Meet the Owners: ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours
In 2008 Monica and Maria Elena Price bought the bicycle tour company their parents began in 1972 as Bike Across Italy. After working and cycling the world as bicycle tour leaders and as daughters of two bicycle tour and travel enthusiasts they felt it was time to follow their own passion for travel, bicycles and people. In 2011 Maria Elena and Monica were honored to be named 2 of the Top 10 Guides in the world by National Geographic Traveler.
Monica is co-owner and Director of International Operations. She’s grown up living a trans-Atlantic life between the US and Europe, spending her high school years between Fort Collins, Colorado and Italy in the summer, Eugene, Oregon and Italy during her undergraduate years and Washington D.C. and Italy during her graduate school years. She’s grown up leading bike tours in the summers since the age of 15 and now lives in Faenza, Italy in north-central Italy. Other travel experiences throughout the years have include, France as a post-high school exchange student, India and Ghana for a semester each during university, and numerous countries traveled (by bicycle and not). Monica has a B.A. in Anthropology and a M.S. in Development Management and, although not following her studies exactly, she’s happy to be putting all of her travels, study and work experience to use in designing, managing and operating the bicycle tour business. Indeed, Monica continues to believe that bicycle travel is the best way to see the world! You can email her at: monica[at]experienceplus.com.
"I don’t have a favorite tour because every tour is so different—spectacular scenery and Austrian culture in the Dolomites, cloud forests and beaches in Costa Rica, fantastic food and wine in Piedmont—it depends what you want. But if you ask me why I like our Venice to Florence or Venice to Pisa tour, I have an answer. I think that tour provides a complete experience of northern Italy: while you travel through important art cities of Italy like Venice, Ravenna, Florence, Lucca and Pisa, you also see a side of rural Italy that most tourists don’t see. We bike through farmland and villages, meet local cyclists out for their afternoon ride, and all the while eat some of the best pasta that Italy produces. This tour really introduces Italy, and I never get tired of leading it!"
Write to Monica at ExperiencePlus.com
Maria Elena Malpezzi-Price
Maria Elena is likely one of the most experienced bicycle tour guides out there 'M.E.' started her bicycle tour leading experiences as a 5 year old, helping translate ice cream flavors on our first Venice to Pisa tours. Since then, she's led tours in more than 10 countries (specializing in Spain, where she lived for more than a year). With a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and International Affairs and an MBA From the Leeds School of Business at University of Colorado, Boulder. She manages the business and US office from Fort Collins office in Colorado (and of course traveling to Europe and on tour whenever she can). She loves going out on tour and hopes to manage to travel a bit even though now she based at the "home" office in Fort Collins! You can email her at mariaelena [at] experienceplus.com
"We are often asked this question, and I always say. “It depends on what you’d like to experience.” But if I had to pick one very special tour, it would be the Camino de Santiago, from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela. Of all my “favorites,” this tour has just enough of everything you could possibly want in a bicycle tour: history, food, great routes and interesting people. There are few routes in the world where you bicycle or walk by 20 people speaking 5 different languages! Throughout history the Camino was a corridor that connected Europe. More recently it has become a path shared by thousands of people every year—exploring as they travel towards Santiago. You’ll find extraordinary cuisine, history, landscapes and great bicycling on many of our tours—but this particular one has just the right amount of all of these elements to make it extra special!"
Write to MariaElena at ExperiencePlus.com
Meet the Parents
Rick Price and Paola Malpezzi-Price
Rick Price and Paola Malpezzi Price founded Bike Across Italy in 1972 and Italian Specialty Tours Inc in 1985. Their passion for travel and learning led them to take customers and their family across continents and cultures by bicycle. Trained as academics, they both have a passion for travel and learning. Rick, with a Ph.D. in Cultural Geography is able to work on his "applied geography"as he continues to bicycle and travel the world. Paola contributes recipes and articles to our reading room each month.