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Business Happenings - February 2005

Growing up in the cycling community
to become owner-operators:

Magpie Adventures

By Carrie Switzer



Mike Holme and Maggie Wilson got a half-season head start on Magpie Adventures last year, and after running tours for others since the early 1990s, they look forward to being owner-operators of their own bicycle touring company.

Magpie Adventures is the pair’s creation from the purchase of part of Nichols Expeditions last year. Their vision is to stay small, and offer unique and personalized tours for cyclists of all skill levels.

“We ran half a dozen tours last year and everybody seemed very happy,” Maggie said of their first season as owner-operators. “Most of our clients were newcomers.”

Mike adds that while each is experienced in bicycle touring – where to go when, and why – the business aspect is the challenging side these days.

“It seemed the next natural step in keeping guiding exciting for us,” Mike said. “We’ve both grown into the owner-operator role.”

Mike adds that he has grown “up” with it as well.

“My whole life I’ve been riding my bike,” he said. “My bike, and the bicycle culture, has driven where I’ve lived and what I’ve done.”

Originally from Minnesota, Mike came to Moab via Colorado (Denver) and because of the bicycle racing and mechanic culture. He loves Moab, and has worked for Rim Tours for 10 years.

“The cycling community is eclectic, entertaining and always exciting,” he said. “There’s never a dull moment.
“I’ve been here 10 years now and I can always call somebody and go for a ride. Bicycles have never let me down,” he says.

Maggie hails from Southern California. She came to Moab as a biologist for the Park Service.
“For me it’s the scenery, the colors and the terrain that make it special,” Maggie said.

Maggie has guided for Kaibab, Rim Tours and Western Spirit. Currently Maggie and Mike meet with their clients at the Poison Spider Bike Shop at 497 N. Main St. They operate the administrative end of the business out of their homes.

Together Mike and Maggie describe their cycling experience as expansive – from Alaska to Hawaii, to Copper Canyon, Mexico.

“That’s our range,” Mike says.

Magpie Adventures will be offering several 80-mile, one-day White Rim tours that will require a fitness level to be confirmed in advance, Maggie says. Magpie is the first touring company to get a permit for a one-day White Rim tour, but Maggie says people have been doing it on their own for 15 years.

“This makes it more accessible,” Maggie said. “As long as someone has the fitness and skill level. There will be a screening process on the phone.”

Mike adds that White Rim offers an extreme environment and demands extreme effort.
“We can do it safely and smartly,” Maggie said.

“A lot of people bite off more than they can chew,” Mike added.

On the other extreme, Maggie and Mike are able – and happy — to offer beginner lessons from the bottom up.
“We can teach someone the basics on the grass at the park,” Mike said. “A lot of what we do is confidence building — that’s a big part of what we do. Bicycling is a growth-oriented sport.”

Magpie Adventures is permitted to take up to 13 riders on tour. The company can take spillover from other tours that are filled up, or offer personalized service on a small tour of their own. Mike and Maggie plan to work each of the tours together as guides, keeping it small and keeping it simple.

“We’re going to have as much fun as we possibly can and bring as many people with us as we can,” Mike said.

Trails through Canyonlands National Park will be the focus of Magpie Adventures, and details about the tours can be found at their web site. Both said they look forward to a very colorful spring due to the wet weather this winter.

“The wildflowers are going to be amazing,” Mike said.

“We’re small, we’re personalized and all the services are provided by the owners,” Maggie said. “All of the bike touring companies in Moab are great – we’ve worked for them and we’re all friends in the community…”
“But ultimately we all find our niche in the industry,” Mike concluded.

To reach Magpie Adventures, call 435-259-4464, (toll free 800-546-4245), or email Be sure to mention you read about it in Moab Happenings!

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