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Review: TransAtlas Bike – Mountain Bike Tours

I found TransAtlas Bike , Mountain Bike Tours, through a Google Search.

There were not the first company I contacted, and since the first company I contacted never got back with me, I reached out to TransAtlas Bike. They promptly got back with me. I will forever be grateful they did; the mountain biking trip they offered turned out to be the best trip of my life (so far).

The initial correspondence via email for booking the trip was simple and again, the company (Steve) was very responsive. They sent a packing list a few weeks before departure, along with instructions for pick-up from the airport and the time for the initial in-brief and dinner the first evening. They also included a list of the other participants…each of whom I promptly looked up on Facebook.

From the pick-up at the airport on the first day, to the drop-off on the last day, I have no complaints whatsoever from my experiences throughout the trip.

The entire trip was exceptionally well planned, and all participants were very well taken care of.

The Mountain Biking Staff

We had two mountain biking guides that rode with us. Jos Mertens, a Dutchman, and the go-to guy for all participants to interact with if we needed anything. He spoke Dutch, English and French. He welcomed the group the first night, told us what to expect and answered our questions. He rode with us, dined with us, and provided us information about the region and the upcoming day’s ride after dinner each night. He interacted with the other guides, the drivers, lodging staff and ensured everything ran smoothly. He rode mostly at the rear of the group.

Guide Jos Mertens

Guide Jos Mertens

At the front of the group was Mustapha. I spent quite a bit of time with Mustapha. He didn’t speak English so we chatted it up in French. He was very knowledgeable about the areas we biked through, although he was not from that part of Morocco. He was a little slow on the down hills, but overall a great guide. He was always happy and ready to help and to ride.

Mustapha Riding Single Trail in Front of Me

Mustapha Riding Single Trail in Front of Me

Then there was Said. Said followed the group in his Land Rover and worked miracles to fix bikes or anything else that was broken. We all just knew we were in good hands with Said. He assisted with the cooking; he gave the bikes tune-ups each morning (with the help of Mustapha), loaded the luggage and the bikes when necessary, and along with the cook, did all the shopping and getting the things we needed.

Our Guide Said - photo by Dries Rengle

Our Guide Said – photo by Dries Rengle

The Mountain Biking

We only had half a day of single track…I would have liked to have had more.  Even without that – the mountain biking was the best I have done so far. I haven’t been mountain biking for long durations in the past.  Even though there are a lot of trails to ride in Germany; there are not mountain biking specific trails. I loved the rocky, up and down, twists and turn trails we ended up on. The hills we had to climb kicked my butt, but I loved those too. We had some awesome down hills.

downhill we go

First Day Scenery

The scenery was different every day and always incredible.

Gorgeous views, beautiful mixture of green oasis with rocky mountains…even snowy mountain tops. The landscape rolled and spanned on miles after miles – wide open space, fresh air, warm sunshine and the occasional run-in with locals, as we rode through villages or encountered the nomads and shepherds in the mountains.

On the trail Morocco

Each day offered some sort of different option for those who were either more experienced or those who wanted to cover more mileage. The different options ensured that participants of different experience and level of fitness could still get what they needed out of each day. I chose of a mixture of the options, but definitely pushed myself!

Laundry by the River

Laundry by the River

The Bikes

I was blessed to have a brand new 27.5 Black Forest mountain bike. It was a perfect fit…well, after they sawed off the seat. The seat was a male seat…which did kill my butt, but otherwise, I really liked this bike. I’m going to be comparing the specs to my own bike since I felt better riding it than I feel riding my own bike.

Mustapha Cutting Seat

Mustapha Sawing My Seat

The other riders also seemed to overall be satisfied with the quality of bike they were provided. I heard Jos mentioned that all bikes were being upgraded to 27.5 in the next few months.   One rider brought his bike, and he didn’t run into any issues taking it on the plane with him so that’s also an option. At a minimum, I do recommend bringing your own saddle. They also did offer the option of click on pedals or regular ones.

The Accommodations

I didn’t know what to expect for accommodations since the information provided only stated “staying with locals” for some of the nights and one night in a tent. The accommodations turned out to be quite cozy. Obviously not 5 star quality, but plenty adequate considering where we were. The second night, the hotel we stayed in didn’t have hot water. That was a little tough to take, and caused me to have some bad chills for awhile, but the bed had plenty of heavy and warm blankets to warm up.

Front Yard to one of the Gites

Front Yard to one of the Gites

All accommodations had showers and bathrooms…even the night we stayed in two-man tents. I had to bring a warm sleeping bag, which came in very handy for two nights. The night before the last night, we stayed in this incredibly romantic, welcoming and rustic gite in N’Kob. We found ourselves comfortably sitting on cushions by a warm fire talking in total bliss.

My sleeping map in the gite the 3rd night

My sleeping map in the gite the 3rd night

Camping site at sunset on the 4th night - photo credit Dries Rengle

Camping site at sunset on the 4th night – photo credit Dries Rengle

Gite in Nkob

Room at Gite in Nkob

All the places we stayed at were clean and well maintained. I felt comfortable/at home at each of them.

The Food

Photo Credit Ron and Simone

Photo Credit Ron and Simone

We had a cook (I unfortunately can’t remember his name) that traveled with us and he kept us well fed. We ate nutritious meals and all had plenty to eat. Sometimes we ate meals at the place where we were staying, but most of the time the cook was cooking for us. We ate a mixture of Moraccan dishes called Tajine and pasta with veggies and a protein. In the mornings, we ate a specialized type of pancakes, bread, cereal and yogurt. One of the other bikers was a vegetarian, and she had a vegetarian option ready for her, everywhere we went. Again, the staff did an excellent job taking care of our needs. We also had tea, coffee or sodas and nuts and cookies and as soon as we first arrived to the gites in the afternoons at the end of our rides.

Platter Part of the Lunch Menu - Photo by Ron and Simone

Platter Part of the Lunch Menu – Photo by Ron and Simone

Breakfast Day 4

Breakfast Day 4

Tajine Dish for Dinner - Photo Credit Ron and Simone

Tajine Dish for Dinner – Photo Credit Ron and Simone

Our last night together in Marrakesh, we all went out to eat at a restaurant, where after a week of tajines we had many other options to choose from.

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, I recommend booking a mountain biking trip to Morocco with TransAtlas Bike. It definitely helps to have mountain biking experience, but even those who didn’t, were able to enjoy themselves. The entire tour is very well executed. It didn’t hurt that I also found myself with a fabulous group of people, which I know also made a difference. It was a pleasure to get to know all the other riders, share stories, laughs and camaraderie with them.

I was the first American to ever take part of the tour. I had an absolute blast. I will never forget this trip!

How About You?

Have you ever gone an an adventure by yourself?  Did you have a company help you with the details and travel arrangements?  Feel free to comment below or contact Ann’s Adenture Tour Writer and Blogger here.