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Thread: LAKES AND MOUNTAINS: ITALY

  1. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by EVskij View Post
    Can you imagine someone breaking down/punctures? The lot of you have to hang about waiting. You can not pull up on the side when you want to or have spontaneous change of route should you come across a road you fancy the look of. (PS. I’ve never been on one of these and as such I only imagine the worst, I might be totally wrong though)
    I do generally try to avoid internet arguments but, honestly, why on earth would you offer an opinion on something of which you have no experience? You ARE completely wrong, because you simply do not know what you're talking about - which you admit. I just don't understand why you'd slag something off based on nothing more than prejudice, preconception and ignorance... What is the point?

    Group tours aren't for everyone (they're not really my thing) but I have done a fair few, with different operators, and I do know how they tend to be organised. Nobody should be put off doing one, if they're interested in the idea.

    First, no two companies are exactly the same. However, none I've been with has a problem if you want to do your own thing, stop when you want, detour where you want - as long as you're confident that you can get to the hotel without being guided. The good ones will check you're happy and give any tips ("look out after the church in X town as it's easy to miss the turning" or "There's a good cafe in Y town") before you go your own way. But all of them understand that there's no point dictating to riders: for it to be a good holiday, people have to have the freedom to do what they want. If you are riding in a group with the tour guide and you peel off on your own, you shouldn't get to 6pm and then decide to call the guide to say "I'm lost - come and find me" – though it happens. I know of one tour guide who went out to rescue someone who'd done this (and got back to the hotel after 9pm).

    All tour operators encourage people to ride at their own pace (it's vital for safety) and most of the ones I've ridden with try to avoid having all the bikes riding in a single big group. It might be a bit more of a big group on the first day, but most trips pretty quickly break down into groups of two or three bikes riding together as people get to know each other and settle in to riding with those who go at a similar pace. The bigger group tends to come back together at stops – you see other bikes from the tour parked up at a cafe, so you stop and join them - and in the evenings, for a beer in the bar and for the evening meal. Sometimes a larger group sticks with the guide, but I've only ever been on one tour – in America – where the organiser wanted to run it as a single giant column of bikes with a guide at the front and another at the back (and even then I was able to jump the fence and do my own thing whenever I wanted).

    As for what happens if someone breaks down/has a puncture... well, if it's you that gets the puncture, I dare say a bit of assistance would be welcome. But no tour operator will ruin everyone else's day by making them sit around while they fix Johnny Handbrake's puncture. Most will just quickly make sure the rest of the group can carry on safely to the destination while they stay back to assist the rider with the problem. Sometimes one or two other riders will offer to stop and help as well (exactly as if you're riding with a mate at the weekend: you wouldn't just sod off and leave them if they had a puncture).

    But the rest of the tour participants don't have to scrap their day of riding because someone else has broken down. There is a bit of Benthamism going on, with the needs of the many outweighing the problem of the one - so while a tour operator will do what they can to help whoever has the problem, they have to look after the other travellers. Some trips even have a support crew (with a van for stricken bikes) that will "sweep" the route and help riders having a problem, while the guide continues guiding. I did one trip where a guy crashed and the tour operator not only picked his bike up but also took it to a local garage where the broken bits were replaced and they hammered the panniers back into shape so the chap could keep riding; he was back on the road next morning. That support is one of the big attractions of a group tour for some riders who haven't been abroad on their own before. But all of the tour companies I've travelled with require riders to have suitable breakdown cover when booking on, and if it all goes wrong the rider has to call on that – not ruin everyone else's holiday.

  2. #34
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    Apologies, my bad. I did not realise the extent these things can go into.

    Still, my preference to ride my own route at my own pace, my choice oh hotel and not to forget the distance I like to travel.

    PLEASE ALL IGNORE MY PREVIOUS COMMENT!!!
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  3. #35
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    Good post from Simon W. Clear response from WVskij. Peace is restored.

  4. #36
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    Sorry - I didn't mean to jump down your throat - but the tour operators I've worked/ridden with all do put a lot of effort into giving people a good experience. I just thought I should stick up for them.

    Yes, if you're confident, savvy, have someone to go with or enjoy solo exploring, you can probably have a better/more personalised trip on your own - and you'll definitely be able to do it cheaper on your own. I'd imagine most riders on this forum don't need their services.

    But guided trips do have a place and for some riders they're exactly what's needed.

    ETA: But remember, they're all different. If you're thinking about a guided trip, the trick is to find the one that works best for how you want to ride

  5. #37
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    Done it! Thanks for all the advice!

    So, I decided to go it alone and avoid the guided trips not least because they all seem to want your sole when agreeing to their terms and conditions. (I have actually been reading them prior to signing up to things in the last few months and its amazing how many I decide not to agree to.)

    So I have my trip outline planned, Worked out how to use Kuviger and import the trip to the NAV IV. signed up for Booking.com and got some hotel ideas. Planning on a couple of rest days at Lake Garda and a couple of extra days for the passes in Andermatt.

    Thanks for all the tips and encouragement. only 2 months to wait now but that time will go fettling the bike.
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  6. #38
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    See, it can be done.

    Now you’ve done it, you’ll find it easier and easier the next times. That you’ve saved yourself a bucket load of cash, is the icing on the cake.

    Do zoom in on the Kurviger routes. They sometimes take some VERY small roads, just for the sake of it. Roads that might make little sense if it’s lashing with rain, you’ve had a significant delay and the target is to get from A to B before bedtime. For instance, it sometimes routes you through a town, when the sensible route is probably to take the ring road. Similarly, it assiduously avoids all motorways, which is sometimes daft.

  7. #39
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    If you are planning to stay at lake Garda, billytheskippers post about lake tours on the boat is spot on, it is very busy on the roads so the boat is a nice relaxed way to see the lake and enjoy food, drink, pastries and beer of course in all the towns/villages around the shoreline, it is one of our favourite places in Europe.
    Depending on latest grandchilds arrival date l may be going to Garda in June myself, a friends son from OZ is competing in a sailing event, just not sure wether to go on GS or in MR2, only got 9 days for the trip.


    Al.

  8. #40
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    if anyone else has a copy, theres several mini routes around the lake Garda / trento area listed in the Italia en Moto book ISBN 9788836564590 (iirc route no`s 12-17)

  9. #41
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    Off to Garda next week
    Gunning it down to the south of France.
    Then 3 days to get to Malcesine
    3 days relaxing around the lake then back up through Austria, Germany and back to France.
    Booking.com definitely your friend

  10. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew 789 View Post
    Off to Garda next week
    Gunning it down to the south of France.
    Then 3 days to get to Malcesine
    3 days relaxing around the lake then back up through Austria, Germany and back to France.
    Booking.com definitely your friend
    There is a nice AIRBNB in Malcesine, enjoy lake Garda. Well worth going all the way round the lake.
    There is nice route through Assiago to SAN Boldo Pass for your return journey on the way to Austria.


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  11. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by EVskij View Post
    There is a nice AIRBNB in Malcesine, enjoy lake Garda. Well worth going all the way round the lake.
    There is nice route through Assiago to SAN Boldo Pass for your return journey on the way to Austria.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Many thanks

    Will try to take in San Boldo

  12. #44
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    We are looking at this BMW trip in 2019

    Now ... my wife and I have both traveled a lot on our bikes .... together and seperatly... planed and not planed rides .... and many years ago did a few of the BMW trips with Richard Harvey ( the original owner of BMW trips ).

    We are concerned that the personal touch has been lost maybe with the new company taking it over....

    One element that hasn’t mentioned is the meeting like minded people who ride ... now I’m not the most sociable person .. actually I can be a bit miserable... but I still enjoy a drink at the end of the day chatting about the ride.

    I’ve no intention of riding all day in a group, and that was always what I liked about the other trips I’ve been on .... you can do as much or as little with them.

  13. #45
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    The post above sums it all up. Here we have someone who, by his own admission, is “a bit miserable” (having “no intention of riding with” any of the rest of the bods on the same holiday) but he wants their company in the evening when it suits him. Maybe they’ll be the reverse? That’ll test his and their ‘likemindedness’.

  14. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wapping View Post
    The post above sums it all up. Here we have someone who, by his own admission, is “a bit miserable” (having “no intention of riding with” any of the rest of the bods on the same holiday) but he wants their company in the evening when it suits him. Maybe they’ll be the reverse? That’ll test his and their ‘likemindedness’.
    That was easy .... caught a big one with very little bait lol

    Why are you so anti bike tours ?

  15. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wapping View Post
    See, it can be done.

    Now you’ve done it, you’ll find it easier and easier the next times. That you’ve saved yourself a bucket load of cash, is the icing on the cake.

    Do zoom in on the Kurviger routes. They sometimes take some VERY small roads, just for the sake of it. Roads that might make little sense if it’s lashing with rain, you’ve had a significant delay and the target is to get from A to B before bedtime. For instance, it sometimes routes you through a town, when the sensible route is probably to take the ring road. Similarly, it assiduously avoids all motorways, which is sometimes daft.
    I know it's a bit late; but i've just cranked this thread up again. The boat on the lake; is a ferry ; and can you move up and down the lake aswell as across with the bike?

  16. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebuyer View Post
    That was easy .... caught a big one with very little bait lol

    Why are you so anti bike tours ?
    I’m not.

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