Denise van Leenen: VGT’s Owner and Tour Leader
Denise is running VGT and it’s the best job she’s ever had. Her favorite part of the job is leading tours in Holland, Belgium and France.
Denise was born in North Holland and now lives in the charming seaside town of Hoorn. In typical Dutch fashion, she uses her bike to go everywhere and enjoys taking long bike rides with her friends. She loves sharing her passion for cycling and travel and worked as a guide for Europeans visiting the U.S. for a few years before switching to leading tours in her home continent. Her son has graduated from CCS in Detroit. and her daughter is working for the Dutch brand Rituals. She loves traveling to the U.S. but can’t narrow down a favorite place because there are so many fantastic things about everywhere she visits. She’d recommend the Country of Tulips tour – although she might be a little biased as a Netherlands native. She loves the region, and she loves showing people her country.
Emma Lewin: Prior owner and Tourguide
Emma had been running VGT for 8 years, but now assisting Van Gogh Tours on the side. She loves sharing the best of each region, from gorgeous scenery to the local customs, food, and drink. She has been on the bike since she was little and when she’s not biking, she likes to spend time in the garden, riding her horse Yasmina, or spending time with her new daughter and family. Her favorite tour is the Brittany/Normandy bike tour. For her, it’s all about the gentle landscape and quaint details of the region – nothing beats the blue shutters on those pretty stone houses. Except maybe a delicious cider after a long day’s cycling.
Jan de Graaf: Tour Leader in Holland
Jan was born in Amsterdam and lived there for 40 years before moving to Hoorn, right next to Denise (she recommended him)! Jan is married and has 2 daughters. The oldest daughter is studying New Product Management and the youngest wants to work with children. Jan is a passionate cyclist and he could beat any of us in a race. He takes out his racing bike and cycles 50-100 km a few times a week. He has traveled extensively in Europe and since he loves a challenge, he adores cycling in the Alps in France and in the Dolomites in Italy. This will be Jan’s second year with VGT. He really enjoys showing guests the culture and history of the Netherlands. And he thinks that the best way to see the Netherlands is of course… the bike.
Jacob Lyon: Tour Leader in France
Native to Paris, Jacob started moving through the city on a bike during his high school years. Whatever the weather he prefers cycling to any other means of transportation. During his younger years, he collected and repaired bikes he found in the streets which mostly led to a large pile of spare parts in his basement, but occasionally resulted in a complete and unique bicycle. Jacob has worked as a pedicab driver in Paris giving tourists guided circuits of the beautiful sites of Paris. In addition to biking, Jacob enjoys art, culture, and history and of course, FOOD. He believes the best way to discover french food (cheese and wine especially) is through traveling in a region and sampling their local cuisine. His favorite bike trip so far is a self-guided tour that he made on his own from Berlin all the way to Paris.