After 20 years growing up in Colorado Brenden Brenden Anders moved to Alaska on a whim to work seasonally as a bike washer for a small motorcycle rental and tour company called Alaska Rider Tours. One thing led to another and eight years later the company and his role within have changed substantially. He now fulfills the role of General Manager for the rebranded and expanded company called MotoQuest. In addition to overseeing operations Brenden ventures into the field four to five times a year to take part in the leadership of various motorcycle tours around the world. MotoQuest currently operates four rental facilities on the West Coast of the United States in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Anchorage. Internationally it offers over forty itineraries a year spanning 17 countries.
When asked what his favorite motorcycle is he quickly responds, “the one I just rode,” likewise, his favorite place to ride is wherever he was that day.
How do the tours you offer at MotoQuest give guests a unique perspective on the history, people or culture of your region?
A good motorcycle adventure by design takes the road less traveled. Traversing these routes a guest is perhaps more likely to meet the working class people that really are the makeup of the region and culture. Our trips are logistically complicated to say the least and all logistics require the people and services around you so the exposure to the local culture and population is constant. Often at the end of a ride some of the most memorable experiences I hear from our riders are stories of us working with the locals to solve whatever needs solving. From visiting the mechanic or pharmacist to having a typical meal and checking into our lodging, our riders are constantly immersed in the local culture and people.
How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?
MotoQuest started as a regional tour operator in Alaska going by the name Alaska Rider Tours. The core idea was the same even back then, immerse riders into a place full of interesting history, people, culture, scenery and of course great motorcycling. It was a winning combination and we did a good job at it. Our riders started to ask where else can you take us? We now publicly offer 42 itineraries spanning 17 countries and much more off the menu.
What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important? Please explain why.
Safety. Motorcycling is high risk even when everything goes the way it is supposed to. A lot of work goes in before during and after a tour to ensure everyone gets home safe and to prepare to handle any situations that do arise.
What do you wish every guest knew as they consider participating in the experiences you offer?
I wish they could imagine how they are going to feel on day four or five when they are getting into the rhythm of the ride. The motorcycle feels familiar, they have learned a few phrases of the local language and they don’t remember what day of the week it is. They have disconnected from the life they knew and are fully engrossed in playing the part of the motorcycle nomad.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
Adventure travel seems to be gaining some traction. Although it is not for everyone it is great to see more and more unique options showing up that break the mold of the traditional vacation.
What sets MotoQuest apart from other, similar, organizations?
MotoQuest has recently started to use a short phrase quite often; small groups, big adventures. Keeping our group sizes smaller than our competitors keeps the ride intimate and nimble which I believe makes for a more memorable and tailored experience.
What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?
Arrive with an open mind and little or no expectations as to what you want the experience to be. Don’t try and mold the experience into what you think it should be.
What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?
Listen to your customers, they have input on how to make your service better and their perspective is more valuable than yours. Their point of view is likely similar to the other customers you are looking to attract.
What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?
Show up on time, everything else falls into place!
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.
The most common reaction I see from traveling with MotoQuest is an increase in overall confidence. Although we facilitate the experience our guests are very much in charge of their own actions from start to finish. Our trips are demanding and really stretch our riders out of their comfort zone culturally, socially and with respect to their riding ability. After successfully completing a long expedition you can literally see the way they feel about themselves has improved which is really satisfying from our perspective.