Georgian Dogs + an interview with Coline Benninger

It’s spring and resorts are already shutting down. Time to break out the splitboard, or the bike… or maybe both? Coline Benninger and Francesco Ciaghi just dropped an edit from their tour through Georgia that’s sure to get you motivated for your next adventure. Check it and then keep scrolling to find out more about their trip.  

Hey Coline, can you please introduce yourself?
Hi there, I’m a 27 year old snowboarder, passionate about life, people and traveling. I work as a cycling guide in the summer and try to spend as much time as possible on my snowboard in winter. I often travel to discover new places and like to get out of my comfort zone. Life is outside!

Who is Francesco?
I could say that Francesco is my best friend, but he’s even more than that to me. This guy is a force of nature. His hyperactivity makes him do crazy stuff, but on the other side, he’s just super gentle, kind and extremely supportive. He always has a big smile on his face. And he has a lot of nice stories and adventures of his own to share…

How do you guys know each other?
We met through mutual friends. We would go cycling together in the mornings, while everybody was still sleeping. Because of that, we then decided to name ourselves the “hyperactive team”.

Where did the idea for your trip to Georgia come from?
I honestly can’t remember. I just wanted to go on a riding holiday with him and I know he’s always keen on anything. So we just thought it would be a good idea.

Why Georgia?
A couple of friends of mine went riding there and told me it was insane. It sounded interesting, so we just thought it would be a good destination. Obviously, they were a bit luckier with the snow than we were, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing… now we have a good reason to go back again :)

Why did you want to do the whole trip by bike?
Not gonna lie – it was Francesco’s idea. He likes traveling by bike and has already done a lot. He crossed Africa, for example. Apparently he was joking when he first told me about the idea for the trip, but I was totally in! For me, it was an interesting way to get out of my comfort zone. I’m also used to cycling and I find it super satisfying to discover new places by bike. The pace is just perfect and the reward is even higher.

What’s one thing that surprised you?
I would say how disorganized we were… but that everything still went quite smoothly. I’m usually more of a control freak :) The first morning was kind of tricky, but once we were on the bikes everything was floating. Probably because we were just doing something that we love together.

What’s one challenge that we didn’t see in the movie?
Getting Francesco tired enough haha. But also that we had to cycle on the highway for an hour and a half just to get out of town.
The trip was also four weeks after I fractured my lower back slamming while snowboarding. It was challenging because I couldn’t push myself to the limit and I had to be more aware of my body and pain.

Damn… that’s one hell of a rehab technique!
Did anyone get bit by a dog?
No, luckily for us! The first evening we got super scared though. We were riding for about five hours and it was starting to get dark. When going downhill, I noticed 5 shepherd dogs running towards us. Luckily we managed to be faster, because to be honest, I believe we would have been in a pretty bad situation.

Yikes! Would you still do it all again?

Any new adventures planned for this spring?
Let’s see! Nothing is planned, but that leaves even more space for spontaneity. But for sure, I would love to end the season with another cycling – touring trip again. For the summer, we’ve planned to climb the Matterhorn, so finger crossed for this one.

Thanks for your time Coline! Anything else that you’d like to add?
Give up on resistance to change. Get out of your comfort zone and move forward. Life is good, and even better with good friends who are ready to share it :)