PASHNT TOURS FAQs
I always organize my own rides, why would I want to do a guided tour?
Pashnit Motorcycle Tours has a unique origin in that your tour is based off the research of tens of thousands of miles of riding in the local area by your tour guides. Your guides combine nearly 75 years of riding experience. PMT has spent two decades seeking out the ultimate motorcycle roads within California. Along the way, we’ve discovered some exceptional places of lodging and dining. By taking the details off your shoulders of where to ride, stay or where to find the best food - you’re free to just enjoy your vacation. Your only job is to sit back, kick it into gear, and listen to the sound of your motorcycle as you float on down the road without a care in the world! During your tour, you’ll get to share this experience with other like-minded motorcyclists who enjoy riding as much as you do.
Since we love to ask our tour participants this same question...
Who is this 'Pashnit' guy anyway?
When Cycle World, Motorcyclist & Friction Zone Magazines wanted advice on roads- they called Tim (as have countless other riders over the years). The author of Pashnit.com has written a voluminous encyclopedia, over 600 pages, of text just on California Roads cataloging and photographing California's greatest roads. Pashnit.com's 'California Motorcycle Roads' has become the definitive resource for rides in California. Articles about Tim have appeared in RoadTrip, Sportbike, Cycle World, Friction Zone, Motorcycle Tour & Travel and other national motorcycle magazines. Continued>
What is a typical tour day like?
After a breakfast together- we'll mount up and head off for our ride. The route is pre-planned so you can just lean back and enjoy the ride. Yes, you're free to ride on ahead if you know the way. If you are the relaxed daisy-picker type- no worries the sweeper will be with you to guide you regardless of your speed.
We like to stop at pre-planned intervals to take a break & kick tires, generally no more than 60 minutes of riding at time, before we take a break, enjoy the scenery and get to know each other better. Mid-day we'll stop for a relaxed lunch and then set off for the afternoon ride. Later in the evening, a hearty meal and the hot tub will be waiting.
Group riding makes me kind of nervous.
Me too! Actually, this is a very common thought- so you're not alone. Pashnit Guided Tours are set up with a strict set of tried-and-true group riding rules to ensure everyone's safety. It's not uncommon for this to be a tour participant's very first group ride whether they are a new rider or have 40 plus years of riding experience.
I'm a sportbike/cruiser/Harley/Goldwing/standard/motard rider. Will I fit in?
It's an unusual question, but we learned surprisingly common! Pashnit is unique!! Pashnit is ALL bikes, ALL riders. In the Wonderful World of Pashnit, all riders are equals. You will be welcomed with open arms regardless of what you ride.
Note very-large-motorcycles are generally not recommended for these types of rides. While some riders we've been with could ride a Goldwing or very-large-cruiser up any type of road anywhere, others are completely overwhelmed by the types of local roads we have here in California.
Does the tour go fast? Does the tour go slow? Will I be able to keep up?
This is also a surprisingly common question and a big concern of newer riders. Rest assured, no one is left behind- the sweeper will ride with you no matter how slow you go. Nor are you expected to attempt to keep up with the more experienced faster riders in our group. The tour in general moves along at a steady relaxed pace with pre-determined stops to constantly re-group the tour. No matter how fast or slow you go, you'll always be a part of the group and still able to ride your own pace.
The majority of our tour participants are local riders on local roads.
How is that even possible?
This statement is often a tremendous surprise when riders are new to Pashnit Tours. Our tours are designed for working stiffs like you. Meet Friday, ride the weekend and minimal impact on your home and work life. We have likened these tours to an alternate universe of motorcycling bliss. Yes. The majority of our riders are within several hours of their homes.
With a 90% return rate, why do people do this? Over and over.
The community. The friendships that develop. Where do you find people that like to do what you like to do? Which is ride. Motorcycle tours. Over the last twenty years, amazing friendships have developed with riders that have all met on a Pashnit Tour, then realized they lived relatively close to one another. Our alumni often meet up to ride together on their own time. Every one of our tours ends with the line, So, which tour are you riding on next? Each spring as the roster fills up, we send out a group email to the riders with a list of who has signed up for what, so riders can align their ride schedules and connect with one another once more.
How much riding experience should I have?
These tours are not for beginners. You need to have several years’ worth of concurrent motorcycling experience. You should have logged at least a few thousand miles on your motorcycle in order to get used to the bike, the basics of riding, cornering ability, and handling the motorcycle in varied conditions.
What does that mean? Experienced Rider Only tour?
Many years ago, we never talked about that. And what happened is, newer riders struggled. They rented very large motorcycles not suitable for our endlessly tight and twisty roads. They showed up in mesh jackets, then were surprised when temperatures dropped over the mountain pass. Riders were surprised that it was hot, that it was cold, that it could rain, or even snow at high elevations. As we talked more about cautioning riders motorcycle tours are not the place to learn to ride a motorcycle, all those issues went away.
If renting: Do not choose the largest motorcycle. Our experience, and it is considerable, in watching riders rent very large motorcycles, they are often way over their heads in trying to get used to the size and weight combined with unfamiliar challenging super-twisty roads.
Can I ship my motorcycle to California?
Yes. There are shipping companies that do this, and it runs about $500 each direction. Depending on how long you plan on riding in California, it may be cheaper to ship your bike here. A week or more of riding will equalize the cost of renting vs shipping.
Can I store a bike in California and use it for Pashnit Tours?
Hadn’t thought of that? We have some of our out-of-state riders that regularly ride on tours that will store their bikes here locally. They fly in, Uber over to their own bike, and use that to ride. Fellow tour alumni have even offered their own garages to help out fellow riders that needed a place to store a bike.
We do not rent motorcycles.
But you can easily find rental companies. You must be at least 21 to rent a motorcycle. However, it’s essential that you have sufficient skill and experience to handle a large motorcycle in a variety of weather conditions and temperatures. And of course, you’ll need a valid motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license. Again, a motorcycle tour is not the place to learn to ride. We’d encourage a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course if you feel your skills might need some sharpening. Regardless, after you spend some hours in the saddle, you’ll quickly get used to the feel of your motorcycle. You must be 25 with 2 riding years’ experience to rent a BMW. In the Bay Area, you can also rent Goldwings, 600cc Sportbikes, and even Triumphs.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation can be reached at 800-446-9227 (US) or in California 800-227-4337 to learn more about their safety courses.
I notice that most of the riders are on their own bikes.
I'm from out of town, can you help with the bike rental?
Of course! Pashnit Motorcycle Tours has already established long-running working relationships with local rental facilities and can refer you to your bike of choice.
Most of our tours are all based from Northern California so there are several marques available ranging from Honda Goldwing, Harley-Davidson, BMW, Yamaha FJR, sportbike, or even a Triumph standard. Note that rental facilities will often stow extra gear you may have while traveling. Just ask.
This rental thing is new to me. How does it work?
Google a rental facility. Riders will pre-book the rental months in advance. You'll work directly with the rental facility to make the arrangements to get the bike you want. Once you fly into San Francisco, riders typically take an Uber to the rental facility and pick up the bike the day prior to the tour. While the facilities have gear to rent, it's encouraged to bring your own helmet and gear to ensure your comfort while riding. Commonly, the bike is returned the morning after the tour ends. Also note that it's commonplace for rental facilities to stow any excess luggage you may have as a courtesy to you.
What weather conditions should we expect?
California is known for its great weather and year-round riding, and we often experience over six months straight of blue skies. But as we’ll be riding through a great deal of terrain and elevation change, come prepared to ride in a wide range of temperatures, especially when riding over mountain passes that reach upwards of nearly 10,000 feet. Rain is hit or miss in March/April, but after May, rain is very rare. Summer in California can be very hot and you should have a Cool Vest during summer rides, available at Cycle Gear or on-line retailers. I hate the heat, so our summer tours head for the ocean where the temps are perfect.
Is it Ducks-in-a-Row touring?
No. This refers to a formation of bikes where everyone rides the same speed in formation all day long. While there will always be a leader & a sweeper, the riders in the middle often are spread out as everyone rides their own pace. The faster riders will pull on ahead, while the slower riders will enjoy a relaxed pace with the sweeper knowing the rest of the group will be stopped up ahead waiting for them. You ride your own ride. I have a tendency to call it the 'Mosey Pace' as we often just 'mosey' on down the road.
How far do we ride each day?
Our tours average about 250-300 miles a day depending on the tour, sometimes less. Overall, it’s a very relaxed riding schedule each day. We normally have kickstands up at 8 and arrive at our hotel around 5. There’s a lot to see along the way, and the photo opportunities occur one after the other. You can stop as often as you like. On the other hand, if you’ve come all this way to rack up the miles and see as much as you can, your tour guides have already explored the area’s roads so they’ll be able to help you with exciting routes that’ll extend your riding experience.
Is there a chase vehicle?
Pack light, travel light. For three-day rides, a chase vehicle is completely unnecessary. Most of our riders on a weekend tour have a single bag. Your guide travels with an extra t-shirt and that’s about all you’ll need. Riders will travel very light on 3- & 4-day tours. If you have any additional luggage, it can be stored safely at the rental facility or even the hotel you arrive at prior to the tour will be willing to stow your gear for you to be picked up once the tour ends.
What do I do with my trailer?
Our tours meet Friday mornings at different locations all over the state. If you have the ability to trailer your bike to the meet spot, work with a local hotel to base from. Arrive in the area the day before the tour begins. Local hotels are more than accommodating in offering you a safe spot to park your vehicle and trailer for the weekend.
What kind of places do we stay?
Our nights are spent in Best Western / Holiday Inn type hotels. Costs average about $85-165 a night for single occupancy depending on the region of California we're in and the time of year. We double riders up per request, but assume all new riders prefer single occupancy. On our 3-Day Weekend Rides, we often spend two nights in the same place so you can travel light on Saturday. 4-Day Rides we'll be in a different place of lodging each night.
Is lodging included in the tour fee?
Lodging & meals are not included in tour cost. All riders pay their own cost of lodging at time of check in. We book all the rooms and make all the lodging arrangements.
If lodging & meals aren’t included in my tour, what am I getting for my tour fee?
We have asked this question to the many riders that have ridden on Pashnit Tours. Why are you here? Why did you sign up to ride local roads when you could do it yourself anytime? The answer boils down to everything has been planned out for you. Tours are carefully designed for a perfect balance of distance, choice of roads, points of interest, meals, and lodging arrangements. All you have to do is show up at the meet spot on Friday morning and we do the rest. The socialization with fellow like-minded motorcyclists and the friendships that have developed through the years, you get that for free.
What type of riding gear should I bring?
You need to be geared up to participate on these tours. Motorcycle-specific gloves, jacket, and riding pants are normal riding apparel of the motorcyclist on tour. Some of our riders have taken a liking to the Helite Air Vests. You will wear appropriate motorcycle specific protective gear for the duration of the tour just as you would when riding your own motorcycle. It will be hot. It will be cold. It could rain. There is no sympathy from your fellow riders for the cold motorcyclist who did not prepare properly. In spring, carry a rain suit. In summer carry a Cool Vest. In spring & fall, bring the heated gear. Temperature swings of 30, even 40 degrees are normal. Elevations run sea level to nearly 10,000 feet. We would recommend you bring your own helmet for its familiarity and comfort. Some rental facilities may also rent leather jackets (ask) and offer leather gloves for sale. But again, it's highly recommended you bring your own gear if you rent a bike.
Can I see pictures from the Pashnit Motorcycle Tours?
How's 30,000 of them sound? You bet! Your tour guide has shot thousands of pics while on the tours and you can view them on the Pashnit Flickr site. Just click through the webpages for this site, all the photos you see on the PashnitTours.com website were shot on the rides.
I can watch video shot on Pashnit Motorcycle Tours?
Click here to view short films with ride footage shot on our tours.
What is Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance?
Think helicopter evac. Our motorcycle tours often take place in remote areas of California, and if there were an emergency, it will be at the digression of the emergency responders to evac an individual to the nearest medical center via helicopter- typically a $10,000-$25,000 ride. We'd recommend CalStar.org to purchase an insurance policy for a mere $40 per year membership. Log onto www.CalStar.org to learn more.
I still have more questions. How do I get those answered?
Email is best. (below) You can also call / text to 530-391-1356.