Lauren Hefferon is Ciclismo’s founder and CEB (Chief Executive Biker). She brings a gusto for life to every aspect of the organization. Her love of bicycling dates back to her active childhood in Keene, New Hampshire. After damaging her knee downhill skiing in high school, she began to bicycle more as a way to strengthen her knee. As a result, this hobby soon became a way of life that opened the door to travel, meeting new people and forms of expression like photography and writing which she used to document her travels. By the time she finished high school, Lauren had explored just about every road within 50 miles of home and became a local bicycling expert
At Cornell, where Lauren studied Anthropology, she continued to use the bicycle as a means of exploring her new Finger Lakes Turf (a cycling paradise) and confirmed that Ithaca is indeed Gorges! Here she became one COE, Cornell Outdoor Education’s (at the time called Wilderness Reflections) first bicycle tour instructor and now is on the Advisory Board of what has become the country’s largest student-run outdoor education organization. While at Cornell Lauren participated in a 6-week National Outdoor Leadership course in the Wind Rivers which solidified for life her commitment to teaching bicycle travel as a way to transform and teach others.
After graduating from Cornell University, Lauren landed in Pisa with her fully loaded Fuji bicycle, biked across Italy to find her grandparent’s roots in Le Marche region and then proceeded to bike camp over 3,000 miles around Europe. The grand finale of her three month trip was Florence where she received a Rotary scholarship to study art (and Tuscan Bicycling). Here she launched a brand new chapter that set the course of her life in full “spin.” She immediately purchased an Italian racing bike, joined Mario Conti’s Italian Bike Club and began the amazing network of Tuscany Roads. During the summers she led teenagers on a 6-week Rome to Paris camping trip and she has not looked back since.
While she continued to dabble in art and earned an illustration degree at Mass College of Art, the call of entrepreneurialism was loud, clear and strong. In 1987 she envisioned a company that would specialize in Italian bicycle tours and became the first woman to launch am International Bicycle Touring Company. By the summer of 1989 Ciclismo Classico was born with two tours in Tuscany and many more itinerary ideas bubbling in her bike happy brain. Combing her love of bicycling, cross-cultural immersion, art, photography and teaching, she had the skills and drive needed to execute her vision to create and operate more gorgeous and educational bicycle tours in Italy than anyone
A devoted cycling evangelist, Lauren commutes everywhere by bike and supports many cycling causes such as Rails to Trails, Bikes Belong, Pan Mass Challenge, Best Buddies, Mass Bike. She is the founder of the annual Ciclismo Classico Bike Travel Film Festival, and has been an advisor to the Adventure Travel World Summit and a member of the National Bike Summit Panel on Tourism.
As Entrepreneur magazine put it, “Passion is key to cultivating a successful adventure tourism business; Hefferon is overflowing with it.”
In Her Own Words
“Bicycling as a lifestyle, a sport, a social life, a business and as a creative passion has been at the hub of my existence since I was a child. I suppose if I did not get a bike, I’d have a horse and be a stargazing cowgirl. The bike is my steel horse and it has always fueled my free spirit and love of exploration. Additionally, bicycling is an accelerator and reminder of my core values of health, adventure, simplicity and low-impact travel and transportation. As a lifelong student of anthropology, the bicycle has always been my best research tool to discover, understand and experience a place and a culture with all my senses. Finally, as an incurable kid at heart, I always feel forever young the second I hop on a saddle and start spinning.”