Author Topic: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company  (Read 19395 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline readysetsew

Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« on: November 07, 2010, 09:02:58 pm »
         I'm considering launching a bicycle touring company and am calling upon experienced or wannabe cross-country bicyclists for advice and suggestions.
         Question: would you be likely to consider a small-group (5-6 riders) sag vehicle-supported bicycle tour where riders stay in a luxury RV instead of in a tent or in hotels? My target customer would be one who would rather not set up and break down a tent every day and one who would prefer not to live out of a suitcase from hotel to hotel. The RV accommodations would range from private master bedroom to bunks.
   The pricing for the tour would be more than for a self-supported camping tour but much less expensive than tours with hotel lodging.
   Thanks very much for your time. The best possible advice I can get is from people like you who understand the needs of cross-country cyclists.
   

Offline staehpj1

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2010, 06:53:28 am »
         I'm considering launching a bicycle touring company and am calling upon experienced or wannabe cross-country bicyclists for advice and suggestions.
         Question: would you be likely to consider a small-group (5-6 riders) sag vehicle-supported bicycle tour where riders stay in a luxury RV instead of in a tent or in hotels? My target customer would be one who would rather not set up and break down a tent every day and one who would prefer not to live out of a suitcase from hotel to hotel. The RV accommodations would range from private master bedroom to bunks.
   The pricing for the tour would be more than for a self-supported camping tour but much less expensive than tours with hotel lodging.
   Thanks very much for your time. The best possible advice I can get is from people like you who understand the needs of cross-country cyclists.
   

Personally it doesn't appeal to me.  Undoubtedly it would to some.  I suspect that the members here are generally not that likely to be your target audience.  So this may not be a great measure of the market.

Offline readysetsew

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2010, 07:43:36 am »
   

[/quote]
Personally it doesn't appeal to me.  Undoubtedly it would to some.  I suspect that the members here are generally not that likely to be your target audience.  So this may not be a great measure of the market.
[/quote]

Good point, and thanks for your post. My target audience is probably retirees and/or cyclists who would rather not have the additional challenges of a loaded bike and tent camping. Thanks again!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2010, 08:13:11 am »
   

Quote
Personally it doesn't appeal to me.  Undoubtedly it would to some.  I suspect that the members here are generally not that likely to be your target audience.  So this may not be a great measure of the market.

Good point, and thanks for your post. My target audience is probably retirees and/or cyclists who would rather not have the additional challenges of a loaded bike and tent camping. Thanks again!
Doesn't hurt to ask here. Just be aware that any given forum will have it's own demographics which may or may not match your market.  BTW, good luck with your venture.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2010, 10:07:50 am »
How would you not be "living out of a suitcase" just because you would be sleeping in an RV instead of a hotel?  Would there be enough closert space for everyone to store their clothing outside of a suitcase or bag?  Those may be dumb questions since I have never been inside an RV.  And how would things like meals, daily rest stops and showers be handled?

Offline readysetsew

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2010, 10:33:18 am »
How would you not be "living out of a suitcase" just because you would be sleeping in an RV instead of a hotel?  Would there be enough closert space for everyone to store their clothing outside of a suitcase or bag?  Those may be dumb questions since I have never been inside an RV.  And how would things like meals, daily rest stops and showers be handled?

Great questions! Yes, there is dresser and closet space for all riders (limited, but certainly much more than what you would normally carry in saddlebags). You could even bring your guitar (but not your tuba). The RV has a full kitchen, fridge, stove, and microwave. Meals would be prepared by the cook and eaten inside at the dining room table or at an outside picnic table. The RV has a full bathroom with shower and even a small washer & dryer. There would be one rest stop for snacks (the RV would park along the route). If you haven't been inside today's RV's, you will be surprised at the comfort, living space, and luxury. Most have "slides," which allow certain areas of the RV to slide out, creating more living space.

Thank you! These are exactly the kinds of questions and possible problems that I want to be aware of.

Offline tonythomson

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2010, 12:19:22 pm »
Again not for me - even if I am a retiree  ;) but supported touring is very popular and I would guess priced right there would be many takers.  Especially those with limited time and experience who like to know someone is around to bail them out in case of problems or inclement weather.  I sometimes envy those tourist who come bombing passed - no luggage knowing where they will be sleeping and have a meal cooked - but not for long I like my unsupported touring best.  But who knows in the future!

Good luck with the venture.
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline readysetsew

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2010, 01:50:10 pm »
Again not for me - even if I am a retiree  ;) but supported touring is very popular and I would guess priced right there would be many takers.  Especially those with limited time and experience who like to know someone is around to bail them out in case of problems or inclement weather.  I sometimes envy those tourist who come bombing passed - no luggage knowing where they will be sleeping and have a meal cooked - but not for long I like my unsupported touring best.  But who knows in the future!

Good luck with the venture.

Thanks! Gosh, I didn't mean to imply that retirees would have difficulty carrying weight. :) I was thinking "older and wiser" but didn't want to imply that younger folks were fools. :) There is definitely an adventurous, challenging appeal to being self-sufficient. A few years back, I tried the Transamerica hauling a Burley trailer and made it about three weeks before the grim reality of a musty tent and agonizing hills sent my fair-weather arse back home. I long to try again, but this time I want an unladen bicycle that won't slow me to a crawl up hills, a heated or air-conditioned bed with a real mattress, and nachos or crab dip instead of granola bars. And cold Gatorade. I understand that for some, taking the challenge away from the ride takes away much of the accomplishment, but for others, the goal has less to do with challenges and more with enjoying the whole experience. We all have to ride our own rides. Thanks again for your response!

Offline geegee

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2010, 04:52:22 pm »
Trek runs luxury tours that are way too rich for my blood, with daily costs that run about what I would spend in two weeks. It might seem incredulous that someone would pay about a thousand dollars a day (bike included) for a cycling trip but there must be people with that kind of money out there.

Offline readysetsew

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2010, 05:29:47 pm »
Trek runs luxury tours that are way too rich for my blood, with daily costs that run about what I would spend in two weeks. It might seem incredulous that someone would pay about a thousand dollars a day (bike included) for a cycling trip but there must be people with that kind of money out there.

Thanks for the link for Trek Travel. Wow--very expensive. But you're right. These tours are in business year after year, so people are paying. My company would be much less, but then, the accommodations wouldn't be fine inns, either. I'm sure the hotels for these tours are quite nice, but the constant unpacking of a suitcase nightly and then repacking each morning would get a little old for me. That's why I mentioned retirees earlier. I think that as a group, they are more likely to be looking for a way to spend their retirement--timewise and moneywise.

Offline gnarlydog

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2010, 09:06:32 pm »
I think your "close quarters accomodations" rv concept would appeal to a limited group of clients, like college students used to living in dorm rooms and hostals and they probably couldn't afford your fee. At least with a hotel or camping tour group I could distance myself from any obnoxious rider. On your rv tour I'd be stuck living with this person for the lenght of the tour. Any group of friends could get together and rent an rv for a self supported tour. What is the advantage of hiring your company?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 09:14:15 pm by gnarlydog »

Offline readysetsew

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2010, 09:41:02 pm »
I think your "close quarters accomodations" rv concept would appeal to a limited group of clients, like college students used to living in dorm rooms and hostals and they probably couldn't afford your fee. At least with a hotel or camping tour group I could distance myself from any obnoxious rider. On your rv tour I'd be stuck living with this person for the lenght of the tour. Any group of friends could get together and rent an rv for a self supported tour. What is the advantage of hiring your company?

Good points, some of which I've thought of. A lot of people are comfortable in a dormitory situation; in fact, quite a few cross-country cyclists stay at hostels, fire stations, and churches, where they just throw a sleeping bag down on the floor. But as you said, these are often people who don't want to spend a lot of money on a trip. As for friends just getting together and renting an RV, they tend to be expensive, and it's very hard to find a large one that sleeps 5-6 people without having to use fold-out sofas and being cramped. My angle might well be custom tours--small groups of people who already know and tolerate each other. You brought up an excellent question, however. I need to take a closer look at the difference between friends renting an RV vs. using my company. That ought to keep me awake tonight. Thanks!! :)

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2010, 06:34:51 pm »
My angle might well be custom tours--small groups of people who already know and tolerate each other.[/quote]

That's probably a better bet.  As a veteran of a group x-country tour with a dozen strangers, I can tell you that dormitory and even camping settings can pose problems, especially if you have really loud snorers.  We had to segregate snorers and non-snorers whether we camped or stayed indoors.  I cannot imagine having to sleep night after night in an RV with the snorers we had, regardless of the RV's size.  Very few people are going to be happy about being forced to wear ear plugs in order to sleep.  The nights did stay in hostals or other indoor places we had issues with people tossing and turning all night and frequent bathroom visits.  And there is the early vs. late riser issue.

Ultimately, because of the close quarters and shared facilities issues, I think you might have to make it noticeably less expensive than a hotel tour to appeal to a broad audience.  I say that because I imagine that people who want to ante up to not have to camp and carry gear will be willing to ante up a little more to have their own room, bathroom and shower or ones that are shared with only on other person.

Offline JayH

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2010, 06:55:49 pm »
Trek runs luxury tours that are way too rich for my blood, with daily costs that run about what I would spend in two weeks. It might seem incredulous that someone would pay about a thousand dollars a day (bike included) for a cycling trip but there must be people with that kind of money out there.

Thanks for the link for Trek Travel. Wow--very expensive. But you're right. These tours are in business year after year, so people are paying. My company would be much less, but then, the accommodations wouldn't be fine inns, either. I'm sure the hotels for these tours are quite nice, but the constant unpacking of a suitcase nightly and then repacking each morning would get a little old for me. That's why I mentioned retirees earlier. I think that as a group, they are more likely to be looking for a way to spend their retirement--timewise and moneywise.

A friend and I ran into that group in France on a tour of our own..  Yes, it was pretty expensive, but they did get to have dinner with a member of the USPS cycling team.  I wouldn't pay those kind of prices but there are obviously some that would. 

Ja

Offline Bikearound

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2010, 07:56:09 pm »
I can see the appeal of this sort of service but IMHO you might target those more interested in say a shorter tour like around Glacier NP or something like that. For me the mindset I would have for a cross country tour is to experience as much as I can which includes hotels and camping opportunities. 3 months is a long time to spend sleeping in a RV with the same people. Because you naturally have to charge more for your service, your target would be people who could otherwise afford to stay where they like but if you could supply accommodations where none exist then that would be the benefit. Most people don't have 3 month vacations but you could find a pile of them with 1-2 weeks which would be perfect for riding around Yellowstone or Glacier.
I like your idea though....