The Road Less Traveled

Offer customers information and ideas to maximize their riding fun while minimizing wasted miles.

Are motorcyclists risk-takers by nature? I’d prefer to think that the people who are attracted to motorcycling are not so much danger-seekers as they are seekers of new experiences. They face the dangers inherent in motorcycling in order to experience what’s around the next corner in a way you can only do on a motorcycle. That’s the payoff!

Maybe that’s too simplistic, then again, maybe not. Finding great new experiences takes work and time. On the roads across this country there’s a lot of "chaff of boring" mixed in with the "wheat of fun."

For some years we’ve made a living of traveling the roads less traveled, seeking what’s around the next corner. But this takes time and frankly, there are a lot of loser roads and places that don’t make the cut. Until your wheels are on the ground on location, you don’t really know if the road is good or if the sights are interesting.

The problem is that most riders have real jobs and families and can’t dedicate their lives to finding the perfect curve or scenic overlook. Consequently, most riders tend to fall into routines or riding ruts. What do I mean? It’s Sunday and Jim and Luis have a half-day after church to go out for a ride. They worked all week, spent Saturday with the family or doing yard work. They have this precious, golden afternoon to go out for a ride in the wind.

Understandably, they may not want to spend it checking out new roads that may turn out to be a total waste of time. They want to know that they’re going to spend their most precious resource, riding time, on a good ride. So, typically riders keep doing the same rides, going to the same places, engaging in the same riding routine — a riding rut. We’ve all done this.

Getting Out Of The Rut

With Ride Texas our goal was to provide riders with information and ideas to maximize their riding fun while minimizing wasted miles. We pre-scope the rides, roads and food with the goal of making sure that riders who follow these trips will have a good ride. We want them to be able to maximize bang for their limited riding time buck.

You can do the same for your customers, and they’ll appreciate your effort. Unless you have an extra hundred grand or two sitting around, you probably don’t want to start your own magazine — trust me! — but you can always offer "Bob’s Honda Breakfast Rides."

You know roads. Your staff knows some. You may have a riding club in-house that has some great ideas. Your customers have ideas. You have the resources to create some simple rides.

They don’t all have to be epic adventures. Keep it under 80 miles, make sure there’s a food stop and something interesting along the route, and you have a winner.

Use a mapping software package like Microsoft Streets & Trips or even Google Maps. Print a bunch of copies, highlight the route, add a comment like "all rides taken at your own risk," and then make them available to your customers.

Steering Clear Of Intellectual Copyright Issues

"Ten lawyers are on a sinking ship …" may be the opening for a joke, but intellectual property rights are serious business. Those of us in the content business invest a lot of money in our content. It’s our product as sure as a helmet and motorcycle are yours. Copyright laws always need to be considered whenever duplicating "intellectual property."

If you do use the output from the mapping software as free giveaways and leave the copyright statement on the printed copy, you shouldn’t get into copyright trouble. But don’t try to sell them or remove the "Google Maps" or Microsoft name. If you try to use these maps for "commercial purposes," pointy-headed lawyers with briefcases may pay you a friendly visit and nobody wants that, do they?

Publication law establishes that it’s unlawful to duplicate or copy maps from published books (like the Roads Of Texas map book), magazines or even websites where the content is copyrighted. You may request permission from the copyright holders to duplicate the content. However, if you do this, be specific and get it in writing.

The Breakfast Run

Imagine if your customers come back just to see if you have a new "Breakfast Run" available. Maybe riders meet up at your dealership before heading out? Maybe you encourage this by offering free coffee and doughnuts. See where I’m going? This can’t be a bad thing.

Motorcyclists, no matter which brand of bike they prefer, want to get out and ride. Active riders putting miles on their bikes will stay in the sport, and consequently they will need gear, accessories and service work on their bikes. Helping them enjoy their bikes helps your bottom line. It’s all good.

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