was interviewed by Travel Dew, an experiential travel website.
For this interview and some more insights into cycling tours check out this site http://www.traveldew.com/ben-johnson-mountain-madness-tours/