As I wrote the title of this post I realized that there might not be a lot to say about this except that there IS no cycling tour industry at the moment, at least in France, Spain and Italy (where we operate).
John and I have been talking with clients about coronavirus for a while now and we have obviously had to cancel our first week-long tour in Spain next month. This is what we and our 9 clients are going to miss.
Regarding ‘work’ we are now into May and we had a full month of smaller, local tours, some of which are now cancelled, others that are hanging on till the bitter end. We imagine that May will be a total write-off. Beyond that I don’t want to speculate.
Of course we are not alone and we are fortunate when compared with many other small businesses in France who have bigger overheads and employees to take care of. We work from home (and the road!) and have relatively low fixed expenses.
Regular bike tours can be run at the drop of a hat, assuming hotels are open and clients can get themselves to France, but our 3 ‘sportive’ tours, Haute Route Dolomites, Etape du Tour and Haute Route Ventoux, depend on other factors, namely the organizers being able to confidently run their races. All 3 above are still ‘go’ at the moment, so we’ll see.
We do have tours later on in the year that we have hope for, so there’s still planning work to do. I have also turned my attention to a ‘HighRoad’ tour that we have been thinking about for 5 or 6 years now: Provence. I’ve got Google Maps and Strava open right now and am trying to piece together a great string of 7 days that will offer lots of climbing, beautiful landscapes and great hotels/restaurants. It’s hard, but mainly because we are so spoiled for roads down here, especially if you consider the area closer to Nice as ‘Provence’. Essentially you could drop a pin on any small departmental road and you will have yourself a good riding experience. This is one of the best parts of my job, so don’t feel sorry for me. Here’s a teaser of one part we hope to include.
Finally, a word on our wonderful clients. We had 9 riders booked for the Spain tour I mentioned above and 8 of them took a ‘coupon’ for a future tour instead of asking for a refund, which would have been more than reasonable I should add. One most excellent and loyal client has even sent us a ‘retainer’ for a ‘future tour’ that was far too generous, but it gives us hope and also plenty of motivation. My feeling with this forced confinement of most of the world so far is that once it’s over we’re going to be experiencing a Baby Boom in the cycling tour industry, as long as people still have the money to do them, of course!
I hope that all of you have ‘crisis proof’ jobs/businesses, or governments who will ensure that you will get through this one more or less unscathed.