ABOUT MAD DOGS
✔ Peace of mind
Relax- we've got you covered. We're here to answer all your questions and make your preparations as seamless as possible. Reasonable special requests will be accommodated as far as possible because we want to give you the bext experience. Mad Dogs can also package up all your airport transfers so that you're taken care of end-to-end.
✔ Route design
Our routes have been carefully researched, test-cycled and crafted to give maximum enjoyment while making progress.
✔ Baggage forwarding
Your luggage magically reappears in the evening so you are light and free on your bicycle. You can also access it periodically throughout the day just as you would on an ordinary bicycle holiday.
✔ Hotel accommodation
The general standard of accommodation we use is very comfortable indeed and we take pride in using awesome places. On the days when our travels take us to really remote areas we stay in the best accommodation available which can be a little more basic than you’d usually get on a European cycling holiday but that is part of the adventure.
✔ Support vehicles
Vehicles are at your fingertips should you require assistance or if you want to stop riding.
A bicycle mechanic always available to fix problems with your bike. He will also be able to have a look at your bike prior to starting the ride.
✔ Local interpreters
Local language-speaking interpreters will be in the vehicles to help with interpreting, at your fingertips.
✔ A great breakfast
A hearty breakfast (either provided by the hotel or, more usually, provided by the Mad Dogs team since hotels will often not provide it early enough.)
✔ Checkpoint with food and refreshments
A mid-way (or more usually 60%) checkpoint each day with food, refreshments and snacks (allowing you to avoid time wasting and providing a welcome social interaction during the day). Depending on the location the tasty grub is usually provided by a local establishment.
✔ Critical Info Sheet
A daily Critical Info Sheet with directions and important information is given to you each day. This allows you sufficient independence to keep the element of adventure, but support is always at your command.
✔ An exclusive Mad Dogs cycling jersey (given to those who register and fill out the registration form more than one month before the first day of the event, and who also promise to wear the shirt during the event for at least the final day!)
✔ Ferries in Japan and Malaysia
The adventures in Japan and Malaysia include ferries (between Honshu and Hokkaido and between Hokkaido and Sakhalin.)
The support team always take heaps of photos which we will share electronically after the event so your friends and family can see what a wonderful adventure and epic achievement you've done!
✔ Recognition of an extraordinary lifetime achievement
If you complete the entire ride without taking transport, you will get an exclusive Completion Certificate (with your time) and everyone crossing the line gets a printed victory photograph. Participants who successfully "bag" the challenge are inducted into the Hall of Fame. If you have not managed to cycle all the way, you will receive a Participation Certificate, detailing exactly what you have achieved.
By cycling through a country you will develop an intimate attachment both to its land and its people. It is immersive, like jumping into the sea with a scuba tank to explore a coral reef rather than looking through the window of the aquarium or glass-bottom-boat.
Where you might be bussed between points on a "bicycle holiday," you’ll see every metre on a Mad Dog. A bicycle adds the necessary ingredient of unknown that turns a “journey” into an “adventure.” You not only travel through a country but you live it and breathe it, and if successful you will have the most incredible feeling of satisfaction at the end. An achievement like this makes you truly stand out. Most people who do not in fact complete the challenge are still rightfully very proud and satisfied.
"You have no such accurate remembrance of a country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle." – Hemingway
On a Mad Dog, we want you not only to enjoy yourself but also to accomplish something wonderful.To enter the Hall of Fame and gain a completion certificate, you must cycle the whole distance. Every. Last. Metre. Don't however let this put you off - if for some reason you're not up to completing the challenge, this is the reason we have support vehicles.
Traditional cycling tours are really just dressed up bicycle holidays designed to give you a good time – meaning that you will be largely shepherded from one place to another. A tour also usually "cherry picks" the cycling, often using a vehicle to skip parts. The result is that you may have had a good cycling holiday but you will not have actually achieved anything tangible or impressive and you will probably have an imbalanced view of what a country is really like.
Mad Dog challenges are unique cycling expeditions and we want you to accomplish something wonderful. To successfully complete, you must cycle the whole distance. Every. Last. Metre. Taking part in our long distance expeditions means you cycle for 150-200km each day straight, providing an intimate and electrifying feeling of freedom and exhilaration as you cross these exotic Asian lands. Forget the idea of ordinary ‘biking tours’, our cycling expeditions or challenges are the best way to see any country and the tingling sense of achievement at the end is addictive.
On Mad Dog cycling expeditions, much of the scenery is utterly stunning and we maximise this by careful route crafting. But picture postcard sights is not the whole picture - there are parts of every country where the reality of these places is more “warts and all.” We hide nothing from you; this is part and parcel of cycling the entire distance, and it is an essential part of the challenge.
The role of our support and organisation is enabling and empowering. We will take care of your luggage (while you are in the saddle), your hotels and support will be there very quickly for you if things go wrong, so all you need to worry about is the cycling...but you will not be nannied and shepherded. Your hand will not be held but support will be there if anything goes wrong.
Mad Dogs are adventure challenge events and not strictly biking tours. You couldn't possibly pack any more action into your week. When you add this to the variety of the places, tastes, and people you see, after only a week you'll probably feel you have been away for a month. The rides are demanding, but 90% of participants do complete the challenge, and those who do not still very much enjoy their time on the challenge.
Don't do run-or-the-mill cycling tours - put yourself on a Mad Dog!
Mad Dog Challenges are organised into Epics. Of course it's most satisfying and exciting to ride the entire Epic, but you can sign up for the days which you find most attractive and which best fit your schedule.
You will notice that we have offered suggestions of the best and most convenient parts of these Epics, however if you have any particular requests which are not listed out, please get in touch. We will happy to answer any questions.
We don’t like or use the term ‘biking tours.’ Rather, we refer to both our long distance challenges and those who take part in them on as “Mad Dogs.” It takes a pure, "dogged" determination to successfully complete a Mad Dog Challenge. Wild dogs hunt and live in packs, using their own brawn to transport themselves at speed in ruthless pursuit of their target. When you are attempting to bag a Mad Dog, you will share excitement and camaraderie with others who are also adventurous enough to take up the challenge while your own body’s power carries you across the world. Discover an experience that no bicycle holiday will ever give.
Our challenges are excellent value and you will receive unique support which is specifically tailored to enabling you to complete these extraordinary feats. When you compare to both other extreme sports events and to commercial cycling holidays you also see exceptional value. For example, a one-day triathlon event typically costs around US$300-US$700 and a seven-day foot race can cost up to US$3,600 - without hotel accommodation and meals.
It's worth bearing in mind that cycling holidays (whose prices vary wildly) are usually sold on a headline number of days and nights (this is the only reason why in addition to the cycling days, we have also pointed out the trip length including arrival and departure days on the Pricing page.) However, when you look at the holiday detail you may find that there are surprisingly few cycling days - these are where the bulk of the cost arises. A typical bicycle holiday will cover 40-90km each day - compared to 150-210km on Mad Dog’s cycling expeditions. This requires considerably less support while a Mad Dog will be supported in all daylight hours and will cover up to five times the distance! This really is excellent value.
While you may be enjoying a leisurely hotel breakfast at 9.30am on a cycling holiday, on our Mad Dog Challenges, since hotels will rarely co-operate at this time of the day, the support team will have made you a superb and hearty breakfast for 5.30am to allow you to get into the saddle at first light. Compared to competing cycling tours, you are receiving a far higher level of support, albeit of a slightly different nature. Everything we do is to enable you to perform at your best and successfully "bag" the challenge.
The Japan and Russia trips are considerably more expensive because it simply reflects the drastically higher costs of operating in these countries compared with other parts of Asia.
Policy aims. We aim to ensure that we benefit local communities as far as possible while having zero impact on the natural beauty of the places we visit. We also aim for our clients to engage in a positive way with local peoples, and develop a respect for local cultures.
Economic responsibility. We seek to use local people for the provision of guides/interpreters, bicycle mechanics and also drivers for vehicles. Where possible we always stay in accommodation which will benefit local communities, we buy supplies locally and we will eat in restaurants which will benefit local people.
Environmental responsibility. Our terms and conditions for joining our events lay out strict requirements for our participants to respect the natural environment as well as local people. As a bicycle events operator, we are encouraging a green, environmentally friendly form of transport and we hope that we will have a wider impact on encouraging people to use bicycles as a form of transport - even outside our events.
Social responsibility. We ensure that clients are well briefed on the local cultures they will encounter, and the local guides we use are the best people to explain things. In the evenings, we always visit a local restaurant which is one of the best ways to appreciating the local culture, as well as supporting the community
Your registration will be made through our preferred partners, prestigious Hong Kong-based travel agent Jebsen Holidays. This means you can register with confidence and will be protected under Hong Kong's travel agent's ordinance. http://www.jebsenholidays.com/en/About-Us
In 2009, our founder Humphrey Wilson picked up a bicycle and cycled all the way from Buckingham Palace in London to Government House in Hong Kong. He experienced unimaginable adventures in ten months across 22 countries. When he finished, having settled into a new life in HK, he became sad that more people do not feel they can undertake a similar adventure challenge.
He wanted others to experience the same satisfaction of using the human body to travel an extraordinarily long way but knew that for most people, it is unrealistic to take more than a week off. Then came an epiphany. If the cycling is planned and supported, longer distances can be covered each day and over a week, provided a lot of doggedness, grit and determination, an extraordinary feat is accomplished – one which, like Humphrey’s original ride, truly sets a Mad Dog apart from his or her peers.
Although, as chairman of Mad Dogs, Humphrey closely follows the proceedings, Rory MacKay is support team leader on most Mad Dogs adventure rides. Rory hails from Hong Kong where he also runs the fantastic Wild Hong Kong which provides a host of day adventures in Hong Kong. Rory's epic cycling adventures include a 2014 ride from Cairo to Cape Town (and then across Scotland for good measure). He lives and breathes adventure!
“The organisation was flawless ... The only question is where to next.” James Riley, CEO of a large international company and Chairman of Royal Geographical Society-HK, British)
“A fantastic 7 day ride which allowed me to really get off the beaten track.” Marc Geddes, equities trader, British
“Cycling through...remote villages and lush paddy was a sensory overload...” Mark Fraser, home interiors expert, British
“These 8 days of cycling made me intensely happy! The landscapes, the people, the silence, the smells, the food, the beer, the camaraderie. But also the early rises, the early nights, the heat, the noise, the pain. It was just great!” Daniel Insunza, economist, Swiss
“Well Worth it!!” Alex C., businessman, Chinese
“The support was excellent...definitely recommended.” Paul Drew, insurance professional, British