We appreciate there's lots of offroad trailbiking companies out there - most offering what looks like something similar. At TrailbikeTours, we believe the difference between an average and an excellent tour as part of a holiday to remember, is massive. What makes us different??
We are the longest running trailriding and enduro holiday company currently operating in Spain. Why mention that? Well, we've got far more experience than any - we know our "stuff", and we know what clients want.
We know other companies make a big thing of running groups with a guide up-front, and a sweeper behind. Why do we not use a sweeper? Easy - we tried, and were told by the clients we tried it with, that they didn't like this idea. In nearly all cases, we find that it's generally the lesser-experienced clients who run at the back, and, well, a sweeper behind them generally puts them off, puts them under undue pressure, and is just something else to distract their "10 dollars of attention" from the trail in front, and all the other things they have to concentrate on. Secondly, from our experience, in many groups of riders there is quite often somebody who WANTS to ride at the back. It could be for the reason above, or just as common, it's the most experienced rider of the group who wants to take in the scenery for longer than the others, then speed up to catch them, riding at a faster pace, but still totally with the group. What about losing clients en-route? It simply never happens. When there's ambiguous junctions, our guide either makes sure all riders are together, or we use the AIM system of every rider making sure the next knows the direction. Last but not least, we know riders like to "play around a bit" on the bikes. We honestly don't mind this a bit - ask any existing client - and we also know that with a sweeper behind, watching everything that's going on, clients do feel very restricted, and therefor have less fun. Don't want this now, do we?
You may think that the sweeper system is good for assessing riders ability, giving help and tips, and generally helping to improve client's riding. Wrong - if clients want this, we encourage them to ask, and our fully experienced guide will be more than keen to follow and watch, as and when required. Also - this gives other riders the option of leading for a while. This, we believe practically never happens with other companies, and is something that the more experienced riders love. We love it too, as it happens, as until you've done it, you wouldn't believe how much more mentally tiring it is leading a quick group. Although we rarely meet other traffic, a guide's job is not only showing the route, but it's "expecting to meet traffic at every corner". It may be tempting fate, but in hundreds of thousands of cumulative kilometres, we're yet to have an "incident" with another vehicle on the trails. The way we do it at TrailbikeTours is, if we meet another vehicle either going a bit quick, or on a blind corner, we stop the vehicle, tell them there's so many bikes following, and ask them to wait till everybody's past.
Which brings us onto speed...... Again, we know that several other trail-riding companies have a policy of curtailing clients speed, so that either they have less chance of having an "off", or maybe so that they end up doing less mileage (and therefor obviously incur less costs to the company). This we disagree with totally and utterly. Yes, the beginning of the first day will be at a "sensible" pace, while we watch and analyse riders speed and ability (speed and ability are not necessarily related!!!) Then we build up speed, as we become confident that nobody's riding beyond their ability. We do NOT have an upper limit here - the limits are dictated by the clients, the local regulations (or the client's ability if their brains can't control this)!! With our extensive knowledge of the mountains, this means we can chop and change the route as the day goes on, and do probably more than twice the distance offroad in a day that our competitors normally do.
Although we regularly ride long distances with clients and friends who have had many years offroad riding experience, including motoGP and Paris-Dakar winners, we like nothing better than to meet a new group of riders who've never been offroad before, give them the best holiday they've ever had, and send them away better riders than the average offroad rider who goes out every Saturday for a year back home. We do enduro tours, or at least that's what we call it, meaning that we want to encourage and help riders to do as much distance as possible on the bikes, and build up their skill this way, and always at a level they are comfortable with.
Riders who've never previously ridden offroad before should note this is not motocross - we will not take you to a motocross track to take photographs of bikes 20 metres in the air. We will show you how to increase your average speed on dirt trails, improving at a rate that you're happy with, and we'll encourage you to do as many kilometres on the bikes as possible, but all within your own personal limits.
The bottom line is that we don't just want clients to come once - we want them to come back again and again. This obviously works, as our return rate is probably the highest in the business.
One of the reasons for our very high return rate, we believe, is our investment in the very best of riding gear. Yes, we could do as some others do, and spend no more than a couple of hundred euros per rider for everything from helmet to boots. We don't - an investment of way over a thousand euros per rider ensures clients are kitted out as safely as possible - better than most are back home. We use Axo full-face helmets and kneepads, Dainese "space" suits with built-in hard armour and integral back protector, Alpinestars Tech-series boots, motocross tee-shirts, and trousers, and Scott or Oakley goggles. Like we say, we could save quite a bit of money by buying cheaper brands, but at the expense of more client injuries - no thankyou!!
'Nuff said - we rest our case ;)