As 2017 comes to an end for Truenorth Bike tours. Here is a reflection of how my first year as a motorcycle touring company has gone. When I started this project all I could dream off was the great time I would have showing motorcyclists the brilliant country we are lucky to live in. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth, hours spent at a keyboard , endless phone calls, meeting and talking with people involved with all areas of tourism in Ireland. Frustration at times that they couldn’t get the concept of why people would like to ride a motorbike in Ireland “sure it’s always raining “ was the normal response or why as a hotel why should we take 10 to 15 motorcyclist when we can get 3 coach loads of people. Then the excitement when you meet and talk to people who can see the bigger picture and cannot do enough to help you. With the help of family and friends the idea started to grow. Early in the year getting a few enquiries some of which were scams ,the endless calls and emails from people and companies wanting to spend my money if I had any to spend. I got our first serious enquiry in March all the way from Indonesia for a large group who wanted to tour the Wild Atlantic way in October. Slowly but surely more bookings came in from Australia and Canada. So towards the end of 2017 we managed to do three tours.
A 5 day tour based in Donegal , a 1 day guided tour for a Dublin based Motorcycle group.And the biggest one I had ever undertaken was the 9 Day Wild Atlantic way tour for 22 people on 16 bikes from Indonesia. Having people on the road is the only way you can find out if this is a business or not.
The highlights of the year were the reactions of these people to Ireland and its weather. The Australian and Canadians said that they have to travel 2 to 3 days to get to the mountains or coast the scenery in their countries and the scenery doesn’t change much over the kms but here in Ireland everything is on your doorstep and the scenery is constantly changing.
The best of all had to be when I asked one of the guys from Indonesia did the rain bother him? His answer was “when you come from a country where the temp is 30 degrees plus 365 days a year and high humidity, 7 degrees and rain is heaven”.
So what have I learned from my first year operating a motorcycle tour guide? All the hours behind the computer, talking to people and businesses is all worth it when you see the smiles on your customer’s faces when you have shown them a hidden beach or the right way to approach a scenic view. Listening and talking to them about local history and explain the local traditions, example of a few that came up were the coloured road kerbing in some towns in Northern Ireland and the Irish wake. One big thing I learned that when explaining about turf make sure to call it peat because in most countries turf is what you make a lawn out of. So for any of you out there that have a love of your country and its scenery no matter where in the world you are get out and tell people about it,you will enjoy it. See you all in Ireland on the Wild Atlantic way in 2018 Happy new year “bhliain nua sásta”