Harley-Davidson is Teaching an Entire Town to Ride

In the modern world of motorcycle marketing, it’s tough to grab headlines or catch the attention of bikers. Not only have Harley-Davidson come up with something pretty clever, it brings new blood into the saddle.

What if a motorcycle manufacturer promised to teach every single person in a town how to ride a bike for free? Hoping to attract the attention of riders, Harley-Davidson is heading to Ryder, North Dakota. Not only is teaching every resident of a town a big challenge, it could become quite costly.

Fortunately, or more like good-planning, the town of Ryder only has an estimated population of 85.

The town of Ryder, was established in 1906, just three years after Harley-Davidson started down their historic road of building motorcycles. Adding a page to that story, Harley-Davidson will ride into Ryder Saturday, June 3 with the goal of creating the first fully motorcycle licensed town. Qualifying residents across generations, from grandparents to grandchildren, will receive the opportunity to learn the basics of motorcycle riding and experience firsthand how easy – and fun – it can be to learn to ride.

New riders heading for the open road. Ryder, N.D. residents gather in front of the town’s newly refurbished water tower, which has become a landmark for motorcycle riders in the Dakotas. 

"In Ryder, and across the country, Harley-Davidson is passionate about creating opportunities for new riders to experience and enjoy the sport of motorcycling,” said Anoop Prakash, Director, U.S. Marketing and Market Development, Harley-Davidson. “With summer quickly approaching, there's never been a better time to learn how to ride a motorcycle,"

Proving the whole marketing idea adds one clever layer after another, Ryder city officials will change the town's name to "Riders" this riding season to commemorate the experience. Additionally, to help welcome all future riders, Harley-Davidson helped refurbish the town's water tower, mirroring the design of the famous water tower that sits atop Harley-Davidson headquarters in Milwaukee.

"The town of Ryder welcomes the roar of Harley-Davidson motorcycles down Main Street," said Mayor of Ryder, Jody Reinisch. "We're excited to see several generations of Ryder residents on motorcycles learning together, trying new life experiences and enjoying the beauty of our town and surrounding area like never before."

Motorcycle Mayor of Ryder, Jody Reinisch

Relocating to Ryder, North Dakota may be an extreme move for free motorcycle training so Harley-Davidson is more than happy to offer the same quality of training in many of its dealerships around the country for an affordable price. The Harley-Davidson Riding Academy New Rider Course gives wanna-be bikers everything they need to get a motorcycle license and more importantly, prepared for the open road in just a few classes.

Offered at select H-D dealers, the New Rider Course provides expert guidance from Harley-Davidson certified coaches. In the classroom, attendees learn about the motorcycle used for the course and the basics of rider safety skills. On the practice range, skills and confidence are built, learning everything from braking, turning and skilled maneuvers.

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