Photography by: Josh Triggs
Written by: Tricia Strader
For 35 years, Ridersville Cycle in Berkeley Springs has brought joy to anyone with a penchant for driving around on any combination of wheels, in anything but a standard automobile. Ridersville Cycle deals in bicycles, motorcycles, four wheelers, three-wheeled vehicles, and even jet skis for those who like to go fast on waves rather than the blacktop. In 1981, Harold and Bryan Unger started Ridersville in a two-car garage on Route 9 east of town.
They’d been racing motocross since the 1970s. Harold says there were tracks all around the region in the heyday of the ‘70s and ‘80s for motocross racing competition. Millions were sold. They had a real interest in racing, worked on their own cycles, and decided why not turn that hobby into a business? “I was 24 years old,” says Harold. “I don’t think some people thought we were serious when we started the business. But, we were very serious.”
When he married his wife Dawn, she came into the business with him. In 1988, Bryan Unger left to pursue other business interests, but his daughter Tessa works with her aunt and uncle. Over the years, the business expanded, changed locations a few times, and added employees. Today, there are on average 18 employees at any given time.
Harold Unger is a veritable wealth of information on the history of the business and the various vehicles they sell. He can rattle off the years they added each new manufacturer and each year they expanded the business or changed locations due to growth.
“We started in that garage,” said Harold, “with Can Am motorcycles from Canada. In 1983, we added KTM motorcycles from Austria. In ’85, we started selling Polaris ATVs made in Minnesota. In 1986, we started dealing in Husqvarna competition motorbikes made in Sweden.”
Next, came Kawasaki ATVs and side by sides, motorcycles, and jet skis. Their 1996 Honda addition of scooters, snow blowers, side by sides, ATVs, motorcycles, and even generators prompted one of the When Polaris developed the Victory motorcycles in 1999, Ridersville added them to the family.
In 2008, they added the Can Am Spyders and this year, the Batmobile-esque Polaris Slingshot. More recently, they’ve added Cannondale bicycles.
Their current showroom and service center was built in 2004. But, true to trend, they have even added to it and now have 42,000 square feet. Ridersville Cycle was the largest Polaris dealer in the U.S. in the late ‘90s into the 2000s. They were voted the largest Husqvarna dealer in the mid-‘90s and are one of the top five Kawasaki dealers in the country. The walls behind the counter in the main showroom boast various certificates and awards.
The showroom is huge, and each brand has its own area. It’s somewhat shocking the first time to see the large selection of inventory in various types of vehicles.
Some customers come to Ridersville to look for used vehicles. They have an up-to-date inventory and also service every brand they sell, or the DIY folks can order parts through Ridersville. They also have a wide selection of accessories.
Financing is available through the manufacturers or secondary lenders like CNB and other local companies. Call for more information or check out their website about pre-approval.
The Ungers have many local and regional customers, and repeat customers. Some customers come from as far away as Florida, Kansas, Texas, or Utah. Harold doesn’t quite know why. There must be dealers closer. But, he says, “We offer the best prices and try to work with people.”
Dawn Unger thinks they are the best-known dealer in the region because of the staff and husband Harold. He isn’t the typical dealership owner or salesman. He admits he doesn’t have his own private office. He’s all over the building, doing whatever has to be done, and even on the floor showing customers around. He’ll sit down at the counter and talk shop. After all, he’d had years of experience to pass on.
“He’s not a pushy, hard salesperson,” says Dawn. “He tries to be friendly and bring a calm approach. He’s one of them. He still rides dirt bikes every weekend when he can.” Ridersville Cycle is located at 75 Good Times Drive, off U.S. 522 South in Berkeley Springs. For more information, call (304) 258-1449 or 258-2282 for Honda. Or, log onto www.ridersvillecycle.com. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.