Family Off Road Adventures: Charitable Team and Creators of the Yosemite Tour
Family Off-Road Adventures (FORA) is best known for organizing and promoting the Yosemite Adventure Tour and the Yosemite Dual Sport Adventure, which are held in Northern California each spring and fall, but it also raises funds for charity.
"[The rides] started with some friends riding Jawbone Canyon,” says FORA founder Lawrence Borgens. "We got together each year to ride in the Mojave Desert during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Soon, we started taking family and friends down to Baja and riding the epic trails of the Mojave Desert and the High Sierras."
The next step for Borgens was to turn these activities into an AMA-chartered organization. Family Off-Road Adventures was born. Since the inaugural Yosemite ride in 2008, hundreds of dual-sport and adventure riders have attended these two day events.
Participants are treated to unique views of Yosemite and the High Sierras and are supported by sweep riders, a chase truck and support vehicles. Every day starts and ends in historic Buck Meadows at the gateway to Yosemite, and lunch is included. Saturday's stop is at a local Indian casino where a never-ending sumptuous buffet awaits the trail-weary riders. Sunday's lunch is served picnic-style trailside in Yosemite Valley.
One of the unique aspects of these events is that they are GPS-based. That's right, no roll charts! Participants receive a GPS download of all event routes, waypoints and track logs, then have the opportunity to attend a GPS class on the evening before the ride. Routes consist of approximately 100 miles per day of two-track on U.S. Forest Service and logging roads, with some single-track "hard" splits.
The event is intentionally kept big-bike friendly and beginner friendly. It's limited to 100 participants to maintain a more intimate setting. "Many organizations advertise 'once-in- a -lifetime, death-defying adventures,'” Borgens says. “Family Off-Road Adventures is about taking great people to great places instead of being about the treachery of the trails." The philosophy of taking people to places of historic significance and scenic beauty shines through in everything about these events. FORA is planning a new Mojave Desert Event on February 18, 2018. The next Yosemite Event is September 23 & 24, 2017.
Starting a business was nothing new for Borgens, who operates three other businesses. He's an award winning entrepreneur recognized by the local Chamber of Commerce and the Sacramento branch office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Forming a team with family members, then applying modern email, online and social media marketing strategies while utilizing computer automation in the registration process has allowed the company to remain small but still serve hundreds of participants in rides hosted by Family Off-Road Adventures, which is truly a family business.
Borgens' business partner is his mom, Janet and the primary event staff is Janet's husband, Jim, and Borgens' wife, Kimberley, along with their four children: Matthew, Aaron, Benjamin and Cierra.
Other family and friends also assist from time to time during events. Borgens firmly believes in the saying that "there are family that you're born into and family that you choose." No matter who is on the staff, they are all family. This family's love for off-road riding started with Janet's father, Darold MacDannald. MacDannald lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident when he was 19 years old, before the invention of penicillin. But that didn't stop him from building off-road racing trucks and winning some of the toughest races in Baja and the Mojave Desert, and owning three motorcycle dealerships in Northern California. Janet's two brothers, Neil and Dayl, also raced regularly. Neil eventually went on to become a professional motocross racer and he taught his nephew, Lawrence, how to ride when Lawrence received his first bike, a Honda QA50, at the age of 6.
Since the beginning, FORA has supported the Blue Ribbon Coalition and, to date, has donated more than $17,667.00 to the advocacy group Janet heads up this effort and diligently contacts dealerships, accessory manufacturers and distributors to collect items to be raffled off at each FORA event. At their last event, over $10,000.00 in donated goods and services were raffled off for $1,276.00 creating an incredible value for the attendees. FORA has also chosen to support another local charity responsible for ensuring outdoor activities for disabled children. FORA does this by organizing a barbecue in conjunction with each FORA event. These activities have raised more than $31,000.00 to help local disabled children.
For information, or to register for the next Yosemite event with FORA, go to FamilyOffRoadAdventures.com.