On October 7, we celebrate six years of rocking. Riding and party included of course.
On that occasion, I’ve been thinking about what has made us doing well and having tours booked for a year ahead. Therefore, here are few main principles we’re stick to.
Focus on riding
Eventually people come to ride. They make plans much beforehand, carefully negotiate with their wives, adjust vacations among all riders in a crew, buy flights, pay for additional luggage kilos and fly to Serbia, most often for the first time in life.
Well, I’m more then sure that they don’t want to buy nothing in your improvised riding gear shop, they don’t care if you’re owner of little stylish hostel with a pool, they go to excursions in Old City only on day-off and only if they’re tired as hell…
So focus on riding – be professional guide, know each and every corner of the mountain, know how to estimate every riders’ skill in a group, combine different terrains, if group is split plan the route the way they can meet quite often, pick up level gradually and finish the day sweating.
Teach if they ask
As far as I’ve noticed, most of riders need some skills updates and corrections, but not all want to accept your teachings. So don’t be intrusive as long as their riding is safe. Let them ask. Know how to explain certain technique in detail and be patient with that. Let them apply it “on terrain”. Lot of them understand that improving technique means more fun of riding. Be aware of the fact that maybe you’re the first and only who though them in a proper way.
Use new bikes
First, this is practical – new bikes’ failures are less possible to happen compared to old ones. Second, bikes are face of your little company and even if your 2-3 year old machines are perfectly maintained and in excellent condition, once you announce that garage offers next year models for rent – you are always step ahead.
Professional protection saves not only bikes from damage but allows guests to ride more confident and relaxed not being worried about broken levers, clutch or magnet covers and following service stops and expenses. Insure them from any stress as much as possible.
Try not to use tyres less than 80% health (reminds me of Doom hero in action). It minimizes their suffering when trying to start at some uphill or pushing hardly and maximizing their respect for you when (almost) new tyre shines like sunshine on first day of the tour.
Winning solution is to ride “cowboy” style as much as possible. It means improvise while creating and choosing the track or whole day route. If they ask “may we try this virgin uphill?” your answer should be rather “YES, of course”. Questions like “may we switch bikes between us?” must not frighten you, on contrary, be the one who first offers ideas like that.
Keep in stock riding gear – knee protection and good boots definitely, not for selling but for borrowing. Before first ride, always check gear type and condition – happens that they bring terrible stuff not suitable for even walking in the city center. It’s much, much cheaper to borrow free of charge then to fix all the bed things afterwards.
Make no business plans
If it grows out of pleasure, if you put riding and good time on the first place, then it’ll live and develop. People see what your attitude is and what you really feel about things you do, so if you establish it for money with plans and financial goals, be sure that soon it’s all going to end.
Teach for free sometimes, never ask them to pay before the tour, OFFER them to pay for damage don’t ask, ride as much as they want and be patient J