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Is there an appetite for local coach travel to dedicated MTB centres / trails?

Hi guys,
I would be interested to hear opinions on whether there is a demand for short haul coach trips to MTB centres e.g. return travel from a local bus station. I'm thinking of starting a coach service and doing some due diligence on appetite before pursuing further. I know many will self-drive with bike racks, but would there be value in the convenience of a bus service? I'm aware there are long haul services (such as https://www.flixbus.co.uk/discover/cycling) but this would be a localised service, running several times a day, with a hop-on / hop-off system around 3 or 4 bike centres and trails. Some ideas I've had are:-

- Qualified bike mechanic on board
- Summer BBQs
- Overnight trips further afield
- Smartphone app with a community to see who will be on the trail that day
- Cut deals with bike centres by bringing tourists, and then pass on savings to riders

What does everyone think? Do any seasoned MTB'ers have any other ideas / needs / wants that would be valuable? Would be great to hear everyone's opinions!
Thanks in advance ;)

Posts

  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,376
    I wish you well, I'm sure riders without a car would be keen, provided they could get to your pick up point.

    It is not something that would interest me personally. I have invested in a car/towbar combo that suits my need and it gives me complete flexibility of start and finish time.

    The service that you are offering (apart from on board bike mechanics) reminds me greatly of the public bus service in Chatel, France near the Portes du Soleil MTB centres (ski in winter). It is a frequent bus service, it stops, you get on with your bike, leave mud and sweat everywhere, than get off. The buses are designed for the job with bi gareas to park bikes. The locals going about their daily business didn't appear to mind being surrounded by muddy and sweaty foreigners, probably because the ski and mtb industry is a big earner for the local people in terms of bed & bike rentals, food, drink, entertainment etc.
    By the way, the service was free when I was last there, that's how valued the ski and mtb tourism is to the local economy.
  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 6,180
    I think I would be interested to try it, however I might just go once to try somewhere different and never again.
    What you're suggesting isn't much different from hiring a minibus for the riders and a van for the bikes which we have done a couple of times.

    It would be nice to have somewhete to leave kit (change of clothes etc.) For later - either at the trailhead or on the coach and somewhere to get washed/showered for the trip home (there is a bus from mine to Coed y Brenin, free at the weekend, but it takes about 3 hours - a bit long to be sat in wet/sweaty kit although CyB do have showers).

    Money is a bit thin on the ground these days but you might be able to get a tourism grant from somewhere to try it out. You could always float the idea with an existing coach tour company to see if they would run it for you as a trial (on a coach they don't mind getting filthy!).

    The long distance buses here used to carry bikes on the back, but then they scrapped it when they got new buses even though I understand it was reasonably well used.

    I think there used to be a bike bus from Edinburgh to Glentress but I heard it's stopped running now. Might be worth finding out how they got on before taking the plunge. I think that was more of a taxi/bus service than a coach excursion.
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,376
    @thistle_(mbnw) They sound like good suggestions. :)
  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 6,180
    Just on the way back from coed y brenin.
    There was a mahoosive tour coach in the car park from somewhere distant so someone seems to want coach trips to trail centres.

    It didn't say what it was for, could have been an OAP's day out, or maybe hired by a running club as there was a trail race on today.
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