It's time to meet the team and start the learning on the Bike Tour Leader course. With 14 on the course, the trainers, Olly and I, were keen to find out about the experiences and desires of the trainees.
Trailside maintenance training and development


Intro and group riding day

Today is all about setting the course out and providing great examples that the guides can use. It's always great to hear their opinions and experiences - what works for them and why. Of course, it's also good to hear about why things don't quite go as expected too! 

All these help shape the course and aid the learning of all the trainees; in fact, with the time constraints, the more different the ideas, contexts, group types and environments, the wider the base of ideas and tools people can then call on.

With all these considerations, the trainees had some practice and our discussions helped everyone gain confidence and new ideas, from those with hundreds of tour leads behind them to those transitioning from assistant leader to fully-fledged guide.

Riding through the gaps in trafficLearning in India is clearly different to the UK. The trainees were chuffed to be out there in the real world having a go, not stuck inside a classroom being told what to do.

Reflecting on my previous trips to India, and discussing the details with local guide and course trainee Sanjay, I was interested to see the number of Indian built but modern cars. The twin sofa style seated Ambassador is now a rare sight here.  Clearly with Kochi and indeed the whole of Kerala's history being based on the world trade of locally grown spices and favourable trade winds since around the 17th century, there is a bit more money around in comparison. Of course, everything is relative and a daily wage of the equivalent of a handful of pounds still puts things in perspective.

What I learned today:

There are plenty of Indians and Sri Lankans who don't appreciate either the heat, or spicy food.  Indeed, my naivity came to the fore, when I didn't realise that Sri Lanka was an independent country - I had assumed it was an Indian state. Dillip and Suresh were also asking me about the food on the menu - not having come across many of the Kerolan dishes before, and wanting to choose a mild meal.  I could only answer due to my own regular attendance at a couple of southern Indian restaurants/cafes close to my base at CTC's training office in Sheffield - that felt somewhat ironic!


Fancy travelling?  Exodus tours run by the guides on this course:

All photos © Dan Cook and Olly Townsend