Today I led my first "private" bike tour. This means that the rider has requested a private, dedicated personal tour guide all to themselves. The business came through my good friend Leif. My client for the day, Clare, from Portland, Oregon, was alot of fun to ride with. Our skills and energy levels were perfectly matched!
I met her at the Ponte Trinita, and after quickly assessing her riding abilities we headed up Via Faentina to Olmo. She was up for some more climbing, so we headed further up to Bvigliano. As we breezed back down our descent to Fiesole, I could hear her gasping in awe at the sights. There's just no way to express the intoxicating effect of Tuscany's sensual environment. And there's no way to absorb the experience from anything but a bike. As a cyclist you breathe it all into your mind, into your lungs, deep into your whole body.
I topped off our ride by taking Clare for a quick spin around Fiesole and then a caffe. At which point she asked me "How Much Do I Owe You?". I was pretty flabergasted, because I had never even thought of pricing, and feel guilty charging someone, when I'm the one who had such a great time! I felt like I should be paying her! I wasn't prepared with a response, and I don't know how private tours are priced. We only spent 3 hours riding. So, I told her that I had to check with Leif, since the business came through him. She said that she'd like to ride again on Wednesday, and a few days next week. I led her back to her hotel.
Tonight Leif and I caught up over a pizza and I asked him about pricing. He, being one of the most experienced tour guides around, explained the pricing rationale. Again I was shocked, because it's more than I would ever have expected. Not bad for having a good time!