Xtreme Rider of Warm Springs | Born To Ride Motorcycle Magazine - Motorcycle TV, Radio, Events, News and Motorcycle Blog

Xtreme Rider of Warm Springs

Published on September 29, 2015 under Blog
Xtreme Rider of Warm Springs

Warm Springs, Georgia, originally named Bullochville (after the family of Martha Bulloch Roosevelt), first came to prominence in the 19th century as a spa town, because of its mineral springs which flow constantly at nearly 90 °F. Residents of Georgia began spending vacations at Bullochville in the late 18th century as a way to escape yellow fever, finding the number of warm springs in the vicinity of Bullochville very soothing. Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt spent quite a bit of time in the mineral springs to relieve the symptoms of his paralytic illness, and passed away there in 1945. Since ‘Bullochville’ seemed such a bland name, the residents changed the name to ‘Warm Springs.’ The introduction of the automobile made other destinations more attractive, and Warm Springs began to decline.

Happily, over the past 20 years, Warm Springs has become a destination location for motorcyclists from all over the Southeast US. Along with entrepreneur Mr. Preston Evans, Mr. Dan Forrest has been instrumental in building Warm Springs into a premier destination or stopover for riders. Dan is the owner of Xtreme Rider, one of the most complete rider-apparel stores in the Southeast. Dan hails from Woodstock, Vermont; after graduation, he went into the floor covering business in the Northeast and did quite well. However, the cold winters were too much, and Dan moved the family and business to Orlando where he became even more successful. In addition to floor covering, he became involved in printing and promotional businesses. Over time, the firm for which he then worked transferred him to Lagrange, Georgia, about half an hour’s ride from Warm Springs. While continuing his print businesses, Dan said; “I was bored,” and so began Xtreme Rider, which only does business on Saturday, Sunday, and Mondays’ which are national holidays. Nevertheless, Xtreme Rider does a substantial six-figure business with bikers from all over. Dan’s business partner is his wife Sue, a rider with her own H-D Street Glide.

Without any retail business experience, Dan opened Xtreme Rider in February 2004, in a 12’ x 15’ building. Dan used packing crates with wheels on them for his warehouse. When a customer asked for a specific piece, they simply went through the packing crates until he found the particular garment that the customer desired. Nine months later, they moved to a 600 square-foot facility, and in two years they outgrew that location. A nice 1,800 square-foot building became available down the street, and after renovation and additions, now houses Xtreme Rider.
What will we find at Xtreme Rider? “Well, many first-time customers gravitate to our Consignment Shop, where old leathers that have been in the closet for a while and have shrunk over time can find a new home with a skinnier moto-human. We recently sold a Willie G jacket in a ladies size, originally priced at $595 and the consignment shop let it go for $125. In addition, the Consignment Shop will accept motorcycle parts, so long as the specific make, model, and year of the particular part is specified.”

“Riders can find quality garments from Milwaukee Leather, Interstate Leather, Dream Apparel, First Manufacturing, Xelement Leathers, and Hot Leathers,” Dan explains. “Helmets from HJC, Rodia and Scorpion are popular, and include sizes and head-shapes more suitable for ladies, too. And, for clubs’ Halloween dress-up parties, novelty helmets are also available.”

Sue and Dan have more to say about their store, but they are just as passionate about the many amenities in Warm Springs. Whether your Sunday ride is solo, or a small group of friends enjoying the beautiful scenic roads in the area— which include Pine Mountain, the famed Georgia Highway 109, and Dowdell’s Knob. Whether you’re a big club or charity ride, a rest-stop or an overnight excursion in Warm Springs should be on your agenda.

“This is a fun place to come to! We have the world’s shortest and steepest covered bridge, no less than four museums containing a plethora of motorcycles—pre-war Indians, Harleys and Triumphs—and related memorabilia, as well as reminders from the old life—a Harley-Davidson jukebox, for example, a Retired Helmet Tree, tours of the Little White House, the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute, which for many years was the only treatment facility for unfortunates suffering from paralytic diseases. For history buffs, the artifacts from the Roosevelt era are fascinating, and include Roosevelt’s automobiles, wheelchairs, and much more such memorabilia.”

After a quick tour of a few of these attractions, Dan got down to business again: “Women riders, who traditionally have a hard time finding quality moto- apparel that fits will almost certainly find what they’re looking for at Xtreme Rider. We have 13 styles of vests, 14 styles of jackets, six different boot styles, five different chaps and a nearly unlimited supply of gloves for the ladies’ more delicate hands. Almost any size human will find what they’re looking for in our store. For rainy weather, you can find raingear in our store. Two hard-to-find trinkets that are always in demand can be found at Xtreme Rider; helmet-strap latches and biker-pin locks. Surprisingly, we do a very big business in Christian T-shirts by Kerruso, too.”

The staff at extreme rider is bound by Dan’s dictum of ‘Quality service second to none,’ and their ultimate goal to send customers away happy. “We guarantee everything we sell, and if you find yourself unhappy with a purchase, come back and we will make sure you become satisfied and happy!” A seamstress is available to make minor repairs on leathers and sew on patches for customers; heat-transfer images are also available. While Xtreme Rider is primarily focused on leather gear, they offer the alternative of textile riding gear from makers such as Joe Rocket and others.

“This is truly a destination location; we have built a stage in a bandstand used by clubs and groups when they come to Warm Springs. We can easily handle 300 or more motorcycles at that venue, and have had as many as 1,200 bikes in town at one time in the past. The heart of Warm Springs is the Biker Village which contains a Biker Pub and several of the museums mentioned earlier. One, Art in Motion, is a veritable American Pickers honey-hole. Viewers of this popular TV show well know Mike and Frank’s passion for motorcycle, and Art in Motion won’t disappoint. This museum has a section called ‘Route 66’ containing murals of Sturgis, Daytona and other popular moto-destinations, which can be used as photographic backdrops for visitors astride various prop-bikes. Who knows, you might want to have your picture taken with Marilyn Monroe, or Elvis Presley! And, have you ever seen a Centaur scooter? It was designed for military use, and folds up to a suitcase-size for air-delivery to a soldier by parachute; stop by and check it out. You may find some old friends in the Wax Museum, too.”

The American Spirit TV program has featured Xtreme Rider, Warm Springs, and the various adjacent museums and businesses in past shows. Next summer, as your passing through Warm Springs in the heat of the day, stop by for a nice ice cream cone. If your plans call for an overnight stay at the Hotel Warm Springs Bed and Breakfast Inn, the Meriwether Inn, or the nearby F. D. Roosevelt State Park (tents, and RVs up to 40’), you may wish to enjoy the produce of the Warm Springs Winery. Featuring Muscadine wine and seasonal wines such as Peach, Burgundy, Cream Brulee’ and the featured Hotlanta Red which is bottled with red and jalapeno peppers. Dan and Sue recommend it!

Warm Springs now welcomes the Moto tourist with open arms, but it was not always this way; when Dan and Preston began to promote the town as a Destination Location, residents were skeptical. All that has changed as residents and merchants began to realize the benefits of moto-tourists visiting their quaint ‘1930s Town from the Past.’ Recently, Dan asked the Town Mayor, a lady of 74 summers, to rename Main Street to ‘Lil’ Sturgis Street. The mayor put the question to the Town Council which governs all of 478 residents, and it was approved unanimously. Interestingly, the biggest influence was the character and behavior of motorcyclists while visiting Warm Springs.

In his past spare time, Dan, initially a teenage Triumph rider, now rides a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic, has served fellow riders as the past ABATE of GA state director, and was a founder of a 501(c)3 for rider-safety, ‘Look Twice – Save A Life.’ Sue and Dan Forrest are dedicated in service to fellow motorcyclists, and invite you, your friends, your clubs and the events you enjoy to ‘clutches out and wheels turning’ as you set your sights on an enjoyable few hours or several days at one of the Southeast’s best two-wheel Destination Locations, Warm Springs Georgia.

Roger Wiles

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