A former police motorcyclist has swapped escorting members of the royal family and heads of state to launch the UK’s only fully licensed and insured motorcycle and sidecar tours.
Sean Westlake is now sharing the 30 years’ experience gained as a Dyfed Powys Police officer with customers who pay for unique full and half day tours of the stunning scenery and highways and byways of Mid and North Wales.
His new business, Mid Wales Tours - www.midwalestours.co.uk - offers a choice of eight-hour and four-hour tours of Ceredigion, Powys and Gwynedd, but Sean is happy to arrange bespoke tours if customers have a specific request.
The tours, which are for two people - one in the sidecar and the other riding pillion - cost £390 for a half day and £690 for a full day and Sean says they offer customers a unique perspective.
Customers are equipped with radios and Sean provides a commentary as they travel around the countryside. Helmets and wet weather clothing can also be provided if required.
Tours run between Easter and the end of October and, when weather permits, during the winter period. Sean is hoping they will be appeal to couples celebrating anniversaries, birthdays, or other special occasions. Get a taste of what’s on offer by viewing a video at https://vimeo.com/580694059 .
“My tours allow customers to experience the mountains, lakes, scenery and highways and byways from a totally different perspective,” he said. “They can smell, hear and see things that they wouldn’t if they were in an air-conditioned car. It’s all about the journey rather than the destination.
“I stop at lots of places for photo opportunities and travel along roads that most people wouldn’t go on. I love to show off our part of the world and, having spent 30 years as a police officer in Mid Wales, I have plenty of stories to share with customers.
“I have always considered myself really lucky to have been paid and trained to the nth degree by the police to ride motorcycles and I know most of the backroads in Mid and North West Wales. I feel it would be a waste if I didn’t put this training and knowledge to good use now.”
Sean, who lives in Aberystwyth, was stopped by the Covid-19 pandemic from launching his new business earlier. He has invested a great deal of time and money on his new business venture which is based on a Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC and its Watsonian Squire sidecar.
He had to go through a rigorous process, spanning eight months, to become the only fully licensed and insured motorcycle and sidecar tour in the UK. This process included qualifying as an official green badge Wales tourist guide for North Wales.
Sean has been organising guided tours in the UK and Europe for fellow motorcyclists for 15 years. He has been qualified to provide motorcycle training to test standard for almost 20 years and has been an examiner for the Institute of Advanced Motorists for 19 years.
He retired as a police traffic sergeant in 2012, having spent 25 years riding motorcycles to the highest advanced standard, including as a member of the VIP team that escorted members of the royal family and heads of state.
Recently, he has qualified to ride for Blood Bikes Wales which transfers blood supplies, plasma, documents and other items between hospitals around the clock for the NHS
To help promote his new venture, Sean has joined MWT Cymru, an independent organisation that represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd.
Val Hawkins, MWT Cymru’s chief executive, said: “As many thousands of staycation visitors have been discovering this summer, Mid Wales is a fantastic destination and what better way to explore our wonderful region than by motorcycle and sidecar.
“We are delighted that Mid Wales has the UK’s first fully licensed and insured motorcycle and sidecar tour and commend Sean for becoming a qualified Green Badge Guide. We wish him every success with his unique new venture.”
Sean Westlake with Mid Wales Tours customers.
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