The first rule of Ride Club is simple: “YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT RIDE CLUB.” I’ll let you guess what the second rule is. But despite this decree duplicity, I think Shift is going to have a pretty hard time keeping Ride Club under wraps. This secretive event-held in an undisclosed Orange County location that may or may not be right next door to Fox-was a combination sales meeting/ gear intro/ industry gathering, all stuffed inside of a chain-link cage and ignited by three Honda CRF50 pit bikes. It would be difficult to describe in words exactly what Ride Club is, so I’m just going to let the pictures do the talking. Wait, isn’t that against the rules?
Shift has a long history of breaking the mold and doing things their own way. Rather than just gathering their sales team inside of a conference room and talking about their product, they decided to hold Ride Club. As expected, everyone involved was all smiles before the event, although there may have been a few missing teeth in those smiles at the end of the evening….
Shift spokesman Jeff Emig helped host Ride Club, and the racer-turned-announcer was a natural when it came to articulating the spirit of the brand. “To me, Shift is a conduit for a rider to express his own style and have the freedom to be himself, to have his likeness portrayed as he is and not as someone wants him to be,” Emig explained. “That’s really what Ride Club is about.”
Shift is gearing up (no pun intended) for another major push with their apparel line, no doubt fueled by the success of sponsored racers like Chad Reed. The gear itself won’t be officially released for a little while longer, but from what I’ve heard the stuff is going to be insane. I’ll get beat down if I say anything more!
Ride Clubbers anxiously wait for their turns inside of the cage while a qualifier moto takes off. The racing was set up in brackets, with several teams racing relay-style to make it to the main event. On the line was a pile of great prizes, including new Apple iPads for the top team and bragging rights for at least another year.
The participants did not always adhere to the third rule of Ride Club, “HOLD IT BETWEEN YOUR KNEES”. Some decided that it would be better to launch their bikes into other racers and/ or the wall, while others just fell over out of exhaustion after too many laps in the cage. Luckily, nobody pissed on the seat, which would have explicitly broken the seventh rule of Ride Club!
How do you find a halftime show that can even compare to the fury of Ride Club? By hiring a bunch of Roller Derby girls to bash into each other, of course! Oddly enough, some of the best passes of the night took place on roller skates.
The fourth rule of ride club designates that there can be “ONLY ONE GUY ON A BIKE”. But even if that rule weren’t in effect, it’s doubtful that anyone would have wanted to share a seat with a guy who’s grinning like a psycho while missing both sleeves and one pant leg!
Fifth rule: “IF SOMEONE’S CLUTCH WRIST GOES LIMP, THEY BECOME THE GIMP”. There were more than enough exciting slams, wild passes and hard hits at Ride Club to keep the crowd glued to the fence.
The Sixth rule of Ride Club was clearly written by a racer: “SPEED KILLS, BUT IT ALSO THRILLS”. Did we mention that speed also confuses the hell out of referees who are trying to keep track of who is in the lead?
As the night rolled along, Emig commented about the atmosphere surrounding the event, as well as what riding means to those involved: “There’s not a person in the house who has been in the cage and doesn’t have a smile on their face, and that’s what it comes down to,” Emig observed between motos. “Whether it’s at Ride Club inside the cage or whether you’re in the dunes or the desert or the racetrack or inside a stadium racing Supercross, there’s that freedom of expression and that love for riding that we all have. Shift is your brand to express who you are.” Fortunately, Shift gave everyone at Ride Club a chance to express who they were, even if they didn’t originally intend to. After all, the eighth and final rule of Ride Club is non-negotiable: “IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST NIGHT AT RIDE CLUB, YOU HAVE TO RIDE!”