Once upon a time, Rob fell head over heels in love with bicycles. He found it to be the perfect way to explore the beauty of natural landscapes, all while cruising at the perfect pace with friends. After graduating from the Eastman School of Music, Rob took off to Japan. For two years, he worked, cycled, and created a community of coffee-lovers and bike enthusiasts.
For a decade since, Rob has been building routes on roads less-traveled with a goal of bringing international visitors to the overlooked parts of the Japanese countryside. In the off-season, he can be found zenning out on a sunrise-to-sunset bike ride, fueled by yakiimo (Japanese sweet potato) or moving dirt to make new MTB trails in Gunma Prefecture. From secret spots in Kiryu to unexpected cultural experiences in corners farther from home, Rob loves nothing more than to share delightful experiences with RINDO guests!
In a galaxy far away, Michelle went on a cross-USA bike tour where she met Rob. Since that fateful summer a decade ago, she's been coming to Japan and continuing to discover the endless wonders of the countryside, especially in the hidden corners that often go overlooked.
Michelle's heart is filled with passion for Japan's quaint mountain-side towns and all the outdoor activities it inspires, from cycling and hiking to skiing and swimming. She is often seen around Gunma, Tochigi, and Nagano, either cycling on a tiny windy road or helping guests as support staff on self-guided tours.
With snacks in her pockets and her bike at the ready, Michelle is always ready to go out for an adventure spin.
Once upon a time, there was a Bostonian named June who headed from her hometown to New York to learn Japanese and creative writing. Sparked by a love for anime and manga, she immediately fell under the captivating spell of Japan's linguistic nuances and decided to set off across the world to submerge herself in the culture.
After a year of living in Kagoshima, Kyushu our intrepid explorer moved to Gunma Prefecture and has made it her home for the past four years. Through her work in translation and tourism marketing, she came to know Gunma like the back of her hand. As a child, June spent endless hours outdoors wandering through the woods with friends, and this love of nature and all things green still burns bright. When she had to give up her car, she discovered the joy of cycling and fell in love with long rides through nature and countryside villages.
When she's not exploring Gunma by bicycle, June can be found hiking up a mountain with friends, or pounding on a taiko drum. If you're lucky, you might even catch her performing with her team at festivals around Takasaki. June's excited for you to fall in love with all that Japan has to offer, just as she has!
Meet Hugo, an adventurer who carved his path across more than 100 countries to reach the enchanting realm of Japan. Currently based in the ski town of Nozawa Onsen, Hugo originally comes from Northern Spain, where his childhood unfolded in a quaint town surrounded by some of the world's finest vineyards.
His affinity for the outdoors has been a lifelong affair, leading him to the exhilarating world of skiing and snowboarding. From a young age, he found himself teaching snow sports, complementing his passions with pursuits like trail running, surfing, and even teaching scuba diving during the summers. Over the past decade, cycling has claimed the throne as his primary pursuit. Whether it's bikepacking, mountain biking, road cycling, or gravel riding, he's up for any two-wheeled adventure, especially if it involves some challenging ascents.
For the past five years, he's also been racing gravel and guiding on bike. His enthusiasm extends beyond cycling – he's a natural conversationalist, eager to share life experiences and listen to the tales of others. He can't wait to hit the exceptional rindo of Japan with riders from all over the world!
Paul is a seasoned traveler with a life as diverse as the cultures he's encountered. Originating from Auckland, New Zealand, he has made Tokyo his home since 1991. Paul pursued a Bachelor's degree in Italian and Chinese Language and Literature, a testament to his unquenchable thirst for languages and cultures. He embarked on a remarkable 36-year journey into Chinese and Japanese martial arts, cultivating a deep respect for discipline and technique. Alongside his martial arts journey, he proudly holds a license as a Shiatsu practitioner, combining his physical prowess with healing skills.
Paul's life took an exciting twist when a high school friend introduced him to the world of road cycling. Witnessing his first race, the Giro d’Italia in the early 80s, ignited a lifelong passion for pedal-powered adventures. Five years ago, he rekindled this passion, using cycling as a gateway to explore Japan's magnificent landscapes. His passion extends beyond personal enjoyment, as he serves as a presenter for "Cycle Around Japan" since 2019, unveiling Japan's awe-inspiring scenery and sharing the nation's magic to a worldwide audience.
His ultimate mission is to inspire and empower as many people as possible to embrace cycling as both transport and education. Whether riding with a seasoned cyclist or newcomer, Paul is committed to being a supportive cycling companion!
The hero of this tale is a snow-loving Paolo, who took off from his homeland of Italy to travel around the world, picking up languages and all sorts of interesting experiences. Before making his way to Japan, Paolo got his Masters in International Development and worked as a manager for a Swiss child relief agency in Africa and the Middle East.
In addition to leading adventurous travelers on epic bike rides, he's also a pro at guiding folks up the legendary Mt. Fuji and taking powder hounds on backcountry snowboarding expeditions in Hokkaido. With his boundless energy, love for exploration, and infectious sense of humor, Paolo is the ultimate adventure buddy.
OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU
At BTJ, WE ARE obsessed with experience.
Our team takes care of all the subtle details so that our guests can savor each moment. Bike Tour Japan’s expert guides are unbelievable hosts and knowledgeable ambassadors who will guide you on roads that have yet to be discovered by the outside world.
OUR CORE VALUES
UNIQUE EXPERIENCES THROUGH CULTURAL CONNECTION
We believe that traveling by bicycle is the best way to experience a place. Cycling brings you closer to the land and its people than just about any other mode of travel. But as much as we love cycling, it’s not always about the bike. Let us show you our favorite places to experience, learn, eat, explore, and relax, hidden in Japan’s mysterious countryside. We can’t wait to have you hop on the saddle with us to discover the joys of cycling in Japan.
It is our passion to encourage and empower YOU, our guests, to hop on the saddle to experience Japan on your own terms. We believe it’s not only an excellent way to connect with the culture, but it’s also good for our environment. At BTJ, we are consistently pushing to decrease the environmental impact that travel has on our world. This means refusing single-use plastics when possible, reducing food waste, promoting the use of reusable items such as water bottles, and recycling everything that’s left. We want memories of your holiday to last for years to come, but in terms of physical waste, we strive to LEAVE NO TRACE.
We like to keep things local on our trips. While many travel companies take guests to hotel chains that exist all around the world, 96% of our ryokan and restaurant partners are small, locally-owned businesses. We believe that we can build luxury experiences that are also authentic and true to the places we visit. Supporting local entrepreneurs and small businesses strengthens the small towns we ride through, improves quality of life, and gets re-invested back into the communities we know and love.
We like to question industry standards and test new initiatives to make incredible experiences for both our guests and guides. Learn about our Fair Wage Promise and how Bike Tour Japan takes a different approach to tipping. [Learn More]