London, United Kingdom (PressExposure) March 03, 2009 -- Three red and yellow Spanish flags made it easy for me to find the Motorbike Tours stand at the 'Ally Pally Motorcycle Show' at Alexandra Palace. London. After I had received a warm welcome from Alan and Thoughtful Mark (as he is commonly known), I took a closer look at the posters and photographs pinned on the back wall, which depicted the 'Grand Tour of Spain' and 'The Spanish Heartland Tour'.
Alan soon explained to me that all dates for the 'Grand Tour' had fully booked during the first two days of the show, and there was also limited availability on the 'Heartland Tour', such had been the interest shown in the stand. But apparently, that's not the end of the story; More tours aimed at the group booking sector are to be introduced, the cost of which, will be determined by the number of riders in the group. Flexibility seems to be the byword for these tours. The participating group or club can choose from a selection of tours on offer, but are also able to select their preferred dates and meeting points.
'They will also have an input into the daily tour destinations,' said Alan. 'What we are trying to do, is tailor the tours to the needs of the rider. The same policy of lead rider and back-up vehicle will still be in place, but the rest of the tour will, in some ways be designed by the most important people involved, that's the people who are paying for it all, the riders. The tours will be from one base, so if there is someone who really doesn't want to go to a mediaeval village or a cathedral, or a particular town that they may have visited before, they can stay by the swimming pool or go off by themselves for the day. It's up to them.'
I left the stand for a while because I could see I was getting in the way as the crowds built up, but when I returned, Alan resumed telling me of the advantages of the club/group booking tour. 'There will be tours set in various parts of the country (Spain), so obviously the tours in the south aren't as easy to reach as the northern based ones, but a pillion could fly down to say, Malaga for instance, whilst their partner rides through France and Spain.' Alan paused for a moment to hand an information pack to a member of the public. 'The other good thing about this type of tour is the price. Because, when we receive a group booking, we can be sure of the numbers involved in each tour, we are in a position to offer a really attractive price for a shared log cabin with swimming pool and restaurant facilities. We are also hoping to offer a 'Fiesta Night', which would include a Barbeque and drinks. It should be a lot of fun.'
Reluctantly, I said my goodbye's to the boys and left the show. I must say, I do like the idea of motorbike tour in the Spanish sunshine, but stopped short of booking, mainly due to work commitments, but I could see the huge advantages such as costs and flexibility that a bike club or group could enjoy. I'm not a member of a club, but I do have some biker friends who may get together for a holiday, if I can persuade them, that is. Anyway, I had a great day at Alexandra Palace. It's not the first time I've met Alan and Thoughtful Mark, and I hope it won't be the last. You never know, I may see them on one of their tours, and you too.
Suzy Tingle - London