by Kalyn Wolfe from https://www.pnj.com
What is it like to be an American? Is there any truth to the negative stereotypes that surround Americans?
These are the questions Claire Coleman and her husband, Nick, asked themselves as they left New Zealand more than 10 years ago. With a pickup truck and an RV, they spent a year meandering across the lower 48, learning about American culture with every dirt road, brewery and person they encountered.
It was these experiences that inspired Claire Coleman to publish a book called “The Back Of Beyond: A North American Road Trip, Kiwi Style!” not long after. But the inspiration didn’t stop there.
“It was this trip that inspired us to move to America,” she said. “We had positive experiences with every American we met.”
The next step involved obtaining visas.
“We needed to open a business in order to fulfill our visa requirements, and Nick spent years in the oil rig industry,” Coleman said. “I haven’t worked in the oil rig industry, so we had to figure out a business we could run together. Nick has worked on motorcycles since he could walk, so in 2016 we decided to open EagleRider Motorcycles Pensacola.”
Five years and two locations later, EagleRider Motorcycles Pensacola has recently moved to its third location at 3305 North W St. and held a grand opening April 8 to mark the occasion.
But Coleman would be the first to tell you that it was a celebration that almost didn’t happen.
“COVID killed us,” she said. “Everyone was canceling. We lost all of our international customers and we had no forward bookings. The borders closed, we initially closed shop, sold up our house and most belongings and planned on returning home to New Zealand. Then we literally drove past our new building on North W Street as they were banging in the for sale sign, so our plans changed and we got ready for round two in Pensacola.”
As soon as they closed on the location in October, the couple went to work on upgrades and renovations, which included new ceiling tiles, lighting, paint and a mural of Pensacola Beach for people to take selfies.
“Our new location is triple in size,” Coleman said. “We have a bigger showroom and have added repair work to our rental program.”
EagleRider Motorcycles Pensacola offers a wide variety of adventures, from daily, weekly to monthly rentals, with seven Harley Davidson models to choose from. A 10% discount is automatically applied for groups of four or more during select seasonal months.
If you’re not sure which way to travel, the website offers a host of guided and self-guided tours for people to browse and book for inspiration.
“It’s the best form of social distancing,” Coleman said.
EagleRider Motorcycles Pensacola is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit eaglerider.com/pensacola or call 850-748-3423.