Sunday, March 1, 2009



Ugh, the ‘chance’ for more snow.  When will it let up?  Well, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, I mean after all, this is winter in Western Pennsylvania in January.   The cold doesn’t really bother me, but you really can’t take chances riding your bike with snow on the ground.  Besides getting the salt off all of the chrome is like a race against time to avoid rust and pitting.

What I wouldn’t give for a few days of riding where I didn’t have to study the forecast as if it were a final college exam.  I mean really, 3 days of sunshine and salt-free roads—that’s all I’m asking for.   Too bad we couldn’t rent the sun from our neighbors to the south.  Or maybe we can..

I’m thinking a weekend get-away to Florida to rent a bike would take care of my winter blues.   Renting a bike is actually a good idea.

Sometimes when I go out of town and if it’s a tourist destination, I will rent a bike.  For me this makes sense as I get to try different models, learn what I like and don’t like, and a two day rental is a fraction of a monthly bike payment.  Not only that, I don’t have to clean the bike when I return it, it’s all taken care of.

There are many places you can go to pick out the bike of your choice.  In my opinion, the best place to rent a motorcycle is through an authorized dealership of a specific motorcycle manufacturer. 

For example, Harley-Davidson has a rental program primarily in dealerships located in the states where you can ride year round.  You can rent just about every model Harley-Davidson makes.  In most cases, there are only a few requirements to jump in the saddle.  You have to have a valid motorcycle license, a major credit card, and you have to wear a helmet which comes with the bike rental—(unless you really want to go through airport security with your own helmet and tell the person with the wand that it’s “just in case.”) 

If the brand of motorcycle that you prefer doesn’t have a rental program, there are places that carry all of the big names with locations all over the United States.  One of the most reputable rental companies for the motorcycle industry is Eagle Rider Motorcycle Rentals.  They carry late model Harley Davidson, Suzuki, Yamaha, BMW, and Honda motorcycles.  

To the traditionalist, yes, I know…  you’re riding someone else’s bike and it may not be your baby that you have in the sun… but it’s two wheels, the weather is warm, and it’s just you and the open road.  In my book, that’s not a bad thing since it will be a few more months until the threat of snow is totally out of the satellite picture.

Here are a few tips on getting the best out of your rental experience:

  • Pick a place that you’ve always wanted to visit that doesn’t get a lot of rain.  Chances are you’ll enjoy that destination more on two wheels than four.
  • Look for a dealership or a rental company that carries the brand of motorcycle that you are used to.  Riding a totally different bike in unfamiliar surroundings may take some of the fun out of your trip.
  • Go to a website that will allow you to shop for a better price on your airline ticket or one that alerts you via e-mail when a special rate opens up to your destination. 
  • When making your hotel reservations, chances are you’ll be spending very little time in your room.  Go economy.

For about $650, you can have a nice little two-wheeled getaway and leave the snow and salt behind.  All it takes is a couple phone calls or clicks of the mouse and you’re on your way to a renting a weekend of fun in the sun.

The writer is Operations Manager at Hot Metal Harley-Davidson located in West Mifflin and Host of “On the Road with Rocky” on 660 AM Thursdays @ 10AM.

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