Editor’s note: Gart Sutton is in the midst of a continual series of rides with his 20-group clientele, the results of which you can read on gartrides.com. After talking with Gart and several of his dealer clients at the inaugural AIMExpo in Orlando, we wanted to learn more. Here’s a closer look at Gart and his renewed riding and writing interests, as told to Powersports Business editor in chief Dave McMahon.
PSB: When did you first create gartrides.com and how many readers are checking it out?
GS: I bought a new motorcycle last February  for my birthday and started the blog in April. Today there are over 4,000 friends and family on it. At the rate it is going, I suspect there will be over 10,000 by the end of 2014.
PSB: Why did you create the blog?
GS: Anyone who knows me knows that I can be a passionate evangelist. I was a boater for many years and was just as passionate about boating as I am today about riding. Every ride is special and deserves to be relished. My blog maximizes the experience and solidifies the memories.
PSB: So, what is motivating you to share your riding experiences?
GS: The best way to explain my motivation is to tell you about my “blog mission statement.” My mission is to savor, share and inspire. Recently, I ran into Jim Hurkman, the dealer from North County Yamaha, at the annual International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach. He asked what happened to me that I became such a zealot about riding. I explained that I’m just like many Americans today. I’ll explain what I mean by this. There was a speaker at the MIC Symposium in October who talked about the change in American culture. Before the Great Recession, we were a MORE/MORE society. During the Great Recession we became LESS/LESS. Now that we are emerging, we have a LESS/MORE attitude. Americans (and Gart Sutton) are looking for new experiences, new skills, new destinations and new “buckets.” We want less clutter/confusion and more meaningful events in our lives.
PSB: How does this change in American culture affect the powersports industry overall?
GS: The effect of the LESS/MORE culture can prove to be very positive for the powersports industry. However, it requires us to finesse how we sell our products. During the sales probe, our staff needs to inquire how the customer is specifically going to use our product. The goal is to have them identify their dream “buckets” and feed it. For example, if a customer is interested in a touring bike, ask where they intend to travel and what would be the ultimate trip. A dealership staff’s support of the customer’s dream will build a greater sense of urgency: “Why wait, Mr./Ms. Customer? Let’s get the gear and accessories now, so you can achieve your dream sooner than later.”
PSB: What has been the favorite ride for your followers?
GS: The Mulholland Drive ride was popular because it symbolizes the California celebrity scene. I guess the Jack Daniel’s Tour was popular because many of the East Coasters have taken the distillery tour. Or, maybe there are a lot of viewers who drink Jack Daniel’s? The California-to-Colorado ride got lots of attention due to the “biblical” rain I rode through. Incidentally, the rain puddles were over my motorcycle pegs on I-70! The winner ride was “Tail of the Dragon.” You start the 318-curve/11-mile ride by passing a heliport that is there to lift you out in case of an accident. If this isn’t intimidating enough, the “Tree of Shame” punctuated just how dangerous this ride could be. Just in case you have forgotten, the “Tree of Shame” has motorcycle parts hanging from Dragon accidents throughout the years. I have to add one more — Route 66.
PSB: What are some rides-of-the-future?
GS: First of all, there are nearly a dozen rides that weren’t recorded on gartrides.com. I am thinking of combining them into one tab to ensure none are missed. As far as the future, one manufacturer has asked me to a) complete their dirt-bike school, b) experience their dirt-bike dealer-demo program and c) encourage their dealers by posting the experience on www.gartrides.com. Another manufacturer wants gartrides.com to showcase their PWC. Double cool! Who knows where this is going. What I do know is that I’m having a blast and savoring every minute of it! My continuous inspiration comes from the followers that say, “I’m living vicariously through you on every ride you make.” I can’t help believing that the ultimate achievement in sharing is to inspire them to ride as well.
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