ExperiencePlus! Tour Leaders At Their Annual Gathering

The ExperiencePlus! Team

Though ExperiencePlus! has come a long way since our first bike tour across Italy in 1972 we are still a family run business. When our parents, Rick and Paola Malpezzi Price, set out from Forlí on their first bike tour across Italy (in fact, the name of the company then was Bike Across Italy), we could never have imagined where that road would lead us. Four decades later, Maria Elena and Monica, continue to craft bicycling vacations for travelers with the aim to create meaningful connections through bicycle travel.

ExperiencePlus! people – from our home office to overseas offices and all of our tour leaders in various countries – are as diverse as you can imagine. But here's one thing we all have in common: our passion for exploration and adventure. We are all engaged with life and outdoor activity, and are thrilled to engage with our travelers and share what we know. 

 
 
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The Owners

In 2008 Monica and Maria Elena Malpezzi Price bought ExperiencePlus! from their parents who began offering their first tours back in 1972. After working as bicycle tour leaders for most of their lifetimes, and as the daughters of two bicycle tour pioneers and travel enthusiasts they felt it was time to take the reins and lead the company to share their own style and passion for bicycle travel and people. As multilingual, bicultural and dual citizens (Italian-American), Monica and Maria Elena are thrilled to be leaders in their industry as they bring the company into the "next generation". In 2011 Maria Elena (M.E. for short) and Monica were honored to be named 2 of the Top 10 Guides in the world by National Geographic Traveler.

 
 
Monica Malpezzi-Price
Co-Owner, Based in Italy

Monica is co-owner and Director of International Operations. Monica oversees the development and smooth running of ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours as well as ExperiencePlus' sister company Cycle Europe, both based in Italy. Since leading her first bicycle tour at the age of 15, Monica is happy to still be involved in travel and is convinced that “slow” travel helps us all connect more to each other and the planet we live on.

Monica grew up living a trans-Atlantic life spending her high school years between Fort Collins, Colorado and Italy in the summer. Monica split her time between Eugene, Oregon and Italy during her undergraduate years and Washington D.C. and Italy during her graduate school years. Monica's extensive travel experiences throughout the years 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 now lives year-round in Faenza, a town in north-central Italy, though her world travels continue.

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 and continues to believe that bicycle travel is the best way to see the world! You can email her at: monica@experienceplus.com.

 

Maria Elena Malpezzi-Price
Co-Owner, Based in USA

Along with her sister, Maria Elena now co-owns ExperiencePlus! and manages the company's stateside growth and development from its headquarters in Fort Collins, Colorado—although she does still manage to travel to Europe and join on tour whenever she can. Maria Elena holds an MBA from the Leeds School of Business in Boulder, Colorado and earned a dual Bachelor's degree in Psychology and International affairs from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Together these disciplines enable her to insightfully focus her attention on day-to-day operations and user experience while maintaining a strategic vision for the business as a whole. In 2011 Maria Elena and Monica were both selected by National Geographic Traveler to be featured in their Top 10 Guides in the world. Although they do not go on tour as much as they would like, they aim to train and pass their love for guiding on to the tour leaders who work with them every year. Active in the Adventure Travel Industry and motivated to continually improve the whole industry, in 2016 Maria Elena was honored to join the Adventure Travel Trade Association's Advisory Board. More than anything, Maria Elena still loves to immerse herself in new places and see the world by bike. Her favorite trip—when pressured to choose—is the Camino de Santiago from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela for its extraordinary combination of everything that makes a bike trek great: history, cuisine, landscape, pilgrims, great cycling and languages galore.

Tour Leaders

It takes a special person to be a great tour leader. Start with an unlimited supply of energy, and mix in talent, resourcefulness, knowledge of local history and geography, and a natural sense of direction for steering you to the most entertaining café in town. These kind, and funny folks will be there when you need them, and have a sixth sense for knowing when to help and when to let adventure happen naturally. Expert interpreters of their local culture and a passion to share a wealth of knowledge about the history and unique traditions of their home countries.

When you travel with ExperiencePlus! you're traveling with local experts. All of our guides are multilingual, and at least one of your leaders will be from the country you are traveling in. You will sometimes also have staff from our US or European offices join you. We truly believe we have some of the top tour leaders in the industry, many of whom have been guiding tours with ExperiencePlus! for over half a decade.

 
 

Our Staff

In North America, our worldwide headquarters is located in Fort Collins, Colorado, along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Here are the folks who answer your phone calls and emails, send you your tour information and coordinate with our staff overseas to make sure you know how to get from the airport in Bari to the hotel in Matera. 

In Europe, our home base is near Faenza, Italy and anyone who has cycled with us on our Culinary Delights Plus! the Farm or the Bike Across Italy tour has had the chance to stop in for lunch. Lovingly known as "the Farm" our European headquarters is situated in the midst of peach, cherry, and apple orchards, not to mention the requisite small vineyard. As a child, Monica and Maria Elena's mother Paola, spent summers here with her cousins. Today it serves as home base for our fleet of 350 bicycles, our staff, and tour leaders as they return "to the barn" to relax between tours.

 
 
Julie Horton
Chief Purveyor of Cycling Vacations

Julie is our in-house encyclopedia when it comes to bicycle travel. In 1994, her career in the adventure travel industry began as a guide on hiking tours. After ten years of leading tours in the U.S., Europe, Nepal and Thailand, Julie joined the ExperiencePlus! team in 2004. Julie's passion for helping people experience the world at a human-powered pace stems from decades of experience exploring roads less traveled.

"No matter the length of your trip you will gain inner strength and confidence, but perhaps more importantly it provides a better understanding of the people and area you ride through."

No stranger to the saddle, Julie is often on her bike when she's not in the office. She has pedaled over 14,000 miles though more than 20 countries and rides a century (100 miles) every year to celebrate her birthday. When her legs are in need of a (short) break she'll likely be seeking out the latest documentary, reading a book, or enjoying live music.

For help selecting the perfect adventure to fit your needs, or if you're in the mood for a great travel story, email julie.horton(at)ExperiencePlus.com

  • With ExperiencePlus! since: 2004
  • Languages you speak? English
  • Favorite cycling item? Cycling sandals and a white, long sleeve, button-down cotton shirt that a friend sewed pockets on for summer riding. I love that it's cotton and that I can still carry stuff!
  • Favorite place to ride? Some place mountainous, hilly, or with canyons, and with excellent opportunities for eating and drinking at the end of the day. Colorado, Sardinia, Utah, Croatia...
  • Favorite ExperiencePlus! tours? Discover Northern Argentina Plus! the Ruins of Quilmes, Bicycling Sardinia, Bicycling the Islands of Dalmatia Plus! the South Coast, and the classic Bike Across Italy: Venice to Pisa.
  • Next dream vacation? I'd like to ride the Divide route from Canada to Mexico, find an off-road route across the U.S., and experience Cuba.
  • Superpower? Sharing my passion for bicycle travel! Bicycle touring is a life changing experience.
 
Igor Baccini (Italian Team)
Fleet and Equipment Manager

Igor Baccini is our "Bike fleet and logistics manager" at our headquarters in Italy. He takes care of our bike fleet in Europe and during the summer season he has two bike mechanics working full time for him as he assigns bikes to all European tours and supervises the movement of all vans and bikes that leave our main headquarters in Italy. He also is one of our star tour leaders in Europe. In his spare time he can't get away from biking as he spends his vacation bicycle touring with friends. Ask him about his summer bike tours with his friends as he works on converting more of them to bicycle maniacs like him. He has been skateboarding since he was thirteen and loves to ride and help friends build parks and ramps. Although he does not drink coffee, does not follow soccer, and has a Russian name, do not be fooled, he is 100% Italian.

"Igor was very knowledgeable about the route and always ready to help when needed."

“Igor was just amazing. He constantly went out of his way to make sure everyone was happy. This guy seemed tireless as he worked on our bikes even after riding with us on some of the more daunting days. He was well organized, knew his stuff, but, most importantly, he was someone that was fun to travel with. The best way to describe Igor is that he took care of us like we were family.”

“This guy is excellent, and so conscientious.”

John Giebler
Director of Tours

John Giebler has lead tours in France and Italy and has been with ExperiencePlus! since 2000. When he's not leading bicycle or culinary tours, he enjoys putting his sommelier skills to to practice. In 2013 he became ExperiencePlus!'s Director of Tours where he oversees the quality and development of all of ExperiencePlus's guided bicycle tours. John loves music, cooking, and travels with his friends/colleagues in Italy. John was Head Produce Buyer for Whole Foods Market in the Boston area until – having always had an intense passion for food, wine, and travel – the travel bug became too strong in 1996. John got a great price on a round-the-world ticket that eventually led him to Europe. Getting back to his love of food and wine, he delved into the French culture working on small farms and harvesting grapes in Burgundy. After relishing several years living in France, John moved near to our Italian headquarters in 2006. In the past few years, John's European roots have grown deeper; in October 2011, he married in the charming medieval town of Brisighella.

"I was very impressed with John and Jonathan. They went out of their way to make our trip a wonderful experience. Their knowledge of the area helped to make this trip truly memorable."

"John was very knowledgeable about French history and provided us with additional experiences that made the trip very special like the olive plant visit and private dinner the last night. His interest in food and wine adds to the experience."

"John's training as a sommelier added another dimension to our already wonderful dining experiences. He accompanied us to a wine shop to make sure we could obtain the wines we wanted to take home with us!"

"One of the best -- calm, reassuring, totally in control, thoughtful, excellent communicator."

 
Nadine Dirksen
Bicycle and Travel Support Architect

A German native, Nadine is a happy Colorado transplant who moved here from lush Bavaria to be with her American husband. She left the land of pretzels in 2012 and has been enjoying a fun life full of cycling, CrossFit, hiking, running and any other outdoor activity that involves her little black Dachshund-mix. When not having fun outside or at work, she tries her hand at different craft projects with varying success. Before joining the ExperiencePlus! family, her work life also included bridging cultural and international gaps but via very different means - working at an intellectual property firm and for a translation agency. She can't wait to help you bring your dream trip to reality and is as excited about your cycling adventures as you are. Please email her if you have any questions about your trip, need help booking extra nights at tour starting and/or ending hotels, or are left scratching your head trying to navigate train schedules and purchasing tickets. - nadine(at)experienceplus.com

  • With ExperiencePlus! since: 2015
  • Languages you speak? German (Bavarian!), English, and un peu de French
  • Favorite bike item? Jerseys! They can be awesome collector pieces, especially brewery ones.
  • Favorite place to ride? Pedaling from beer garden to beer garden (preferably in Munich)
  • Next dream vacation? I'm quite happy returning to Spain again, and again. (How can you argue with a three-hour lunch break?)
Andrea Segura
Office and Reservations Coordinator

We prefer to call her Indispensable Andrea, as she helps the Fort Collins office stay afloat. She started with ExperiencePlus! as an intern from Colorado State University, and now works full time after graduating in May 2016 with a degree in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism. If you book a trip with us you are likely to see a few emails form her as she sends you helpful information about your trip. Email andrea.segura@ExperiencePlus.com

  • With ExperiencePlus! since: 2014
  • Languages you speak? English and some rusty Spanish - but I keep practicing!
  • Favorite bike item? Rapha's Merino Arm warmers. These arm warmers are so versatile, I can wear them in all conditions.
  • Favorite place to ride? I love to be near water, so any bike ride with bodies of water in my view makes me happy.
  • Next dream vacation? I will keep going back to Costa Rica - I never feel more relaxed than I do there. My father's side of the family lives there so I try to make time to see them at least once a year.
  • Superpower? I'm a fast learner.
Seth Jansen
Special Projects Manager

Seth grew up in Colorado enjoying the outdoors through backcountry snowboarding, biking, and backpacking.  But he comes to ExperiencePlus! more through his background in technology and project management than in travel or adventure.  Seth has a degree in mechanical engineering and brings those skills to bear on information technology, accounting, on other projects for ExperiencePlus!.  When he’s not at work, he prefers to be out on the trail (in any season and by any means).

  • With ExperiencePlus! since: Side projects since 2008, most of the time since 2015.
  • Languages you speak? English and a few computer programming languages that are more useful to getting work done than traveling.
  • Favorite place to ride? I can’t pick.  Single track through a shaded forest, on Belgium’s wonderful touring network or through a vineyard anywhere in southern Europe.
  • Next dream vacation? Pre-COVID: a backcountry snowboarding trip in British Columbia.  Post-COVID: almost anything!
  • Superpower? Spreadsheets.
Massimo (Max) Malpezzi (Italian Team)
Italian Business Manager

Massimo a.k.a. "Max" is Paola's nephew and Monica and Maria Elena's cousin. He has worked with ExperiencePlus! longer than any other full time employee or tour leader. Between 2007 and 2013 Max retired from ExperiencePlus! to work as general manager for his family's restaurant on the Eastern Coast of Italy. 2013 marked his return to ExperiencePlus! as the Italian office Business Manager. If you are lucky you may even see him out on tour every now and then. Max enjoys photography, sailing, deep sea diving, and cycling. Most of all he enjoys spending time with his beautiful daughter, Eleonora. Massimo says what he enjoys most about his job is meeting great people and sharing his love of Italy with others.

Betta Sazzini (Italian Team)
Tour Leader Manager

In 1996, Betta was the first ExperiencePlus! guide to be hired outside of the Malpezzi-Price family. In between guiding tours and her current position as tour leader manager, Betta spent 15 years working as an export manager for a multinational company. Happy to return "home" to ExperiencePlus!, Betta now oversees our (notably larger) team of tour leaders.

When she is not making sure all of our tour leaders are taken care of, Betta can be found mountain biking, hiking, camping and traveling as much as possible!

  • With ExperiencePlus! since: 1996 and 2014
  • Languages you speak? Italian, German, French, Spanish, and English.
  • Favorite bike item? Vintage jerseys.
  • Favorite place to ride? I like to ride anywhere immersed in beautiful nature.
  • Next dream vacation? New Zealand.
Michele Boglioni (Italian Team)
Route Manager

Michele grew up in a village at the base of the Alps, in Lombardy. He studied Environmental Science in Milan and tried working in the environmental law field, but the call to adventure was too great. He headed to Australia for six-months of backpacking, then returned to Italy and started teaching at an environmental education school. He has also worked as a guide in a natural reserve and as a tour leader for other companies. Michele has a long history leading ExperiencePlus! tours and now takes care of route logistics and qualitycontrol on European tours.

  • With ExperiencePlus! since: 2004
  • Languages: I speak Italian, English and some Spanish
  • Favorite bike item: Front bike light
  • Favorite place to ride: Romagna hills
  • Next dream vacation: I would go over and over again to Northern Argentina

"Michele goes out of his way to make the tour great. He worked with the locals well, and was well liked by me and my fellow travelers."

"Excellent; he is smart, personable, friendly. He always added a ray of sunshine to the day!"

"Michele is outstanding. We have traveled with him before and continue to find his leadership and organizational skills exemplary. He is sensitive to safety and yet encourages and adapts to individual riders' interests and abilities. He is always helpful and has a great sense of humor."

Andrea Strappa (Italian Team)
Facilities and Equipment Manager

Andrea grew up in Jesi, a small town in the hills of central Italy, an ideal location for spending holidays it the Dolomites or on the sandy beaches of the south Adriatic sea. He studied environmental sciences in Milan and worked as an environmental consultant before joining the ExperiencePlus! team.

When Andrea is not keeping things running smoothly in the Italian "farm", you'll likely find him hiking in mountains, leading Boy Scout events, or visiting his hometown of Jesi.

  • With ExperiencePlus! since: 2012
  • Languages you speak? Italian, English and Spanish.
  • Favorite bike item? A jersey.
  • Favorite place to ride? It's hard to say! Probably up on Marche and the Romagna hills.
  • Next dream vacation? My future targets are Tibet and Patagonia.

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