Demo Tour Season is Coming

Cycling / Events / Outdoor Adventure (Unique lifestyle/travel/personal experience) / Outdoor Sporting Events and Travel / Paddling

Being a part of the Outdoor Demo Tour for the past two summers was a great experience. But for 2013, Tim and I are passing the torch to a new pair of demo drivers:


James Stringer, manager of our Warwick, RI store, will be half of the 2013 Outdoor Demo Tour team. He’s been with EMS since 2004, and brings lots of kayak demo and paddling experience with him. I’m not positive, but James may be better at paddling than he is at walking on solid ground.


Ben Cargill from North Conway is the perfect other half for the Outdoor Demo Tour team. He’s been with us since 2010 and brings tons of cycling and bike event experience to the table. He may look like a normal guy in person, but he’s been a competitive cyclist since high school and–as you can see in this picture–he’s pretty badass.

While I’m really excited for these guys—and really, really excited to actually sleep in my own bed all summer—there are a lot of things I am going to miss about being on tour for two months. Most of our demo venues are pet-friendly, and I got to meet tons of awesome dogs last year. So of course one of the things I’m going to miss this summer is meeting so many four-legged cuties.

demo dogs

An adorable little pup being paddled around by mom while child supervises at last year’s Waterford, CT demo (top left); Reuben and Jenna, my favorite demo dogs two years in a row, from Bridgewater, NJ (top right); Wrigley kept everyone (and by “everyone,” I mean “me”) entertained at the Carle Place demo (bottom left); After going for a swim off of one board at the Buckland Hills, CT demo, this fluffy poodle agreed to try a different one (bottom right)

I’ll also miss getting the chance to meet so many new people, and seeing the friends Tim and I have made over the past two years. It’s hard to say what the biggest perk of being a demo driver is, but this is definitely way up there on the list. In addition to the store staff, vendors, and community partners present at each event, weekend demos average anywhere from 100 to 200 customers…so there are a lot of opportunities to make new acquaintances, hear some great stories, and learn a few things.


It’s pretty hard to be unhappy when you’re bathed in sunlight and surrounded by bright reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and blues, showcased quite nicely in this shot from our Delaware demo.

The thing I’ll probably miss the most, though, is how much excitement there is on demo day. With tons of sunshine (we got lucky weather-wise last year, with only one rainy demo), so many bright colors everywhere, and people milling about all day, the demos tend to take on a festival-like vibe that almost forces you to have a good time.

buckland bikes

Look, even the bikes are trying to be bright and colorful, with their shiny blue frames and flashy red tires! (Buckland Hills demo)

Being a demo driver was definitely one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. It’s also one of the things that make EMS so unique. No other retailers have thrown two people in a truck and said, “Okay, now drive around with this giant trailer full of gear and spend every Saturday and Sunday–and some weeknights–in a beautiful park with lots of fun people, and make sure our customers get to try out any kayak, stand up paddleboard, and bike they want.”

The Outdoor Demo Tour truly sets us apart from our competition, but that’s not why we do it. We do it for you, our customers. We know that boats, bikes, and boards are expensive and can be stressful to purchase…but these sports should be anything but stressful! With this tour, we strive to take your worries away by letting you try out the two or three kayaks you’ve been trying to decide between, or that 29er you’ve been eyeing but want to take for a serious test ride before you part with your hard-earned cash. Most importantly, we want you to have fun throughout your decision-making process.

kayakers and SUPers

If you don’t leave a demo looking as happy as this lady at last year’s Northborough, MA event, then we’ve done something wrong.

If you haven’t been to one of our demos yet, the 2013 Outdoor Demo Tour is kicking off in just over a month, with 16 new chances to get in on the action! Check out to find out when we’ll be in your neck of the woods, pencil us in on your calendar, and come play with us!

Ashley Reven

Ashley is a passionate runner, rock climber, cyclist, hiker, snowboarder, and ice climber. She started working for EMS in 2003 and worked in three of our stores before setting up shop in the corporate office as a copy writer. If you ever need to dispose of weird trinkets, her desk is a good place to do so…her Albert Einstein action figure, racing nuns, and pipe cleaner/walnut squirrel could use some new friends. Follow Ashley on Twitter! @ashleyreven