So you’re considering a motorcycle trip in the USA for the first time ? It’s a big place how would you know where to go ? Where to stay ? How to fit it into all into your holiday allocation ? These were exactly the things going through my mind. The simple solution and the one I took, is a guided tour where someone “answers” all those questions for you.
Knowing all your routes, hotels, places to visit, fuel, food (mostly 🙂 ) etc. is all planned out for you allows you to really soak up the environment and concentrate on enjoying all the new experiences. It also allows you to make new friends who are doing exactly the same thing – I’m still in touch with people I met on the very first guided tour I did and subsequent one also ! Below are my tips for how to get the best from your guided tour experience. Another benefit not to be ignored is apart from your spending money it’s a one off cost so no need to worry about what the hotel costs that night or how much dinner is.
In summary who’s a guided tour for ? Anyone !! Solo, couples or groups can have a stress free trip where all you have to do is ride. It’s not just for first timers either – I’ve done a guided trip in between solo trips and the need not to “plan” anything was really refreshing and allowed me to relax into the groove of the trip and benefit from the wisdom of the tour guides.
How to get the most from a guided tour.
- Most importantly enjoy it – it is a holiday – 99% of the work will be done for you so apart from turning up with money, license etc. nothing to worry about doing.
- Don’t over pack ! Although your luggage is going to be carried for you in a van there’s no need to overload the guys / van carrying it. Apart from riding gear a few changes for evenings will suffice as laundry facilities are to be found in most hotels.
- Look after your van guys and they’ll look after you. It’s not all plain sailing sat in the van following you all day … but rest assured they will have a cold beer waiting for you at your final destination.
- Don’t worry about “having to ride a Harley” – yes they’re bigger than most bikes you probably ride but they’re all modern when it comes to handling, comfort and rider aids such as cruise control – don’t let your friends put you off because you’ll be on a “tractor”. Take it as one of the holidays new experiences !
- You won’t be bored riding – the myth that America is all big long roads is that just that a myth ! Your able guides will make sure you see some of Americas best roads and while some will be “straight” it won’t be for long.
- Trust the guide ! These guys know their stuff and as well as the roads will take you to some of the best eateries and bars there is – many you wouldn’t find by yourself at least not without a recommendation from someone local.
- “Do as you’re told” 🙂 – if the guide says a stretch of road requires care it almost certainly will. Likewise if he says you can “go play” for the next 10 miles .. go play but don’t go beyond it. If the guide advises taking a comfort break at a fuel stop as next stretch is long .. try your hardest to 🙂 Having to make an unscheduled stop a few miles down the road causes delays, frustration etc. for rest of the group.
- Don’t over do it ! It’s good to relax and unwind at the end of a day – but it’s not fun having to ride a couple hundred miles in the heat if you have a hangover ! If you’ve got a rest day next cut loose but if you’re riding keep it sensible.
- You will be one of a group be considerate to your new found friends. When riding don’t put pressure on the guy in front if he’s a little slower you’re all going to get to the same place at the same time anyway. This applies to all parts of the trip not just riding.
- Embrace the culture and try new things ! Be it food you wouldn’t normally or a beer you’ve never seen .. give it a go ! The guides and van guys are always very knowledgeable about places you stop so ask them about it. A selfie in front of an old west building has more meaning if you know that Billy the Kid drank there.
- Most importantly – book another ! Guided tours are a great stress free way for many people to see some of the best roads and places that America has to offer.