When Harley-Davidson came up with an initiative to teach motorcycling to all the residents of a small American town, it was Ryder, North Dakota that they zeroed in upon. A small town with only 87 people, Ryder is the quintessential Mid West farming community with unpaved roads, wheat and soybean fields and lonely houses on the Prairie.
Urbanisation had skipped Ryder, moving onto bigger towns nearby. It was once a booming town with 400 people in early 1900s and a busy railway station. But when the railway line moved away, so did the banks and restaurants that came with it and most of the 400 people. Today, a grain mill, a general store and a local tavern are all that's left of commerce in this town. And no bikes whatsoever.
So it was a real challenge for Harley Davidson to introduce the local residents to the lifestyle of motorcycling, and convince them to switch from four wheels to two. But now that it's got the residents all excited, Harley wants to teach every willing resident how to ride. It also aims to make Ryder the first town in America, where every eligible individual has a motorcycle license.
But why choose Ryder? Harley's executives had considered towns like Freedom and Independence. However, they kept coming back to the name Ryder. “We looked at the town and said, ‘Why don’t we turn Ryder into Riders,” said Anoop Prakash, Harley’s U.S. marketing director in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The town officials have, in fact, changed the name Ryder to 'Rider' for this motorcycle season 2017. The entire learning process will be an easy and fun-filled affair. Harley has stationed a motorcycle in the town for amateurs to learn first how to get on to a big bike. And to add to all excitement, the celebrations will include also a street dance apart from motorcycle riding demonstrations. Well, Harley sure does know how to make headlines! We hope this event will put Ryder back on map.