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About Cycling Centuries

Cycling Centuries began as a far-fetched suggestion in 1986 when few companies were in the field of cycle touring. My mother, Maggie Deffense, took that suggestion and ran with it, creating Cycling Through The Centuries, a unique and specialized company offering culturally in-depth cycling trips off-the-beaten tourist paths throughout the Iberian Peninsula and France, 

In 2006, one time grease monkey and full time biker Martin Thompson joined the crew. With his mixed European heritage, Portuguese roots and a love of fine cycles & fine dining, Cycling Centuries moved towards its goal of offering the best bicycle touring experience available, while remaining a small and personal active travel company.

We started with tours in northern Portugal’s wine country and sunny West Coast and from there branched out to the rest of Portugal and into neighboring Spain and southern France, then later the less traveled destinations of Albania, Morocco and Croatia. Over the last 30 years we have shared our love of these countries with hundreds of other cyclists.

Our in-depth knowledge of the locations, the people and their customs provides a unique cultural backdrop to all our tours. We consistently find the best places to eat and rest after an exhilarating day on the bike, so that every event is a memorable one. We look forward to cycling through the centuries with you - Imagine the memories you’ll bring home…

Catherine Deffense


Daughter of the founder, Catherine has been riding a bicycle since they invented the wheel. Now she designs and manages Cycling Centuries bike tours.


Didi has been helping people with angelic customer support for some of the biggest companies in the US but decided it was time to get back to the real world.


Martin started cycling when he was about 4 and never stopped. He thought joining a bike tour company would tick all his boxes and in many ways it did.
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