People often ask how Emma Pooley ended up as part of the Velo Vietnam crew. Like almost all of our other riders, it was word of mouth. A friend of Emma’s came on one of our tours a couple of years back, loved it, and told Emma she ought to come and try it. 

When Emma emailed us she didn’t mention she was the Emma Pooley, but obviously we had to ask and we were excited to learn we’d be guiding a world champ around our beloved roads and gravel.

Ash led that tour and enjoyed the experience as much as Emma did. At the end David also met up with them in Hoi An and everyone got on, so it was a natural step to ask if she’d like to come on board for the occasional tour (and excuse for her to get back over to this part of the world). 

These days Emma has a day job using her PhD brains, but when she can she’ll get out to Vietnam with us on a tour – with luck, she’ll be with us on the Northern Frontier in 2020, the provisional date for which is Nov 20. Slots will be highly limited so please get in touch if you want to bag a slot. 

Here’s the short bio of Emma we use on the site which demonstrates her humour and modestly nicely

Emma is a failed runner who took up cycling in her 20s to cross-train after a stress fracture. Through a combination of luck and bloodymindedness she did ok at bike racing for a few years, then tri- and duathlon for a few more years, and now has a few medals & coloured jerseys hanging on the wall. She competed in three Olympic Games, but she says none of them had coffee anywhere near as good as the simple roadside cafés in Vietnam – let alone Saffron Coffee in Luang Prabang.

Luckily, professional racing did not quite kill Emma’s love for cycling and she still rides her bike whenever she can. Mainly motivated by food and coffee (and occasionally QOMs) she still races but mostly in mountain running. If you want an extra challenge on your VeloVietnam tour, she’ll go for a run with you in the mornings before riding. 

Emma joined Ashley for the first VeloVietnam rough roads Vietnam-Laos tour in 2019, and fell in love with the stunning landscapes, friendly people, and fiery food as well as the relaxed but challenging format of the VeloVietnam tours.

Emma has lived in Switzerland for 14 years, since moving there for her PhD, and works as a building physicist. She can talk to you in French, German, Spanish, and English but her communication with the people of Vietnam and Laos is mostly limited to hand gestures and laughing.