South Route Team

  • Georgios Farfaras Age: 49
    Years cycling: I learn cycling at age of 4 outside my father's bike shop! I did my first long distance cycling trip at age of 44.
    Favourite place to cycle: Arcadia, Peloponnese, Greece
    Dream cycling destination: Along the Nile, the longest river in the world
    Favourite thing about cycling: Freedom, the wind in your hair, the experience to travel in the city and nature close up, to be able to sense the world around you.
    Life-motto: “Life begins where fear ends.”
    Favourite cycling quote: "Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia." ~ H.G. Wells

    The team leader for the South Team, Georgios has a long history with cycling, in fact, you could say that it is in his blood! His family have operated a shop that in part services and maintains bicycles since 1924, and due to this he developed proficiencies in regards to the technical side of bike repair. However, while he was always interested in cycling his education and early professional career was in health, aesthetics and beauty therapy, but after working in this field in a number of different roles for many years he moved into the cycling sector ten years ago, and since then has been a driving force for cycling in Greece. He has organized cycling tours, such as ones on the Iron Curtain Trail, promoted cycling tourism within the EU, worked to help the sustainable tourism sector to evolve, helped improve cycling transport networks, audited bicycle policy, and been a project manager for EuroVelo routes.

    Georgios’s other interests and skills also align with the aims of the tour. He is the project manager for Greenways SCE, a Social Cooperative Enterprise with aim to serve local and collective interests and to promote employment, social cohesion and development. Furthermore he has co-ordinated a number of European Commission projects in Greece, has interests in eco-campaigning, and experience in other exercise related activities, such as rafting and trekking.

  • Alexios Menexiadis Age: 46
    Years cycling: since 1992
    Favourite place to cycle: Luang Prabang-Vientiane / Laos
    Dream cycling destination: Lake Baikal, Siberia
    Favourite thing about cycling: Total independence

    Alexios is passionate about all aspects of cycling, be that riding bikes, repairing bikes, bicycle technology and the social power that cycling has to do good in the world. He became involved in the cycling world at age 18, in his native Greece, helping to get the fledgling Greek bicycle rights movement off the ground. Since then he has worked in numerous areas related to cycling, at times combined with social causes. In 2005 and 2009 he lent his technical expertise as a mechanic to work as a technical support specialist for the “Follow the Women” rides, a project committed to giving hundreds of women from around the world the opportunity to take to a bicycle and discover for themselves the reality of lives, the scars of conflict and the beauty of the people in our host countries. Furthermore, for five years Alexios ran the famous “Bisiklet Gezgini” touring bicycle shop in Istanbul, which he and his partner Seçil opened in 2013.

    Outside of cycling Alexios works in academia as a historian, specialising in the area of Greek Jews, the Holocaust, and has collaborated with the Service of Historical Archives in the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Jewish Museum of Greece and the Greek Ministry of Education, amongst others. He is currently working on his doctoral thesis within this area.

  • Joanna Vezyrtzoglou Age: 35
    Years cycling: The last two years everyday as main form of transport, but recreationally since childhood.
    Favourite place to cycle: The coastline of Thessaloniki
    Dream cycling destination: Everywhere!
    Favourite thing about cycling: The freedom, alongside the fact you can go slowly enough to see many things and quick enough to cover many kilometres.
    Life-motto: “Live every moment like it's your last.”
    Favourite cycling quote: “It's not a race, it's a journey, enjoy the moment with your partner!”

    Joanna has been involved in sports and being active her whole life. In her youth she partook in traditional Greek dancing, and also played volleyball and was a synchronised swimmer. She also had a successful fifteen year career in water polo, playing for four teams around Greece, and winning National silver medals on two occasions, and bronze once. Her love of the water also led her to compete in both Olympic and Coastal rowing, and last year she finished 18th in the world at the World Coastal Rowing Championships in France. Her background has also meant that as a qualified lifeguard she has worked in this area through the years. Joanna has always loved cycling alongside one of her other passions, travelling, and while she has cycled since youth has taken up the bike as her main form of transport over the last few years.

    Her educational background is in management and economics, and upon leaving university she worked in this area for six years, before branching out into a whole host of other areas, including photography and yachting, and having recently worked in the Middle East. Joanna’s other interests include technology and music, and her diverse skillset, love of cycling and all things exercise related are perfect for the aims of Bike for Europe.

  • Seçil Öznur Yakan Age: 38
    Years cycling: since 2010
    Favourite place to cycle: Anywhere between trees with a light slope like the Alps :)
    Dream cycling destination: One of Africa's national parks
    Favourite thing about cycling: It changes your life
    Life-motto: Learning by travelling
    Favourite cycling quote: "Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." H. G. Wells

    Seçil’s name is extremely well known within the Turkish cycling community, and when she is not on her bike taking part in tours she is working within the sector to improve cycling for others in a myriad of ways. Bike for Europe will be the eighth major, long-distance bike ride that she has undertaken, having cycled in Asia and Europe for pleasure, and also been part of two tours to promote social awareness and cohesion, Follow the Women and Pedal for Peace. Alongside her partner Alexios, who will join her on the tour, she operated the famous “Bisiklet Gezgini” touring bicycle shop in Istanbul for six years, where she used her educational background in mechanical engineering to ensure the bikes were in top condition. Furthermore, she is the co-founder of the “Women on Bicycle” initiative in Turkey, which empowers women by teaching them how to ride a bike, and has also worked for the national EuroVelo coordinator in Turkey to promote commuting and tourism by bicycle.

    That is not where her cycling experience ends though! Seçil is also a committee member for Turkey’s biggest printed bicycle magazine, and has been an activist for the cyclists transport platform in her home country as well, supporting cyclists and outlining how important cycling should be in urban transport policy. Outside of cycling she also has interest in orienteering, sailing and sustainable living.

  • Katerina Farfara Age: 23
    Years cycling: Since 2010
    Favourite place to cycle: A new place every single day!
    Dream cycling destination: The Netherlands
    Favourite thing about cycling: It makes me feel free and powerful
    Life-motto: Do it
    Favourite cycling quote: “The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.”

    Katerina grew up in the bustling capital of Greece, Athens, and always thought that in the metropolis the bicycle should be more appreciated and utilised as a means of transport, and that there should also be greater investment in the infrastructure to enable more people to get on their bikes. Aside from cycling, Katerina has a deep seated love of photography, and finished her degree in this field this summer. While studying she took the opportunity to take her bike to a multitude of places she had never been before, combining her two passions by bringing her camera along for the ride to both see and capture beautiful landscapes, stunning skies and dazzling refractions that the light makes. She loves the freedom and flexibility that a simple bicycle can provide, and more than anything enjoys cycling with a specific goal on her mind.