I, like most of us I am sure, have always wanted to strart my own mountain bike touring company. I have always believed that we have the quality trails, the tourist, and perfect weather for 6 months of the year. However, I assumed that the general conception that Florida is flat would work against growth. Lately, however, there have been several national articles that highlight the quality of trails that Florida has to offer on sites like Singltrack.com and in the magazine MountainBike Action, and then there is the Alafia Fat Tire Festival that garners praise as being one of the best bike festivals in the courty (THANK YOU SWAMP). Word is Spreading and I think the time is finally right. I have been planing and researching the legalities for about 6 months now and I have a good idea of what my goals are as far as the service that I would offer. My plan is to start small, with daily tours or weekend trips where I am the guide. I have the capital to purchase safety equipment, camping gear, a van and trailer, procure insurance, and hire a lawyer to create waivers. I have a friend that builds websites for a living who is willing to help, and I have the ability to create brochures and marketing tools. I do still have some questions and concerns and I figure maybe someone here has the answers or the contacts to get the answers I need.
My biggest concern is the legalities of for profit tour companies' access to state land. Are there any restriction to tour companies for places like Alafia that are on state land? Will I need a permit? Are there fees associated with this?
My next concern is being able to find trustworthy guides (I hope to get help form fellow Swampers). I don't want to step on anyones toes here, but are there any experienced guides out there that may be interested in guiding for proffit? Feel free to contact me if you are interested or know anyone that might be. It is my understanding that, for insurance purposes, guides need to be trained in first aid and CPR and I am still researching costs for this.
I have a degree in Sustainability, am an Eagle Scout, and am very passionate about the outdoors. I plan to model this business to support these ideals. It is my hope that this business would be involved in maintaining and funding the trails by creating tours that include participation in the trail workdays for a reduced tour rate, and contributing funds from every tour directly to Swamp or other local groups that maintain the trails we ride. In this way I hope to keep our trails sustainable and provide some manpower and funds to continue to grow our resources as well as gain a competative advantage by giving back to the community.
If anyone has any knowledge to contribute, interest in being a guide, or wants to call me an idiot and dash my dreams and aspirations please reach out to me at email@example.com
. I am also still looking for a lawyer if anyone knows someone I can reach out to.