If you are going to tour the Alps then you have numerous tour companies to choose from, both big and small. Most of those companies ride similar motorcycles, stay at similar hotels and have the same array of roads to ride. This question deals with “why?” you would want to go with Moto-Charlie.
The answer below is a combination of what I have learned over the years from my tour guests, and my personal tour philosophy.
I work hard to address any pre-tour questions or issues in two ways:
- All the information that I can think of that pertains to my tours is presented on my website. I try to lay the whole program right out in the open – “what you see is what you get.” Most of the major and minor questions that people ask about my tours are answered somewhere on the website.If someone asks a good question, or an event happens on a tour that has an impact on the tour specifics I either address it in the “Tour Details” or in the “FAQ” section.
- I will spend all the time it takes before, during and after the tour to personally answer any questions or deal with any issues that are not self evident or easy to find on the website to make sure that the tour will meet or exceed your expectations.
By the time the tour starts you will:
- Know exactly how to get to the European meeting point and the related transfer arrangements
- Confirm the exact model of motorcycle that you want and will ride
- Have a detailed map of the route to be taken
- Have a detailed list of the hotel addresses and phone numbers for emergency contacts
- Have a list of the hotel websites so that you can visit our hotels on-line
I limit my tours to 7 bikes and we frequently have less. This means that I am readily available at your disposal during the entire trip. Do you want to sit down at the end of the day and mark the exact route we rode today on your map? My pleasure. The same goes for planning the next day’s ride. I love to ride. So, if everyone else is a little bushed, but you want to zip out for another hour, let’s go ride. Do you need some help in changing the bike set-up to your liking? Let’s grab a beverage and go out and do it.
As you can see from my Testimonials section, most of the people who come on my tours feel personally looked after, which is how I feel it should be.
I actively encourage you to “do your own thing” during the tour. The fact is that people meet up on my tours for the first time, become friends, hang out together on tour, and then stay in touch long after the tour is over. But, if you’re in love with the Alps and the riding, but want to be on your own – that’s fine too. If after, or during, the day’s ride you want to eat separately, go off on your own, hike instead of ride, then go ahead and do just that. At the end of the day, it’s your vacation and you should feel free to do whatever it is that YOU want to do.
THE “WOW” FACTOR
I still remember those parts of the Alps, either a certain view, stretch of road, hotel, etc. that really struck me when I first saw them from the seat of my motorcycle. A place where I would stop and whip out the camera and go “WOW”, this is something great. Although I have now ridden those Alpine roads many times, I always strive to plan my routes so that my tour guests will get that same feeling of being, and doing something special that they will remember for a long, long time.
NIGHTLY HOTEL STAYS
I make it a point to balance a lot of riding with the convenience of staying put for a day or two at each hotel. Some tour companies move every night, which creates the associated stress of moving each day. Others stay the entire time at the same hotel, which can limit your exposure to the variety the Alps and Alpine riding has to offer.
I pick hotel locations that are in the middle of from 6 – 20 good passes so that we can stay for 2 -3 nights per stop and still have a variety of motorcycle and non-motorcycle activities to choose from. All the hotels we stay at will be from moderate to upscale accommodations.
THE ACTUAL RIDING
Discussed below are some of the key elements of riding with me.
- The number one thing that people comment on about the riding in the Testimonials section is that they enjoyed not having to look at the map.Many of the people who come on my tours motorcycle 10, 15, 20,000 miles a year and clearly know how to navigate on their own. Despite my comments about personal freedom, most people choose to ride with and follow me because it is easier and more accommodating to just follow the tour guide.Because I’ve been touring the Alps for more than 30 years I can pretty much clip along at a fun pace that will keep everyone entertained without stopping to look at the map, all day long.
- As mentioned elsewhere on this site I love to ride. That is why I started Alps tours by Moto-Charlie. What that means for my tour guests is that I’m out there on the road every day, all day sun, rain or snow. If you want to go for a ride I’ll go with you. I remember being amazed when a tour member first told me that I was the first tour guide he has met (on more than six different tours) who actually rode all day every day and obviously loved to do so. Apparently some tours hand out route sheets on layover days, or ride the morning and leave it up to the tour member to ride on their own in the afternoon. Not me, I’m always up for a ride and ready to give you the benefit of what I’ve learned about the roads, neat places to stop and take a photo or have a bite to eat, and things to watch out for or avoid. I characterize my tours as a rider’s ride and I believe that should start with me.
- One advantage of the small group concept is that even if we all ride together we don’t get strung out for miles. I ride at a pace that will keep the speedsters happy and not lose those folks who prefer to take it slower and enjoy the scenery.It’s common for the faster riders to frequently charge ahead. However, we always stop and wait at any turn-off so as not to leave people behind. The time needed for everyone to catch up is usually a minute or two, even when they seem to be quite spread out. No one is ever inconvenienced by this process.Everyone will have my European cell phone number in case we do get separated, as well as the route and the phone number for the next hotel.
- As discussed above, there is usually a lot of pre-tour communication. This helps me to get to know you, and you in turn me, beforehand. A benefit of this interaction is that I can encourage, or sometimes discourage, people about coming on the tour that I don’t feel will get along well together and that don’t have similar riding experience. When it comes to riding, most of my tour participants are good riders who have and wear appropriate riding gear, know how to ride in the rain and are generally a pleasure to be with.
Hopefully the information in this section will give you an idea of how I conduct my tours. If you think a Moto-Charlie tour might be for you, please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you might have.