Bicycle Adventures' staff having panorama photo fun
Every year we invest a tremendous amount of time and energy into our most valuable assets - our guides.
Brand-new guides interview, practice and train over several extended weekends. It is fun, exciting and also exhausting simulating life on tour before sending them out on the real deal, where they then earn their stripes under the careful tutelage of our most senior and seasoned guides.
This year we added a renewed focus on supporting our returning guides. We know we have the best guides in the business - but any tour company will tell you that. So how can we truly provide the best possible vacation experience for our guests? Well, we turned the spotlight on how we guide, and have begun implementing the Adventure Travel Tourism Association's new International Guide Standards. The ATTA has worked diligently over the last few years with tour operators from around the world to create these competencies. We are proud to be the first bicycle tour operator to adopt them:
- Technical Competency
- Wilderness Medicine and First Aid
- Customer Service and Group Management
- Natural and Cultural History Interpretation
We could have spent an entire weekend on each topic (eventually we will), but for now we've prioritized two areas: Customer Service & Group Management plus Natural Cultural History & Interpretation. We brought in two fantastic presenters and together applied these standards to bicycle tours - which is much more difficult than for a day hike or rafting trip where you have a captive audience close at hand for the duration of the tour. Those of you who have ridden with us know that our tours tend to spread out and regroup as each rider goes at their own pace.
As we race from support stop to lunch to the next lodge, our opportunities to assure healthy group dynamics and also interpret the cultural and natural history unique to each tour are limited.
But that doesn't make these elements any less critical to the success of a trip.
We were a little nervous; we know our returning guides are already great! Who else can parallel park 36 feet of van & trailer, whip up amazing roadside meals, calm cranky derailleurs, charm an entire van full of complete strangers into belly laughs and pull out a lawn chair before you even know you're ready to relax with a cold drink? These are seasoned, experienced professionals with hundreds of tours under their belts. But I think we surprised them - this was not your standard weekend of technical training (e.g., DOT forms, National Parks policies, Wahoo Elemnt software). They jumped right in! Not only were they extremely receptive to this new framework, they rolled up their sleeves for a weekend of learning, sharing and also applying these concepts to how we guide, construct our daily itineraries and serve each of you, our guests.
I hope you'll join us on a tour soon - and come see the drive to continuously improve that truly makes
the very best in the business.
- Todd Starnes
President & Co-Owner