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Imagine going on vacation and getting paid for it as a bike tour leader? How would you like ten paid vacations this summer? How about some more paid vacations this winter in Hawaii, New Zealand, Africa, or along the Riviera?
Millions of people want to go on long bike tours. But most of these people do not want to ride alone. They can't talk their friends or family into joining them. Furthermore, they want expert guidance - someone they can depend on to make the trip comfortable and fun. That's where you come in.
First you need a route. It has to be as free of traffic, scenic, and level as possible, unless you and your clientele are in favor of off-road adventures. In that case, you need a long ride which is mostly off-road, where it is legal and you have permission to ride, and it has to be adventurous, but not above the ability of your customers.
You need to be a responsible tour leader. If you do not have the skill to command people in a recreational situation to protect their safety (and schedules), then you'll need a partner, or will have to learn the skill. You should also know all about the terrain you'll be crossing. You have to know about traffic hazards, likelihood of poisonous plants and animals, and what to do about them, and you want to know the route sufficiently that you won't get lost.
If your ride is in a different land, then you should know most of the important points about the culture and language.
Knowing basic bicycle repair helps, too, although typically one or more of your customers will know what to do for most common mechanical failures. Don't be surprised to see your customers arguing over who gets to fix broken bikes, or the best way to do it!
Many bicycle tours are equipped with a sag wagon. This is typically a van which can provide:
* Food * Bicycle repair facilities. * Transportation for bikes or riders who cannot ride for awhile due to any of various reasons (blisters, broken spokes, allergies). * Someone to phone or drive ahead to secure arrangements. * Someone to stay back and help a rider with a disabled bike, or carried a tired rider.
Finally, you have to make all the arrangements. You want to be sure your customers have proper meals on time, that your menus fit their desires. (Local specialties? Vegetarian? All-natural?) That there are proper places to sleep and that you get to those places on time, and that all your riders get the comfortable adventure they had planned on.
Providing satisfaction for your clientele is the single most important aspect of growing a tour business. Many of your riders are likely to sign up year after year! Furthermore, they will manage to talk some friends and family into coming along, when they all know that you are an expert and entertaining leader.
Other ways to advertise include the usual flyers, business cards, and press releases. Many bicycle tour operators have color brochures made with great color photos showing how much fun the trips are. Although these are expensive, they can be powerful advertising. You can deposit brochures in hotel lobbies, chambers of commerce, and you can maintain a list of previous customers' addresses, and mail brochures advertising upcoming rides.
If this business sounds like a dream come true, make sure to check out the video, "City Slickers." I think you'll find it amusing.
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