Why Chiltern Trike Tours?
Where did the idea of Chiltern Trike Tours originate from?
Ashley has worked in the IT industry for just over 25 years as a programmer, team leader and project manager in the FX, Television and Utility industries.
"I was always interested in cars and had many summer jobs working as a cleaner for a local dealer in Newcastle and one summer as an intern project manager for Ford Motor Company. I always wanted to own a mk1 Ford Escort Cabriolet but it was not to be - however I did manage to buy an MGF convertible (1996) soon after they were launched. I became interested in trikes through watching Billy Connolly touring on Route 66 in the USA and Mark Evans in the "Is Born" series.
For many years I contemplated trying to build a trike from a kit (as Mark Evans did) but we do not really have the space and I had no experience or skills. My wife bought me a trike tour in Scotland for my 50th birthday, which we both thoroughly enjoyed despite the weather that day. Back in Aylesbury I was keen to repeat the experience so I did what we all do... opened up a Google search, typed in Aylesbury trike tours and …. nothing! That set me wondering about creating the experience in the Chilterns - an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty around forty miles North West of London. If I like triking, would other people like it too? An idea was planted.
After more then twenty five years in the IT industry including commutes of more than 2 hours each way five days a week, I began to wonder if it was time to look at doing something different, something that is fun and includes meeting lots of interesting people. We thought it might be good to check that before trying to start a trike tour business that I could actually drive a trike! So on a cold November day we (my wife and youngest child) rented a Boom Mustang Family trike and drove it on a round tour to Blackpool. I think my daughter will always remember the first time she arrived in Blackpool. From that drive I knew it was something I wanted to do.
We are using a brand new, purpose built Boom Trike to supply tours and experiences of the Chiltern Hills and surrounding areas. The nature of the trike, with no windows or doors, is truly exhilarating. As it turned out, having the idea was actually the easy bit! There were many steps that we had to complete before we could even think of ordering the trike. We have had lots of help and advice along the way (particularly from Jason at Yorkshire Trike Tours, who was a pioneer in getting trike tours accepted).
First we had to put the idea to the local council. Aylesbury Vale District Council (now Buckinghamshire Council) had no policy to cover trike tours, but by working with Leeds City council (with whom Yorkshire Trikes had worked very closely) they started to come around to the idea. I had to write a paper on the trike and what I wanted to do and then appear in front of a full meeting of the taxi committee - it was as scary as it sounds! I described it later as similar to when you see Harry Potter at the Ministry of Magic standing trial for performing magic outside school. With lots of advice from the head of the taxi management at AVDC, the law in Buckinghamshire was changed to allow a three wheeled vehicle to be used for tours. A number of rules specific to the trike were imposed (for example, we have to tell you before you book that we do not have windows or doors!) - we have worked hard to comply with them all. This is just as well because the trike is inspected by the council (like an more stringent MOT) to check.
Safety is of paramount importance and this has been uppermost in the minds of myself and the council as we worked out how to properly license the trike. Of course we cannot completely remove risk, but life would be very boring if there was no risk at all."