Most Inspirational Moment
Very hard to pick select, as all sites visited gave us a detailed and informed insight on a wide variety of experiences. Petra was an obvious highlight, and was far more extensive than I had expected. Wadi Rum was beautiful and peaceful - and additionally for us as, after our daughter's partner asked Mikhled for advice, they became engaged in the Bedouin camp, in the desert, under a full moon.
Thoughts on Group Leader
Mikhled is the best group leader I have met! He is extremely knowledgeable about all the sites visited, and continued providing advice during the bus journeys on the areas passed through. He is very proud of his heritage (Jordanian Bedouin) and was very happy to share detailed knowledge of his lifestyle as requested. He also appeared to have a wide range of local contacts throughout the trip who he encouraged us to befriend and interact with, while liaising as required. I am also very impressed with his dedication to his group - although being with us throughout, I became aware that he was also in constant liaison with Exodus, and with all support personnel (cycle team, drivers, police, accommodation and meals providers). He also fully managed on our behalf the ongoing daily expenses including appropriate tips - all done transparently and very efficiently, removing and doubt or embarrassment from us.
Advice for Potential Travellers
Trust your Exodus group leader. Also trust Exodus prior to your trip - they have excellent local people on the ground who will safely advise on and manage the trip. It was very disheartening to see the effects on the local people of extensive tour cancellations, apparently due to concerns of the Israel/Gaza situation, which was very distant and had minimal effect on us (just a relatively mild heightened security)
Cycling days on this trip did include some extensive downhill riding which had the potential to be relatively fast and required confidence. We were at the rear of the group, however the cycle leader fully accommodated slower riders, including a number of 'catch-up' breaks to allow regrouping. He was also very capable and (impressively) was fully able to cycle between both ends of the group! For slower riders - there is no cause for concern - the cycle leader has to lead (with in our trip an advance marked police car presence), and at the rear was the cycle mechanic's van and the tour bus. On one day the group extended a bit and the tour bus took up a mid station which gave safe control along the length of the group. There was also a willingness to allow tired (or unwell) people to take the bus, and rejoin the cycling group whenever required.