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Pioneers Trip 2017 – Leg 6 Bari to Thessaloniki

Pioneers Trip 2017 – Leg 6 Bari to Thessaloniki


Who are the Pioneers?

All the riders who have participated in the very first five legs of our UK to Sydney adventure are in an exclusive club called the ‘Ride25 Pioneers’.  Each year the Pioneers will be invited to complete the next leg for the very first time and raise money for 1moreChild.  Pioneers help to define the journey and adventure to Sydney.

2017 is Leg 6 (of 25 legs) from the UK to Sydney.


Snapshot of Leg 6:

Coastline, trulli villages, greek culture, sparsely populated countryside, big hills, exceptionally quiet roads, dogs, bears and the party city of Thessaloniki.


Bari Seafront – 8.00am Thursday 25th May 2017


Thessaloniki Seafront – 18.00 Sunday 28th May 2017

Days’ Cycling:



357 miles (plus an optional loop of 18 miles)

Total climbing:

28,000 ft climbing

Max capacity:

125 people



Dates of the trip

We will be cycling for 4 days from Thursday 25th May 2017 to Sunday 28th May 2017 inclusive.  You will need to arrive in Bari on Wednesday 24th May and leave Thessaloniki on or after Monday 29th May.

Pre- Start – Bari – 7.30pm 24th May 2016

Informal Drinks reception at the Grande Albergo Delle Nazione on the night before the ride. It will be a great opportunity to see everyone again before the cycling begins the next morning.  (Please note, you will need to organise your own pre-tour accommodation in Bari – see below for more details)

Day 1 – Bari to Brindisi 92 Miles & 4,600 ft total ascent 

Our Grand Depart will be from the (Grande Albergo Delle Nazione) on the seafront in Bari and follow the coastline for the first 5 miles before heading up a gentle hill to enjoy some of the key sites of Puglia. It’s a perfect first day warm-up with no serious climbs. The roads are exceptionally quiet for the whole day from the outskirts of Bari to the outskirts of Brindisi. We stop quickly in Turi before visiting the iconic trulli houses in Alberobello. Lunch is at an agriturismo before enjoying hill top towns, olive groves and far reaching sea views. The last few miles are along the coast with plenty of opportunities to stop for a swim in the Adriatic sea.

We have dinner on the waterfront in Brindisi before a short 2 mile cycle to the port to board the ferry to Greece.

Full route including elevation profile

Day 2 – Igoumenitsa to Metsovo – 88 miles, 11,200 ft total ascent

Day 2 is the day to remember! The ferry arrives at 5.30 am and we disembark before having a cooked breakfast in a restaurant on the seafront. Within a few miles of the port we are on largely traffic free roads for the day. The area is very sparely populated – you will see far more animals than people or vehicles. Lunch is at a local restaurant on the edge of a lake close to the only town that we go through on the day called Ioannina.

We then continue climbing to the quirky mountain town / winter sports resort of Metsovo. You will notice that we have moved further east with undrinkable coffee, undecipherable road signs, wild dogs and bears – all part of the cultural adventure that is Ride25.

Full route including elevation profile

Day 3 – Metsovo to Kozani – 92 / 74 miles, 6,700 ft total ascent

We leave Metsovo and have the option of cycling around a beautiful mountain lake – very similar scenery to a Scottish Loch or you can go direct and save 18 miles. We are treated to another day with very limited traffic and people as we head across northern Greece.

We stop for lunch in a local taverna in the centre of a town called Grevena – renowned for growing mushrooms. Home for the night is the lively regional town of Kozani. We finish in the main town square with a great selection of bars.

Full route including elevation profile

Day 4 – Kozani to Thessaloniki – 104 miles, 4,900 ft total ascent

We continue to enjoy the fruits of our climbing on day 2 with some long sweeping downhills. After leaving Kozani we cycle around Lake Polifitou on a traffic free road with views of Mount Olympus in the distance before the last climb of the trip. The morning is again unpopulated and a struggle to find anywhere for provisions or a decent coffee.

Lunch is late in the day once all the climbing has been done at a gorgeous vineyard with far reaching views.

The run in to Thessaloniki is flat with the final couple of miles right along the sea to the hotel. Thessaloniki is a party city that runs along the seafront. We finish at a hotel on the seafront and can enjoy drinks at a bar on the terrace. We than have a party in a converted warehouse on the seafront.

Full route including elevation profile

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Timing of the trip

We have been able to keep the trip to the same weekend as 2016. The Monday after the finish is a Bank Holiday and also is the start of half term for most UK schools. The Haldiki Peninsula (40 mins south of Thessaloniki) is a great holiday destination in May. Why not bring the family to the finish and have a holiday post event? Everyone is welcome to the party on the last night. We need to slowly start encouraging the next generation!

Pre-tour accommodation: where do I stay in Bari ?

The package does not include accommodation in Bari on Wednesday the 24th May 2017. We have secured a group reservation at the same hotel in Bari that we stayed at last year – the Grande Albergo Delle Nazione. If you wish to book a room please email and quote Ride25. The room rate is 230 Euros per twin plus 25 Euros per bike with rooms reserved until 31st December only. The current rate by booking online is 20% higher. There are other cheaper hotels nearby.

How does the trip compare to previous legs?

Just as in previous years it is a challenge that you will need to train for to maximise your enjoyment. Overall we cover 90 miles a day on average (versus 100+ miles per day in Legs 4 & 5). In terms of climbing we cover the same ascent overall as in leg 5.

Day 1 has a relatively gentle climb in the morning only. Day 2 involves a lot of climbing including some steep ascents but very similar to the longest day of leg 5. We benefit from long downhills on days 3 & 4 to descend from the highest point of the trip on day 2.

All ascents have been measured using Strava – remember Strava tends to exaggerate the amount of climbing versus other sources.

How will I navigate?

As in Leg 5 we encourage everyone to have a Garmin (or similar GPS navigation device) and install the Ride25 App.

As always we do not follow the quickest routes each day – the routes are planned to minimise traffic & busy roads and maximise the scenery & significant places.

If using Garmin to prevent navigation problems please:

  • Follow a the route as a “Course”
  • Ensure that “Autocorrect” is turned off in your settings for each course
  • Do not “navigate to start” when prompted at the start of a ride

Ride25 will provide a cloth map that will get you out of trouble if you are lost with no working devices but to navigate effectively you’ll need to use a Garmin, the Ride25 App or Strava on your phone. 

What else will happen on Leg 6?

We want to ensure that we keep the camaraderie and ensure that people see plenty of each other throughout the trips. As in Leg 5 we will do the following:

  • Regular designated stops – We will have designated stops mid morning and mid afternoon together with a lunch stop – no pressure to stop unless you want to but we have endeavoured to find the best places on the route to stop for coffee, cake & ice creams as well as a good lunch. As the areas are so sparsely populated some of the morning and afternoon stops have very limited provisions.
  • Different start times – We will encourage people to leave between 7 & 8.30 am each day depending on your speed.  You can of course leave when you want to but by doing this we are far more likely to see more of each other.
  • Designated Finishes – we have secured a finish at a bar on each day.
  • Dinners – these will all be at the same sitting this year within a short walk of the hotels.
  • Ferry berths – unfortunately we are unable to secure any single berths on the ferry so we will all be in 2 or 4 berth cabins. We have secured outside superior cabins but remember it’s all part of the adventure!
  • Bears – in northern Greece there is a population of wild bears – they are generally shy and retiring so you are unlikely to see one.
  • Dogs – You will however see dogs at various points – most all be trained to protect flocks of sheep and will bark to ward you away from their sheep.  Unfortunately they are common across large chunks of the world.  If you are concerned about them we recommend you buy either a Dog Repellent, Dog Horn or Pepper Spray both will disable a dog without harming it if you feel uncomfortable.

What are the highlights of Leg 6?

  • Cycling through largely unvisited parts of Puglia punctuated by some stunning sites such as Alberobello.
  • Very quiet roads in Puglia.
  • Swimming in the Adriatic.
  • Incredibly quiet roads across the whole trip punctuated only by short periods in and out of towns.
  • More stark cultural differences as we move further east.
  • Quirky mountain ski village at Metsovo.
  • Fun cities of Kozani & Thessaloniki.

Do I need to train?

Yes. 350 miles cycling is a significant challenge for anyone but as in previous years it is achievable. We do recommend you follow a training schedule. As in previous years you can always call the support team if you need picked up at any point. We will have more seats available in the support cars so that it is easier to get picked up if required.

Training Rides

We will organise a “Southern” training ride west of London in the Henley area on Saturday 22nd April.  Please put it in your diaries – hopefully it will be better weather than in 2016!


You will need to book a flight to Bari with your bike in a bike box.  There are direct flights to Bari fro the UK every day but it may be cheaper to book an indirect flight.  Use Ride25 Pioneer Sponsor Skyscanner to find the best deals.

You will also need to book a flight back from Thessaloniki.

Both Bari & Thessaloniki airports are a short taxi ride away from our hotels.

What are we raising money for?

As in previous years all participants shall pay all their own costs and all money raised shall go straight to 1moreChild.

What is 1moreChild?

1moreChild was set-up by Harry & Hen Ferdinando in 2008 to help enable street children in Jinja, Uganda to go to school and prosper. Ride25 raises money for 1moreChild for the following key reasons:

A small amount of money goes along way – as little as £15 per month can transform a child’s life. 100% of all money donated to 1moreChild goes to tackle the problem.  There are no western overheads, admin costs or wastage. In addition Harry & Hen pay all their own costs. The money raised from the cycle will make an enormous difference to 1moreChild and enable them to take many more children out of the slum.

For more information about 1moreChild please visit

1moreChild provide school fees, 3 meals a day, school uniforms, school supplies, shoes, clothes, medical care, tutoring, mentoring, a football club and various other activities.

Harry will be one of the support crew on Leg 6.

What impact has the money raised by the Pioneers had?

The Pioneers cycle trip is the most significant fundraising initiative for the charity with circa 70% of their overall funding coming from this trip.  We have raised over £440,000 for the charity across legs 1 to 5.

As a result of our trips 1moreChild has taken nearly 250 children off the streets and given them everything they need to go to school.

To see more information watch some short films made by Ride25 Pioneers in March 2017 – Click here.

What is the cost?

Cost: £745 per person with a single supplement of £150. There are a limited number of single rooms. As in all previous Pioneer trips this is a not for profit – ie the cost is a sum of the direct costs of running the trip only. This includes:

  • Pre-start Drinks reception at the hotel in Bari
  • 4 x nights accommodation on the ferry on night 1 plus in Metsovo, Kozani & Thessaloniki. Overall the hotels are a little better than leg 5.
  • 4 x breakfast
  • 4 x lunch
  • 4 x dinner including celebration dinner
  • 5 x manned support vehicles including 3 x bike mechanics & first aiders
  • Transportation of bags each day to the finish
  • Transportation of bike boxes from Bari to Thessaloniki
  • Water, fruit and emergency supplies in the vehicles
  • 4 x personalised cycling shirts including the badges achieved
  • 4 x GPS files of the routes and “get out of trouble” maps

The Euro cost of the trip is very similar to previous years but with major changes to the exchange rate in the past 12 months the sterling cost has risen by 20%. If the exchange rate changes significantly over the next few months the balancing payment may go up / down.  The trip has been priced with an exchange rate of 1.15 £:Euro.

Balancing payment due in early Feb 2017.

What’s not included?

  • Flights to Bari OR back from Thessaloniki
  • Hotel in Bari pre-start
  • ALL drinks & incidentals – please pay for all your drinks at each stop / meal / hotel – otherwise you will be publicly shamed – you know who you are!

Optional extras:

  • Single room for nights 2, 3 and 4

Which hotels are we staying in?

The nature of the Ride25 adventure means that the routes & accommodation is dictated to by what the inventory of hotels looks like along our journey. The overall standard is higher than on Leg 5 but there is a hotel on the 3rd night that is of lower standard. Last sign-ups will be given this hotel.

All hotels, except in Thessaloniki are within a short walk of dinner.

Night 1 – Ferry – mostly superior rooms booked with an ensuite shower-room, bedding & towels but it’s not luxury.

Night 2 – Metsovo – 4 hotels – a range of quirky hotels in a quirky town. All of a reasonable standard.

Night 3 – Kozani – 3 hotels – 2/3 are very good.

Night 4 – Thessaloniki –5* hotel on the seafront which is being refurbished – the best Ride25 hotel yet!  Swimming pools & Spa.  If you wish to extend your stay please email Maria Laspidou ( and mention that your are part of Ride25.

How to book a place?

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Initial Payment: £150 payable to confirm place in a twin room OR £300 in a single room. This will be donated to 1moreChild in the event that you pull out. Alternatively make the full payment of £745 (twin) or £895 (single) now to avoid further admin!

What about Ride25 Pioneer Virgins?

Until the 15th December only cyclists that have completed a Pioneer event previously can book onto the trip.

After the 15th December you can invite your friends but we will ask them to make a commitment to fundraising for 1moreChild.

We have also held back a few places for corporate sponsors.

What are the opportunities for sponsorship? 

We have put together a number of packages but are also open to offers from anyone for anything.

Cyclists pay for the costs of the shirts, banners etc so all the money given in sponsorship goes directly to 1moreChild. The more you sponsor the largest exposure your logo will get.

Harry Ferdinando, the founder of 1moreChild is on the leg this year so you will have plenty of opportunity to hear more about what great things the money you are raising does.

A number of places on the ride have been saved for Sponsors even if they are not Pioneers.


What about individual sponsorship?

Please do create your own personal sponsorship page (we recommend Virgin Giving as they charge less than other sites) or use the group page to raise money by sending it to all your contacts.


What do I need to bring?

NB: there are a few additions to this list from previous years due to the nature of this leg

  • Chamois Cream – lots
  • Helmet
  • Sunglasses / clear lenses for glasses
  • Warm clothes – we spend part of the trip over 1500 metres altitude – the temperature may be low. During the recce in Mid –September the temperature was at circa 10 degrees during the day.
  • Large saddle bag with –  2 x spare inner tubes, puncture repair kit and tyre leavers
  • Cycle pump or gas canisters
  • 2 x large water bottles for hydration drinks and water – very important on this leg – there are frequently large distances where it is impossible refill.
  • We recommend you pack some homemade flapjacks or similar. Some of the stops have very limited provisions so we recommend you bring more with you than on previous legs.
  • Your favorite energy gels or bars.
  • Sun cream.
  • Top bar bag for phone, wallet and energy stuff.
  • Phone mount if you are using Ride25 App or Strava as a navigation tool.
  • Portable battery charger for mobile.
  • Garmin (or similar GPS navigation device) or Ride25 for phone.
  • Adaptors / an extension lead – on the ferry each person will have access to a maximum of 1 plug. To ensure you can charge all your key devices overnight please bring an extension or multi-USB adaptor to charge phones & garmins with one plug.
  • If you aren’t keen on dogs we recommend you buy a Dog Repellent, Dog Horn or Pepper Spray

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