For the past 7 years I been hosting bike tours that were spurred from many loves and crazy thoughts. My first one was actually a sort of training camp for the since departed Everest Challenge, a 2 day 29,000', leg destructing race around Bishop, CA. More coming up about the history of past tours. Those loves and thoughts, maybe obsessions and/or character flaws, manifests in almost everything I do. Much of which may seem contradictory. For example, I love chaotic situations only in the sense of bringing order to it. After that, lets have some more chaos. Organizing and planning is enjoyable but only to a point. I can't stand having every detail worked out, it doesn't allow for enough random opportunities that I feel make life more memorable. Things need to go a little off the rails. I'm not saying really bad things(bodily harm) but the unexpected, the miserable, the downright terrible crap that birth great campfire stories.
Now with all this said, over the years I have managed to get some of the logistics down to a point that the basics are well covered, Equipment, routes and lodging are a must have. But things like the menu is always up in the air and much of the routes may have nothing more than a Google Earth view to determine its rideability. Sometimes there is a bit of unexpected dirt/gravel to spice things up but there is always the van for those really uncomfortable taking skinnies on rough road.
I've yet to do any route over as I think there is too many amazing roads out there to think of doing something again, at least for now. Just another character flaw, change is an obsession.
How do I budget these rides? Many of these are really great deals and I strive to keep it that way. Actually long term is to lower the costs. Right now this does not run as a business. I open myself up to a huge risk in the sense of liability. I carry more than enough insurance but it is on a personal plan. There tends to always be a little money left over which I now use to pay for the next tour, deposits for lodging and equipment. After that, it's up to tips to create any income for myself or the other driver. So why do it if there isn't an income/profit? Well there is more to life than money. Not trying to be overly altruistic or philosophical, I'll take the dough when I can, it's just not the primary goal. You see, for years now I've felt that cycling has become too much of a rich man's hobby/sport and many folks are left out of some great adventures on a bicycle due to costs. This is my small way of giving more potential riders a great cycling experience while not busting the ceramic pig. And then there is the biggest reason, I love bringing people together for outdoor adventures and new friendships. The greatest joy for me is watching people who didn't know each well or at all, laugh, cry, share and fall in love throughout the tours. My small contribution to a better world. Yes. I'm a corny sap after all.
Community means everyone chipping in to lighten the load. It's not much but these aren't hotel or restaurant services, no bellhops or waiters. What is asked is a few duties, the loading and unloading of van, help with meal preps and dishes. You also take care of your own camping set up. It's all an important part of the adventure and what you put into it you get in returns you might not ever quantify.