Ever tried a guided ride? Here’s why you might consider it
By Sarah Mah
Desert Rat Tours
Guides know the area and can do so much more than just lead you out on the trails.
There are a few reason why you would hire a guide to show you around. The most obvious being the ease of following. There is no need to take a map and someone else is playing the role of the pack mule. All you have to do is focus on the fun.
However, there are some other roles guides play. Hopefully, most people won’t have to rely on the medic or the wrench, but if you do, all permitted guides on public lands are required to have an advanced level of first-aid knowledge.
They will also know where the best cell phone reception is in case of an accident. Think of them as your rolling medic. And not just a human medic, but a guide will be there to cover for your bike if you need a tube replaced, brakes adjusted, or a chain repaired.
There are other nuances that are less obvious; a guide will know where the best lunch spots and photo opportunities are, and good guides will tailor a ride to meet your needs and expectations.
Once you’re off the bike, what better person to ask than a local when it comes to finding that great hole-in-the-wall restaurant, or a romantically extravagant dinner for two? A guide can be that person even before you arrive, arranging the details of where to stay, what reservations to book, if any are needed, and even what to expect for weather and what sort of clothing will be needed.
A good guide reads the visitor, sending them to the restaurants and lodging that suit them best and showing them the most appropriate trails.
Now of course how you choose a guide is important. They should be able to show you the most basic of requirements, such as a guiding permit. This shows that they have the insurance and training for the government to approve them to take people on public lands.
Beyond that, e-mail exchanges can quickly determine how helpful the guide or guiding company will be. How well do they answer pertinent questions about bike rentals, lodging, and how well do they know the area?
Their responses will let you know how they conduct their business and how well they can personalize your trip.