Adventure In Your Tours
Cycling tours are self-contained cycling trips for pleasure, adventure and freedom rather than sport, commuting or exercise. The greatest advantage of cycling is that the cyclists get close to their environment and are able to interact with more people than they would when using other forms of travel. The tours can be organised for groups or individuals
The first cycling tours were done in Britain and this spread to France and the United States which held the first large cycling event during its centennial event where 2000 bikers took part. There are several companies that offer cycling tours in Africa. Some countries have well-established biking routes but some do not and this gives you the freedom to establish your own biking route.
Individuals visiting for a biking tour are generally interested in visiting same places others visit but with more interaction with the life and culture of the people on their route. So unless yours is a luxury cycling tour, think more of the best local accommodation, camping and local foods alongside the more westernised facilities on your route especially if the tour is for foreigners visiting your country. Locals visiting a different part of the country are likely to do this more for fun and thrill. More luxury accommodation that is affordable to your group would be interesting for them. All said and done, cycling tours can incorporate a variety of activities and facilities depending on the target clientele. Standard options are;
- expedition for foreigners or locals visiting an area
- supported where a vehicle carries the cyclists goods
WHERE TO GET CLIENTS
1. Local biking associations; you can organise events with the local biking association. This would be a good first step to launching your business. Organising the event around long weekends and public holidays will encourage participation
2. Advertise in established tourism sites; like any tour company advertising on established tourism sites ensures you get enquiries from people intending to tour your company
3. Work with foreign biking associations; most foreign biking associations already have experience organising international biking groups. The advantage of working with such established organisers is all you need to do is focus on getting the route and security right and they will bring in the client as scheduled. This, like working with local associations is a fast way to grow your business.
4. Promote a scheduled event; it doesn’t hurt to start building a local group of clientele by advertising in local dailies or working closely with a branded dealer or distributor in your country when your international tour is confirmed. This will make sure you quickly build a name locally and are able to organise other events around the year.
KEY SUCCESS FACTORS
Good Quality Mountain Bikes; While you could provide the bicycles or have each person come with their own bikes you need to have your own fleet of good bikes and a vehicle. Bikes like any other equipment can get spoilt and there is always the odd client who may turn up without their bike.
Marketing material that communicates clearly the route; the difficulty level of a route is determined by the terrain and weather conditions. What may be difficult for you may not be so difficult to another and impossible to yet someone else. Communicating the terrain clearly with graphics and not just grading difficulty ensures all are able to understand what the route will entail.
A variety of activities; just as a golfing tour does not mean golfing all day, a biking tour does not mean biking all day. Ensure the route has interesting places to visit and things to see. This makes the trip fun and not so tasking as the group is able to meet people and interact with their surroundings. This need not be the tourism hot spots but places that the group may be interested in.
Insurance; as with any travel insurance is important. There is a slightly more risk when one is biking than using other means of travel, especially in back routes. Having the group and your equipment insured during the trip will cover you in case of an accident or if something happens and one of the clients decides to sue.
A good network of fit tour guides; most tour guides in the industry are not bikers. Establish a network of young knowledgeable tour guides who are bikers. Continuous training and development of the guides are important as there is more required from them than a regular tour guide and their character will be put to test quite often.
Communication equipment; this would be a challenge where there is no mobile phone coverage. Light communication equipment ensures you know where the group is. Some companies invest in tracking devices that group members can carry in the event of separation.
Feel free to ask questions, share your thoughts on the posts and on any programme that is working in your region or country.