291. Iranian entrepreneur and avid cyclist invites Ottawa to pedal and paddle with ESCAPE BICYCLE TOURS | Maria Rasouli
I have been looking forward to this interview for a while. Meet Maria Rasouli. Learn how she left academia to pursue her passion for cycling. Truly inspirational and a testament that we can do anything our heart desires.
Maria Rasouli is the founder and operator of Escape Tours and Rentals in Ottawa. She moved to Canada in 2002 to pursue and complete her PhD. After several years of teaching at Carleton University business school and management consulting, in 2015 she decided to pursue her passion for biking, an activity that she could not do as a woman in her home country of Iran.
Maria started her company with only a website and with over 180 bikes in 2022, she has grown it into a thriving business. Her company offers daily guided sightseeing tours and rentals to tourists and locals and is rated the #1 outdoor activity in Ottawa on TripAdvisor. During the pandemic, Maria started a new venture at Jacques Cartier Park close to the Museum of History where the newest division of her company, Locations Escape, rents kayaks, Paddleboards and canoes, bikes and offers kayak tours.
Maria is passionate about promoting Canada’s Capital region as a worldwide destination for cycling and outdoor activities. With hundreds of tourists coming through her door every year, Escape has contributed to enhancing Ottawa’s popularity as a bicycle-friendly community and destination where everyone can safely cycle and truly see the city at its best.
Maria and her company have won several city and tourism industry awards. She has been featured in The New York Times travel section, the Guardian, Flight Network, CBC radio, TV, and many other international travel blogs and magazines such as the Spiegel.