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Eagle Rider Business Class Travel

Thursday, October 13, 2011
No schedule to keep. No destination to reach. Just riding.
Eagle Rider is helping to eliminate 'Stuck Without a Bike' Syndrome by providing motorcycle rentals across the U.S.
It’s a re-occurring problem that every motorcyclist will experience at some point. You're out of town on business and unexpectedly find yourself with a free afternoon. Or it's the fourth day of the family vacation and the kids are getting restless. Or you’ve flown in to visit family and reached your limit of couch conversations and take-out. And then it happens. Standing on the corner waiting for the light to change so that you can cross the street you hear it coming. Without a glance you know what it is, but you look anyway. A motorcycle. It passes by, a blur of motion, noise, shiny chrome and bright paint. The rider sits smirking, as if to mock your predicament. Your eyes follow the motorcycle until it turns a corner and disappears out of sight like a dog watching its master drive away. The sinking feeling is in your stomach before it’s gone. It happened again. You’re stuck, a long way from home, it’s a beautiful day and you don’t have a motorcycle.

Enter Eagle Rider rentals, a business that just may be the cure for the common ‘stuck without a bike’ syndrome. One of the first motorcycle rental companies, Eagle Rider has grown from its humble beginnings in 1992 to include more than 75 locations at major metropolitan areas around the country, offering a variety of motorcycles for local and one-way rentals.

The fleet of Eagle Rider D.C. includes a Can Am Spyder  Honda Shadows  Goldwings and  of course  Harley Davidsons.
The fleet of Eagle Rider D.C. includes a Can Am Spyder, Honda Shadows, Gold Wings and, of course, Harleys.
I recently found myself matching the criteria of an ideal Eagle Rider client; away from home with free time on my hands, but no motorcycle. It was a beautiful July day and the fact that everyone who owned a motorcycle seemed to be out riding was driving me crazy.

Eagle Rider operates with a network of both corporately owned and independent franchise locations throughout the country. In the Washington D.C. metro area, where I found myself, their closest location was an independent franchise called Eagle Rider D.C. Owner Jay Staggs maintains a fleet of over 50 motorcycles. His herd includes Hondas and BMWs, popular models like the Gold Wing and the R1200GS, but the bread and butter of any Eagle Rider location are Harley-Davidson tourers.

The process of picking up an Eagle Rider bike is simple and familiar to those who have ever rented a car. Plunk down your driver’s license with motorcycle endorsement and credit card for the rental fee and security deposit, legally sign your life away and in about 15 minutes you’re ready to go. For my ride I selected a Harley Road King. The model Staggs brings out front is a pristine machine in Sedona Orange.

Depending on the bike, the rental rate will vary from $75 to $150 a day. Helmets are included with rentals, jackets are available for an extra charge and other essentials, like gloves and rain gear, are available for purchase.
The sprawling Gettysburg National Military Park provides plenty of roads for slow cruising.
No schedule to keep. No destination to reach. Just riding.
Crossing the Potomac on Route 15 across the Point of Rocks Bridge.
Although it varies from location to location many Eagle Rider franchises offer discounts for AMA and H.O.G. members and active military personnel.

Nearly half of Staggs’ clients are international, flying into the East Coast to ride across the continent. In close proximity to Dulles International Airport, many come directly from their flight. The most popular destinations for one-way rentals from the East Coast are Los Angeles and San Francisco.

For his local rentals Staggs is always ready to recommend a ride. Well positioned near the nation’s capital with prime roads in every direction, he often directs out-of-towners to Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, west to the mountain roads of West Virginia or north into Pennsylvania farm country to view attractions like the Harley-Davidson factory at York. Eagle Rider will even rent you a GPS.

I did one better. I contacted a friend in the area who agreed to spend the day guiding me on some local roads.

The next eight hours pass in a blur. I leave Chantilly heading against the mid-week traffic, quickly making my way past the clot of morning commuters and into the countryside. Heading north on Route 15, a state scenic byway, we pass through the McMansions of Northern Virginia horse country before crossing the Potomac River into Maryland on the Point of Rocks Bridge.

In Frederick I meet my friend. Our first stop of the day is Jackman Custom Cycle, an old-school bike shop where the owner has grease under his nails and the machine tools in the back tell you that the bikes he’s building aren’t coming
Lunchtime at the nationally known Chubbys Barbeque in Emmitsburg  Maryland.
Lunchtime at Chubby's Barbeque in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
out of boxes. We get the grand tour from owner Jerry Jackman himself, looking through the Panhead engines in various stages of rebuild, partially finished bikes and freshly painted customs.

From Frederick we continue north on Route 15, the roadside lined with everything from produce stands to a zoo. Passing into Pennsylvania it’s lunch time and no road trip would be complete without road food. We pull into Chubby’s Barbeque, a nationally known road side joint, where the sign says ‘Bikers Welcome’ and the pulled pork sandwiches fill up a plate.

After lunch we make the last few miles to Gettysburg, the small town that gave the Civil War’s most famous battle its name. Whereas most East Coast battlefields have been swallowed up by strip malls and subdivisions, the Adams County landscape looks much like it did in 1863. The open countryside, dotted with small farms, is bisected by narrow back roads that run along the edges of split rail fenced pastures and cross shallow streams. The V-Twin Harley is perfect for the slow speed cruising, rolling past the marble statues, the crowded cemetery, the silent cannons…

The Exxon station is the last stop before returning the Road King to Eagle Rider.
The Exxon station is the last stop before returning the Road King to Eagle Rider.
And then it hit me. For the first time in quite a while I was riding for fun. No schedule. No deadline. Not pushing to get anywhere. The machine I ride is not a product to be evaluated, not a vehicle to be tested. It’s just the means to an end. And that end is riding. Not riding for anything or anyone. Riding to ride.

Five o’clock comes quick on a motorcycle with nothing but open roads ahead. I rolled back into the parking lot of Eagle Rider D.C. with less than 15 minutes to spare, reluctantly relinquishing the keys to Staggs. As I leave the building I give a final glance to the still warm Road King that has made my day so enjoyable. Off in the distance I hear the rumble of a bike, but I don’t pay it any attention because I’ve had my own ride today.
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Piglet2010   October 25, 2011 09:01 PM
-woodco100- A loud exhaust is heard mostly from traffic that is behind, so offers little to no safety benefit. Please post a citation of a peer reviewed study that shows a safety benefit. At least air-cooled H-B bikes are slow, so it is easy to get in front of them where the racket it less. Normally when I am in a car or truck, I try to give motos as much room as possible, but will do my best to keep those with loud exhaust behind me to avoid the irritating noise.
Piglet2010   October 25, 2011 08:56 PM
-woodco100- I agree on no helmet laws; we can thin the herd more effectively without them. And you need to educate yourself better; most government regulations are not to restrict freedom, but to grant others freedom from externalities of the irresponsible and anti-social, e.g. noise regulations so I have the freedom to go outside without having my hearing damaged by an anti-social biker, emissions regulations so I do not suffer from ozone/smog. You are really not at all about freedom, but rather putting the costs of your behavior onto the shoulders of others, which is a form of welfare. I on the other hand, do not burden my neighbors with noise, as I keep my NT700V below 2,500 rpm until I am clear of our residential development and out on the arterial street (not a hard thing to do for 4 blocks).
woodco100   October 24, 2011 07:23 PM
When you hear my bike coming from a mile away you put down your phone and start looking for the motorcycle. Try that on a goofy looking NT700.

When I got my Florida DL in the 70s the only requirement for a MC endorsement was checking a box and paying $8. No test, no training, no course. Check yes, pay $8. you now have a MC endorsement. Last time I checked I was still alive.

A lot has changed in Fl since then. They dropped the helmet law, Thank God. Jeb Bush chose liberty over tyranny.

Next time someone ask you to chose between more government regulations, laws, fees, fines, taxes, rules, forms, policys and procedures or freedom.

Please choses freedom.

Ride safe. Woodco100
Poncho167   October 24, 2011 04:42 PM
Loud pipes don't save lives. That is just an excuse that people with loud bikes make to try and justify their arrogance. It is also an old wives tail if you may.

Good riding skills saves lives. It's a fact that the majority of motorcycle vs. auto accidents are caused by auto's. But, on the same token there is a lot more a motorcycle rider can do to avoid those altercations such as riding in the center of their lane when in heavy traffic or approaching intersections. Riding with high visibility clothing, and avoiding blind spots when riding in close proximity to a vehicle. Never riding side by side with another bike, and never lingering on the side of an auto too long to name a few.

Even those who have riden many miles could use a few pointers on the ever changing public roads with all these distracted drivers.

The motorcycle training courses offered in most states are generally free and a good place to update skills and road awareness.

woodco100   October 22, 2011 01:30 PM
A. So move there and rent out bikes.

B. Believe me, if they could afford real bikes they would buy them. They settle for thoses goofy looky NTs, but they want real motorcycles.

C. Who cares what they do outside of the USA anyway?

Piglet2010   October 22, 2011 11:39 AM
P.S. Outside the US, Canada and Australia, no one rides or owns a H-D other than a curiosity, unless they are a 1%er criminal thug. In any of these countries where mature adult motorcyclists are the rule rather than the exception, a NT700V is a more popular bike than any H-D. Only in the US, where we have adult age riders acting like children with their "look at me" chrome, leather and loud pipes do cruisers sell better than other motorcycles. Time to grow up and get a real motorcycle, eh?
Piglet2010   October 22, 2011 11:32 AM
-Woodco- I don't see the H-D crowd restricting their comments to cruisers, online or in real life. Maybe when they stop spouting off their ignorant ******** and gratuitous insults, the rest of us will stop commenting on H-D, eh? Don't throw stones if you live in a glass house. And loud pipes are *not* about freedom, unless you think your freedom to swing your fist extends into peoples faces. Excess noise is an assault, and people should be allowed to defend themselves.
woodco100   October 22, 2011 05:07 AM
Who are you to judge Miss Spears talent, how many songs have you written? If the purpose of being a pop singer is to sell songs then she is a grest sucess. Equally, if the purpose of building motorcycles is to sell motorcycles (and make a profit at it) then HD far exceeds anything Honda can do in the USA.

More so, you constantly go to articles about and featuring chromed out cruisers, written for folks who ride these bikes, and say your choice of MC is better. Why? Just stay on sights (sic) about your prefered MCs and comment on them.

Better yet start a MC rental firm featuring your beloved NT700 and see how many you rent out. My guess would be 0. Americans buy, rent and ride cruisers. Touring, sport touring and adventure touring make up a smaller much % of the market. All the asian metrics would be out of business in a month if they did not make fake Harleys to sell. BMW, Ducati, Triumph, etc sell less than 50K bikes a year. As far as pipes go. I will chose freedom over tyranny. You can sit around and wait for the government to tell you want to ride. I will chose on my own.

Having said all that, you can attack me, Miss Spears or HD all you want. America is about freedom of choice. We have made our choice.

Better go start that NT700 rental firm now, demand to ride that bike is so high, someone may beat you to it.

Opps I did it again.
Piglet2010   October 21, 2011 09:59 PM
-woodco1000- As so much in USian culture proves, popularity does not indicate quality (e.g. Britney Spears). Actually Ms. Spears and a H-D bike have a lot in common: both are sold on looks, both make obnoxious noise, and both lack real performance ability. H-D sells bikes to those want to dress up like a 1%er thug on the weekend, and annoy others with anti-social behavior. Those looking for a bike that is for riding instead of showing off look elsewhere. When I am 250 miles from home and it is dark and raining, I will take my Honda NT700V over anything H-D has ever made (a Connie-14, FJR1300 or ST1300 offer however...). And yes, the police can ticket, and in some places even confiscate your bike for illegal pipes. As for Bike Week, you should realize that real men do *not* need to act like a jerk and offend others - they have the self-confidence to be nice people.
woodco100   October 21, 2011 07:47 PM
There is a reason that HD owns %60 of all motorcycle sales over 600cc in the USA. This includes slow selling sport bikes. Men ride cruisers.
Spend 1 day at bikeweek and you will understand. Real men ride loud, chrome out V twins! Nuttin the cops can do about my pipes. Loud pipes save lives!
Piglet2010   October 21, 2011 11:22 AM
Indeed, most aftermarket "pipes" and exhaust modifications are illegal: http://www.noiseoff.org/pipes/section.09.01.php And the loud pipes crowd should remember that their behavior may result in *all* motorcycles being banned from certain areas and/or at certain times. Excessive noise is an assault on others, which is not covered under "individual freedom" in any civilized society. Besides, no one thinks loud motorcycles are cool, other than the fellow pretend 1%ers (well, real 1%ers do too, but they are criminals who belong in prison - what a group to choose for role models, eh?).
Poncho167   October 21, 2011 08:13 AM
Guess what woody, your writing and lifestyle are the issue. You can't stand the fact that others are different then you so you lie to yourself for something that you believe in so much. If you haven't noticed there are stereotypes for people who buy Harley Davidsons, and a stereotype is more time than not a good representation for what is actual.

You likely ride around on a motorcycle that is illegal for the public streets because it is modified. You don't mind creating a nuisance of yourself with noise polution because you feel free to do so though you are hurting and giving motorcycles a bad name. You are likely to be verbally abusive in public to someone or something you do not like. You like to create attention to yourself because you may be lonely or again it is your right to do so when its not.

So tell me, who is the one with issues?
woodco100   October 21, 2011 03:04 AM
Piggy and Ponchy, boy you guys have issues. Here is the real bottomline. You can write this down and take it to the bank. Then I have to move on.

If you ride a motorcycle, either you have loud, chromed out cruiser or you wish you had a loud chromed out cruiser. You are just not man enough to ride one. So you settle for a wimpy little cruiser or commuter. Go to any Jap, sorry metric dealer (OH THE HUMANITY) and ask what the best selling bikes are. They will be the ones that look most like Harleys!
Piglet2010   October 20, 2011 05:00 PM
Well, lack of popularity with the American public is usually a sign of superiority when it comes to motorcycles. Most European riders care about how the motorcycle functions, while most American riders care about only attracting attention. That is why Europeans demand bikes that are comfortable and handle well and can go over 100,000 miles with only routine maintenance, while in the US, used motorcycle sales listing are full of cruisers with less than 1000 miles of year of use. I guess some of us don't need straight pipes and chrome to compensate for lacking in other areas - that is why we don't mind being seen riding a scooter. :)
Poncho167   October 20, 2011 04:03 PM
Cruisers represent the majority of American motorcycle purchase not America itself. Some people in other countries who see a cruiser may associate that style of bike coming from the U.S., but it represents very little in what America is about. Indian motorcycles set the tone for cruisers that everyone imitated or followed.

America is more at the forefront of techninology and innovation which a cruiser doesn't represent. America is only about freedom when you are from a country that is heavily government controlled like China, or Russia.

American's are programmed at an early age to believe that we are free and live in the best country in the world. America has the highest prison population per capita in the world. We are in a country where you cannot utilize a plant that grows in nature without the threat of being arrested or fined. We are a country that brutilizes other countries illegally for our own needs regardless of others rights.

We live in a country where politions and presidents lie to the public to get there support, and when they are in office they do the opposite of what they campained for or find ways to enrich themselves or friends while hurting others in the process.

I could go on and on about this but the fact is that cruisers do not define our country.
woodco100   October 20, 2011 03:30 AM
Air cooled (less moving parts), V twin, 6 spd, cruise, ABS, air suspension, FI. Classic styling. American cruisers rock!

I just checked Hondas website, not releasing the NV700T for 2012 I see. Must be selling so well they can't keep up with demand so just drop the whole line. This thing cost $10,000! You can but a nice Sportster for that!

Once again, no one what Irish cops ride. Americans buy, ride and ride cruisers!
Piglet2010   October 19, 2011 07:43 PM
From all the "Jap bike" and "rice burner" comments I hear, racism appears to be a factor in the popularity of H-D bikes over the objectively better bikes from the Japanese (not "Jap" unless you are racist) "Big 4". [However, it is OK to use "JAP", if you are referring to antique motorcycles and/or engines from J.A. Prestwich Industries.]
Piglet2010   October 19, 2011 07:33 PM
-US cruiser riders- Watch out for Honda NT700Vs if you visit Ireland: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38016434@N05/5696232647/sizes/l/in/faves-19704682@N08/ - can half the police departments in Europe have it so wrong?
woodco100   October 19, 2011 05:00 PM
Poncho, cruisers represent the very embodiment of the USA. Freedom. Self reliance, individualism, and yes slightly noisey and showy.

That is why they sell so well in America. Real Americans ride cruisers.
Poncho167   October 19, 2011 03:26 PM
"Cruisers represent everything that is great about America."

Please don't link America to antique cruisers. They don't represent America other than the fact that there is a company that manufacturers them in America.

woodco100   October 19, 2011 04:22 AM
One final note. This comments are not unsolicited as you claim. You did indeed solicite our opinion of the NT700V when you asked "but why not ... the Honda NT700V"

Becuase no one is going to rent a bike they would never ride elsewhere.

I said it before I will say it again. Cruisers represent everything that is great about America.

woodco100   October 19, 2011 04:12 AM
You bought a NT700V? So you are the one, I heard they sold 1 last year.

Look Piggy, ride wahtever you want, I do not care. Just stop trying to convince us that we should consider these bikes over cruisers because that is what they do in Europe. There are 8 HD dealers within an hour drive of my house, all are booming, sales are up.

There is not even a Honda dealer in my city of over 1,000,000 people. They folded for exactly that reason. You need to go to the next county over to find one. Don't tell me what I want, sell me what I want. No one, except apparently you, wants those bikes.

Lets just move on. Eagleriders is a great company that rents bikes folks actually want to ride. And true, chrome won't get you home. But hey, at least you look good sitting on the side of the road!
Piglet2010   October 18, 2011 10:44 PM
If I had a dollar for every unsolicited real life negative comment about either my Honda NHX110 or NT700V, or every time I was told I should get a H-D instead, I would have a year's worth of commuting gas money. Seems like the H-D/biker crowd likes to dish it out, but can't take it. And as far as chrome goes, I would rather ride more than polish - but then my bikes are built for riding, not for parking outside a bar.
woodco100   October 18, 2011 04:46 AM
As far as self confidence, since you decided to go there. I would agrue that scooter riders do not have the confidence to man up and ride a real bike. Not girly men bikes. Cruisers represent everything that is great about America. That is why real men ride them.
woodco100   October 18, 2011 04:09 AM
Piglet, then move to Europe and ride whatever you want. Gas is only $16/gal. This is an article about a very sucessful company that rents Harleys. If they rented those goofy looking 700s they would be out of business in a week.

I am not saying do not ride a scooter to work, all I am saying is stop trying to tell the vast amount of us that chose large, expensive, chromed out cruisers that we should ride what you ride. Riding these bikes is our hobby. How the bikes looks, sounds, feels, and vibrates is a part of the experience. I have no idea what MPG my MC or 4WD SUV get. Gas is cheep enough.

Piglet2010   October 17, 2011 05:17 PM
P.S. As for going to a scooter site (not sight), MotoUSA does review scooters, including the Honda NHX110 Elite and European sport-tourers including the Honda NT700V, not just US assembled air-cooled V-twin cruisers.
Piglet2010   October 17, 2011 05:14 PM
Yeah, I guess some people lack the self-confidence to not follow the crowd. Too bad for them, as they are missing out on some great riding. I guess their bikes must not be much fun, since I see them parked in their garages all the time - of the 100+ units in my condo development, there are at least a couple of dozen motorcycles, but only one person who rides to work, the store, the park, etc. :) Heck, my H-D cruiser riding co-worker is jealous of how much storage space I have on my bikes. And my cruiser riding friends complain of discomfort, when I have more than half a tank of fuel left and feel like I am just getting started. I guess European riders are more grown up and don't have to compensate for lacking in other areas with a large, noisy, over-chromed motorcycle.
woodco100   October 16, 2011 06:24 PM
Piglet, for the same reason that 85-90% of the bikes at Biketoberfest toady were big touring HDs. Nobody wants or cares about Honda 250s or those goofy looking 700s.

You seemed bent on dragging everyone down to your scooter mentality. I do not care what the best selling bike in Europe or Asia is. I live and rent in the United States of America. Where, I might add, the best selling model of any motorcycle in any class is the 800+ pounds, $20,000 plus Harley FLHX Street Glide.

Ride what you want, but please stop commenting or how great these goofy Honda mini bikes are to ride. They do not sell and no one wants to rent one. Please just move on to a scooter sight or buy a big heavy, V Twin cruiser.
Piglet2010   October 13, 2011 05:41 PM
OK, I can understand why they are not renting hyper-sports, 600s and liter class bikes, but why not the Honda CBR250 or better yet the Honda NT700V? Either would be safer for an unfamiliar or novice rider than any of the bikes offered (possibly excepting the Rebel 250).