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Motorcycle startup rides into Richmond

Lena Price March 19, 2013 8
Alan Tuck, left, Brandon Costanzo and Brian Burnett. (Courtesy of RVA Rides)

Alan Tuck, left, Brandon Costanzo and Brian Burnett. (Courtesy of RVA Rides)

Three Army veterans are launching a startup to help Richmond’s college crowd burn some rubber.

Brandon Costanzo, Brian Burnett and Alan Tuck this spring will open RVA Rides, a scooter and motorcycle rental and tour shop near the intersection of Broad and Boulevard. Costanzo said scooter rentals will start at $25 a day and increase with the class and engine size.

“Between VCU, UR, Virginia Union and J. Sarge, there are a lot of students in the area,” he said. “Scooters are an inexpensive way to get around, so we’re really trying to cater to that market.”

The company is leasing a 3,000-square-foot space at 1022 North Boulevard, where it will have a showroom and repair shop. It’s aiming to open between April 15 and May 1.

In addition to the rentals, RVA Rides will lead several motorcycle tours.

“The lengths and routes of each of the tours will depend on the level of experience of the group,” Costanzo said. “We’re planning a four- to five-hour round trip to Tappahannock that should be easy enough for beginners.”

RVA Rides is starting out with a fleet 24 motorcycles and 30 scooters. The shop will carry most major brands, including Honda, Yamaha and Harley Davidson, Costanzo said.

For the more adventurous riders, Costanzo said the company would also have a street-legal replica of the 400-plus-pound “light cycle” from the movie “TRON: Legacy.”

It will take about $750,000 to get the business up and running, with expenses such as equipment, rent, insurance and a staff of about three mechanics, Costanzo said. The partners are financing the venture with an SBA Patriot Express Loan and the help of several private investors. The company is also pursuing money from grant programs for veterans.

The shop will only rent motorcycles to licensed riders but plans eventually to offer the state rider training program.

Costanzo said the trio came up for the idea in 2011, when the three partners were stationed in the same unit in Iraq, where their jobs were to set up IT systems. All three are now working on RVA Rides full time.

“Brian’s been riding since he could walk, and Alan has about 15 years of experience,” Costanzo said. “So we have a really wide knowledge base.”

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8 Comments »

  1. Ty March 19, 2013 at 7:51 am - Reply

    I wish you all the best of luck. I wonder, however, how many people with a motorcycle license already would be interested in motorcycle tours? Maybe start small with the mopeds and work your way up? $750k is a lot and I’m guessing the bulk falls under the motorcycle capex and insurance side…

  2. Joey Burnett March 19, 2013 at 8:17 am - Reply

    Sounds great. Another new business opening in the city.

  3. Donna March 19, 2013 at 8:19 am - Reply

    Great idea! I wish you much success. As a scooter owner, I know how much fun they are. You’ll probably create a few sales for Scoot, too, after the folks that are sitting on the fence get to try them out for a day.

    My very experienced motorcycle riding husband really likes them for the great company on the road–just like a bicycle tour. For new riders, a tour in the company of experience can boost safety and build confidence.

  4. Brandon Costanzo March 19, 2013 at 10:09 am - Reply

    We absolutely intend on keeping cost lower than $750k, I told the reporter that we were trying to stay well under that number. We look forward to opening and meeting more and more riders and friends from the Richmond and surrounding areas. Please like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rvarides. We post regular updates and announcements there as well.

  5. Connie Nielsen March 21, 2013 at 6:23 am - Reply

    Best of luck! With all the new activity coming to the Boulevard you should be poised for success.

  6. Roxanne March 21, 2013 at 7:04 am - Reply

    Thanks for your service and I hope your business venture is quite successful.

  7. Eric March 29, 2013 at 11:15 am - Reply

    This sounds really cool. I’ve been riding since August on a 2012 Honda CBR250r and love the little thing for my daily commute.

    Depending on your motorcycle selection, I would totally be interested in renting one, even if just to test out bikes before I get a faster one someday.

    Crossing my fingers that you’ll have a couple sport bikes or “streetfighters” thrown in there!

  8. Stacy Leissler April 2, 2013 at 8:57 am - Reply

    This sounds like a wonderful idea. A tour to Tappahannock is a great place, formerly a resident from Tappahannock, there are many sites to see, restaurants and the water. I am also looking for work, I have administrative, customer service, human resources and sales experience. Please keep me in mind, you can contact me using my name all lower case at hotmail.

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