Dear Ride and Seekers
With the COVID-19 -coronavirus dominating the headlines I wanted to reach out to let you know our thoughts on the situation and attempt to assuage any concerns you have. Like you we have been watching closely to determine what impact the new virus means for our families, friends, and businesses.
From our perspective, we are committed to running any of the tours on the Tour Schedule in 2020 that we are permitted to, and have the minimum guest numbers to do so. At the same time, we appreciate that this is a dynamic situation that is changing daily. None of us has a crystal ball but I think we are all pining for a return to normal, or are open to a ‘new’ normal that comes from dealing with the fallout constructively.
With travel severely restricted and many of us still in lockdown, it is hard to predict how this will play out. In terms of the tours themselves, we have tried to be as pro-active as possible in ensuring we can run the safest tours possible if given the chance.
In this regard we have been:
- Creating new route options for bypassing the most ‘at risk’ areas that the tours travel through if required.
- Taking provisional hotel bookings along the ‘new’ routes until we can make a definitive call on the situation.
- Putting in place clear protocols on tour to reduce the risk of contamination with a particular focus on snack and lunch stops.
- Revisiting our risk assessment strategies in terms of dealing with illness on tour and the emergency procedures we have in place.
- Researching the information available from health authorities about COVID-19 and keeping abreast of updates from governments, airlines, and insurance companies.
At this point, we have postponed the 3 Islands tour and Caesar until 2021 and we really appreciate the faith shown in us by the guests on those tours who have deferred to the later dates. With both of these tours, we tried to wait until the last minute before making a call on not running them. At the same time, we sought to be proactive in order to give the riders on those tours as much time as possible to change travel plans.
We intend to do the same for the riders on the other 2020 tours by delaying the invoice payment dates for the tours in question. The invoice dates are below.
- Iron Curtain – Berlin to Budapest – 9th-26th August 2020 – invoices normally due 11th May
- Hannibal Across the Alps – 30th August to 15th September – Invoices normally due 01 June
- Marco Polo – 17th Sep to 14th Oct 2020 – Invoices normally due 19 June
- Conquest of the Moors – Fez to Cordoba 28th Sep to 20th Oct 2020 – Invoices normally due 30 June
- Samurai Epic 9th to 30th October 2020 – Invoices normally due 11 July
In order to give our guests as much time to make a call on their plans, no invoices will be payable before July 1st 2020. We hope that provides a time frame for us all to have a clearer view of what we can and can’t do in terms of travel.
We invite you to read our standard Terms and Conditions but also be aware that we wish to offer flexibility around the current sense of uncertainly. If we are forced to defer any tours we hope you’ll stick with us and transfer to a later tour on our Tour Schedule, but you can still get a refund as per our standard terms and conditions.
Until July 1st, 2020 the following terms will also apply:
- If travel restrictions force us to cancel a tour we will transfer 100% of any tour monies to another Ride & Seek tour of your choice. This is applicable to any tour on the roster through to the end of 2022.
- If you wish to transfer to another tour before July 1st, 2020 we will transfer deposits across with no penalty. Again this is applicable to any tour on the roster through to the end of 2022.
- If you wish to be refunded your deposit before July 1st 2020 the only penalty will be the standard admin fee as per our standard terms and conditions.
The riders on the 3 Islands and Caesar all deferred to later tours which felt like a collaborative compromise since we have had to defer all supplier payments as well and in some cases have lost non-refundable deposits. This is a very tough time to be in the travel industry but by guests deferring it is a huge vote in confidence in helping us come out of this on the other side. We are happy wearing the costs of deferring knowing that we’ll see you when we can start riding again.
At this point, it feels like we need to take some time to see how the situation will play out, and hopefully, our revised terms provide both reassurance and a practical approach in this context. My ‘glass half full’ side also believes that the upcoming tours will benefit from fewer crowds in the places we visit, as was found by our cyclists on the Maori tour in New Zealand back in February. That’s obviously assuming we can travel to the places we run the tours though.
For now, it is important to keep abreast of the information from our most trusted sources. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)- https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ – and World Health Organisation are a good place t0 start – https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
I hope this position doesn’t come across as making light of this serious situation but rather offers a practical approach for both those who wanted to both postpone tours and those determined to be on the tours they are already booked on.
This situation is very much top of mind for all of us at Ride and Seek, as well as yourselves, so I invite anyone who wishes to tee up a chat with me to send me an email to [email protected]. Please do not hesitate to reach out anytime.
Here’s hoping that this situation will calm down sooner rather than later and we can all go back to doing what we enjoy most and ride our bikes in amazing places!
Kindest regards to you all,
Founder & Director at Ride and Seek
P +33 66 696 3431 (Office GMT+1:00)
E [email protected]