23 July 2020

WHAT'S IT LIKE TO BE A PROFESSIONAL GUIDE IN CORONA TIMES?

Like many other businesses, MTB guides and instructors have also suffered from the corona crisis during the lock-down phase. Even though international travelling is nowhere near its ‘old’ volume, the guiding sector is slowly getting back on its feet again. We made a quick round along a number of MTB guides, instructors and training providers to get some insights about their current experiences and expectations for the rest of the season.

Kasper Madsen is working in Norway, running his company Bike Beitostølen and deliver guide/instructor courses for NIMG. ‘We have started our guide/instructor program again here in late May and it’s running full steam. We are following the safety protocols of the government such as a maxim number of people per group, hand sanitizers etc. Fortunately, we did not have to cancel any courses. It might sound a bit strange, but tourism wise the best thing to happen to Norwegian tourism was restricted travelling. Most companies including ours are looking at an exceptional busy summer with mainly domestic customers'.

The UK also had to deal with drastic lock down measures. Right now,  businesses and MTB leadership courses are up and running, although with substantial safety protocols apply across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (and they are all different).

Dan Cook, Leadership and Off-Road Technical Lead at British Cycling, supported the development of the Way Forward guidance in order to get sector prepared for a safe and responsible restart. ‘Guiding companies are back up and running now or very soon across all 4 home nations. MTB Coaching courses are scheduled to be back up and running from Sept onwards. Another important thing is that we have impressed upon leaders and guides to reduce the risk where possible to ensure reduced chance of rescue / demands on the health service.  This comes through effective route choice, good judgement in leading and emphasis directly with riders to keep it lower key’.

Moniteur Cycliste Français, representing more than 1000 Instructor-Guides and 75 certified bike schools in France, also anticipates on the staycation trend. With the slogan ‘Discover France differently this summer’, MCF clearly focuses on the domestic market and positions the bike as the best way to discover the most beautiful landscapes, trails and roads in France, accompanied by one of their certified guides. MCF’s Bike Travel Label offers clients a clear overview what type of trips, experiences and stays are offered. 

Other popular countries for bike holidays like Switzerland and Italy show gentle recovery. MTB guides can offer most of their daytrips and multiday itineraries with a few extra safety and hygiene protocols. Wearing a mask in lift supported trips is probably the biggest inconvenience now but necessary to keep businesses running. 
To get the most out of your summer, finding the best trails, having fun AND staying safe, riding with a qualified guide seems more important that ever. 

Kids having fun @Portes du Soleil