How many actual riding days are included in the tour? I read an itinerary recently and it stated 14 days, so I decided to read the day by day details. The company was including the rider arrival day as part of the tour. When in fact there was no riding to be done that day. The reality is the trip is only 13 days. In my opinion that is misleading. At Moto Patagonia, our trips are based on days we will be traveling, arrival days are filled with paperwork, route reviews and motorcycle packing. I don’t count a prep day as a riding day.
Where is the company based in the world? Let’s use us, Moto Patagonia as the example here. We live and work in southern Chile full time, year-round. We pre run all our routes, and we have strong local knowledge and good community contacts. We specialize in Patagonia. These things matter. When you choose a company, my suggestion is stick to those specializing in the area you want to ride. Like most things, specializing in something is where you can gain quality AND value. Look for companies that know how the system works for that part of the world.
How many riders does the company allow on its remote adventure rides? At Moto Patagonia we limit trips to 5 clients max with me guiding for a total of 6 riders. My reasoning for this is based on my experience with the United States Forest Service as a Wildland Fire Fighter where I was designated a Type 1 Firefighter/IC5. That is a leader who can work with small groups not to exceed 7 firefighters and seven is not an arbitrary number. In that type of high stress environment, you cannot effectively lead more than a group of 5 to 7. From a guide’s point of view a multi-day, multi-country adventure motorcycle tour is not much different in terms of stress than a wildfire. The guide must have all the answers and must solve all the problems and create positive vibes. It’s a lot of responsibility and the reality is, it’s harder to do the more personalities you add. Smaller groups add value and can create high quality tours. The guide has more time to be an effective leader with a smaller group. Whether that is listening to feedback on the fly or handling a high stress situation like a sick rider or a mid-ride route change due to a road closure.
Finally, price is the big one. Price shopping is something we all do to get the best value and quality for what we want. However, in the case of a multi-day, multi-country motorcycle tour price is not always the best indicator of quality or value. One company may have a lower price but that doesn’t necessarily represent good value. At the same time another company may have a very high price, but that may not represent high quality. If you combine my other points of how many actual riding day’s the tour is, where the company is located in regards to the tour they are offering, as well as group size you can make an intelligent choice and likely end up with a very high quality tour for an excellent value.
I hope this helps anyone looking for a motorcycle tour. These are just a few conclusions I have reached after operating Moto Patagonia full time for nearly 4 years. Travel Far and ride safe!