Frequently asked questions
This is a bit of a mistitled page - most of these questions I've never been asked once nevermind frequently but it is an opportunity to include lots of information about what we do that never quite seems to fit into the other pages. I've tried to cover most of the things I'd like to know before spending my own money, but if I've left something out that's essential for you to know please get in touch.
Tell me about yourelf and the business

Hi, I'm Stuart Holding and Alpine Classic Bikes is a small business that I run (although if you ring up and get a female voice, that'll be my wife, Helen). Our main home is in the UK, near Oxford, but the business is based in the French ski resort of Alpe D'Huez (near Grenoble). Click on the map to see where we are and have a look at the pages that give more information on the area. For an insight into my biking background click here

What exactly are you offering?

Our small fleet of classic motorcycles is available for a range of guided tours through the high passes of the French Alps. There are a number of suggested routes outlined on the tours page (unashamedly based on some of my favorite roads) but many more, either in the mountains or lower down closer to sea level, are possible. I'm happy to listen to any preferences you might have. The essence of the tours is enjoyment so speeds are leisurely and stops frequent - either for refreshment, sightseeing or photographs. Distances are around 100 -120 miles per day (alpine roads can be slow going). If you're with friends and want to swap bikes during the day, generally I've no problem with that but there's quite a size and weight difference between some of the bikes and some combinations of bike size and rider physique may not work. Finally, the tours have to be guided - the insurers won't let me rent the bikes to you to use on your own..

The tours sound great but what else can we do in the area?

Lots! The area is a major French outdoor holiday centre. I've written a page covering some of the major activities that can be found. and there are links to a number of local websites that will give you up to date information (there are usually pages in english if your french is a little rusty). Think larger version of the Peak District and you'll get some idea of what the area's like.

Tell me about the legal side

We've arranged third party insurance on the bikes. That covers you for any damage you might cause to other people and / or their property. The insurers insist that you should be at least 25yrs old and held a full motorcycle licence for at least three years. This policy keeps the law happy but it doesn't cover damage to the bikes. If you want to arrange comprehensive insurance with your own insurance company to cover this I can supply you with any details your company may require. The alternative is to "self insure". This means that you undertake to reimburse the cost of repairs should an accident happen and again I can supply you with details of how we organise that on request. In addition health and safety legislation requires that I do a hazard audit. Its nothing to do with road conditions but simply requires I try to forsee what could go wrong . From your perspective it mainly means that I need to make sure that your level of current experience is suitable for the bike you'll be using and the route we'll be taking.

What happens if things go wrong?

The two most likely problems are breakdowns and poor weather. We try our best to ensure that the former does not happen but please remember these are 30yr old bikes and that despite months of maintainance, the unexpected can still occur. If it can't be fixed quickly at the side of the road we'll get you on a replacement and sort it out later. Poor weather we've got less control over! July and August are generally good months in the alps but the odd wet day or thunderstormy evening are not unknown. If the weather looks as though it's going to spoil the day we can either credit you with an alternative date or we'll refund 2/3 of the hire cost - your choice. You may also be (rightly) concerned about paying money to someone who you've never met - particularly as I don't take cards at present so there's no card company backup. I am aware of this and I would encourage you to call me for a chat before you make any decision. My contact details are on the prices page.

Why did you chose the these bikes ? Nothing British?

Initially because I already had two of them! The Kawasaki H1 I've owned for over twenty years and I know it well. Some of the smaller bikes I also had (Kawasaki Samurai 250, Yamaha AS1 125) are great to ride but they'd be well out of their depth on the mountain passes so I started looking at larger engined classics. In the end it came down to personal bias and cost - I'm no great fan of Honda 750's and Kawasaki Z1's have appreciated out of sight. I also wanted to try and spread the choice over the major Japanese manufacturers from the decade 1970 -80. It had to be Japanese bikes, I've never owned any classic era British bike and after 20+ years of the joys and tears of 1960's classic Lotus ownership I'm never likely to want to!

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