Inititally, all I did was guided road rides leaving straight from the hotel, but from the very beginning most of our potential customers had something different in mind (meaning they wanted to be picked up, taken on a shorter ride and dropped off at the hotel – not so much about the training but more of a sight-seeing tour for the wealthier folk). For a while I started to do a few guided MTB rides in my spare time (which I also enjoyed doing moreso than onroad), but I think we have greater competition in that area; that alone was never enough to pay all the bills. There’s technically even more chance for offroad accidents due to the steep descents invloved.
Basically we have had to look at who we are, what we are about and where we want to take the business in future.
I have been speaking with my lawyer over the past month or so & I will now be focusing solely on hire of bikes & equipment because it means that we can keep things simple and legal, financially speaking. We are fast expanding, but yet if we continue to operate professionally, the local Spanish law requires special transport permits for a van + trailer weighing more than 3.5 tonnes plus a separate “agencia de viajes” (travel agent) business designation. Since we operate a smaller 1.4 – 2.0 tonne van with only one passenger seat, quite apart from the extra capital needed, I’ve slowly realised that “it’s not worth it”… at least not until we have more staff + money at our disposal.
Furthermore, as soon as we take people out on the road, we have a huge responsibility. I have personally witnessed one person crash right behind me (just going around a corner too fast) and at other times the longer road rides have been too difficult (for either myself and/or some/all of the clients!).
So over the past few years I have gradually been taking the emphasis off guided road & MTB rides, made it more of a content-based information site to enable people to do their own “self-guided” training/touring rides. I have just taken most of the references to guided rides off the main website as of yesterday since we are just doing bike hire these days.
Sorry to have to break the news to you about guided rides folks – but at least the bike hire side of the business is going great!
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