Small is the Next BIG Thing.
It seems like everything is getter bigger nowadays. What happened to great things in small packages? What happened to quality over quantity? When did something being big, mean that it was better? Why are mobile phones starting to look like tablets? How am I supposed to fit that into my jersey pocket? Why would I want to? I tend to think that there are many things that are better in small packages. Cycling tours are one of those things, which is why In Situ is proud to offer small group bike tours.
Besides offering our guests the possibility to ride over some of the most challenging routes in Europe, we make sure to keep our cycling tour groups small. How small? Our regular trips are never more than 10 guests. Yes, that is small. Why? We believe smaller groups allow us to provide a more personalized experience. The quality of our service is a cornerstone of our business.
With small groups, we’re able to stay at small, family-run inns and not large, chain hotels. Perhaps our hotel has only ten rooms, each decorated with a personal touch. The whole family might be in charge of running the inn: from serving up breakfast to letting you feast on dinner, from organizing your afternoon massage to pouring you a glass during our evening wine tasting. You feel connected. You feel like you’ve been welcomed into someone’s home. When is the last time you felt that in a chain hotel?
With small groups, we dine in authentic, local establishments; ordering off of the menu, as you would with a group of friends. Our meals aren’t buffet pasta feasts that load you with carbs. Small group meals mean that the restaurant isn’t overrun with the equivalent of a tour bus full of cyclists. Ever wonder why your meal options on those other big, group cycling tours are limited? Quite simply, the restaurant kitchen can’t accommodate all 30 of you ordering à la carte, all at the same time. Do you want a better dining experience? Go small.
With small groups, you can experience the routes without feeling like you’re part of a bike race. Ride together or separate, you decide (our GPS units, let you ride at your own pace). Ask yourself, how much do you see of the countryside while sitting in a double pace line with 30 people for 50 kilometers? More likely than not, you’ll remember the back of the rider in front of you more than you’ll remember the little villages you just passed through. Smaller groups allow you to take in your surroundings better. Sure you’re riding in Europe to conquer some of the famous cols, but you might only be here once in your life, you might as well take a look around. A small group gives you more space on the road.
With small groups, the overall experience is more relaxed. Gather after breakfast, geared up to ride. Your bike is waiting for you by the snack table. Don’t worry, there’s no rush to grab goodies for your jersey pockets. You’re not competing with 30 other people for the bananas and trying to rush to get to a “start” line. With a small group bike tour, the tone is mellow and laid back. Ask yourself what you think it would look like with a few dozen riders instead of just ten?
With small groups, you have a great guest to bike tour leader ratio. A typical set up for a bike tour is to have two leaders: one driving the support van while the other rides a bike with the guests. If your trip has 26 guests on it, that’s a ratio of 13 guests per leader. With In Situ’s bike tours, the ratio is never more than 5 guests per leader and sometimes just 3 or 4 guests per leader (i.e. on a 7 or 8 person trip). Other companies will tell you that they have even 3 or more leaders on their trips, but guess what? Their trips are also a lot bigger. That same 26 guests trip with 3 leaders on it, is still a ratio of more that 8 guests per leader. Once again, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Small group bike tours give you more personalized service.
In Situ was founded with one of the core principles being small groups. We not only believe this to be a better solution, we know it. We think others are finally realizing it too. Every year, other bike tour companies are talking more and more about the “small” trips that they now offer. But buyer beware: the term “small” is a relative term. Ask them what small means to them and they might just say, “26 guests”. Well, I guess that seems “small” when you compare yourself to a sightseeing tour bus.
Small (group bike tours), is the next BIG thing. Remember where you heard it first.