So you're keen to set up a cycle tour but don't know where to start? These steps should give you some tips for targeting your tour, attracting your audience and developing your skills so that you can confidently lead a fun and successful cycle tour!1 - What are you offering that is special?
There are companies which offer cycle tours in many cities around the world so what makes yours different? Do you take people off road? Are you offering slow, easy rides rather than fast ones? Does the tour take you through scenic places which are difficult to cover by foot or car? In our case we're drawing on our experience and networks with cultural institutions to give an in-depth look at special exhibitions. Cycling is the means of transport but also allows us to get around to a number of them in the same day! 2 - Who else is out there?
Whether you're setting up fun cycles or competitive ones, knowing who else if offering tours will help you to target yours. An in-depth search of TripAdvisor's "Things to Do", along with a google search will give you much of this information. Trip Advisor will also give you reviews of rides so you can work out whether particular routes are successful. Check out where other companies promote their rides. This could be online as well as in hotels - do they offer pick up from specific locations? Where do the bikes come from and how do they get back? These logistics can be sorted by finding out how others operate their tours.
3 - Who is your audience?
This can be a tricky one, particularly if you are looking to promote your cycles to tourists. Consider whether you can target three different groups. For us, it would be people who are interested in cultural attractions (including tourists), those who are happiest on short, slow cycles (families &/or inexperienced cyclists) and those who want an opportunity to create something while chatting afterwards. These three audiences have defined our offer - leisurely cycling around the city, visiting cultural attractions and then participating in a a handmade design workshop which offers a friendly environment to talk about the adventures of the day while considering how these experiences could inspire your creativity. 4 - Where will you cycle?
Now that you've decided what you offer and why it is special, you need to plan your cycle. Google Maps offers a great tool for creating and sharing this information. Don't forget to cross check your route with local bike maps to ensure that your ride makes use of any resources such as off-road paths, shared footpaths or designated bike paths. If you're going off-road, make sure that you know what the terrain will be so that you can let others know in advance. This will help them make a decision about whether this ride is for them. Check out Edinburgh's InnerTube Map for some ideas about how to describe off-road cycling.http://www.scribd.com/full/49485149?access_key=key-266p3g9kf621xt5ljb4i 5 - Who can you partner with?
Have a look at your city. Does it have a bike share scheme? Are there local cycle suppliers who might be interested in participating? Some cities have bike groups associated with well known coffee shops. For instance, in Australia, Coluzzi, a well known Sydney cafe has a cycling team as does Brunetti in Melbourne. Can you partner with these organisations in some way? Is there a state or council based bike organisation? Could you partner with them? Don't forget clothing suppliers! There are many smaller designers and manufacturers who may also be interested. If your tour is a casual one, you might partner with the CycleChic movement. For instance, London CycleChic promotes local rides and has an online store for urban cycling wear and accessories. http://londoncyclechic.blogspot.com/ 6 - What regulations and insurance do you need?
Some states or local councils will insure your tour if you are a member of their organisations. Others will only insure you if you undertake their specific training. Have a look at what credentials you will need in order to ensure that your cycle is safe in your specific location. 7 - What personal training do you need to feel confident?
Number 1 - get your First Aid certificates up to date! While it isn't compulsory to have a First Aid certificate to run tours in some places, think about what would happen if someone hurt themselves on the road. Would you know what to do? Yes, you would ring an ambulance in an emergency, but what about something less critical? There are a number of providers, and many different courses. A great place to start is Red Cross or St John but there are also private providers. The idea here is for you, as the tour leader, to feel confident that should anything happen, you would be able to manage it appropriately. In the next blog I will look at how to develop the social media strategy for engagement and participation so that you can not only establish your tour but promote it successfully!Image: Jurassic Lounge at the Australian Museum. Our Sydney Design Tour will include a visit to the Australian Museum where we will be doing the handmade design workshop. We're hoping that the Spring season of Jurassic Lounge will have begun by then! You can read more about it at http://www.jurassiclounge.com/