Bike Fort Collins first launched You Know Me. I Ride a Bike. Back in 2009 as a broader awareness campagin featuring local residents active in our bike loving community. Beginning in 2021, we are excited to reintroduce this bio-series, recognizing one new Fort Collins resident each month here on our news-blog/website, The Pedal Post eNewsletter and BFC social channels, and highlighting their love for bikes. Please join us as we hear their stories and learn more about these remarkable folks who live and ride right here in our community.
March 2023: Maria Elena Price
….by Timothy Wooten, BFC Community Relations and Program Coordinator
Meet Maria Elena Price (known as M.E. by many of her friends), co-owner with her sister Monica of ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours, an international bike touring company founded by her parents in 1972, and daughter of one of BFC’s founding members, Rick Price.
As the daughter of two adventurous bicycle tour and travel enthusiasts, Maria Elena grew up in a bicycling centric family, most family vacations were either spent exploring a destination by bike or driving around in the family van scouting out new tour destinations and routes. Both her parents were in the education field, which meant most summers were spent in her mother’s home country of Italy. “The defining character of our lives was the fact that we were living between the two countries every year, every spring, pick up and go to Italy until August and September then we come back.” stated Maria Elena. That is where the idea of a bike tour company was born. Here parents based the idea of a biking tour company on their own journey from Pisa and crossed the Appenines to Forlí – essentially, biking across Italy.
In 2000, her parents gave both sisters 10 years to decide if they wanted to take over the family business. In 2008 Maria Elena and Monica purchased ExperiencePlus! from their parents. Maria Elena led her first bike tour as a teenager, four decades later she continues to create bicycling vacations for curious travelers. While Maria Elena manages the company’s stateside growth and development from its headquarters here in Fort Collins, her sister manages the company’s overseas location in Italy.
As multilingual, bicultural and dual citizen (Italian-American), Maria Elena holds an MBA from the Leeds School of Business in Boulder, Colorado and earned a dual Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and International affairs from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Maria Elena is excited to be a leader in the industry and bring the company into the “next generation”. In 2011 Maria Elena and Monica were honored to be named 2 of the Top 10 Guides in the world by National Geographic Traveler and in 2016 Maria Elena was honored to join the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s Advisory.
When she not combining her spirited personality with her knowledge of Italian history and geography, to create one-of-a-kind tours, she is riding around Fort Collins, with her young son and husband. As a new parent she hopes to cycle more in the USA in the coming years.
Did you enjoy this edition of YKM? Read about other inspirational local folks here.