Rarely do people see losing their job as an opportunity. But when Rick Overmire was let go from his job in December, he felt it was somewhat of a relief — a chance to pursue his lifelong passion of high-performance motorcycles.
Overmire, a motorcycle enthusiast for more than two decades, had been putting his spare time and energy over the last year into creating a California branch of SportBikes4Hire, a mobile-based motorcycle rental company out of Tennessee.
He rented a bike from SportBikes4Hire and began developing a friendship and business relationship with owner Greg McCoy. When he purchased a new bike not long after that, his wife Marjorie suggested renting the old one, rather than selling it. He has since purchased three new bikes and began his entry into sport bike rentals.
“Rick was a customer of mine several years ago and really liked what I was doing with the mobile business,” McCoy said. “He had a couple extra bikes and I felt he was pretty good with customer service, and that’s the most important part of the business — taking care of customers. So I did what I could to help him get it off the ground and running.”
Though Overmire’s business isn’t technically a franchise of SportBikes4Hire, he shares their website, 800 number and marketing ideas, and taps into McCoy’s expertise regularly, speaking about once a week.
“I think it’s safe to say I’m learning. It’s going to be a learning year for me,” Overmire said.
Overmire had worked at a Grass Valley auto repair shop for five years before being let go before the holidays.
“It was a surprise, but almost a relief,” he said. “I can do my thing without having to worry about it.”
His love for bikes started in 1989 in the Bay Area when, much to his mother’s dismay, he purchased his first of many motorcycles, an old Nighthawk 650. He went on to attend and graduate from Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Phoenix and formed Rat Bros. Racing, a team comprised of himself and two friends, to race at Sears Point Raceway. He moved to Grass Valley six years ago with Marjorie and son Ben.
“I’m hopeful for the future, to be able to make a living with it and support my family. Beyond that I’d like to make a bigger company out of it.”
Prior to being let go, Overmire had only two customers — a couple from England who were visiting Lake Tahoe. His services include the rental, which can be for an afternoon or several days, drop-off and pick-up of bikes, and any necessary equipment.
With more time to devote to the business, he hopes to increase his number of renters substantially this summer, noting that his key customer base consists of travelers visiting the region — Sacramento and primarily Lake Tahoe. To reach these customers, he’s been marketing to various hotels and motorcycle shops between the two destinations. He already works closely with a friend who owns Road Rash Café, a shop in South Lake Tahoe.
“I think Tahoe in the summertime is our market — you can a ride a boat one day and ride a motorcycle the next,” he said.
In addition to expanding his fleet of motorcycles and gear, he and McCoy also hope to offer guided bike tours in the future. Until then, he directs friends and potential customers to Mosquito Ridge, outside of Auburn, and anywhere between Nevada City, Quincy and Oroville.
“The roads between here and there are spectacular.” His personal favorite is the stretch of Highway 49 between Nevada City and Downieville.
“The roads aren’t great this time of year, but in the summer I plan to be out there as much as possible.”
For more information about SportBikes4Hire, visit SportBikes4Hire.com, or call 888-914-4473.
Katrina Paz is a freelance writer in Grass Valley.