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Becoming a road cycling tour guide

Climber_AndyClimber_Andy Posts: 852
edited August 2014 in Tour & expedition
Just a thought: does anyone have any information as to how to become a European road cycling tour guide on one of the affiliated companies - either leisurely touring or the more serious stuff? Ideally, it would be based in France or Italy...

As a university student to-be-graduating this summer, it seems like a genuine possibility before stepping onto the career ladder in the UK. Would things like my age (21) or lack of driving licence be potential spanners in the works?


  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    Lack of driving licence might be. Have you looked into getting a first aid qualification or even doing a mountain bike leaders' course? Best bet would be to approach some companies and ask them what qualifications or experience they look for.
  • Best bet would be to approach some companies and ask them what qualifications or experience they look for.

    Send a email to some of these companies and ask them what they expect. Also a google search brought these sites up specifically asking for bike tour guides and other posts.

    Also Becoming a pro MTB guide.

    Some useful points including reference to new CTC Mountain Bike Guide Course. Has link to forum about course.

    Although American, an interesting prospectus/application form for hiring bike tour leaders. Gives you a good idea what they are looking for:
    The more you spend - the faster you go - the less you see.
  • Oh, I forgot to specify - road cycling only.
  • i'm doing my gap year atm, looking at this sort of thing. check out british cycling site
    there are 3 levels, the higher ones look to be more training based wheras the L1 looks quite basic. I'm probably going to get my MTB qualifications first as my previous employer have offered to put me through the first two for free.
    Your'e never alone with schizophrenia.
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    Good question!

    I was saying to a relative recently that beinga tour guide was kind of a dream, spending all day cycling and being paid to do it, though with a wife and young child, and not having the kind of positive personality I think would be needed for such a job, I don't think it is going to happen soon....

    Yes you would need a drivers licence practicallly. While you might be cycling some days I imagine on these things someone has to drive the mini-bus backup at some point, non-cyclists going on a leisure holiday will need a backup transport if they get tired, cramp or the weather turns sour, and you would to a certain degree be driving shotgun, so to speak. And there is the luggage aspect as well.
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    chuckcork wrote:
    I was saying to a relative recently that beinga tour guide was kind of a dream, spending all day cycling and being paid to do it...

    Try talking to a tour guide who's being doing back-to-back tours all summer. It isn't as glamorous as it first looks.

    Climber Andy - off-road and on-road tour leaders require pretty similar skills: eg group leading, navigating, dealing with injuries and other emergencies.
  • In theory, any qualification or affiliation you have in the UK should be transferable in the EU.

    In practise, where nobody is really looking or where there isn't local competition this is not an issue.

    However, I know of at least one case where UK guides with Mountain Bike LEadership courses etc under their belts have been arrested, and the companies they work for made to cease their guiding operation leaving them no option but to refer guests to local French guides.

    Make of that what you will, but certainly don't enter into this with any expectation that a certificate entitles you to anything at all. The suggestion earlier of a qualification in first aid and getting a driving license are practical and useful. Just don't expect to "passport" UK qualifications across the EU as easily as you might think. Always best to enquire what works locally, but know that in the hotspots where there is competition, there might be a problem and you should be ready for it.

    I echo the thoughts about be realistic about how much actual riding you will be doing and how enjoyable this is. I have spent several summers riding with guides (offroad) in the Alps. The happiest guides where also the best guides (from the client's perspective), i.e. they happily rode the same trails over and over again, waiting for slow riders, answering stupid questions and fixing mechanical problems, over and over and over again. They were real "people" people. Worth thinking about.
    "There are holes in the sky,
    Where the rain gets in.
    But they're ever so small
    That's why rain is thin. " Spike Milligan
  • Special K is right. In France you need a Brevet d'Etat to guide legaly and you can't get one of these on a 5 day course in mid-Wales!!!

    It costs 250€ just to register then if you pass the fitness test you can sign up on a course at one of the regioanl centres in France. It's a minimum of 440 hours and will cost between 3000 and 5000€.
    A friend in my local club - an ex pro who raced 2 years in Belgium - failed his last year and is re-sitting this year.
  • zonczonc Posts: 37
    I work as a guide all the year and all therefore all seasons. I am a wilderness guide so take people out biking/walking and on safari too. I love it!!!!!

    It is a great job and has lots of benefits BUT it is not just about the bike (where did I hear that from?). Apart from qualifications and insurance - if the company will not insure you you will have to take it out yourself - you also have to realise that the hardest part is making sure your clients have a GREAT time whilst remaining safe and secure and that you are on call 24hrs a day.

    Consider if you are prepared to do all these things all the time and then consider if you wish to serve people in as much as that s what you do. If you need more info pm me.
  • rob_55rob_55 Posts: 2

    Interesting topic.
    So it's obvious you need to have Brevet d'etat (Beesac) in France to be a qualified bike guide.

    But what if you only drive with the mini van and help out the cyclists where you can ?

  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    As a career, you need a winter option, such as ski-guide, or change hemisphere.
  • rob_55rob_55 Posts: 2
    Sorry, but I am not getting your answer. Can you explain please ?
    What if you only drive with the mini van and help out the cyclists where you can ?

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