Who are you?
British Bike Tours is a motorcycle touring company offering guided motorcycle tours for customers using their own motorcycles and also adventure holidays in India, Nepal and Thailand/Laos using motorcycles provided by ourselves. We are a wholly owned subsidiary of PGM Services Ltd. This is Peters main company which has been trading since 2002 and provides planning consultancy services to the public sector and architectural design consultancy to individual clients.
Lorraine is a self-employed qualified clinical pharmacist working predominantly within the NHS.
We are both in the twilight of very successful professional careers and as such can now spend time organising motorcycle tours via British Bike Tours. We are passionate about motorcycling and travel.
Where are you located?
In the UK we are located in the North East in the seaside town of South Shields, approximately 10 miles from Newcastle.
In France, we are located in a small village in the Mayenne, Pays De La Loire called Couesmes Vauce. We are approximately 15 miles North of Laval and 50 miles west of Le Mans.
Where do we meet up?
On most of our tours (Black Forest, Bridge In The Sky, Alpine High Roads, Austria/Italy/Slovenia) we will meet you at Folkestone and will accompany you on the euro-tunnel crossing. If you are coming from far away we can help you arrange hotel accommodation in Dover/Folkestone for the evening. We can also provide crossings using the P&O ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge and DFDS ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam. On our shorter tours to the Normandy Beaches or the Loire valley it is possible that we will meet you in France at one of the ferry ports (Caen, Cherbourg) or at our house in France. Otherwise we will meet you at Folkestone etc. For our adventure tours to India, Nepal we will help you arrange your flights and then will either meet you at Heathrow, Newcastle airport or Dubai (we usually fly Emirates).
What do we get for our money?
In a nutshell we provide full guided motorcycle tours. We will provide euro-tunnel/ferry crossings, hotel accommodation on a bed & breakfast basis for European tours and half board on some of the adventure tours to India, Nepal. Our tours are fully guided - we will lead and will often also provide the tail-ender. This is different from escorted tours where the organiser will accompany you on the tour but does not guide. Of course, if you want to do your own thing then that is not a problem.
We consider that our tours are unique. We will take you to some of the most scenic places in Europe travelling on little used roads which will immerse you in the country you are travelling through. The tour routes have been carefully plotted so that you can enjoy the scenery, the bikes and the overall experience. We try not travel on ‘A’ roads or motorways. There are plenty of photo opportunities and refreshment stops.
How long do we spend on the road?
Our tours are unashamedly, first and foremost, motorcycle holidays. We do not spend a great deal of time sitting round swimming pools, shopping, drinking etc. The emphasis is firmly placed on being on your bike and enjoying the scenery, roads and cultural experience. Having said that we do adopt a fairly relaxed approach. Usually we start each day of the tour at around 0900 hrs and aim to be in our next hotel by 1700 hrs. We will have a stop for lunch for approximately an hour and we do have regular coffee stops in the morning and afternoon. On average on our European Tours we will travel approximately 200 miles per day.
On the longer European tours and Adventure tours there will be designated rest days where you can see the local sights, sit around the pool, go shopping etc.
What do we do in the evenings?
We aim to get to our hotel at around 1700 hrs and certainly no later than 1800 hrs. This will give you enough time to unpack, shower, freshen up etc. Sometimes the hoteliers will welcome us with a nice cold beer which is always appreciated after a days ride. We do encourage everyone to eat together as the evening meals are an event in themselves. Anecdotal stories, jokes and general banter are positively encouraged
What do we expect from you?
With all these types of holidays there is an element of risk. We obviously want everyone to be as safe as possible, therefore, we do insist on a few common sense rules. These include wearing of crash helmets, gloves and full length trousers whilst riding. Riding in just flip flops, T Shirt and shorts is frowned upon and we will not let participants ride with the group if they are not wearing adequate safety gear.
We will give you a full briefing on other safety issues on the morning before the tour begins and there will be a short general briefing every morning explaining the day ahead, etc.
Can you hire bikes for customers?
For those customers who are flying in from abroad, we can arrange motorcycle hire for you. We have arrangements in place with two hire companies in the UK.
Is there a minimum or maximum age requirement?
There is a minimum age requirement of 18 years for all riders. There is no minimum age requirement for pillions but they obviously must be able to meet the legal requirements for a pillion passenger. There is no maximum age requirement. For the Himalaya, Nepal and Laos tours we do expect a reasonable level of fitness and Lorraine will ask you for details of any medication.
What about personal insurance and bike breakdown cover?
We insist that everyone who comes on our tours has some form of breakdown cover. Bikes do break down and punctures do happen. We will do whatever we can to keep you going but sometimes recovery is necessary. Usually the problems can be sorted out relatively quickly and you can continue with the tour. If you breakdown on the Motorway (which is rare because we do not do many motorway miles) then you will have to either call your own recovery service or wait for the regular Highway Rescue services which patrol all EU motorways. For safety reasons we will not come and help you if you breakdown on the motorway - this is a job best left to the professional rescue services.
If you choose to ride on a motorcycle with reliability issues then you do so at your own risk. In other words don’t expect too much help from the rest of the group or even from the breakdown insurance companies who will expect your bike to be roadworthy and well maintained.
Personal insurance which cover biking injuries and medical costs is also required. On all our tours this is a mandatory requirement.
What happens if I book a space on a tour. Do I share a room with a stranger?
We have been asked, what happens regarding sharing a room with a stranger. This is not usually a problem - we all ride bikes and you are only strangers for a very short time. Our guides often share a twin room with customers and in the majority of cases room mates get on really well and become real good friends. If you have trouble sleeping or want your own privacy then it is probably best to book a single room.