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Rob Beach in Breuil-Cervinia, It
Rob Beach, President of the company, has been riding for 41 years.
A former Div. 1 speedway rider and WERA expert roadracer, he still occasionally gets out on the ice to play.
In the early 80s Rob developed R.A.T.S. (Rider's Advanced Training School). a performance riding school conducted at race courses around the country.
With over 175 tours under his belt, Rob has spent quite a bit of time on the road, in Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia. That works out to over 7 years of constant touring, possibly making him the most experienced tour guide on the planet.
BMW Owners News recently interviewed Rob - read the article.
Day in, and day out, Rob rides with the tour
Neither rain nor snow, nor sleet nor hail.....
Motorcycles have always been a part of Gretchen’s life, beginning in the California desert at 2 years old watching her parents and siblings ride dirt bikes. In 2006 Gretchen came on a Beach tour with her father and never went home. She began working in the business that winter and now carries the responsibilities of booking Beach’s hotels, assisting in the creation of new tours, and making small tweaks to existing tours.
While on tour, Gretchen works hard as the Tour Hostess making sure all the little details that make Beach’s better then the rest are happening smoothly behind the scenes, assuring an unforgettable experience. Gretchen also discovered she has an eye and a passion for photography and takes thousands of pictures on each tour. Each photo is hand edited and made available to tour members after the tour.
“The best part about being part of the Beach’s team is seeing the sparkle in our clients eyes as they discover the magic of Europe” says Gretchen. “A close second are the amazing friendships that we develop with our clients.”
On the heels of a very successful background in the auto body business Debi found herself looking for something new. The obvious next step was to combine her love of travel, and motorcycling, by teaming up with Beach's. Debi brings a fresh perspective, marketing expertise, and new ideas to the team.
"I always think of the amazing things I will learn with each change in my life and the challenges create infinite opportunities."
In those rare moments when Debi isn't traveling or riding - including a recent 3 month solo journey throughout the states - Debi keeps herself busy with her 20(!) grandchildren.
Debi arriving home at the end of a very good look at America
Julie Cook, Office Manager, is the newest member of the Beach's Motorcycle Adventures team. She is a life-long resident of Grand Island, NY where her and husband Eric are raising their teenage twins. She also has two additional furry family members (Golden Retrievers) Lucy & Lily.
Julie is an outdoor enthusiast who loves kayaking, travel, boating, snowmobiling and gardening. In addition, she is an avid music lover, musician, songwriter and enjoys photography and cooking.
She can be contacted at Julie.Cook@bmca.com
Al Walker, on the highest road in Europe, with son Alex
In Al's words:
"I first came across Beach M/C Adventures in the late 1980s when I met Bob & Rob, who were checking out New Zealand as a possible tour venue.
Thankfully they had the good sense (and taste!) to add NZ to their tour list. Rob conducted the tours for the first 5-6 years until the European Tours demanded more of his attention. I was lucky enough to become involved and helped run and guide tours of NZ for around 10 years.
A brief flit around the Alps with Rob en route to a BMWMOA rally in Oregon (I went the long way!) impressed me so much that I put my hand up when I heard that he needed help in Europe -that led to 4 seasons on the Alpine roads -and life has never been the same since!
Now, in Beachs 40th year of Alpine Touring, I'm heading back for more! Over the years I have toured with the whole family; Bob, Elizabeth & Victor in NZ in 1999 - Spike, Jake, Gretchen & Rob in Europe - A pleasure & a privilege - I feel almost part of the family (call me the Kiwi Cousin!!)
The prospect of 2012 has got me excited -after 40 years of riding in a dozen countries around the world I still have not found anything to rival those roads & passes of Europe -this year's itinerary is a great combination of old & familiar tours including my personal faves -Italian Idyll & Alpine West, with new territories and roads.
Have clocked up about 60 Beach tours so far and am keen for more - Rob's "create addiction -feed addiction!" marketing policy certainly got me hooked -as it has for so many others! Sooo (as the Swiss Border Guard always says!) in a few months I will be packing my bags and abandoning the Southern Alpine winter of Wanaka and heading North. Bring it on.
Hoping to renew friendships with many -and making more of the lifelong friends I have made over the past 20 years.
Come & play!! See you down the road... Cheers, Al Walker"
Oscar is a Certified South African Tourist Guide | Certified South African Specialist | RoadCaptain Fan City Chapter in Germany
"Ride a bike to add life to your days"
Oscar grew up in Germany; discovering his love for motorcycling during an extended five-year stay in Naples, Florida. He is a Harley-Davidson rider at heart, and he wants to share his passion for touring through the best landscapes in Europe, Africa and America. Oscar is an experienced Road Captain; he has safely and successfully led many motorcycle tour groups to their dream destinations. He now teamed up with the Beach's in the USA to offer terrific tours through the most beautiful places there are.
His strength is definitely to make the tours very special to you. He always knows where you will feel at ease with the routes, the hotels, the people.
He provides comprehensive information as well as historical and trendy background knowledge on the destinations, as he enthuses you to explore the treasures of the countries with his personal style of charm.
Conny is a certified South African Specialist
Conny’s passion for travel first came in the form of little gifts, given to her when her grandma would return from her trips all around Europe. Her own global adventures began when she spent a few years in Naples, Florida, taking road trips around the country with her husband Oscar. She joined the team and brings with her a natural inclination to be organized and dedicated to customer service.
Mike has been riding motorcycles for more than 30 years and dreamed of touring Europe for many years. He finally made his dream come true, touring with Beach's in 2004 with his wife Bonnie. Now they are hooked, having been on three trips so far and looking forward to the next adventure with old friends and new.
At home, when not fighting fires, Mike enjoys hiking with his dog, photography, and riding his street bike. In the winter a little motorcycle ice racing gets his blood pumping to help pass the time.
Motorcycling has been a passion of mine as far back as I can remember. From childhood pictures of me sitting on my dad’s bike, to riding around the neighborhood with an oversized helmet on, I knew that it would be a hobby that defined me. After seven years of unforeseen events and delay, I was finally able to join Rob and Gretchen on the Classic Alpine tour with my father. It honestly was a dream come true. Spending 14 days in five countries, driving thousands of alpine roads without having to be lumped in a group, from the snow-covered Swiss passes to the sunny Italian wine country all within a week, meeting people from all walks of life with one common passion; motorcycling.
If you have any questions about what it’s like to go on an Alpine trip, I would be more than happy to share my personal experience!
I assist BMCA with the various website information upkeep and Internet marketing. I am currently in grad school at Northwestern University pursuing my Master of Science in Communication, but when I have completed this journey, I know it won’t be long until the next Motorcycle Adventure!
An old friend of Rob's, Scott came on a few tours as a customer before finding himself with some time on his hands.
That time was filled with European travel as van driver, guide and photographer.
With 14 tours under his belt he understands what it takes to please the clients.
Luke - the guardian of the van!
October 2008 - June 2015 RIP
In the short time that Luke Doggerty travelled with us he made hundreds of friends around the world. In June 2015 Luke became suddenly ill from a tumor that caused his spleen to burst. It was an unexpected shock to us all. Luke was his usually bouncy and happy self up to the day before his spleen burst, never exhibited any distress, and passed peacefully in Rob & Gretchen's arms on the lawn of the veterinarian in Switzerland surrounded by beautiful mountains. The next time you are in St. Moritz, think of Luke and know that he is resting in the mountains of Switzerland. Thank you, Luke, for bringing so many smiles to us all!
By Sandy Cohen
Bob & Liz Beach
Robert and Elizabeth Beach represent, in so many ways, the very essence of the BMW MOA. Not only because they've been around forever (I say that lovingly, as we're all getting up there). Bob's 'MOA number is "91" and being a member for 32 years is just about forever in 'MOA-time. But mostly it's because once you've met them, whether through a short introduction at a rally or the pleasure of spending time listening to their engrossing stories, you're "family." They have the rare quality of making all acquaintances feel as though they've known them since childhood, could trust them with the family skeletons or jewels, and would gladly throw down a glove in defense of their honor in a duel.
I guess that's a big part of why their motorcycle tours have been such a success (2002 begins their 31st year of touring). And why over half of all who take part in a Beach's Tour come back again. Every tour, whether your first or, as in the case of Neil Huffman his 22nd, is a family reunion. You could be the long lost cousin or the relative who knows everyone's name, but you are never alone. Sounds a lot like our 'MOA motto.
I suppose I have a personal affinity for Bob and Liz Beach because we have something in common. I'll give you a hint: you're holding it in your hands. That's right, the BMW Owners News. Of course, at the time it was just called the News, but the first issues were actually assembled on the Beachs' kitchen table. Talk about a string of success stories (grin...)!
So it was that at least once a year, at every National Rally, I would bump into the Beachs and chat as long as our respective schedules would allow. Bob and Liz had their work to do -describing their upcoming destinations or presenting one of their many donated tours to some very lucky winner and I had mine (okay, maybe the Beer Garden isn't really work, but it's time consuming).
They would inevitably ask when I was going to join them on one of their global adventures, and I would stumble around, making some excuse for the fact that dreams don't always come true. For many years, I had a pat answer, "On our 25th Anniversary." Which was very true at the time. AI and I had always planned that our children would be independent and by the big "25" we’d be free and wealthy enough to ride the Alps. As it turns out, I have heard that same anniversary goal from numerous couples over the years. It's apparently not a private dream. However, as we've now been happily married for 32 years, that excuse wasn't going to fly again when I stopped to chat at the Midland Rally.
"Bob and I are retiring soon," Liz announced. "We'll be taking our last tour next summer." I felt my heart drop. "I'll be there," I said without hesitation.
Don't get me wrong. Taking one of the Beach Motorcycle Tours is about as close to nirvana as one can get in this life. I can't say it was guilt from years of promises or a sense of responsibility to these icons of 'MOA dom that drove me to finally make the trip I had always dreamed of. I just needed a push (and then grinned for the next year knowing what was coming).
Bob & Liz in the early years
By the time the day finally arrived that we were to jet off to meet the group in Germany for the start of our Alpine Adventure Tour, I had been reminded, notified, prompted and clued in by the Beachs and their staff on everything that could possibly be concerning me. The Beach's touring system is so well planned and so efficient that no stone is unturned, no detail left hanging. I had received maps, guide books, planners and reminders for months prior to departure, including a final call just to "check" if I had any questions. I knew I was in good hands....as well as being about as excited as a person can be without exploding.
The tour was more in every way than I could possibly have expected. Two weeks, covering about 1500 miles of the most thrilling motorcycling roads, through Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Austria. Why would anyone expect anything less? With the Beach's first tour in the spring of 1972, Bob and Liz have conducted 72 tours together; Bob has taken 84 trips; and Rob (their son and the heir to the motorcycle touring business) has been on 68. With those credentials, one would have to concede they must know a lot about European touring. With that many trips under their belt, they have seen and done it all.
Their philosophy of touring is to set the structure and then let the fun begin. "There is no such thing as being lost," was the credo we laughed about every evening while telling stories of our daily adventures. An occasional wrong turn, as our tour guides would explain, is always a learning experience and sometimes the beginning of a wonderful adventure. It's true, as you are never further from your destination than could be reached easily before dinner; it was a relaxing pace. And getting lost is part of the fun. Liz explained, "If every minute of your time was planned for you, and you never varied from the route, where would the fun be in that? You'd never interact with the locals, never see how the people really live, and never have your own personal adventure."
A mixture of new and old friends is the mark of
a Beach's tour. From left: Robert Lyon, Margo and
Clyde McLaughlin, Phyllis Lyon (new friends) join
Norm deGroot (my old... I mean, lifelong... friend)
for breakfast on the terrace.
So our group would take in all the advice and experience our mentors would give us over a spectacular, leisurely two hour dinner, then head off the next morning at our own schedule and according to our own list of priorities. Most of us were there to ride as many Alpine passes as possible. But it's hard to listen to Rob or Liz tell their stories of historical sites or area landmarks and not try to do it all. We visited castles, medieval abbeys, ice age glaciers, catacombs and churches of every style, size and type. All while riding the best and most interesting of roads and knowing your luggage is waiting for you at a unique hotel of local charm with all the amenities. Start with a basic plan, then stay flexible and enjoy.
In addition to taking advantage of the knowledge and experience of our hosts, they were also willing to discuss any personal requests. At one of our double night stays, a few of us asked if a stop in Venice could be arranged. Voila! The next day a van and personal guide were waiting for our group of eight for a quick day's sightseeing journey. Others chose to try hang gliding one day. And another day a walking tour of Salzburg was coordinated for a small party of our group, personally guided by a local historian.
The Beachs can make almost anything
"happen" if a tour member requests it.
A group of us asked if we could see
Venice and it was arranged overnight ...
tour guide and all!
The choices were endless, and always exciting. But aside from the tour, I finally had time to spend with and really get to know Bob and Liz Beach...or so I thought. Actually, many others on this tour were under the same impression. The entire Beach family joined us for the final tour event, including sons Rob and Victor, his wife Audrey and son Wayne, as well as many old friends, employees, business associates, and it literally became a rolling retirement party. The Beachs have enamored more than just the 'MOA over the years.
Literally, generations of Europeans greeted us at every hotel stop, relating tales of when they first met the Beachs or how their children have grown up knowing them. Each dinner would be a complementary mix of exhilaration from the day's glorious riding and the slight melancholy that always exists when you just don't want to let go of something so good.
Bob Beach simply loves motorcycles and can't picture either working or playing, without being around his bikes. Formerly the importer for Krauser, the touring side of the business was said at the time to be more of a "hobby" that grew. And collecting and riding bikes has always been a "passion." One of his favorite acquisitions, a 1909 Yale motorcycle was featured in the very first American Motorcycling (the AMAs magazine) in 1947 when he rode it around his college campus. He is a veritable encyclopedia of motorcycles and their history. BMWs, of course, are his specialty (having personally owned about three dozen of them!).
Liz Beach, although just as passionate in her love of motorcycling, brings her own "touch of class." She could recite the history, local lore and fable of every destination. And the choices of lodging and cuisine always reflected the culture of the area, definitely her influence. She has a gift for seeing into the very heart of each society and understanding its qualities.
"There will always be a Beach on a Beach tour," Bob Beach has stated. Rob Beach has very big shoes to fill indeed. His parents have left more than a legacy of impressive tours and countless friends all over the globe. They have passed a business empire to the next generation. From the relatively humble beginnings of offering a choice of "Fall" or "Spring" tours, Beach's Motorcycle Tours currently run five departures for the two week Alpine Adventure, a three week Grand Tour of the Alps, and two popular Norwegian tours, the Viking Vector and the Trail of the Trolls. In the wintertime, the two week South Island Scamper focuses on the South Island of New Zealand. The three week Maori Meander Grand Tour covers both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. And finally, outside of the tours, they now offer independent motorcycle rentals in Italy in addition to Germany, Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand.
We wish them all the best.
Obituary, Elizabeth L. Beach: December 15, 1923 -- October 6, 2005
Obituary, Robert D. Beach Sr.: June 20, 1923 -- December 9, 2012
By John Hermann
a.k.a. “King of the Alps”
It all began for me one winter day in early 1975. I'd been to the Alps a couple of times by car and once by myself on a bike. I knew there had to be a better way. So I called the Beachs in Grand Island, New York. I remember Bob saying, "Well, if you like to ride; I think we can get along." I signed up one of the luckiest decisions I've ever made.
So a couple of us from San Diego got new R9OSs on that spring Beach Adventure and had such a wonderful time that we decided to leave them with Mike Krauser and come back for the fall Beach Adventure. The Beachs had two trips a year in those days. By the time fall rolled around, several others who'd shipped their bikes home after the spring trip couldn’t stand it, so they bought new bikes and came along.
From then on each season found an expanding circle of Beach friends meeting to ride and play and explore the Alps with the Beachs and sometime get together on this side of the Atlantic for more riding and partying. No matter what walk of life, each talked motorcycle and Alps. You have to understand that an Alpine Adventure put together by Bob and Elizabeth Beach was a continuous party, meeting new European friends and riders, exploring customs and languages and roads with scenic overload. Oh, yes, and eating. With Bob and Elizabeth, we didn't just ride through the Alps, wonderful as that is. We got to know people there. We met riders there. They became good friends, sometimes taking their vacations to ride with us. Some came to visit us in America.
So, it has come to pass that many of the best friends of my adult life I've met on a Beach Adventure. And that includes, Bob and Elizabeth themselves. I had a 70th birthday a while ago, and Bob and Elizabeth completely surprised me by walking into the party. They'd flown from New York to Coronado, California, just for the evening. That's friendship.
They perfected the art of matching wonderful people that like to ride motorcycles, with what many of us believe is the best motorcycle venue available—the Alps. How many times have I been on a Beach Adventure? I've lost count.