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Giorgio Valvassori doesn’t like to spend time inside when he could be outdoors, riding his bike or possibly out on the water in his sailboat—once he finishes refurbishing it.

But the thing about Giorgio is that he’s not rushing to check moments like that off his to-do list. He sees life as an adventure meant to be savored, not rushed through. And that’s what you’ll get from him if you’re lucky enough to have him as a tour guide. Need a friendly voice urging you up that long climb? He’ll be there. Want to race up it instead? He’ll be there too.

Here, we’re learning about how Giorgio got the nickname “The Storyteller” and how he ended up as inGamba’s first guide when the company was born in the hills of Italy. Pour yourself an espresso and enjoy the ride.

“I like to talk about my past. I’ve had a lot of adventures over the years,” Giorgio begins. “I have a lot of stories on the sea. I have stories of my past when I was biking. I love to read the history of the areas we ride, so I can mix those in and add some jokes and my experiences. But most of all, I like listening. People really miss that no matter how rich you are, you can’t buy someone who genuinely wants to listen to you. But it’s not about the money for us: We really like to listen to your story so that it’s easier for us to share our story.”

His story with inGamba began in 2014, but his life as a guide started before that. He’d been leading trips for nearly a decade at another company before realizing that what his guests wanted and how he wanted to guide them didn’t align with the company’s mission. He wanted to provide a serious cycling experience that was all about the bike, provide a professional level of support on and off the bike, and cover serious mileage while letting riders feel relaxed rather than drained at the end of each day.

When he met inGamba founder Joao Correia, Joao pitched him an idea that looked exactly like his dream touring company. “He told me, ‘We’ll start very small, but we will get bigger eventually if you can take the chance with me,’ and because his vision was my vision, I said yes. Since then, I have been very happy.”

“I’m sure other good companies around offer great trips. But we’re specifically trying to give our guests the closest experience of what it means to be in a pro team, at any speed,” he adds. “If they’re passionate about cycling, they will have an incredible experience.”

Since Giorgio started in 2014, inGamba has primarily hired former pro racers to guide tours: Giorgio is the only one without a pro cycling background. But he’s one of the best in the business. “I’m the only one who never raced before,” he says. “But we are all really passionate about what we’re doing. I think that it’s an effortless secret: We do well because we love what we do. It’s not just a job. It’s not just for the money. It’s not just for the traveling. We love to ride.”

Giorgio hasn’t always been a cyclist, though one of his first jobs was as a bike messenger. However, his first love was the sea, and he worked for a decade in the yachting world before deciding to return to dry land. At the time, he wasn’t sure what he would do for a career. Then, he saw a Help Wanted ad for bike tour leaders.

“The biking company was looking for an American guy or girl who knew Italy and was passionate about biking,” he recalls. “And I replied that I am Italian but speak English, and I am a cyclist. Honestly, I didn’t speak great English then, and I had barely ridden a bike in years. But they hired me, partially because I spoke French and German in addition to some English, and they needed a guide for a German group they had booked.”

We’ll gloss over some of his more youthful indiscretions here—”I bought a cheap bike because I was spending most of my money on pot,” he admits before adding, “I stopped that years ago.”—but bike touring became his new career. He moved to the Dolomites to start guiding mountain bike rides. He also began shifting to a healthier lifestyle.

A decade later, inGamba launched.

This is my dream job. Last week, the weather for our tour was absolutely miserable—just cold and rainy in Italy all week. But everyone still had an incredible time. That was a big sign for me that we are actually doing things well because if people are still enjoying a week like that, you must be doing something right.

Giorgio Valvassori

From riding with former tennis pros—and playing a few rounds in the afternoons—to climbing mountains with Axel Merckx (son of cycling legend Eddy Merckx) and Mathieu Van der Poel’s coach, Giorgio’s list of favorite rides could go on for days.

The secret to loving the bike for so many years? It may be his relaxed approach to fitness: “I bike a lot, but I never challenged myself. I never record my rides. I don’t know how much I rode at the end of the year. I don’t like technology,” he says.

It’s not about the watts or miles but about the love of the bike. “I tell our guests to relax because we can go fast, but it’s not a race. No matter what, you’ll have someone to ride with. From day one, you realize you can bike at any speed. Once they learn to relax, everything changes. In the society we live in right now, everything is so fast, and everyone is so stressed. But I try to bring peace to the riders on our trips.”

This year, he’s particularly excited about Secret Sardinia, a trip he designed with all of his favorite spots—it took years to perfect, but it’s flawless. But he’s also excited about the Chianti Classico Weekender, an abbreviated version of the Chianti Classico Tour explicitly designed for riders with busy lives who need a mini-break. (Stay tuned for another incredible Giorgio-designed trip in 2025. But for now, check out his current trip list to try to learn the secrets of life from the master.)

Did you know that he was featured in The Times? You can read the entire article here.


Would you like to find out more about what our different destinations can offer? You can book a call with our team now and get some personal advice on the best inGamba adventure for you.

Molly Hurford

Molly is the author of Fuel Your Ride, and a Precision Nutrition-certified coach. Her writing has appeared in many leading publications, including Bicycling Magazine and Outside. When she's not writing or coaching, she loves ultra-running and racing on trails, riding bikes, or hiking with her mini-dachshund DW.