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LIVE Blog - The Road Warrior Ride 2016

Aug, 14 2019

For the third consecutive year, BRP is teaming up with the Road Warrior Foundation and its annual cross-country Road Warrior Ride benefiting U.S. Veterans.

 

 

The mission of the organization is simple: to provide adventures that improve the lives of veterans. Riding a Spyder on the open road is a perfect fit, which is why we're so passionate about this cause.

 

Brian Manning from the Can-Am team is going to be along for the duration, and he'll be documenting the trek from Point A in Wisconsin this weekend all the way to New Orleans next Saturday.

 

This year's sponsored riders -- who will each be riding 2016 Spyder F3 Limited models -- include eight truly deserving men and women. As always, we’ll be joined by hundreds of other veterans and supporters along the way, including many Can-Am Spyder owners.

 

Everyone is welcome to come ride with the group for all or part of the journey. Click here for a live ride tracker so you can see where we are and come join the group, and come back to this blog for daily updates from the road!

 

Road Warrior Ride – Day 1

 

This morning, the Road Warrior Foundation (RWF) kicked off its annual veterans ride in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin, at Rob’s Performance Motorsports. This marks the third year BRP/Can-Am have been the title sponsor of the ride, and it’s an incredible experience to help give back to these amazing people.

The core group is made of up eight extremely deserving military veterans, each of which is riding a 2016 Can-Am Spyder F3 Limited. They are also provided gear from head to toe by BRP and RWF. Everything about this ride is 100% free for the veterans – everything is paid for through donations to RWF.

 

In addition to the core group, there is an RWF support team, BRP reps, and here at the beginning of the ride, about 40-50 other Spyder owners riding along with us. The additional riders are from the Spyder Owners And Riders (SOAR) group, which is based out of Wisconsin, and has been a significant supporter of RWF over the years. In fact, this morning they presented them a check for $5,000!

 

Thank you to everyone at Rob’s Performance Motorsports and SOAR for all of their support. The kickoff was truly remarkable!

 

Yesterday, the veterans had a chance familiarize themselves with the Spyders and collect their gear for the ride. About half the group is new to riding, but that’s one of the great things about the Spyder – it’s easy to learn, and next thing you know, you’re out riding the open road having experiences of a lifetime. In this case, from Wisconsin to New Orleans.

Last night was a kickoff barbecue with the entire group, and then at this morning’s sendoff breakfast, there were about 75 people, including the Road Warrior Group, Rob’s Performance staff and SOAR, as well as a local police, fire, first responders and a color guard to see us off.

 

We stopped at Poopy’s Pub in Savanna, Illinois, for lunch. If you haven’t been, put it on your ride list. Good food, good people and at least a couple hundred other riders out enjoying the beautiful weather.

 

This evening, we had a low-key team dinner after a nice day on the road. It’s an early start tomorrow heading to St. Louis, so we’re giving everybody much-deserved a break!

 

This is the first of a series of daily blog posts we’ll be writing from the road. Come back each day for updates and pictures. Also, be sure to check out the Can-Am Spyder Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as the RWF social sites. 

 

There is a live ride tracker at www.RoadWarrior.org – so check it out, and if you’re able to, come join the group!

 

Also, click here to go to the auction page for the custom, military-themed Can-Am Spyder BRP donated to RWF this year. Be sure to place a bid! All proceeds go directly to RWF to help fun adventures for veterans just like this one.

 

Signing off from Moline, Illinois. Until tomorrow…

 

 

Day 2 - This Is Why We Do What We Do

 

Let's call that the theme of this year's Road Warrior Ride.

The Can-Am Spyder enables people -- regardless of riding experience -- to get out and enjoy the open road. It's why we created the Spyder and it's what drives us forward today. It's why we do what we do.

 

The Road Warrior Ride is one way we bring purpose to life, all while benefitting some true heroes. 

 

There are a lot of people, including veterans, who don't take up riding for one reason or another. In the case of this group, we've been able to introduce a new set of adventure-seekers to all that is the Can-Am Spyder -- the machine, the community and the open road. They're hooked.

 

We've had some great conversations over the past couple days and there's been a lot of thanks toward the Road Warrior Foundation and BRP for helping these riders get out of their daily routine where they all-to-often find themselves focusing on life's challenges more so than seeking new experiences. We're thankful for the opportunity to help.

 

We asked one rider in particular what he thought of the ride thus far. His response: this ride is incredible. This, right here, is freedom. It was either this, or spending these days just sitting on my couch. That's what I usually do. But this ride, this is why we [military] do what we do...so everyone can experience something like this. It's perfect. 

We couldn't agree more. As we sit here in St. Louis after another great day riding, all we can talk about is hitting the road again tomorrow.

 

It's what we do, together. We can't wait.

 

A beautiful ride to Springfield awaits tomorrow. We're going to start the morning by riding through Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery just outside St. Louis where we'll pay respects to fallen soldiers. It is a solemn start, but an important one.

 

And with that, goodnight from St. Louis.

 

 

Day 3 
 

Early-orning wake up. Strong coffee.

A couple wrong turns (oops).

Sweat. Rehydration. Repeat.

Twisty roads.

Miles and miles of stories and laughter.

A parking lot cookout.

Lawnmower races. (yep. not a typo)

Just another typical day with the Road Warriors. And at the center of it all? Amazing people and the Can-Am Spyder.

 

It’s been fun showing this group that riding a Can-Am Spyder can be whatever they want to make of it. It can be an escape. It can be an adventure. It can be thrilling, or it can be relaxing. For most, it’s a combination of the above, and at its core, that’s why it fits so well into peoples’ lives, and for this week, the lives of these incredible veterans.

 

Regardless of what a rider makes of his or her time on the Can-Am Spyder, the ability to touch all of the senses is absolutely gravitating. If you’re a Can-Am Spyder owner, you know the feeling.

 

Not only are we all getting some “windshield therapy” as we ride, we’re also impacting others along the way. We’ve been warmly welcomed at every stop, sharing stories and connecting with people who are equally as passionate about supporting veterans. Whether they’ve served themselves, had/have children in the military or simply respect the service, the sharing of stories is profoundly impactful.

 

Today at lunch we sat with a table of 18 in Jefferson City, MO, and a young waitress served us, working hard the entire time. At the end of the meal, she asked about the group and let us know she was a veteran herself. She shook everyone’s hand, thanked them and insisted that she buy the drinks for the entire table. Those drinks weren’t on the house, they were on her. She said it’s the least she could do.

 

That’s the type of appreciation the Road Warrior Foundation riders get, and we’re lucky to be part of it. Whether it’s something small that in actuality is something quite substantial, or something big that absolutely blows us away, the Can-Am team is grateful to see others support this amazing group right along with us.

 

Today we went from St. Louis to Springfield, MO, riding some incredible roads along the way. When we arrived in Springfield, we rolled into Pitbull Powersports – a strong supporter of the Road Warrior Foundation – and enjoyed some continued food and laughter with the staff there, as well as the 20+ people who rode with us into town.

 

Then, out of nowhere, came trash cans and motorcycle tires in the parking lot…and two of the biggest zero turn riding lawnmowers on the market. Come again? Yep. Go time, adventure therapy comes in many forms... A multi-round, winner-takes-all (the glory) slalom lawnmower race. And this group is competitive. There’s some differing opinions on who actually won, so we’ll leave it at that, but what a great way to end a day, one thing is for sure…you can wheelie a lawnmower.

Tomorrow is a day off of riding while we celebrate the halfway point, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be filled with gasoline-fueled, hard-charging adventure. Be sure to check back in for an update!

 

Day 4 

Question: What do you get when you cross a group of young, enthusiastic military veterans and a day off?

Answer: A lake, three Sea-Doo personal watercraft, one Flyboard, one Sea-Doo Sport Boat, a pontoon and a hell of a lot of fun.

 

Today was a day of rest from our cross-country Road Warrior ride from Johnson Creek, WI, to New Orleans, LA. The only issue? We didn’t rest at all!

 

We started the day visiting Lamonster Garage in Nixa, MO, and then hit the road for some fun at Table Rock Lake. Our caravan of four oversize pickups towing the aforementioned vehicles made quite the spectacle on the way to the lake.

Not long after we arrived, the Flyboard came out, and along with it, a lot of shattered egos. The great part, though, is the amount of laughter we experienced throughout the day. It was refreshing for everyone. Just imagine a group of ultra-competitive military veterans trying to accomplish something completely foreign. It was awesome, and yes, there will be plenty of sore muscles tomorrow resulting from our “day off.”

 

To cap it off, Pitbull Powersports hosted a dinner, where we got to unwind and rehash the stories of the day with this new group of friends.

 

Tomorrow we head out early on our Can-Am Spyders. We’re heading south through Eureka Spring, AR, and then through Fayetteville for Bikes, Blues & BBQ. We’ll ultimately end our day in Little Rock. It’s going to be a great time, and we’re all looking forward to another day on the road.



Day 5 

 

78.

 

That’s the number of Can-Am Spyders we had in our group this morning as we left Springfield, MO, on our way to Little Rock, AR. Have you ever looked behind you and seen nothing by Spyder headlights? It was awesome.

There are so many military supporters within the Can-Am Spyder community, we simply can’t say thank you enough for being part of this sponsorship with us. Most of the owners today were in Springfield for one of the many Spyder owners’ events that happen each month around the country – this one is the inaugural Spyders in the Ozarks event, which takes place this week.

 

As we gathered in the parking lot before hitting the road, the focus was squarely on the Road Warrior riders. There was so much appreciation for the veterans – it was a deep, emotional support and gratitude. The feeling was mutual, as Spyder owners donated nearly $1,500 to RWF right there before the ride. All of that money goes directly into providing adventures for veterans, and this current group of riders knows how important it is for that to continue in the future.

 

We hit the road around 8 a.m. and headed toward Eureka Springs, AR, which if you haven’t experienced, is an incredible ride. That entire area is one of the best in the region for riding.

 

This core group of veterans keeps getting closer and closer to each other the more miles we travel. It happens every year – there’s something that just clicks each time RWF does a ride like this. The first few days everybody is getting to know each other and having some laughs, but after a couple of days, it switches from mutual pleasantries to a full-on brotherhood (yes, that includes the ladies!).

 

The brotherhood comes to life both on and off the road. While riding, the group starts working more effectively with each other, helping and encouraging others along the way. There are several new riders, and in very little time, they’ve become quite competent with the support of the broader group. In fact, several of the Spyder owners approached us after riding with the group and complimented the riding ability, which is awesome considering the experience.

We broke for lunch at Bradford Marine & ATV just outside of Fayetteville, AR, which was excellent. More Spyder owners joined us there, donating even more money to RWF, which was then matched by the dealership. (Thank you!) From the dealership, we took back roads into Little Rock, where settled in for the night.


It’s a lot of fun to see this group fall in love with the Spyder the more they ride. They get it. They understand the community part of being an owner. They get the benefits of riding. Most of all, they wish they would have pursued it sooner. Something tells us there are several future Spyder owners in this group, and when it happens, we know they’ll welcomed with open arms into the awesome Can-Am Spyder owners community.



Day 6 

 

As we wrap up our sixth day of riding, it’s only proper to do a deep-dive on one of this year’s Road Warrior Foundation riders. The entire group has been absolutely amazing, and while we’d like to feature every one of them in depth (they all deserve it), we’ve selected just one for this blog – Renee Langlais.

 

Simply put, Renee is a rock star. She was deployed as a U.S. Marine in 2004 and after four combat deployments and 11 years of service, was medically retired in 2014.

 

Soon after joining the military in 2004, Renee bought a motorcycle, hoping to fulfill her dream to ride. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the time as she was deployed almost immediately, putting her service before herself. She ended up selling her bike and giving up on the dream because it just didn’t work out at the time.

 

Now 13 years later, she’s back.

 

Renee has several friends who’ve had unfortunate experiences on motorcycles resulting in serious injuries and one death. So while her dream lived on, it was buried and she was reluctant to try riding again. Directly from her: “I made it home from four deployments alive and frankly, I don’t want to die here.” Then came the Road Warrior Foundation.

 

An alumni rider of the first Road Warrior Ride let her know about the organization and his amazing experience on the Can-Am Spyder. After attending a local RWF event in Florida, learning about the Spyder and meeting one of the founders, she was all in.  She submitted an application for this year’s Road Warrior Ride and was ultimately selected.

 

The great thing – she wasn’t hesitant at all about riding the Can-Am Spyder. She had seen it before and thought it was cool, but never really thought about it (until now) as the vehicle to get her back into riding. She knew it looked amazing, was more stable, easier to see on the road…and that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

 

Now that we’ve been on the road for six days, Renee says riding the Spyder has exceeded all of her expectations. She reflects on her previous riding experience and loves how the Spyder’s inherent stability allows her to relax and focus on her surroundings much more so than what she remembered in the past. For her, she is more comfortable on the road, which adds to the pleasure of being out riding.

 

Renee is an outdoor and adventure enthusiast. She just got back from a week-long trip mountaineering in Washington State, but doesn’t get outside as much as she’d like. She loves being active and is a huge proponent of “adventure therapy” – she prefers that much more than talking to people who offer help. To her, hitting the open road is a therapeutic escape from life. We couldn’t agree more, and that pertains to everybody, not just military veterans.

 

This year’s Road Warrior ride is different than anything she has ever done. Renee said she never would have rented a bike and gone on a trip like this, taking back roads and exploring the country. She’s used to going from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible in an iron cage (car), just like all of us.

This week, she’s been with a group of like-minded individuals out conquering some amazing roads on the Can-Am Spyder and meeting life-long friends. She said she gets to feel alive on this trip instead of just staying at home. She wants to buy a Spyder because of this experience. If she gets one, she says she’ll ride it everywhere. It will get her out of the house…and that’s what she needs.

 

Frankly, it’s what all of us need. More adventure. More fun. More freedom. More challenge. More sense of community and belonging.

 

That’s what owning a Spyder is about. More than 100,000 owners can attest to that.

 

Thank you, Renee, for being a part of this group.


Day 7 

 

 

Wow, what an adventure!

 

With the 2016 Road Warrior Ride behind us, it’s time to reflect back on this past week and celebrate.

 

The Ride

Oh, man, that ride! It was an incredible experience hitting the road with a caravan (yes, it officially classifies as a caravan) of Can-Am Spyders all the way from Wisconsin to New Orleans. As with any ride with a great group of people, there are countless memories along the way. It was an adventure of a lifetime full of experiences that unless you ride, you simply can’t understand. (hint: start riding!)

 

The fleet of Can-Am Spyders performed flawlessly, giving the group taste of what we at Can-Am consider the perfect balance of performance and peace-of-mind out on the road. The riders soaked it all in as we rode alongside seemingly endless fields of crops, cruised through beautiful curvy roads or went through any number of the small towns scattered across the backroads of America.

 

There was a feeling of disbelief that it was ending when we rolled into New Orleans. We finished on a high note, though, with a police escort for the 40+ Spyders we had with us. A sea of cars parted as the veterans rolled into New Orleans Bike Week, and upon arrival, we were greeted by celebratory music from the fire department’s Pipe and Drums crew. It was a surreal way to end the trip, full of hugs, high-fives and nothing but smiles as we celebrated completing the 1,700+ mile journey together.

The Veterans

The group of veterans was nothing short of amazing. Their transformation from the beginning of the ride to the end was incredible. They came together as a group and rode like champions. Experiences like this create life-long friends, which is exactly what happened.

 

We’ve talked about the riders and the impact this experience had on them in previous posts, so for this one, we simply want to say thank you from the entire team at Can-Am. Thank you for your service, thank you for joining this ride and thank you for allowing us to spend time with you, welcoming our us and our vast owners’ community along the way.

 

The Support

Speaking of others along the way, a ride like this isn’t possible without help from a lot of great people. Thank you to the incredible Can-Am Spyder owners’ community who helped support this group during this ride. Whether you were able to ride all or part of the way with us, donated money to RWF or simply offered words of encouragement to the riders, it is all very much appreciated and it means a lot to us to have you be part of this sponsorship right alongside us.

 

We also want to thank all of the Can-Am dealers that hosted us during the trip. You opened your doors to the group, provided meals, cranked up your air conditioners and donated money to help make this ride possible. The support you showed was incredible.

 

Lastly, a big thank you to the Road Warrior Foundation for all of the hard work that goes into pulling off a ride like this. From selecting the veterans to planning the ride and managing all of the logistics around it…you guys are a class act. It’s an honor to do this with you every year and we’re looking forward to whatever’s next.


Until next time…

 

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*Photo credit: Kendell Madden

 

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For the third consecutive year, BRP is teaming up with the Road Warrior Foundation and its annual cross-country Road Warrior Ride benefiting U.S. Veterans. 
For the third consecutive year, BRP is teaming up with the Road Warrior Foundation and its annual cross-country Road Warrior Ride benefiting U.S. Veterans. 
For the third consecutive year, BRP is teaming up with the Road Warrior Foundation and its annual cross-country Road Warrior Ride benefiting U.S. Veterans.