My goal is to provide tour members with an outstanding tour experience that feels like you’re on your own riding with friends. It just so happens that I’m one of your friends and have been there and done it ALL before, so there is no hassle, no stress and no guesswork. I keep the atmosphere informal and easy-going so that the tour just seems to flow naturally from one day to the next. I do that by using my 35+ years of Alps riding experience to provide some big picture structure by way of securing motorcycles, taking the hassle out of finding good, well located hotels and providing guidance/opinion on the best roads to ride in the region that people have chosen to tour in. I ride all day every day and you are welcome to ride with me as long as you like. You are also welcome to go off on your own if you prefer and I will help throughout the tour with what ever you chose to do. I also work to keep the cost low, like you would if you were on your own, which usually saves $600 – $2,600, or more, off of what the total tour cost would be with a big name operator.
I first learned to ride a motorcycle in 1973 on the Greek island of Rhodes. It was a rental bike with a 5 speed, 50cc two-stroke that always fouled the plug. Rhodes was part of a 6 month European odyssey that started as a backpacking, hitch hiking trek. After Rhodes I rented other 50cc bikes on Crete and Corfu. At the start of month 4, based on a limited budget, I purchased a 50cc, 5-speed Spanish built Ducati in Granada Spain.
Back then there was no Internet and very limited telephone service. A phone call meant either going to the telephone company office and calling from there or having the hotel operator place the call and then waiting 20 – 30 minutes for the operator to make a connection to the public phone in the lobby of the hotel. Either way 5 minutes would cost thirty dollars or more. So I used to skip the telephone and write home to my folks. I would sign the letters “Moto-Charlie”. Hence, the inspiration for the name of my tour company.
I spent the last 3 months of my trip riding my 50cc bike up through Seville, Madrid, and Barcelona, on through Switzerland, Austria, and Germany to Munich and from there to Paris, Normandy, and London. I swore that someday I would come back to the Alps on a big bore motorcycle.
After my 1973 trip to Europe I spent part of the the next ten years going to college to become a CPA, thinking that I could make good money during the tax season (i.e. winter), which would leave me time and funding to ride during the summer.
From 1974 to 1982 I went on numerous North American motorcycle journeys. One 3-month trip included coast to coast from Halifax to Vancouver, coast to coast from Acapulco to Cancun, and a lot of travel in between. Those same years saw 2 more coast-to-coast trips from New England to the west coast, 2 trips to the Rocky mountains and back, and 2 trips down south to Virginia, Tennessee, etc.
In 1983 I finally got to go back to Europe for 5 weeks as part of a Beach’s tour (see the FAQ service section for more on Beach’s). I went back in 1985 for 5 more weeks, 3 of which were with Beach’s. Between 1985 and 1998 I went every year, except one, on a motorcycle, at least once and frequently twice per year on my own or with friends. I started Alps-Tours in 1999 and have gone every year since then at least 2 – 3 times per year. I’ve also gone through the Alps two more times by car with my wife but that’s another story.
Back in the late 80’s early 90’s, when I took friends along, I made all the rental, hotel, and route arrangements, which is where the idea for MOTO-CHARLIE came from.
My wife has accompanied me in a car while I ride a motorcycle. Some of my friends have also brought their wives and girlfriends, utilizing cars and motorcycles on the trips. That is why I know that motorcycle and car combos can work well together.
Over the years I have owned an assortment of motorcycles including a Honda 350, 500, 750, Goldwing, a BMW 750 (a twin and a triple), an airhead RS, a Yamaha FJ1200, a Moto Guzzi CX-100, a 1993 Ducati 900SS with a 944 kit and numerous other performance modifications, a classic 1977 Moto Guzzi LeMans 1, a Honda Blackbird, a Honda ST1100 and my current 2-up Honda ST1300.
I am the owner of a consulting firm that provides business valuations and business brokerage to healthy and distressed businesses and also provides management services to financially troubled companies. I have children so until recently my domestic riding was limited to an occasional day ride in the New Hampshire and Vermont mountains, several track days a year at NH International Raceway (Loudon), and my trips to Europe.
I added up all my Alpine saddle time and it is the equivalent of riding every day from 9AM to 5PM, 7 days a week for more than 2 years straight in an area the size of Minnesota or Kansas. I go to Europe for the riding, which I consider the best of anywhere I have been. Everyplace has some good riding but the Alps have lots of outstanding riding, and fantastic scenery, everyday doing a different route, for days, even weeks, without repeating yourself. That is what makes the riding experience so great.
My style is generally to ride a full day, rain or shine, at a sport touring pace with the emphasis on sport. I err on the side of caution when it is raining but even then, the scenery and the roads can be very enjoyable, plus there is still the food, the coffee, the deserts, etc – oh là là.
I like to do the big passes, with their height and grandeur but I am particularly fond of the little one lane twisty passes that you find marked as little red lines on the maps with aspect ratios of 1:250000. That may be why I am slightly partial to the Italian Alps and the area around Cortina although, Stelvio generates some adrenaline, Andermatt keeps me awake at night with anticipation, the Grossglockner is Alpine heaven. Oh-Oh, where are those air tickets? Sorry, got to go.
If you want to know anything else about me please feel free to e-mail or telephone.