Anne and Jerry Groom have been biking for more than 50 years. So, on their way to Philadelphia to visit family, the Illinois couple didn't think twice about stopping in York to tour Harley-Davidson's local factory.
"From the minute we walked through the door, everything just clicked for us," Anne Groom said.
Many of Jerry Groom's bikes have been Harleys, including his trike models, which are made in York.
"I just wanted to see how they're built from beginning to end. It's very impressive," he said.
New tours: The Grooms and other guests lined up Wednesday afternoon to take advantage of the new Steel Toe Tours offered by Harley.
More than 700 customers have taken the new tour, which gives
The Steel Toe Tours were created based on customer feedback, she said. "Guests said they wanted to get closer, see more and do more, and that's what they're getting now," she said.
Since the new tour's February launch, attendance has increased by 30 percent, she said.
Unlike the free tours, which are still being offered, Steel Toe Tours cost $35. The price includes a commemorative pin, a group photo inside the factory, a high-visibility Steel Toe Tour safety vest and a $5 coupon for the York Tour Center Gift Shop. Groups of 16 or more are charged $32 per person, and Harley-Davidson Museum members are admitted at a discounted rate of $30.
The tours, which last one hour, are offered at 9:30 a.m. and noon Monday through Thursday.
All guests, who must be 12 or older, are required to wear a safety vest, safety goggles and steel-toe protection over their shoes, which should fully enclose the foot.
It's also best to call ahead, Warner said, because the factory will be closed to tours for seven weeks from the beginning of July through mid-August as the new 2013 product line is rolled out.
May is one of the busiest visitor months at the factory, tour guides said.
'Iconic': California businessmen Hugo Rubio and Jim Sweeney were among the tour takers this month during a professional trip in York County.
Both men are manufacturing executives and jumped at the opportunity to see how Harley builds its bikes.
"Harley is an excellent manufacturer with an excellent reputation. It's iconic," Sweeney said.
Though Sandy Clemm of Camp Hill said she took the tour just to see how things are made, many guests of the visitor's center are from out of town -- and out of the country.
On Wednesday alone, the center's visitors came from Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois and Maine, and from international locations including China, Switzerland, Germany, Israel, according to Susan Syms, lead travel counselor with the York County Convention & Visitor's Bureau at Harley.
During late spring and summer, 400 people walk through the doors every day, she said.
About 60 percent of guests are "hardcore Harley owners. This place is a mecca to them," she said.
Other visitors are motorcycle enthusiasts and people who say they want to see something that's made in America.
"For them, I think it represents what's good about this country," she said.
Call the visitor's bureau at Harley for more information at 877-883-1450.
-- Reach Candy Woodall at 505-5437 or cwoodal firstname.lastname@example.org.