What was/is it like? Did it just become a "job" turning something you once loved into a way to make money? It seems like it would be a great way of life. It probably doesn't pay too well, but it sure must beat sitting at a desk under flourescent lights. What are the pros/cons? Perhaps owning the company is better? What are the requirements? Thanks.
From what I've heard, working for a cycletouring company is like a combination of:
>> chambermaid - you'll be picking up after everyone and cleaning, etc.
>> cook and dishwasher - you'll be the one preparing the meals and cleaning up afterwards
>> counsellor - you'll be the one everyone comes to when they have difficulties with the other people on the tour
>> driver - you'll likely have to spend some time driving the sag wagon
>> sheep herder - you'll have to herd everyone along which probably means riding really slowly behind that last person
>> encourager - you've got to keep everyone's spirits up!
>> teacher - you'll need to instruct the people on all sorts of bicycle, fitness, and nutritional aspects of cycling
>> babysitter/daycare worker - tired, inexperienced cyclists will act like 2 year olds.
And no, it doesn't pay very well ... also from what I've heard, it pays anywhere from nothing (volunteer work), to having just your accommodations and food taken care of, to about minimum wage.
I'm still toying with the idea of doing something like that myself for a summer, just for the experience ... but aside from "the experience", I'm not sure what the pros of doing something like this would be.
Hmmmm... I'm not sure I like the comparison, FOG. Former guide and hire and tour operator that I am.
Money's not everything. The pickings in the tour business are slim for the guides. It can become a lifestyle if you are prepared to do without the trappings of society and have no personal commitment such as children and loans to support, and are prepared and can afford) to move around the country or world following the weather.
You DO become the burro in terms of carrying a lot of stuff (physically and emotionally), and you have to have the personality to deal with minor matters that seem like major emergencies to many clients. Risk management is an important element that you need to grasp before embarking on a tour guiding career.
If you are good at it, you may be in demand, and make more money. But be aware, that there are only so many times you can see a dramatic piece of scenery or engage in an "experience" before you become blase about it.
My ex was a guide for one of those high end companies that does tours of the French wine country.
She got the job because she was female, attractive, could speak French, could ride a bike, drive a van could talk to people and was willing to work cheap.
She couldn't fix a flat when she started, nor read a map.
By the end of her 'career"'she could fix a flat and read a map and had developed a taste for expensive French wines and chateaux
I find that it is very rewarding. I started the job with the intent of getting paid to ride my bike, but I work with kids, and now find that helping them grow through the experience of a loaded tour expedition far outweighs anything else.
The pay is nothing, but I don't place value on money, so it doesnt really matter. The time in the field has payed off now that I am a bit older, I am qualified for higher-end tour positions and other related outdoor work. Just as with any job, there is room to move up.
I would highly reccomend it provided that you dont care what your bank account reads and that you are not responsible for other lives (kids, dogs, wives, etc.) If you are a single person who has perfected living on less than 10k, then you will have a wonderful life in this field
Klein QP, Fuji touring, Surly Cross Check, BCH City bike
Seems some retired pros run touring companies in Europe...Also, Adventure Cycling offers a class called something like 'Leadership training.' Should you be a guide on their non sag tours, you as the guide can't you are always shotgun in a semi lead position...Might be fun....Babysitter...Just as long as they don't mess their shorts...
Recalls a incident of a friend who assisted diver Masters in training new divers...They would get out beyond the surf and not want any more of this...Sort of freaked out...It was my friends job to tow them back...Since Rod was in sort of a volunteer position working for going on the next dive trip free- I would be fuming about towing someone's Azz, when they refused to so much as Even kick.