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Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by kb123, Aug 13, 2013.
thinking of trying a tour next year. any experiences? beach, edelweiss, how about albion?
come on guys someone must have done one of these?
Not in the Ride Reports forum, moved to the Riding forum.
Edelweiss: Group rides, follow the leader, if you're a group rider, and don't mind many stops during the day, including extended fueling and eating stops, you may like it. It's a top notch operation and very efficient. You may ride solo too, but you're on your own, no route / gps support. Option of different brands of bikes.
Beach: You have the option of following the leader or going off on your own. Beach supplies riders with a GPS with 2 to 3 routes every day: short, medium and long, all leading to that night's hotel. You are also provided with a cell phone with the pertinent phone numbers. An all BMW fleet. For my riding style, Beach's suits me best.
Each morning over breakfast Edelweiss suggests a couple of alternate routes for the day. You can follow or go it without the guide. They want you to ride with at least one other bike of you decide to be without a guide.
They do a very good job overall.
The wife and I did a week long self tour on a 1200GS in Australia a few years back through BikeRoundOz, who contracted with Bikescape for the actual bike rental. They handled hotels, suggested routes, we did the riding and had a blast.
They were extremely professional, helpful, and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend them to anyone.
A group tour was not for us, but to each their own.
Not really. Edelweiss had 2 rules for us when I rode with them in 2006: Don't ride alone, and no drinking until you are done riding. (both reasonable to me) They actively discouraged riding in large groups. The tour I did went down to the MotoGP round at Mugello that year and was very well-attended - I bet there were 30 people including the 4 guides and I never rode with more than 4, and mostly with just one other - (you quickly find out who rides at your pace) . Each day there were multiple suggested routes ( direct, scenic, challenging) and while they DID provide maps ahead of time, I never kept to my intended route once - something always came up. Several riders brought GPS units, but I was fine with paper-tech.
One criticism is that touring with them isn't an 'adventure', but a Vacation, - and you know, for my first time riding in Europe, I was fine with having them make the hotel arrangements (great digs most nights), race tickets, routing suggestions, morning briefing on anything unusual coming up, etc. Further, riding with the guides was hardly boring - those guys hustled right along.
Kinda spendy, but NOT having gear on the bike was nice - they transport your bag on most tours, although on some they go support-van-less and charge less. Tour prices vary widely depending on location, type of tour and staffing needed. The other tour attendees were likewise enthusiastic riders and in general a really fun bunch to hang out with.
I'd book a trip with them again in the future.
So, just to make this thread a little more interesting, can you guys who have sprung for one of these tours give us a ballpark cost, qualifying that with how many days it was, and what bike you were on?
When one of you says, "relatively spendy," I have no idea what that means.
Our MotoDiscovery tour of Mexico (Copper Canyon) was pretty weak. We didn't do the advertised mileage and our "guides" weren't fluent in Spanish. They were nice guys, but only very little in the way of guidance. Also, the guides got sick on the trip (most in the group did too but not me and a couple of others). Doing more research later, there was a trail out of Batopilos that our guides were probably supposed to take us on.
Just seemed not a very pro done tour, but we paid full boat
I'll never use them again.
Now, Motoquest AK Tours are top notch. My next trip will be with them again.
My folks sent my wife and I on a dream honeymoon. Part of this was the week long (can't remember if it was 5 or 7 days...) tour on a 1200GS. This was in November of 2010, and I think that portion cost about $3500 or so. Spendy, yes, but it included the bike, insurance, unlimited mileage, maps, Zumo GPS, and accomodations for those nights in pretty nice places. Well worth it.
The only thing that we would have enjoyed about a group ride is a vehicle to haul our shit-we weren't light packers...
I agree, at first that seems spendy. But, those are not cheap bikes and how much would it take you or I to turn one loose to some strangers for that many days, while also booking nice places to stay and doing logistical work and providing insurance, etc?
I bet it was a lot of fun, and something you guys still talk about.
I did Edelweiss' "Best of Italy" tour this year. 8 days guided tour: Bologna, Florence, Siena, Assisi, San Marino, and back to Bologna. Stopped along the way at Mugello for the MotoGP race and went through other places. Backroads during the day and walking tours of the city at night. It was a fantastic experience.
The routes were great, things were taken care of, we were encouraged to "get lost" as well as follow the guides and while they discouraged solo riding, they didn't stop us either. Everything except lunch and booze was included, even the MotoGP ticket in the Ducati grandstands (175 Euros! :eek1) and the Ducati factory tour. It was a Ducati afiliated trip and I was on a fantastic Multistrada 1200 Granturismo.
While you do pay for it -- and you can see the prices at EdelweissBikeTravel.com -- it allows you to really focus on the riding and not worry a lick about anything else. Well worth it in my opinion, especially if you have breakdowns or a crash or get sick...one person got a flat, and it was handled. I got sick and didn't want to ride one day, and we threw my bike in the van and I just rode to the next destination.
To me, things like that keep it a vacation but not an adventure. Adventure is nostalgic looks at hardship. They have adventure tours, and they'll tell you that up front.
I'll tell you though, I've been on adventures. This was just as fun with no hassle -- the riding was fantastic and I would have never found it on my own. I appreciated it so much I went home and signed up two weeks later for a brief trip to the Alps 4 months later. They were that good.
It was back in 2000 but the Beach tour the wife and I took in New Zealand was excellent. Well organized and good accommodations. Think we had the option to go off on our own but we had a small group of like minded riders so we never did.
Try Ferris Wheels. There is nothing like riding with a group of Aussies for three weeks. Best fun you'll ever have.
I did the Darwin to Melbourne tour three years ago with this company: http://bikeroundoz.com/
Go to their website and it tells you exactly what it costs. Contact Mark if you still have questions - he'll answer them all very promptly.
First of all, I've never been one to follow the crowd or take organized tours. I have heard good things about Edelweiss and chose them for a tour to Patagonia this coming JAN 2014. I'll let you know how the tour goes in a later post. I decided to go with the organized tour in this region of South America for a number of reasons. The main reason is that my time is quite limited due to a four letter word...WORK. Secondly, I looked into transporting my Super Tenere and because of the expense, red tape, and other uncertainties made this not a viable option due to my limited time. Lastly, this tour is for 21 days and rides in some remote areas of region. I had planned a solo tour but in the end opted for this tour because of the ground and mechanical support. My spanish is not stellar and if I crashed alone, how long would it take for a rescue team to reach me even if I was equipped with a SPOT? I expect that this will be a group of 8-12 riders. 8 was the minimum number and that was met in August.
I would suggest getting their 2014 catalog that outlines all of their tours worldwide. It's a colorful catalog and can be ordered online at www.edelweissbiketravel.com
Keep on ridin'!
Great article in current issue of Motorcyclist. They ran a bit of a lottery and half a dozen or so lucky bastards got to join some of the crew on an Alps tour with Edelweiss. Fun writeup - bit of insight into Edelweiss. http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/features/1013_ultimate_alps_adventure/
I was one of those lucky bastards on the Motorcyclist trip. I'm in the RED aerostich. Edelweiss was great. They rode fast enough that the Motorcyclist staffers had a hard time keeping up. The accommodations were good, but not great when it comes to rooms, but we were only in them to sleep/shower so really didn't matter. Food/resturants were always little family owned places with great food! Not having to schlept your luggage was awesome, especially when you're swapping biked 2-3 times a day. Our tour was somewhat unique in that there were not any "sightseeing" stops or down days. Just 7-9 hours of riding every day. We paid $3000 per person for 5 days of riding, and 6 nights of hotel.
This is pertinent to my interests, as my euro-touring will be limited to packages for the forseeable future after the end of the year. Keep the info flowing, it's great to know.
FWIW, eight days in the Alps (plus one in the Eifel) with my own bike, etc cost about 100 per day between fuel (65mpg), lodging, food, and souveniers. Throw in the cost of bike rental and insurance (1.5 - 2K depending on bike), and you are at 3K in a hurry, without paying for a guide. So in reality, the "expense" of the tours is not so ridiculous. That and you are pretty much breakdown-proof with a tour, instead of waiting for the ADAC to show up and missing mileage.
oh I dunno....
100 euro a day for expenses sounds about right...
a bike can be had for around that too, so you're at 200 / day. 10 days, 2 grand, just throw in airfare & done.
Riding around Europe isn't all that big a deal (my opinion) I think the idea that a tour company is like a vacation, and doing it yourself is an adventure is about right... personally I like adventures
My rule of thumb: I can do whatever the tour company is offering for about half what they are charging...
But, as always, your mileage may differ.