Author Topic: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company  (Read 17201 times)

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Offline readysetsew

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2010, 09:03:20 pm »
My angle might well be custom tours--small groups of people who already know and tolerate each other.

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. 
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. [/quote]

The snoring issue is a real problem, even in a spacious RV. While the bathroom and shower facilities are shared, the unit will have two toilets, and those who wish to can always opt to use the campground showers. The tour will definitely be much cheaper than the hotel/inn tours. I'm looking at a cost that's slightly more than the tent camping tours but of course much less than the high-end ones. Thanks for your thoughts. I will mull over the snoring issue.

Offline readysetsew

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2010, 09:07:13 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.

I think you're right. While a lot of teachers can take summers off, most of us can't unless we're retired. And because of the dormitory living situation, shorter trips might be sweeter trips. Thanks for your thoughts.

And thank you--all of you who have responded--for your candid and very helpful suggestions. I'm impressed with and grateful for the responses I've gotten so far.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2010, 08:30:48 am »
Sorry, I haven't read each post in the threa thoroughly so I may be repeating other observations.
For me, a tent is a fun and welcome place to spend the night. I have my headlamp, water bottle, jammies, reading matter, down bag. I'm completely cozy. Even in rain.
A group in an RV means a single inside toilet, narrow aisles, a TV to squabble over, a tiny galley, and one (possibly two) door that everyone has to pass through down those narrow hallways.
I have seen dormitory-style trailers that have three to eight individual rooms. But you stillo have to feed them and provide toilet/showers.

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline readysetsew

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2010, 10:14:30 am »
Sorry, I haven't read each post in the threa thoroughly so I may be repeating other observations.
For me, a tent is a fun and welcome place to spend the night. I have my headlamp, water bottle, jammies, reading matter, down bag. I'm completely cozy. Even in rain.

Yes, tents can be cozy; I've spent many nights in them, but they can also be murderously hot in the middle of summer, miserable to set up and break down in the rain, and quite uncomfortable if you don't have a decent sleeping pad. My target client, I suppose, is the cyclist who would prefer not to camp but doesn't want to spend the money on a tour with hotels. You also brought up a valid point about narrow spaces in an RV, but today's RV's have open plans. There are no hallways. Still, you're bringing up some good issues that will help me narrow my focus.  I see from your signature block that you ride a recumbent. Me, too! :)

Offline alfonso

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2010, 05:09:46 pm »
For what it's worth, I would seriously consider such a tour if I were visiting the US. I'm rather more oriented to credit-card and supported touring than fully loaded touring. I've done a number of supported tours in Australia and they've attracted some very committed cyclists both Australian and international. One company runs tours to places that would be accessible to cyclists only if they were fairly intrepid. Perhaps you could consider this as part of your business plan?

I see you'd be doing the catering; it could also be useful to have scheduled stops for water, snacks, etc. Bottom line: you'd probably need all the RVs necessary and possibly another support vehicle or even two.

Offline readysetsew

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2010, 09:00:43 pm »
One company runs tours to places that would be accessible to cyclists only if they were fairly intrepid. Perhaps you could consider this as part of your business plan?


Great idea. Based on what someone else has said, I was thinking that a ride up the Alcan Highway to Alaska might be good for this kind of tour.  Thanks for your ideas!

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2010, 01:13:50 pm »
I am not saying that your business model won't work, but I think your clients might be very specialized.

The business models that I have seen work are:

1) You sleep in a tent that you set up and take down, you carry your personal gear and some of the community gear.  There is a guide that also carries community gear and make dinner.

2) You sleep in a tent that you set up and take down.  There is a SAG that carries your stuff, and feeds you.

3) You sleep in a tent that is set up and taken down for you.    There is a SAG that carries your stuff, and feeds you.

4) You ride from hotel to hotel.      There is a SAG that carries your stuff, and feeds you lunch.  Dinner and breakfast are done at the hotel.

My concern about the RV concept is that they might only sleep 3 plus the guide.  I would rather mess with a state park bath house than an RV shower.   Maybe the RV concept would work if you were guiding a husband and wife, or a family with kids.

Or you could explore #3.
Danno

Offline readysetsew

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2010, 11:43:31 am »

My concern about the RV concept is that they might only sleep 3 plus the guide.  I would rather mess with a state park bath house than an RV shower.   Maybe the RV concept would work if you were guiding a husband and wife, or a family with kids.

A specialized customer seems to be the most logical option because of limited RV sleeping accommodations; however, I'm looking at a rig that sleeps 6, plus the guide and mechanic. The RV showers are now much better than they used to be. The larger RVs have separate shower stalls rather than those that require you to spray water all over the toilet. My prediction, however, is that some riders would be more likely to use the park's bath house for showering just so they wouldn't have to stand in line. This concept could work, I hope, for a group of friends, or maybe a small group from a cycling club. I would also invest in a stacked washer/dryer in the rig to alleviate the hassle of finding or standing in line at a laundromat.

Thanks for your input! I really appreciate it.

Offline livewombat

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2010, 06:48:14 pm »
This sounds similar to the barge-and-bike tours in the Netherlands.  You don't have to worry about your gear or your meals, and at the end of the day you come back to the same bedroom.  I could imagine doing the Northern Tier this way, just to avoid the hassles of finding accommodations every night, not having to worry about grocery stores and restaurants closing early, and knowing that there would be food and drinks at the end of the day's ride.

Offline DaveB

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2010, 07:49:47 pm »
I wonder if you really can do it for less than the cost of modest chain hotel accomidations.  At $3.00 per gallon, for a large RV that gets maybe 5 - 6 mpg and obviously you can't just stop anywhere you please so a full hook-up campground will be essential every night and these are far from free.

Offline readysetsew

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2010, 04:08:04 pm »
This sounds similar to the barge-and-bike tours in the Netherlands.  You don't have to worry about your gear or your meals, and at the end of the day you come back to the same bedroom. 

Yes, that's the idea. I checked them out--very interesting!

Offline readysetsew

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2010, 04:10:57 pm »
I wonder if you really can do it for less than the cost of modest chain hotel accomidations.  At $3.00 per gallon, for a large RV that gets maybe 5 - 6 mpg and obviously you can't just stop anywhere you please so a full hook-up campground will be essential every night and these are far from free.

It's actually cheaper pay the gas and stay in an RV campground for less than several rooms in a motel/hotel. One of the problems, however, is finding places to camp at 60-100-mile intervals--especially RV parks that provide 50-amp service. Things are looking grim.

Offline Gregw

Re: Unique
« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2010, 04:08:56 pm »
I think it's a great idea!

People who are contemplating a cross country trip plan ahead, so if you "Advertise, solicit" on this and other touring forums, you should be able to get a full RV. You generally can stay at the same places as other cyclists going solo and you could invite them over for coldies. You would need to ask for a high, non-refundable deposit to keep away drop-outs. Even if you got a drop-out you could do a quick search for a 1/2 price bargain rider.

Can you make a living at it? Don't know about that, but it might be possible to do a USA loop with time off for you in between. Transam starts in mid to late April to say August 1, Pacific coast from Aug.15-Oct. 15 +/-, Southern tier in the winter, take some time off in the Keys, North to Maine in the spring, and continue the loop on the Northern tier.

One of you can cycle with the group any time you want. Skip a section of the loop if you don't get enough riders. You would have plenty of time for marketing during the trips. Put a wifi antenna on the RV and work on the next section of the loop in the evenings.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 05:11:39 pm by FredHiltz »

Offline readysetsew

Re: Unique
« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2010, 01:09:59 pm »

Can you make a living at it? Don't know about that, but it might be possible to do a USA loop with time off for you in between. Transam starts in mid to late April to say August 1, Pacific coast from Aug.15-Oct. 15 +/-, Southern tier in the winter, take some time off in the Keys, North to Maine in the spring, and continue the loop on the Northern tier.

Thanks for your feedback. No, I'm not planning to make a living at it, just supplement my retirement, so that's why I think it might work well for a smaller group of people.

Offline DaveB

Re: Advice about Unique Bicycle Touring Company
« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2010, 05:39:52 pm »
I wonder if you really can do it for less than the cost of modest chain hotel accommodations.  At $3.00 per gallon, for a large RV that gets maybe 5 - 6 mpg and obviously you can't just stop anywhere you please so a full hook-up campground will be essential every night and these are far from free.

It's actually cheaper pay the gas and stay in an RV campground for less than several rooms in a motel/hotel. One of the problems, however, is finding places to camp at 60-100-mile intervals--especially RV parks that provide 50-amp service. Things are looking grim.
One other thing that can have a major impact on your economic analysis.  Have you factored in the cost of the RV itself?  A Class A motor home capable of accommodating 7 or 8 people (6 riders plus the driver and cook/mechanic) in reasonable comfort and with the amenities you propose is going to cost over $100,000, probably WAY over.  Will you be able to set your rates to recover that investment in any reasonable time?  Also consider maintenance costs like tires, oil changes, etc. aren't free, particularly on something the size of a large RV.