H+I Adventures owner and tour expert, Catherine, shares her tips on how to organise a group tour – successfully
How to organise a group tour – and actually make it happen!
“It’s like herding cats!” is a phrase I often hear from riders when asking how to organise a group tour together. Believe me, I know! With so many calendars, work priorities, family commitments and other ‘stuff’ it can be really challenging to make that group mountain bike adventure happen.
Travelling with your best friends and loved ones can be a truly life-affirming shared experience. It’s also an excellent way to make that ‘big birthday’ really memorable, and we love organising special birthday adventures. Imagine celebrating your 50th birthday with seven of your best friends aboard your own private charter in the fjords of Norway!
So, if you’ve nominated yourself as ‘group leader’ and you want to get this show on the road, here are a few things I’ve learned from the past 10 years of helping riders come together to have the trip-of-a-lifetime.
Choosing your group
First thing’s first; you’re going to be spending a week or more together, so in order to ensure that everyone has a fabulous time, choose friends/ family who get on well together – or at least don’t rub each other up the wrong way!
It also really helps if you’re used to riding together and comfortable with each other’s trail habits and riding styles.
In an effort to make the trip happen, you probably want to target friends and family who are more likely to commit to the adventure. Compulsive procrastinators need not apply.
Ultimately, you want to pull together a group of people who are up for having an amazing time and will go out of their way to make sure that the trip is unforgettable – for all the right reasons!
“you want to pull together a group of people who are up for having an amazing time and will go out of their way to make sure that the trip is unforgettable”
When you get the right group together there’s nothing better than sharing the ups and downs of new and exciting trails.
Choosing your destination
With so many outstanding places to ride your bike, choosing the right destination in which to organise a group tour can take a little time. Think about your main motivations for the trip; are you looking for a rich cultural experience, like in the Himalayas of Nepal, for example? Or are the trails the most important feature for you and your friends, and you’d lean more towards British Columbia?
Make sure all prospective group members are on the same page when it comes to choosing your perfect destination, otherwise you might have some disappointed faces and that’s not the aim of the game.
Also, do some research into the places you’re considering. We have lots of information on our website about our tours and destinations, but do a bit more research online, ask your friends, and just make sure that you have a good understanding of what to expect of the trip itself and the culture of the country in which you’ll be travelling.
Timing is important too. We’ve scheduled our tours to coincide with the best times to ride in each destination, so don’t set your sights on the southern hemisphere between April and October, for example; it’ll be chilly in Chile then! On the flip side, you can ride in Ecuador almost all year-round.
“Make sure all prospective group members are on the same page when it comes to choosing your perfect destination”
Planning your travel
The travel process can be as much a part of the adventure as the tour itself, so if you can travel together it just makes the experience all the more fun.
That being the case, you’ll want to book your travel tickets, whether flights, trains or buses, as early as possible. Flight prices are not known for coming down the longer you leave it.
If you plan on travelling with your own bike, you’ll need to book it on the plane when you book your tickets (if that option is available) so that you don’t end up paying a penalty when you check in. On most of our adventures you’ll have the option to rent a high quality full suspension bike, set up perfectly for the local trails, so you don’t have to worry about preparing and travelling with your bike.
We generally advise arriving in-country a day or two before the tour start date, so that any travel or baggage delays don’t spoil your adventure. It will also allow you to adjust to local time if you’ve travelled a long way, across several time zones. For many of our tours we have a handy guide on how to spend 24 hours in your start city, check the ‘Full Details’ tab on the tour webpage.
Above and below: Between shred sessions there should be always time to take in the views, enjoy great food, do a bit of hiking and look moody next to some local architecture. All essentials in the perfect mountain bike group trip.
Ask the experts!
As I mentioned earlier, I do have a bit of experience in organising mountain bike tours! So, if you’re struggling to come to a decision on any of the above aspects of your group mountain bike tour, get in touch and I’ll work with you to choose the perfect adventure for you and your friends.
Pick up the phone! Speaking to someone in person is often a much more effective way to answer all of your questions than a string of emails. We are nice people and will be happy to chat to you about our adventures and how we work, and we even have a toll-free number from the US and Canada.
Starting with your group’s mountain biking experience, I’ll talk you through the types of tours and destinations that would work best for you. You don’t need to try to figure out all the details yourself, I’ll communicate with the whole group and field any questions that anyone has about your adventure. I’ll be with you every step of the way, from first communication, right the way to the time of your trip, and beyond, providing useful info and reminders when you need them.