Questions & Answers ~ Beach's Tours

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Introduction / AS YOU LIKE IT

No 7 a.m. reveille nor 10 p.m. taps! No “this is the route for the day and we’ll meet for lunch at Homer’s restaurant at 12:15 sharp!” No regimentation! No “you must!” No “it has to be!” These are tours that are not group tours! Having pioneered Alpine mountain motorcycle touring, the Beachs know that individuals need rest and relaxation; the peace and serenity that come from getting away from organized entertainment and activities; time to be the explorer; time for peaceful reflection in a setting of great natural beauty and spectacular views.

The Beachs stress the joy of individual exploration. By removing the obstacles and minimizing the problems, we provide an exceptional and memorable experience for the first time visitor as well as the experienced international tourer.

Our company was established in 1960 and our first European motorcycle trip was in 1969. We conducted our first tour of the Alps during the spring of 1972 and have conducted tours continuously since then. We now have a presence in Europe as Beach's Motorcycle Adventures, Ltd. Niederlassung Deutschland with an office in Munich. Each member of the Beach organization has a personal commitment to make your vacation trouble free and totally satisfying. Details have been taken care of. Now it's time to simply relax and enjoy!

We are happy to answer any of your questions as you prepare for the motorcycle adventure of a lifetime. Following are some of the most frequently asked questions.

Do you have any one-week or 10 day tours?

We have two tours which are perfect for those pressed for time. The Dolomite Domination focuses on some of the best areas in Austria and Italy, and the Swiss Splendor dives right into the Swiss and Austrian Alps. The itineraries are great, and each offers 8 days of riding while only requiring a week plus a Friday and a Monday away from work.

Most of our tours are of two full weeks duration. Our definition of a two week tour means 14 nights in hotels, 13 days use of the motorcycle. We don't fudge the length of your tour by saying that the two days in the air are a part of your vacation.

In our experience, it takes as long as a week for tour participants to overcome jet lag, to forget about the hassles in the office, and to become truly comfortable riding on foreign roads. Tours of shorter duration really don't allow the participants to relax and simply enjoy, as there is so little time. After the first week riders and passengers settle in and begin to really enjoy the experience.

Do Beach tours require group riding?

Absolutely not. Our function is to handle details, advise, suggest, but not herd. We do not like regimentation and do not impose it on tour members. Each tour member is free to choose his/her own daily riding companions, routing, and time schedule.

We do have a guide on a motorcycle if you wish to follow a leader on some days and not worry about maps and navigation.

Pre-programmed GPS units are provided to further enhance the freedom of independent travel.

If we don't ride in a group, how do we know where we are going?

Each rider or driver receives a tour book specifically written and published for his tour. Daily itineraries, distances, time en route, suggestions for special activities, and directions to the hotel are included. All tour bikes are equipped with a pre-programmed GPS to aid in navigation. In addition, this book has illustrations of road and traffic signs, currency exchange information, driving tips, and everything that our nearly four decades of touring experience suggests to make your trip more enjoyable and trouble free.

After dinner we have a briefing to discuss the following day's suggested routes, options, attractions, and side trips. At this time guides are also available to help plan day-to-day routes that will satisfy you.

With meetings, GPS units, and tour books, participants are well-informed on each day's routing possibilities. Then your adventure begins!

See a typical day on the road

Who will guide the tour?

An experienced member of the Beach family has always conducted each European tour. For the past 25 years, and next 20 or so years, that pleasant duty falls to Rob Beach.

Each tour participant is met at the airport by a Beach representative and when it's time to depart we are there to say Adieu and Gute Fahrt!

We travel the same distance, pack and unpack daily, eat the same meals and meet with rain, heat, wind, snow and beauty — the same as any tour member.

Every Beach tour has a guide on a motorcycle and a support van. Most our our European tours feature a full time hostess to assist with activity planning.

Of the Alps, Rob says "There are ever so many fantastic, interesting, and beautiful parts of Europe. As a motorcyclist, I appreciate the Alpine areas more than any other. I have to thank my father for introducing me to these stunning countries. I will tell you a secret: It is for one simple reason — self indulgence — that we continue to focus our European tours on the Alpine mountain chain, and that I don't want anyone else to guide them. It is the best place in the world to ride motorcycles!"

What motorcycles are available?

Motorcycles are provided and are included in the rider tour price. There is no mileage charge nor mileage limitation. You are free to use the motorcycle to your heart's (and bottom's) content!

The motorcycle will be at the hotel at the beginning of the tour, and that is where it is taken at the end of the tour. You need not spend time transporting our motorcycles to a remote rental location. In addition, you deal only with the Beachs for all motorcycle arrangements. There is no need to sign secondary contracts with outside agents.

In the Alps and in Italy we currently use the BMW F650GS, F800GS, F800R, R1200GS, and R1200R as our base motorcycles. All other BMW models, with the exception of the LT, are available at an additional charge. Other brands may be available on special request.

The list of BMWs available on tour, complete with specifications, and some thoughts on choosing a bike for the tour, may be found on our BMW page.

What Sport Cars are available?

We recommend that participants interested in driving on the tour choose a convertible, as the view is so much better than in a sedan.

The cars are arranged through Sixt car rental in Munich. The current fleet includes the BMW 6 series, Mercedes E200, BMW Z4, Mercedes SL Roadster, BMW 3 series, Mercedes SLK, BMW 1 series, and the VW Eos.

Please note that while we do our best to ensure that your desired model is what you drive, Sixt retains the right to substitute vehicles within the same class. Please see the page on Sport Cars to understand which vehicles are in each class.

All cars have no mileage charge, nor mileage limitation.

Finally, drivers and passengers should be aware that on cold or wet days, the motorcyclists in the group may be quite envious of the heater and the fact that you can put the top up!

What daily distances are involved?

Each suggested daily ride has been carefully planned to take maximum advantage of road conditions and still permit sightseeing and relaxing.

There are many riding options each day, so those riders who want to ride long and hard will find opportunities to do so. Those who wish to amble along and enjoy the scenery may opt for a different route and cruise through the countryside.

We have chosen our overnight stops with two things in mind — sightseeing and riding opportunities. The choice is yours. Each day you choose the route to take. Most days on the Alpine Adventures and the Corsican Caper suggested routes range from 120 km. (3 to 4 hours riding time) to almost 400 km. (8 hours riding time). The minimum distance varies from day to day, and our longest minimum ride on the Alpine Adventure is 260 km. which translates to about 5 hours of riding.

It is important to keep in mind the fact that we have an entire day to cover those hours of riding. Departing the hotel at 9:30 a.m. and staying out till 6:00 p.m. gives you 8.5 hours to cover the distance and do things other than ride! Average riding distances on the Italian Idyll range between 150 and 250 km. With so many double overnights the Italian Idyll offers more flexibility than any other tour. Many days it's not even necessary to ride, but for those who wish to, superb roads beckon!

One of the pleasing things about a Beach tour is that evening accommodations are prearranged. You can stay out and play till dinner time, if you like. There is no need to end your day at 4:00 p.m. in order to search for lodging for the night.

Do we travel every day?

While we do not require riding every day, we do spend two to four days on the road between double overnights. Riders not accustomed to three or four day motorcycle trips should consider this.

Each tour features three or more "free days," where we stay two nights in the same hotel. This provides an opportunity for rest, relaxation, sight-seeing and/or taking advantage of outstanding riding locations. On these days it is not necessary to ride, but we will wager that after a taste of the roads in these areas you will spend at least part of each day on the bike!

Usually there is a spare seat in the luggage van if a passenger wishes to ride in a cage for a day or two.

What weather conditions can we expect?

The Alpine tours are mountain tours and this means weather can change rapidly. These tours are in June through September; months when mountain passes will generally be open and the roads clear of snow.

Remember that the temperature changes 3 degrees for each 1,000 feet of change in altitude. So, if it is 75 degrees Fahrenheit in the valley at 3,500' above sea level, it will be 57 degrees Fahrenheit at 9,500. We do spend time running up and down mountains and need to be prepared for a wide range of temperature.

Participants on the Italian tours should expect temperatures ranging from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. On all tours, regardless of the time of year, we must be prepared for a variety of conditions each and every day.

Do we ride when it rains?

We, like the postman, travel rain or shine. As we do have a planned destination each evening, it is necessary to ride in changeable weather conditions to arrive at that destination. Excellent riding gear is essential on every tour. It is not fun to be wet or cold on a motorcycle ride!

How much risk is involved?

Motorcycle riding is, by nature, an intense, risk-filled sport. It is very difficult to say how much risk is involved in our tours as much depends on the ability and judgment of the participant. A road or set of conditions offering considerable challenge and risk for a novice rider may present an experienced rider with little risk.

Likewise with weather conditions — a rider accustomed to riding in the rain may simply find it uncomfortable. A rider terrified of riding in the rain may make poor decisions and put himself in a very dangerous position. Riding in the European Alps is certainly some of the most difficult street riding a motorcyclist will ever encounter. It will also certainly be the most rewarding from the standpoint of the scenery, the challenge, the daily options available, and the sheer joy of life. The Alps are truly Motorcycle Heaven.

Curvaceous is the single word that aptly describes central Italian roads. There are fewer hairpins to negotiate, and shorter climbs and descents than in the Alps. But the turns follow one right after the other and no place is level, resulting in few straightaways. Throughout the itinerary traffic is generally light and the road surfaces excellent.

What insurance do the motorcycles carry?

All of our motorcycles carry the legal limit liability required in each country. This covers damage to others but does not include collision coverage for the motorcycle. Each motorcycle operator is responsible for up to U.S. $2,500 of motorcycle damage. It should be noted that we do not require an advance cash motorcycle damage deposit. Should there be any damage to the bike while on tour you will be invoiced for the repairs.

There is no medical coverage for the rider or passenger and we strongly advise you to secure medical or accident and trip interruption coverage. Check your current health insurance as it may very well cover you during your trip.

What clothing and riding gear shall I bring?

A list of suggested clothing and riding gear is furnished after an application is received. We do not have riding gear available on any tour — you must supply your own.

A variety of good riding gear is required for tour participants to be comfortable and safe. Riding in jeans or a T-shirt is not recommended, as the weather is not always accommodating. Therefore, excellent rainsuits, good cold weather riding gear and proper protective equipment are musts on all tours.

Very few of our tour members have been pleased riding on tour with 1/2 or police style helmets. A full coverage helmet is a much better idea.

What level of hotel accommodations will we have?

We pay great attention to creature comforts. Nightly accommodations are furnished in quality hotels. Some hotels have saunas and/or swimming pools. The hotels are chosen for a specific reason — be it the view, the area, the owners, or the ambiance.

Alpine accommodations vary between three and four star hotels. Italian Idyll hotels are predominately four star, a few five star.

We make use of the best accommodations available in each given area and have chosen them with great care and consideration.

Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room.

Single occupancy is available at additional cost. Solo riders willing to share a room never pay single room supplemental prices with us — if we can't find a roommate for you, that is our problem, not your expense!

I don't like to overpack my bike, nor do we wish to live out of our saddlebags for two weeks. What happens to my luggage?

A luggage van is provided on every tour, allowing you to ride an unencumbered motorcycle during the day. Each tour member may bring two suitcases and a carry on bag. Your luggage must be in the hotel lobby by 9:30 in the morning and will be in your hotel room by 6:30 in the evening.

You enjoy the freedom of an unencumbered bike during the day, and have available all of the evening wear you need. Live out of two saddlebags? For many people it is impossible — and you never need to do so on a Beach tour.

What meals are provided?

All breakfasts are included. Included evening meals are as follows:
6 - Alpine Sampler
10 - Italian Idyll
11 - Island Interlude, Alpine Adventure West, Alpine Adventure East, Sicilian Sojourn, South Island Scamper, Adriatic Amble
12 - Classic Alpine Adventure
17 - Maori Meander
14 - South African Saunter

Where do we eat lunch?

Anywhere! Some days you may wish to lunch at an outdoor cafe and enjoy the weather and the views and some days, if you've had a late breakfast, you may just wish to skip lunch and some days you may wish to have a picnic on a mountainside.

We can suggest restaurants on the route you are taking for the day. Restaurants are open from about noon to 2:30 for luncheon and generally, you can't go wrong in choosing local dishes.

I require a special diet — vegetarian, kosher, diabetic, etc...what do I do?

Our evening menus are planned in advance, so we need to know what your requirements are. To the best of our abilities we will arrange for your evening meal to be prepared for your special needs.

What items or expenses are not included in the tour package?

Airfare, airport taxes, and airport fees are not included in the tour price. Luncheons, beverages, laundry, items of a personal nature, road tolls, gasoline and souvenirs are individual expenses.

How much money should I bring?

For our two-week tours in the Alps, we suggest that you plan to spend an additional $650 if rider only, and $1,050 if a couple, to cover gasoline, lunches, beverages, and tolls. These estimates should cover necessities plus souvenirs and extra activities.

What documents are required?

For American citizens, a valid passport and a motorcycle operator's license are required for riding in any foreign country. On the Alpine and Italian tours an international driver's license with motorcycle endorsement is also necessary. This document is available at your local AAA office. No visas or vaccinations are required for Americans in the countries in which we travel.

Citizens of countries other than the USA must check with their local authorities concerning what documents may be necessary.

What are the age limitations?

Tour participants have ranged in age from 3 months to 84. Each motorcycle operator must have a valid motorcycle license.

The operator's minimum age for the Alpine tours is 18.

Can friends or family who don't ride motorcycles join the tour?

Yes. Both motorcycles and automobiles are welcome on every Beach tour, so friends or family may still join you in the adventure of international touring! The Italian tour is particularly suited for companions in automobiles which may be rented at reasonable rates.

What are Beach's rules and regulations?

For many years our only rule has been: Arrive at the hotel in time for dinner! If you can't make it by 7:00, please phone so we don't worry.

All riders must adhere to local traffic laws and to the laws of the countries visited during the tour. And finally, it is highly recommended that you enjoy each day!

How do I book a Beach tour? What happens if I need to cancel my tour?

Simply complete one tour application for each person, and send it with a deposit of $500 per person to our office. The balance is due thirty days prior to the departure date.

In the event of a cancellation, a fee of $250 per person is assessed. If the cancellation notice is received less than thirty days before the departure date, a fee of $500 per person will be assessed. Any non-recoverable expenses incurred will also be charged to the applicant.

There are no refunds for unused services or accommodations once the tour has started.

Is it possible to arrange a custom or private tour?

Possibly. We have conducted custom tours in the past, and special itineraries are available for groups. Please contact Rob Beach with your request.

What if I have to leave the tour?

A tour member leaving the tour for any reason must arrange transportation for himself, his luggage and vehicle to the final tour destination. We will assist as far as possible. These arrangements are subject to the approval of the tour guide.

Is it possible to ship my own motorcycle to use on tour?

Yes, if you are prepared to spend money and time and endure general aggravation. The only practical transport is airfreight as ocean freight can take many weeks with uncertain arrival times.

Most airfreight carriers require crating the bike. Costs of $1,500 to $2,000 each way are the norm. In addition, it is necessary to secure European insurance coverage before Customs will clear the motorcycle.

The bottom line is that unless you will be riding in Europe for more than a month there is little or no financial benefit to shipping your own motorcycle.

Riders using their own machines will be charged the passenger tour price.

I have a few questions that are not answered here. What shall I do?

Call, write, fax, or e-mail us. We will be happy to answer any and all questions for you. Remember that the only foolish question is the one you neglect to ask!

Here is a page with contact information. We strive to answer any and all of your questions before you depart, so that the only surprises on tour are the pleasant ones we have planned for you!

Beach's Motorcycle Adventures, Ltd. Responsibility

Beach's Motorcycle Adventures, Ltd. and Beach's Motorcycle Adventures, Ltd. Niederlassung Deutschland do not assume responsibility for bodily injury, for damage, nor loss of any personal effects.

Please consider the purchase of travel insurance which covers personal injury; accidents and illness; trip cancellation; and loss, damage, or theft of luggage and personal belongings.

Beach's Motorcycle Adventures, Ltd. and Beach's Motorcycle Adventures, Ltd. Niederlassung Deutschland act only in the capacity of agent for the tour members in all matters connected with transportation, accommodations, or auto rental. No liability shall be incurred by Beachs for delay, loss, damage, or injury to person or property while a passenger is using the facilities of an airline, train, steamship line and/or other transportation line.

The right is reserved to decline, accept, or retain any participant on the tour. Beach's Motorcycle Adventures, Ltd. and Beach's Motorcycle Adventures, Ltd. Niederlassung Deutschland are not obligated to replace a damaged motorcycle. A tour participant's motorcycle may be secured should the rider not comply with local traffic laws.

The right is reserved to alter the itinerary at any time for the convenient operation of the tour; also to substitute hotels, date of departure or return, or withdraw the trip if deemed necessary at any time, for any reason. The issuance and acceptance of receipts, tickets and vouchers shall be deemed to be consent of the above conditions.

All prices are based upon tariffs and exchange rates existing on the printing date of this brochure and are subject to change without notice.

The Bottom Line...

Beach's Motorcycle Adventures are exactly that — motorcycle adventures.

* We do not conduct grueling tests of man vs. nature.

* We do not encourage riding outside of one's limits.

Our tours are focused on motorcycling. It is, after all, why we are on a motorcycle tour and not a bus tour. Participants should be ready to ride — at their own pace — daily, and to center many of their daily activities around the ride.

It is necessary on all of the tours to understand that you will be pushing yourself — riding in conditions and on roads that may be very unfamiliar to you. If that sounds overwhelming to you, it will be.

On the other hand, if you are ready for new experiences, for riding on some of the world's finest roads, for great hotels, fantastic company, and good fun, then join us for a true Motorcycle Adventure!

References

  • All prior Beach tour members. Names on request.
  • Better Business Bureau, Buffalo NY
  • Austrian National Tourist Office, 500 Fifth Avenue, #2009, New York, NY 10110
  • BMW Canada, 920 Champlain Avenue, Whitby, Ont. L1N 6K9, Canada
  • BMW Motorcycle Owners of America, P. O. Box 489, Chesterfield, MO 63006
  • BMW Motorrad Sparte, Hufelandstr. 6, D80993 Muenchen, Deutschland
  • BMW of North America, PO Box 1227, Westwood, NJ 07675-1227
  • BMW Riders Association, PO Box 510309, Melbourne Beach, FL 32951-0309
  • Fodor's Travel Publications, Inc. 201 East 50th St., New York, NY 10022
  • French Government Tourist Office, 610 Fifth Ave. #222, New York, NY 10020
  • German National Tourist Bureau, 122 E. 42nd Ave., New York, NY 10168
  • Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, 1763 Baseline Rd., Grand Island, NY 14072
  • International Motorcycle Tourism Assn., Inc. 1823 W. Seldon Lane, Phoenix, AZ 85021
  • Italian Government Tourist Office, 630 Fifth Avenue, #1565, New York, NY 10111
  • Karl Maier BMW GmbH, Erdomgerstr. 10., D-85464 Neufinsing, Deutschland
  • Manufacturers & Traders Bank, Grand Island Plaza, Grand Island, NY 14072
  • Merrill Lynch, 214 Senate Avenue, Suite 501, Camp Hill, PA 17011
  • Moto-Center Thun, Bernstrasse 117, CH-3613 Steffisburg, Switzerland
  • New Zealand Tourist Commission, 780 Third Ave., #1904 New York, NY 10017-2024
  • Norwegian National Tourist Office, 655 Third Ave., New York, NY 10017
  • Rider Magazine, 2575 Vista Del Mar Dr., Ventura, CA 93001
  • Scherb GmbH, Ilzweg 3, D-82140 Olching, Deutschland
  • Sparkasse, D-82140 Olching, Deutschland
  • Swiss National Tourist Office, 608 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10020
  • Whitehorse Press, PO Box 60, North Conway, NH 03860-0060