MotoQuest founder Phil Freeman sheds light on the what happens behind the scenes when a new tour is created.
When I am on the road with a group, and we are all together looking at a gorgeous view or laughing around the dinner table, I can’t help but get overwhelmed with a mixture of pride and joy as I watch our riders enjoying themselves. There is no equal to seeing a guest live life to their fullest and relishing the moment. When I see this, I feel like we at MotoQuest have done our job.
Sometimes I get asked what it takes to organize a tour, and I have to take pause.
There’s more involved than you would think. It can take years for an organized adventure to go from concept to reality. After 22 years of experience planning motorcycle trips, we have come to terms to the fact that it comes down to the little things.
First thing first, there needs to be a story. MotoQuest is what it is: a Motorized Quest. So, when we look at a new destination, it’s important that the destination defines itself in a story, an event, or a geographical extreme. If you look at our tour selection, you will see that MotoQuest not only goes to just South America, but we travel to the southernmost point of Tierra del Fuego.
And what bucket list is complete without a challenging ride on the Haul Road up to the northernmost motorable point in North America: Prudhoe Bay, Alaska?
When we go to Romania, the trip is combined with a focus on Transylvania’s history and twisting roads, and then overlapped with the thrilling spectacle that is the Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro.
Our trips to Japan coincide with the Cherry Blossom season or the Japanese MotoGP and fall colors.
Indeed, with MotoQuest, you can go to the highest passes to below sea level and to the extreme points of the compass. After all, that is where the adventure seems to be lurking.
When MotoQuest decides to add an itinerary in an international destination, we not only weave in a story, but then need to collaborate with locals and do tedious research to determine the best motorcycling routes, time of year, select restaurants, consider extracurricular activities, hand pick hotels, all to make sure that it fits with what we want to bring to our riders. We even try to end the riding days with the sun at our backs rather than riding into blinding light. This can take years to unfold.
Rather than ship our motorcycles overseas, MotoQuest utilizes the fleets of motorcycle rental operators around the world. We literally check out their garage before we do business with them. Our experiences with these operators tend to be positive because they want us to return as often as possible with our groups.
We then further refine every tour by running a public scouting trip. These adventures work out the teething issues with a first-time run, and are popular with MotoQuest alumni willing to roll with the punches and provide deeply-appreciated feedback during and after this initial trip. One of the screening questions we ask all potential scouting trip participants before the tour is if they cry over spilled milk.
Behind the scenes, we are choosing guides, tire treads, dates, and gathering photo stock on the adventure. Yep, we are busy, trying to convey this ride on our website and social media so that our guests get a good idea of what it’s all about. Before each tour, we convene with the staff to designate responsibilities, meticulously choose welcome and farewell dinner locations, and work out airport pick-up and drop-off schedules. Guides reach out to all of our riders before each trip to get a sense of their riding styles and expectations for the upcoming tour. We try our best to know in detail what kind of group we have so that we can modify our exact routing accordingly before the trip even starts; and yes, we make sure to know whose birthdays are happening along the way!
A trip running smoothly comes down to so much more than just luck: a successful tour is the culmination of gathering knowledge of the area we will be riding in, the history of the riders themselves, and everything else in between. The next time you are about to sign up for one of our organized adventures, know that this is not only our profession, but also our passion that you have an unforgettable experience where you felt safe and cared for. After all, you are putting your trust in MotoQuest, so our commitment to you is that you made the right choice.