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It is with great regret and sorrow that we have to announce the closing of RideSmart Motorcycle Training, effective August 2, 2016.
In the fifteen years RideSmart has been open, we have trained almost thirty-thousand students how to operate a motorcycle, and in our follow-on courses, how to better avoid a potential crash. In doing so, we have maintained a student success rate of over ninety-three percent across all courses. That pass rate is not a love letter to ourselves on how well we did as Rider Coaches; rather, it is a testimony of the students' ability to learn and practice skills to the degree of proficiency at the pace mandated by the courses. The students did all the work, for the most part we just stood there and watched.
We have always prided ourselves in being the lowest-cost, yet most successful school in Arizona. A big shout out to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation is in order for developing the comprehensive curricula, training our Rider Coaches, and providing timely guidance and oversight in areas where we needed some occasional help. Additionally, kudos to the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division Third-Party Driver Services for helping us through the ins and outs of keeping the paperwork straight and us on-track. The class ain't done until the paperwork is finished.
Another area that we separated ourselves from the other rider education schools is total impartiality, where we recommend people to go to buy a motorcycle, parts, accessories, safety gear, insurance. Being tied to a dealership as a rider education school meant becoming, in essence, a whore for that dealership. We steadfastly refused to fall into that category; sure, being in alliances with dealerships may have been beneficial financially, but could also have compromised the effectiveness of our training.
Of course, a few places did rise to the top of our lists of places to recommend as time went on, and we will continue to endorse them, because they are that good. These businesses also recommend their customers get training so they can be lifelong learners. RideSmart recommends:
The Helmet Center : Phoenix : parts, accessories, gear
North Valley Honda/Kawasaki : Phoenix : dealership
Apache Motorsports : Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa - dealership
Adrenaline Performance : Mesa : sales and service
Sportbike Performance Center : Phoenix : service
SBK Training : Phoenix : high-performance riding instruction
Slavy Ivanov : Phoenix : service
DTR Motorsports : Phoenix : service
Moto City â€“ Goodyear, Anthem : dealership
Bob's Used Motorcycle Parts : Phoenix : parts and accessories
Fun Time Motorcycle Rentals : Scottsdale : motorcycle rentals
TD Insurance : Phoenix : motorcycle insurance
AZ Moto Mania : Peoria, Mesa, Scottsdale : used motorcycle dealership
Victory/Indian of Scottsdale : Scottsdale : dealership
Clan Customs : Surprise : custom H/D parts
Ace Tatoo : Glendale : tattoo and piercing
Xcel Trackdays : Phoenix : high performance riding instruction and track days
Our Rider Coaches are the foundation on which RideSmart was built. Without them, we wouldn't have been around for as long as we were. Even though many of them have gone on to other pursuits, and sometimes we did not part ways on the best of terms, we still are proud to have trained along side with them, for they all brought unique talents to the school:
Active RideSmart Rider Coaches as of 6-30-2016:
James Mathews 2004-
Danny Urbanek 2012-
Bill Kuiper 2015-
Angela Orton 2014-
Former RideSmart Rider Coaches:
Jim Zumpf (RIP) 2003-2011
Mike Beaudoin 2006
Erik Gagnon 2007-2015
Kyle Klein 2008-2011
Dave Ryan 2009-2015
Shauna Hecker 2009-2010
Brian Seabury 2010-2014
Tracy Seabury 2011-2014
Caroline Ryan 2012-2015
David Weiel 2015
Michael Romero 2015
Larry Arrey 2015-2016
Kate Bilazzo 2015-2016
Ryan Stanley 2015-2016
Some of you are wondering what precipitated our closing. First off, we are going out on our own terms, we are not being forced to close. There is one reason why we are shutting our doors, we've lost our lease on the property we have been conducting the 'hands-on' portions of the class. The new owners are going to be storing heave equipment on the asphalt; obviously, heavy equipment and motorcycles don't mix. We had been actively looking for a second location, but have been unsuccessful in finding one that would offer conveniences we deem important for our students and RiderCoaches.
If you are a former RideSmart student (we refer to you all as the 'RideSmart Alumni Association'), we want to thank you again for choosing us as your rider education provider. You could have gone to the Big School in town, but one of the many reasons we started RideSmart in the first place was because the proprietor of that school was (and likely still is) a dick. His dickishness in all aspects of his dealings with us over the years made us think, how was he treating his employees, and more importantly, his students? There had to be a better way to run a school; more passionate, more animated, more better, gooder (I know, that isn't a word) in all aspects. It isn't supposed to be about us, it is about YOU, the student, the prospective motorcyclist. The passion we have for motorcycling hopefully came across in the way we conducted our classes.
In closing - it has been an honor and a privilege to be your motorcycle training provider. We can't think of a better way of making a living, riding motorcycles and helping others to do the same. Thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. Now go out and ride!
Angela Orton : Owner, RiderCoach
Don Orton : Owner, RiderCoach