As the sun goes down earlier and the weather becomes more miserable by the day around the US, we here in Southern California are still wearing t-shirts and shorts to the test tracks. We know that the talk about the weather and riding in California is about as cliché as it comes, but it is the truth: everything a rider could ever desire is here. A few entrepreneurs have picked up and run with the idea of a full-fledged motocross vacation, where a rider flies to So Cal with only a gear bag and spends the next week or so riding a prepped bike at every track imaginable. While at Pala on Wednesday, we caught up with Sam, the owner and operator of Ride California to get the details on how to leave your soon to be snow covered city behind for a week.
What exactly is “Ride California” and how long have you been in business?
We have been in business for four years and we are basically a dirt bike rental company, but we specialize in packages to bring people from all over the world and the US here to California. We supply the bike, accommodations, transportation to and from the airport and the track. A standard package would be to come in on Sunday, ride Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday we do tours of Pro Circuit, Troy Lee Designs, and the test tracks, ride again on Thursday and Friday, and go to a Supercross or AMA National on Saturday. We can do them based on only riding, where you come in for a week and ride for four days.
With the bike, mechanic, and all that is included, how much does this cost for a customer and what would they need to take care of own their own?
You just need to get to one of the local airports, like Ontario, San Diego, and some fly to Los Angeles, we pick you up, and from there everything is taken care of and included. The bikes are ready and prepped, we pay the entry fee and the fuel while the mechanic takes care of the bike. A standard week is $1700, minus the flight you get on your own, and a Supercross or National package is $1999.
What will a mechanic do for a customer? I see that you are swapping out tires now, so general up keep and getting the bike to suit the rider more?
Yeah, the bikes are prepped and warmed up; you just need to put your riding gear on and go. We do all the maintenance and take them home to wash and get ready for the next day. The only thing we don’t really cover in the $1700 is damages. We understand bikes that bikes get dropped and bars get bent, but everything else is the responsibility of the rider. But we do offer an insurance and damage package on the bike as well.
You have an accent yourself. Where are you from and what brought you to California?
I’m from England. I moved here in 2001 and started doing this right away. We started as more of a training camp, but then we figured out what the best parts of the month were and crammed it down in to a week.
Where have you had customers come from?
The majority comes from the UK, and that is because of my background being British. We have had people from New Zealand and Australia, and last year we had a group come from Latvia. People come here and they can’t believe how many tracks there are and what kind of shape they are in. The Europeans, they have track that get graded twice a year and watered whenever it rains, and they come to Pala and have two track groomed daily, Milestone with three groomed tracks, and every other track that is prepped and taken care of every day.
How far in advance should someone book a trip?
We are booked six to eight months out right now, up to the end of June, but we have a few spots available here and there. People book their week months in advance, but some times space opens up.
For more information, go to www.ride-california.com