Self Drive / Self Guided Motorcycle Tour FAQ

Visit the Self Guided / Self-Drive Tours Page for information about our Self Guided / Self-Drive Tours 

We’ve compiled a list of most frequently asked questions to help you in your decision to book a self guided tour with us. If you don’t find a question you have in mind listed below, feel free to Contact Us Here

Q: Why choose RIDE FREE?

A: I think RIDE FREE is the perfect balance.  We are not one of the huge corporate travel industry tour companies, and we are not some guys just trying this tour thing out for a couple of years.  While we are the oldest motorcycle tour company in the USA  “since 1993”, and started before there was even a motorcycle tour industry in the USA, we have stayed small and true to what we are about.  We are a professional company, but we have stayed a real USA mom and pop company.  We have not grown out of our passion for meeting new people from around the world, making great friends, and riding on the road together.  We care about each and every person that rides on one of our tour, does a self guided tour, or a rental with us.  It is the personal touch that sets us apart.  We want you to have an amazing adventure of a lifetime, and we will do everything we can possibly do to make that happen.

As the owner, I am aware of every person on all of our tours.  If I ( Wil the owner ABOUT US  ) am not leading the tour, I am in contact with our guides regularly on every trip and am personally vested in every day of your tour while you are on it.  On the Self-Drive / Self Guided Tours, I personally check over your trip and itineraires, and will work with you to make sure you it is a trip of a lifetime.  I am also usually manning the Roadside Assistance Phone, because I believe that this is not just about getting you on a tour, but doing everything I can to help you while on it.  This is where we really stand apart from any other.

When you are on your Self Guided / Self Drive tour, we will be aware of your trip, and ready to help with anything we can help with.
You can call us, whatsapp us, facebook messenger us, email us about how we can help.
Have a flat tire or problem on the road, contact us immediately and we will spring into action.

We stay away from the big chain hotels and big chain restaurants like the big companies go to.    We send you to eat in smaller more interesting “local” places that the huge companies do.  At Ride Free we try to get you into the small local hotels with the most character of the area.  We are not concerned with mass bookings with mass rates in the chain hotels like the big companies are.  It is all about giving you the best tour we can.

Our trips are all about sending you to the interesting local spots for meals, attractions, and the places you stay.

Whether on a guided tour, or self guided tour, we also try to slow the ride down more than many companies on how far we go in a day.  Most companies just whiz past things too fast.  We have added some extra days on many of our tours / short days etc…  These are often people’s favorite days.  As we get to really experience the local culture and attractions versus just whizzing by without time to stop.

Sometimes our tours might not make the best “marketing sense” to the masses and tour industry.  I set up the tours to be the best tour and experience first for you. This is my first priority.  I set up how I would want the tour to be set up by someone who has personally done these tours.  I don’t cut corners to try to get tours into some price point, or try to rush you through each day making a really long day, so that the tour will “fit” into a certain amount of days.  Unless you want it to.  Call me.  Let’s talk about what your dream is, and how we can make it happen.

When you are on a RIDE FREE experience, we are just your new friends from America, with the local knowledge, handling all the problems we can for you, showing you best time we can.  So you have an adventure and experience of a lifetime.

Just give me a call or contact me and we are happy to talk to you about whether RIDE FREE is the best fit for you.
These pages will give some insight: About US   Testimonials   Our Mission

Q: Why Choose RIDE FREE Self Guided Tours?

A:  If you are looking to call up and talk to a hired phone receptionist, that will quickly give you a generic trip made for all. That is not us.

When you contact Ride Free. You talk to an actual experienced tour guide. Every self drive trip we do is tailored to you. We help you pick out the best bike or car for your trip.

Talk to you about the trip you are interested in, the time of year, and find out about you. What you are looking for.

Then we can give you suggestions and do modifications to the standard self drive tour that caters to your interests and riding style. Whether you would rather ride more or less hours a day, want challenging mountain side trips, or just take it easy.  Contact us

Custom Tours — If you want to ride half days and do other activities,we can help with that. Trout fishing, deep sea fishing, whale watching, horseback riding, shooting guns, white water rafting, helicopter rides, sailing, hiking, off road jeeps, etc.

We also spend personal time with you in your planning and preparation. And, on the road we are here to help you in any way we can. Just a phone call away. You do not get lost in the shuffle at Ride Free. We are focused on quality, not quantity.

Complete custom self drives available, or modifications to existing.

From the time you arrive to the airport, to the time you shuttle back to the airport. We have it planned.

MOTORCYCLE OR CAR RENTALS AND SELF GUIDED / SELF-DRIVE TOURS

Just need some Motorcycles without a tour? — Harley Davidson, Honda, BMW, No problem. We can just handle your rental.

Choose one of our Listed Tours — to be Self Drive, or we can make you a custom tour.

Self Drive Without Booked Hotels — We can do that also. But realize that some of the best hotels and most popular areas get booked up months in advance. If you just show up that day you might have a long drive off the mountain to find a hotel.  Instead of booking your hotels, we give you the name of one of the hotels at each spot that we recommend for you.  You can book it when you want at your own pace on the trip, or just take the trip as it goes and book wherever you end up.  # The pricing on the Self Guided / Self-Drive Tours includes hotels.  Inquire for price without tours booked.

CLICK FOR MOTORCYCLE  TOUR MAPS AND OPTIONS

CLICK FOR CAR TOUR MAPS AND OPTIONS – OR MAY USE MOTORCYCLE OPTIONS

Custom Tours and Self Drive Harley Davidson and car Tours Available:

  • Motorcycle, late model car or muscle car, or classic car tours
  • From basic economy tours to 5 star Luxury Tours
  • Tours with late model convertibles and exotics
  • 5 day, 1 week, 2 week, 1 month, or any length self drive tours available.
  • Custom routes anywhere / anytime in the USA for your group
  • Chicago to LA – Cross Country – San Francisco to LA – Canadian Rockies –  All over USA
  • Custom Take your time tours available
    Where you slow down, fish, hike, multiple nights at one location
    or short morning rides to new location, explore more etc.
  • Business, organization, church groups

Q: WHAT IS INCLUDED in Self Guided / Self-Drive Tours?
Luggage: Storage and Shipping

A:  What’s included: motorcycle, lodging, route, day to day itinerary, activities and highlights to do and see along the way, and at your destination, help choosing the best route for you, help and support before, during, and after your adventure, trip planning help..
The RIDE FREE Roadside phone help is miles above any other tour company I know of.  This regularly has saved people a day or more of downtime on the road if there is a flat tire or problem.  Feel free to inquire for many examples. 

  • Ultimate personal self drive service, sharing our experience with you.
  • Leave from Los Angeles, California, Chicago, Las Vegas, or many locations in the USA and Canada
  • We Skype with you and personally review your tour preparation and daily route. We are on your team.
  • Self Drive = What’s included: motorcycle, lodging, route, day to day itinerary, activites and highlights to do and see along the way and at your destination, help choosing the best route for you, help and support before, during, and after your adventure, trip planning help.
  • Choose one of our Listed Tours to be Self Drive, or we can make you a custom tour.

Luggage: Storage and Shipping
A:  On a Self Drive Tour,  if you are starting at and ending at the same location, you can leave you luggage cases at the rental store.
If you are starting at one location and ending at another location, your luggage can be arranged to be shipped from the pick up location to the drop off location.  The cost to you will range depending on how fast you need it there, the size and weight of your bag, the distance, and location.  Usually, it is between $50 to $100 a bag.  But this is just a very rough estimate.

SELF GUIDED / SELF-DRIVE Information – See Self Guided Tour Page

Q: How do meals work on Self Guided / Self-Drive Tours?
Cost of Meals?

A: There are no meals included.  But our daily itinerary details takes you to great diners and food options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.   Cool steakhouses, small local spots, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and other memorable spots.  These spots should introduce you to the locals of the area, and their culture and cuisine.  We try to send you to where the locals hang out.  Often you will have a number of choices.  From the local casual spot, to a more upscale option.

A: Breakfast Included on other company’s tours?  That is a red flag.  “Breakfast included” = mass production, box, generic chain hotels with no local flavor or culture.    #It is very important to understand that we don’t stay at the big chain hotels most of the time like most tour companies.  The more interesting places that give the character of the area usually don’t have the continental breakfast included like the boring chain hotels.   Instead we send you to neat local breakfast places to eat with the locals that has other better options than a boring small continental breakfast in a chain hotel.
A few of our places might have a free breakfast, but not usually.  

Cost of Meals?
A: Most people eat for between $50 to $75 per day.  But you can easily spend more if you want to.
Example to include tax and tip:  $15 breakfast, $20 lunch, $25 dinner = $60 total
You might not get the most expensive thing on the menu for this, but you can eat mid range menu item cost at most local places.

At Ride Free we want you to really experience the culture of the area. That is why we choose to stay in clean lodging with character, and to eat a local spots. Often we meet really neat people along the way at these spots.

Q: What do I need to participate in a tour?

A: To drive one of our motorcycles you need:

  • A motorcycle endorsed drivers license (from any country).
  • Must be a full, unrestricted motorcycle license
  • The motorcycle endorsement must be visible on your license.
  • Riding experience to a competent level and 2 plus years experience.
  • To be 21 years of age or older.

Contact us, I am very happy to answer any questions and to walk you through the process.
If you or a friend doesn’t want to or qualify to ride, you may come along in a new convertible Mustang on some tours, a trike if experienced
to ride it, or a Polaris Slingshot.

Q: What About Insurance?

A:  Many Different Waiver Options.   Motorcycle Insurance Waiver Options (click)
We recommend the vip zero damage waiver and the sli 1 million supplemental liability.

Q: What kind of motorcycle can I ride on a tour?

A: Motorcycle Rental Options
RIDE FREE Motorcycle Tours has over 35 motorcycles tour participants can choose from.  But there is different availability at different locations.
When you ride with us, take your pick from the following beautiful late model custom Harleys: Heritage Softail Classic, Fat Boy, Dyna Low Rider, Road King, Electraglide, Sportster 1200, Sportster 883, and more. . Choice of bikes based upon availability. We also have Indians, Honda Goldwings, BMWs,Trikes, and other options available.  Also, see the Polaris Slingshot option. Trikes and Slingshots ride at the back of the pack.

If you go to our Motorcycle Rental Page, and choose the city where the trip you are going to do originates in, you will be able to see what vehicles are available in that city.  Those will what will be available for a tour.  The Harleys are included in the tour price.  Some options like BMWs may add to the price in some locations.

Q: Can I bring my passenger on a tour?

A: Yes. Passengers are welcome on your motorcycle. Or, we can rent them a convertible Mustang to drive if you like. See rides for passenger cost. 

A:  Mini Van / Passenger Van: We can arrange for the passengers to have their own passenger mini van that they can drive trailing you or your group if they want.  That way they can either ride on the back of the bike, or they can all ride together in their party van depending on weather, and how much they want to be on the bike.  They just take turns driving if the others are on the bikes.

Q: Do I need to bring a helmet?

A: No, however most participants bring their own helmets. Small lid helmets are provided at the rental store. You can also buy full face helmets at the rental store starting around $120. The rental helmets are not full face. There is also jackets and gear that can be rented or bought when we pick up the bikes.  We recommend you bring your own jackets and gear etc.  

Q: What do I need to bring on a tour? Gear
GPS? Do any motorcycles have it?  Do bikes have charging ports?  More GPS Details.

What do I need to bring on a tour? Gear
A: General riding gear. Jeans, long and short sleeved T-shirts, riding shoes or boots, gloves. For summer weather, some long sleeve white T Shirts are a great idea, but you have to make your own call on safety gear versus heat exhaustion in the summer.   We are happy to talk to you about what you might want to bring on the specific trip you are doing depending on the month of the year.

There is plenty of time to buy jackets, gloves, helmets, and any gear you might need at the rental store.  But if you want to really take your time buying it = more shopping than just buying, we suggest you visit the store before you are trying to pick up, or arrive extra early to purchase what you need.  You don’t want to be trying to get all your gear and get checked out, and rush out of there at the same time.
# We can’t guarantee that rental store will have what you need in stock at pick up time.  There are some option to preorder your gear we can help you with so that it is waiting for you.  With that said, there is usually plenty in stock.

Mornings and evenings can be brisk. Some warm gear year round for the early mornings on Coast trips, and Spring and Fall RT 66 trips. Some light windbreaker/gear is easy and great to have. The rental store sells if they have it in stock a $39.00 foul weather gear that is great for a windbreaker with pants for early ams etc on certain times of the year.  We can’t guarantee it will be in stock, so best to buy some and bring it.

Some common items include:

  • Sunglasses
  • Camera
  • Long underwear for cold weather trips
  • Windbreaker / gear as needed per tour / season
  • Sense of adventure
  • SPF 50 Sun Block

GPS? Do any motorcycles have it? Do motorcycles have a charging port?
The Glide models of Harley have built in GPS for 2018.  Ultra Electra Glide, Street Glide, Road Glide.  And cigarette lighter style charging ports.
– This is at most locations, but not all.  You need to inquire per location whether the Harley Glide Models have GPS, but most locations do.
ALL Other makes and models do not.

Can we hire a GPS for bike?

For Harley Davidsons at most locations: The Ultra Electra Glide and Street Glide come with built in GPS.. if you want them.  The Road King, Heritage Softail, and others do not come with GPS, and no power ports to charge a GPS or anything else.

For GPS options and Charging Port options on Harleys, and other Models like Triumph, Honda, BMW, and more….
See our link here to Motorcycle Choices or Details of the bikes

We recommend buying a 2nd battery or whatever you need so you have a back up battery… or some people have an auxiliary battery pack that they can plug their gps charger into.

Also our rental companies will not rent GPS for those Harley motorcycles, nor will they mount it as of April 2018.People are bringing their own GPS units ( I recommend even with the ultra electra glide and street glide .. those do have a power port )
A lot of people are also bringing a mount for their phone, and an auxiliary battery packet for extra power to plug into.  And using my program direct on their phone GPS with Iphone.  Should work on about any phone, just need to try.    

More GPS Details.
If you want to have GPS at most locations ( other than Harley “Glide” models ) you need to bring your own GPS and mounting hardware, charging system etc…  You also need to be able to hook it up and install it yourself.  If you can’t install it, let us help you plan ahead of time for you to bring it to a local shop for installation.  Keep in mind, it takes time to get this done worked into a shop’s schedule, but I can work with you and the shop ahead of time to make it as fast as possible.   A few of our locations do have 

Q: How much money do I need to bring on a tour?

A:  Your expenses will be food, gas, souvenirs, snacks, beer, activities, park fees, tolls, entrance fees, are some of the expenses.
Nothing that is not specifically stated as included in your particular tour is included.

Q: Where will we sleep on the tour?

A:  The choice of lodging is a huge part of a Ride Free Tour and experience.

Lodging ranges from hotels in Vegas, motels on old Route 66, to camping in the middle of nowhere ( Camping is ONLY on custom camping tours ). Most tours include a mix of  hotels and motels.  About 3 Star is the average.
We can customize and upgrade your hotels if you like.  From $100 upgrades to get something a little more special, to $1500 a night extra.
BUT, you really don’t need to upgrade.  We already are staying in cool and clean local spots with the flavor of the area.

When available we stay at the small places with the most character. I prefer the old vintage places from a bygone era with
lots of character. If we are doing a ride for your group, we can book any level of hotel when available.
We stay away from places more tours go to, the box chain hotels which are the same no matter what country or city you are in.  We prefer the mom and pop small local places.  Yes, these places are harder to book, not just click it on line like the big corporate companies do..   But this extra work and attention to detail of an authentic locals roadtrip, you will see in every aspect of Ride Free.  This is what sets up apart.

The lodging we stay at are cool places that I stay at when I ride with my friends or wife.  They usually strategically located in town, walking distance to dinner, pubs, and fun.   That way you don’t have to drive after a long day. Also, they are picked to be motorcycle parking and motorcycle friendly.

See the Testimonials about our lodging: https://ridefree.com/testimonials

Cleanliness of a hotel in very important to Ride Free.

Hotels Before and After Tour – We can arrange your hotel before and after the tour for you in the hotel we stay in. We suggest arriving at least a night before the first schedule night of tour, and stay at least one extra night after the last day.  The hotel in included on the first listed day of tour.  The last listed date of the tour, does not include a hotel because that is the departure day.  The night on the 2nd to last day is the last night included.

The San Francisco to LA Coast Tours  are handled in a different way than all other tours.  The San Francisco and LA hotels on those specific tours are not included in the tour.  Only the nights on the road are included.  We can book you hotel nights in San Fran and LA if you like separately from the actual tour.

You will want your rest before and after the tour. Don’t let a delayed flight ruin your trip, or expect to be able to catch up on your sleep once the tour starts.
When finishing the tour, the night where we arrive to final destination does include a hotel that night ( on most tours except San Francisco to LA Coast tour for example )  On any tour, we can add hotels before or after it.

Q: If I have a motorcycle, can I ride it on one of your self guided tours?

A: Yes, we just do a deduction on the cost of the tour if you bring your own bike.  If there is an extra one way bike return fee  listed on the website that would be added onto the cost of the tour, that cost will not be charged to you if you bring your own bike.  With enough notice, my classic car dealership, www.sakowskimotors.com, can sell you a bike to ride on tour, then handle shipping home to you anywhere in the world.  When you add of depreciation from mileage, tour prep, wear and tear from tour, new tires, insurance, registration, shipping, making the bike pass compliance for your country, etc, it usually makes more financial sense to just rent the bike.  But it is nice to have the vehicle you used on tour back in your home garage for sentimental reasons.  Up to you!

Q: Is airfare included in the tour cost / Hotels before and after tour / transportation?

A: No. We do not do airfare. Your tour begins in the start city the day of the tour. We have found that this is really the best option for you. Arrangements can be made for extra hotel accommodations, upon request.  The hotels we use on the first and last day of tour are usually close to the airport.  In most situations and tours, there will be a shuttle to shuttle you to or from the airport.   We have a packet per tour we will give you that will let you know which airports to fly into for each city.  We suggest arriving a couple of days early, and leaving a couple of days after the tour so you have time to rest before and after the tour.  We can book these for you.

Q: If I make a self guided tour deposit, when is my final payment due?

A:  On a Self Guided Tour, once you make a non refundable deposit we start building and booking your trip.  That includes reserving your vehicle and hotels.

It is best to get your deposit in as soon as possible so we can provide you with the best tour possible, and to reserve your spot as well as your bike and rooms.   The earlier you book, the farther we can make your money go.

Final Payment is due cleared in our bank, at least 90 Days before your tour date.

Q: How Do I Pay for and book the Tour?  When should I book?

A: You can pay in full, or you can make a deposit  A deposit of $1000 per week per person ( varies per tour). Contact us for particular deposit of each tour, and we can set up payment.  When you contact us to book, we either have forms and waivers you can fill out quickly and easily online, or we can email your a PDF for you to fill out and mail or email back to us.
We have a number of different payment options depending on a number of factors.  Contact us and we will give you the options.  Final payment is due received and cleared before 90 days before tour dates.

A:  We recommend booking at least 1 year in advance when possible.  We are happy to work you in last minute, but it is in your interest to book as soon as possible.  This will help us be able to give you the best tour possible for the money before our normal hotels we like book up, and while the model of the vehicle you want is still available.

Q: Can I get a refund on my deposit?

A: No.  Self Guided / Self-Drive Tour deposits are not refundable.   If you pay in full before the 90 before tour day total payment due date, then that amount less the deposit and a $250 processing fee per person will be refunded if requested.  Refunds will not be given to cancellations requested later than 90 days before a reserved tour due to booked hotels, time spent planning, vehicle rentals, and more.  We must book hotels and bikes far in advance to be able to provide a great tour for you. It is a good idea to check in to travel trip insurance and purchase it independently. That will cover you if you miss the tour last minute for any reason.
Let me stress that again: Please please please purchase tour insurance from a broker so if you can’t come last minute you will be reimbursed from the insurance company your loss of money.  If you have to cancel and lose your deposit or full amount, we will want to help you, will feel honestly horrible for you, but will be unable to help you.