Scott Lee goes on vacation all the time.
Well, not exactly. But you'd think he was based on where he goes, how he gets there and the fact that everyone with him is on vacation.
A motorcycle enthusiast, Lee, who resides in picturesque Colorado, founded Colorado Motorcycle Adventures a few years ago to address a growing demand from riders who enjoy two-wheeled excursions on and off-road. It all started with friends and family asking him to take them around the state via motorcycle and since he lives there, obliged. Eventually, he bought an extra bike to be a good host and it snow-balled.
Today, riders from around the United States and all over the world fly in for guided tours across scenic highways or through off-road backcountry routes most folks don't even know about. You can bring your own ride or, if you're coming from afar, he'll rent you one.
Don't worry about a massive caravan either as group size is typically between five and eight riders. Lee is your guide, most of the time, and once you get to know him you'll be glad he is. When he's not leading, he's usually acting as a sweep guide while an industry leader takes the reigns.
Oh, and it's not just week-long trips by bike either. If you want to rent a motorcycle for the day and cruise around, he can help. If you and some buddies want to do your own thing but need help planning Lee gets you where you want to go.
We caught up with Lee in between trips to find out more about Colorado Motorcycle Adventures.
Name: Colorado Motorcycle Adventures
Year Founded: Unofficially 2009, Officially to the public 2013
Who Founded: Scott Lee
Home City: Denver, CO
Contact Email: email@example.com
Average Tour Cost: $2700 for a week (guided & supported), $1800 for a week (self-guided, unsupported)
1. How did you get Colorado Motorcycle Adventures started?
I kept having friends call and want to come out to Colorado so I could take them on a ride. Then, I would have friends of their friends, family members, and folks that were vaguely connected to me or my friends call wanting to come ride. It was then that I realized I needed to start a company that helps people come to Colorado for an incredible motorcycle adventure. People wanted to come ride locally known routes without the hassles of having to plan all of the logistics themselves. I could provide that - bikes, gear, transportation and routes to make a Colorado motorcycle trip as easy as a simple phone call. So that was my goal, provide an extremely easy way for people to experience a Colorado motorcycle adventure, with great customer service, at a reasonable cost, hassle free. CMA was born.
2. Pretty risky to take a hobby into an actual living, why did you think it would be successful?
I've owned and operated several businesses during my life so I have a pretty good handle on what it takes to make a business successful before jumping in. I knew the interest was there, I knew that the ADV (Adventure) segment of the motorcycle industry was the fastest growing segment, and had been for several years, I was personally invested and interested in ADV motorcycling, and I knew that the current competition was missing a key component to serving this market well.
3. So it's been five years, how's business?
CMA is doing incredibly well. We've had unbelievable growth every year that we have been in business. We have many ideas and goals for the future so it's a lot of fun to be able to reach more of them each and every year. We have developed countless numbers of customers who come back every year for another trip. That is one of the best indicators of success to me - having repeat customers.
4. Why do you think it's been so successful?
We provide an unparalleled adventure experience with quality staff and motorcycles. We listen to our customers and, nine times out of 10, create a custom experience for each and every one. The amount of attention and detail we put into each customer who walks through our door is unmatched in the industry. Our goal is for each customer to feel like they were given direct attention, had a customized experience which met, or exceeded, their expectations, and leave with memories they will never forget - in a good way, of course.
5. Your scope has moved beyond Colorado, was that for survival or demand?
Demand. We have seen such great success here that we have had several customers ask us to create the same experience for them in other states. We listened and are expanding our work into other areas of the US. Colorado has incredible riding but so does Utah, Arizona, Tennessee, and many more states. We ride all of those areas personally so we're trying to share with our customers ALL of the great riding we find.
6. Your business model removes nearly all obstacles for your client. All they have to do is show up. You provide everything else including the bikes. Is this part of the "experience" you wanted to provide or was it necessary to be successful?
It's part of making their life easy and their vacation more enjoyable. Many of our clients are successful people from the around the world and they don't have the time (or ability) to create such a great adventure in Colorado. We take all of the logistical planning and stress out of a great motorcycle trip. All they have to do is call us, tell us what they want to do/see/ride, and we take care of the rest. You can fly in with your toiletries and clothes and we can outfit the rest! Having a great experience starts at the beginning with the initial contact. If we can put them at ease and reduce their stress right from the start, we've set the stage for a successful, enjoyable adventure vacation.
7. Describe a typical adventure. Are they day rides or are you setting up camp and sleeping under the stars?
Every adventure is customized to what the customer wants to do so there is no "typical adventure." We have created rides that are rustic and inexpensive, to lush, 5-star adventure experiences. Short, long, exotic, rustic, we do it all. A typical adventure is whatever the customer wants to do.
8. You also provide self-guided tours. How does that work?
Self-guided tours are rides that we set up for a customer to ride on their own without a guide. Many customers want to go with their friends and not a larger group so we customize a tour just for them. We can provide as little or much help as they need - from creating just a route, to creating the route, booking hotel rooms, making dinner reservations, etc. We provide numerous services, so they tell us what they want us to help with, and we work towards that end.
All self-guided tours are GPS-based. We create the route on hard maps, then program it into our map software and load it onto a GPS device which they put on their bike to follow. It's a simple as following a black line!
9. This year you have tours of Utah and Colorado each one with a "Lite" offering. What is the "Lite" and is it a separate from the regular tour scheduled at the same time?
The Lite version of our tours follow the same route as the regular version EXCEPT they go around the advanced sections. Many of our tours have a few advanced sections in them and many customers just don't want to risk getting hurt or damaging their (or our) bikes so they prefer to minimize the risk while maximizing the enjoyment. Our Lite tours are designed specifically for them. Let's face it, most of us aren't 23 anymore so a simple spill hurts more and takes longer to heal.
10. Someone might read this and think, "I want to do this!" But they've never been on a motorcycle. Should they get some experience first or can you help?
All of our tours and rides do require a motorcycle endorsement on your driver's license and some experience. We list the difficulty level of each tour by a simple ranking system on our website and in our catalog. Safety is priority one for us so we ask questions and try to vet riders ability appropriately before allowing them on a tour. It's never fun to tell someone that they need a little more experience before joining "Tour A" but it's much less fun to call their wife or husband at home and tell them their spouse just broke his or her leg and needs to fly home.
11. What future plans do you have for Colorado Motorcycle Adventures?
Keep providing and creating great motorcycle adventures for our customers! We are continually looking for new rides in new places in Colorado and other states. Our goal is to expand what we do here, to other places so that our customers can keep coming back year after year for a new ride each time. The world is a big place, I don't think we'll run out of great adventures anytime soon.