Anyone with Personal Experience Doing a Moto-Charlie Tour?

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rjrettig

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I am considering doing a trip in the Alps in 2017. I have looked at several different companies but have narrowed it down to either Edelweiss (Alps Extreme) or Moto-Charlie (Top 10+). I am not interested in doing a self-guided ride.

Previously I did a trip with Edelweiss (Touring Center - Dolomite's) and had a great time and that is why I am considering them again. However, what I read on Moto-Charlie, I like his approach and seems a bit more focused on the riding.

With Edelweiss, I know there is a large company behind the operation that provides some "peace of mind". With Moto-Charlie, it is a "1 man show" which make me a little uneasy. Both types have many pros and cons.

If you have recent personal experience with Moto-Charlie, I would like to get your feedback.

 
RJ, how did you make out? A proposal just came my way for an Italy ride next season. I've never been but the pillion has a couple of times. Company recommendations needed, please.

 
Thanks for asking! The trip I did with MotoCharlie was great! Here is a link to the blog I did during the trip: RettigTrip2017.Blogspot.com. The post on July 8 has a good overview of why I liked touring with Charlie.

This was my second trip riding in the Alps. A few years ago I did a 5 day trip with Edelweiss Motorcycle Tours. www.edelweissbike.com

While I enjoyed both tours, they were very different and my preference was the MotoCharlie tour. Here are some of the reasons I enjoyed the MotoCharlie tour the most:

  • Charlie has been touring there for 30 years and knows the area very well so if/when we needed to make adjustments in routes,schedules etc., it happened with no issue. He seldom even used any form of navigation.
  • Charlie likes to ride (which is a big reason I picked his tour). We would be on the road by 9:00 (I would have preferred to start earlier but some other didn't want to) and we would get back to the hotel between 5 and 7(ish). We road 1,600 KM is 11 days.
  • It felt like riding with friends. With the small group (9 bikes, 10 people - including Charlie), the group quickly got to know each other, their riding styles, preferences, and soon we road like friends.
  • Everything was very clearly communicated up front on what to expect, what to do before we arrive, transportation, expenses, etc.
  • Pricing: If you compares prices per day of with Charlie vs other companies, you will see Charlie is much cheaper. Charlie is not charging a mark-up on everything - he is paying the same rates you do. Yes, you pay him a fee to cover this time and effort to organize the trip, make hotel reservations, bike rentals, guide the tour etc, but this felt very reasonable. His approach also lets you manage your costs (to some level) based on the meals, drinks, etc. you chose to indulge on while traveling.

The Edelweiss tour I did was only 5 days (11 is much better!) and we stayed at the same hotel every night and did day ride loops. While we didn't have to worry about carrying luggage, it also limited the amount of area we could see. This was OK for 5 days but that was the limit. For me it was a good introduction but left me wanting more!

I hope this helps. If you want more information, we can connect off-line.

If you decide to do a tour, I would be interested in knowing who you selected.

 
1600km is only 994mi. If you were out each day for 8+ hours, you could easily ride 270 miles of curvy roads. How did these mikes get spread out over 11 days? Were there hours of sightseeing each day too?

 
I would say there were several factors:

  • Anytime you are riding in a group, the mileage is less than an individual - gas stops, lunch stops, etc. just all take longer
  • Roads - some of the back roads we were on were only a little more than 1 vehicle wide. This along with the winding roads limits the speed and thus milage
  • It wasn't a race for miles - we kept a good pace but speed and miles were not the main objective.
  • The scenery and views - if you are going to ride the Alps, you have to spend some time stopping and taking pictures of the grand views
  • Food - we typically had a mid morning snack, lunch, and mid afternoon snack. Typically these were at places that had great views as well (dual purpose). For example, 2 days we took cable cars to the top of the mountains for lunch.
  • Pacing yourself for 11 days of riding - When you are going to be riding for 11 consecutive days in the mountains, you need to pace yourself and not get exhausted and careless
  • Rest day - 1 day was a short day of riding or optional for no riding. We had several people that take the rest day - I rode anyway.
  • Crashes - We had 1 rider that had 1 minor crash (crossing wet railroad tracks) and 1 major crash (totaled on brand new BMW K1600 coming down Stelvio Pass which wiped out an afternoon of riding and some of the following morning
 

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