My cycling adventure 525 KM – in 4 days!

How did it all started? Going on a business trip from Amsterdam to Athens, sitting next to the CEO of COCO-MAT, turns out in a wooden bike trip, from Tirana (Albania) to Sibenik (Croatia). Yes, you read that correctly, actually the cycling trip started from Athens. Around 1200-1500 KM of cycling in 9 days. But I joined from the 2nd pick up point Tirana.

Let me just start with the beginning. For the people who know me well, I love to be challenged and love to connect with people. During my flight to Athens, I had a really good chat with Paul Efmorfidis (CEO of COCO-MAT). Paul looks like a normal man – in his sixties; wearing sport shoes and jeans with a plain shirt. Nothing extraordinary! We talked about his family, children, where he has lived in the past but also about new business ideas, for example how to make toothbrushes without using any plastic. How we human can make a difference in the world by taken little actions. But also eating healthy, sport and so on and so on. It turned out we had a good connection and lots of things to talk about. By coincidence our hotels were quite close to each other. Paul already talked about “wooden bikes” during the trip and that they sell the best bikes on earth. Therefore Paul insisted that I should go by bike to the office instead of taking a TAXI, to experience it myself. I said OK, pick me up at 8 AM. I thought in myself he will never be there.. But the opposite was true. The next day Paul was standing there with a wooden COCO-MAT bike just for me… OMG! Oh and yes of course you can imagine that my co-workers in Athens, thought that I was crazy, going by bike to work, on high heels with a dress through Athens with no cycling roads. But I had the excuse: I’m Dutch, we are raised to do everything on a bike;-)

So this is where the whole adventure began. I (especially my inner child) felt in love with the bikes, just feeling like a little girl having fun and cycling to all kind of places. Sometimes we forget by growing up that we need to go back to the things that made us happy when we are younger. These things are mostly the small things, which we might forget!

I was impressed about how COCO-MAT is taking care about the environment and giving back to the people.

Once I came back home, I noticed that one of my ex colleagues was organizing an event for Dell Technologies (the first company I worked for after graduation – a company which is still close to my heart). The event he was organizing has all to do with sustainability / CSR. So I thought, WOW they need Paul as a speaker, to share the story he also shared with me and which impressed me. Long story short, I had a few phone calls with Mikael from Dell, the connections has been made and Paul was one of their speakers during the event. (not to mention that the event took place at a private island in Croatia, this is how you should combine business and networking). I will write another blog about this GREAT event!

Paul is Paul and he said: when do I need to be in Croatia. Ok, cool, I will go by bike all the way from Athens. I was a bit shocked, are you really sure? You need to be fit and on time for the speech as well! Paul said: YES, I did this many times, will be fine and you should join the cycling trip too. Nine days of cycling.. I can’t be away for 9 days, need to take days off from work and I don’t want to stay away for too long, because of my two boys. So Paul said just join the last 4 days from Tirana and so I did!



I love to be challenged and I love to work out! But I have never cycled so far (in just a few days). I gained some information about the cycling: I need to train (which I didn’t do because it takes time to cycle 100 KM or even 50 KM, but I did my regular work-outs such as martial arts and fitness – trained my legs a lot haha). I got the advice to at least eat something every 30-60 min. (Clean – non-processed food: such as nuts, fruits etc) and of course drink lots of, lots of, lots of water. The temperatures were above 33 degrees so you can imagine, besides drinking lots of water, I also had to pour water over myself, to stay cool. It was really needed and before you knew it, everything was dry again.

The first day I just cycled 143 KM (mostly flat) from Tirana (Albania) to Bar (Montenegro). The second day I cycled alone! The team was already cycling for some days and they were in the flow, I couldn’t follow their speed. Once I didn’t see them for a while, I started to cycle slower and slower. My body was absorbing the new way of exercising. I felt some pain in my knees and left shoulder. The biggest pain, as everyone told me should be the pain in the bum of the saddle. But it really wasn’t that painful (luckily). Of course, I wore a special cycling shorts and I definitely believe that helped a lot. But my martial arts exercises are really more painful, where a kick or many punches or defense techniques, are something you just need to deal with! The second day, I cycled 100 KM, from Bar (Montenegro) to Dubrovnik (Croatia). What a beautiful cities and countries and crossing all the borders, it’s still really impressive.


The third day, again cycled alone, this day was emotionally KILLING, but also the best experience ever, since you really have that 1:1 conversation with yourself, which you normally don’t have for 10 hours per day! The normal life keeps you of track sometimes due to the fact that you’re responsible for other things, work, household, kids, family, friends, studying, mobile phone distraction etc. etc. That day I did 116 KM from Dubrovnik (Croatia) to Makarska (Croatia). The last day I was just in the flow and had the feeling that nothing could put me down anymore because I already experiences all the feelings of giving up, sad, why am I doing this, too hot etc. Therefore the 4rd day was so amazing. I just told myself, JUST STICK WITH THE TEAM! Don’t leave them out of side! And I did! There were lots of hills but I enjoyed every one of them. The first days once I saw a hill, I was like “oh no” (not liking it). But by shifting my mindset to: YES, finally a hill, lets climb strong and reach the top asap so we can enjoy the ride down – whoohoo! The last day I did 166/170KM and I’m still overwhelmed and thrilled about it!

In total I cycled around 525 KM in 4 days!!!! Before I started this journey, it was not the KM’s that count but the end of mind that did. I just had to make sure that I reached the final destination! And I did as well the team did! Its all about the right mindset!

Having gone from almost never riding a bike to covering 525 km in 4 days. I’m beginning to think I’ve learned a thing or two about biking and life… see my advice below:


Some small take-aways with regards to cycling, life and business


The Wooden bike cycling trip really pushed me to my limits, sometimes it was incredibly hard – but it was incredibly fun. I was one with the nature, beaten the little voice in my head (its K.O.), faced some real hard times as well but never would have missed this enjoyable ride!

Finally, if you haven’t cycled, I really recommend you do. It’s one of the best ways of looking after your body and it’s kind on the knees, unlike running. But it goes without saying, do be careful, never give up and enjoy every single bit of it! Just go out there and just DO it! Become the better version of yourself.


You’re not constantly growing… if you’re not constantly learning and working on yourself – then essentially, you’re dying! It’s your responsibility to take action on your future and to work hard towards your dreams, to become the best version of yourself.

Ask yourself – are you working closer to become a better you? Challenge yourself daily!


View this post on Instagram

When was the last time you challenged yourself? Just raise your bar and set high standards! I’m in love with cycling, didn’t thought I was capable of cycling 525 KM in 4 days on a woodenbike @cocomatworld – Its just amazing!! That little voice in my head is K.O. ?? I really had my moments where I thought why am I doing this? Or let’s quit! But NO! Giving up doesn’t exists in my dictionary! Show yourself that you can achieve anything you want! Let’s start today???? You will love it ? Thank me later ?? #mountains #mountain #mountainbike #mountainlife #mountainbiking #mountaingirls #mountainclimbing #nature #mountaintop #mountainesia #bestmountainartists #indomountain #mountainlove #mountaineer #themountainsarecalling #choosemountains #allmountain #SmokyMountains #MountainScape #themountainiscalling #mountainside #mountainbiker #woodenbikes #cocomatcyclingteam #bikerchick #cyclinglady #shimano #rideshimano

A post shared by YOUNIKORN Marketing Agency ? (@younikornmarketingagency) on

Love, Mariëtta

The Latest Younikorn Blogs...

© 2020 YOU-NIK-orn All rights reserved | COC: 68120338

You're mobile!
So why don't we just...