You don’t have to be tattooed and body pierced in order to ride a Harley. You don’t even have to own a Harley to ride a Harley, thanks to EagleRider, an L.A.-based company with 116 locations worldwide. Started in 1992 by college buddies Chris McIntyre and Jeff Brown, EagleRider has grown from four motorcycles in a garage in San Pedro, California to over 4,000 Harleys and other assorted high-end motorcycles available to rent by the hour, day, week or longer. For the man who harbors the dream of riding a hog to Daytona Bike Week or Sturgis, up the Pacific Coast Highway or simply to catch the breeze on a sunny day but can’t bring himself to make the commitment to the price and upkeep of a major piece of motorcycle machinery, renting is the easy entry answer.
If you are a first-time or rusty rider, the first order of business is attending classes at a motorcycle school because you need to be licensed and you need to be safe and comfortable. Typically accomplished in a classroom session followed by a couple of on-bike training sessions, you can be ready to ride in less than a week. Make certain to buy or borrow appropriate riding gear. Leather offers the best protection and there are a myriad of choices, some of which stop just short of turning you into the look of your local S&M dungeon master. Regardless of the law in your state (and the laws do vary from state to state), you must wear a helmet, preferably the full monty with windshield. They’re more comfortable than they look and you’ll be protecting your body’s most important organ—your brain.
Riding solitaire is a great way to clear your head while thinking about everything and nothing at the same time. Get out your atlas and look for the roads with the most squiggly lines. Two lanes are always preferable to four. It’s your chance to take in the sights, the air, the smells of America. Avoid freeways and interstates whenever possible.
If you are looking for something more organized, EagleRider can help there as well. They offer some fantastic guided tours, both in America and to assorted exotic locations around the world. A favorite with Europeans is the Route 66 tour that kicks off in Chicago and runs down America’s most famous highway all the way to L.A. Almost as popular is EagleRider’s Wild West tour which starts in L.A., then takes in Palm Springs, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Bryce Canyon before landing for a couple of nights in Las Vegas. If that’s not enough adventure for you, try the 22-day tour of New Zealand or the 12-day South Africa Cape Explorer tour. Hotel arrangements are made in advance. Dinners and breakfasts are included. And you don’t have to pack light on the guided tours since there’s a four-wheel vehicle following behind with your casino clothes and extra gear.
Wherever you’re headed, the most important thing is the ride. To steal a Robert Pirsig quote from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, his landmark tome on cycling and Eastern philosophy, “You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other."
To book your trip or rent a motorcycle, go to www.eaglerider.com.