Funny thing about motorcycling, sometimes we cherish the solitude and quiet of riding alone and at other times we look for the comradery of others. Motorcycle rallies bring visions of Sturgis (http://www.sturgismotorcyclerally.com/) and the wild things that implies, but there is so much more. What about the quaint local gatherings like RibFest in Tennessee? (http://www.bmwmcon.org/ribfest.php) And let’s not forget brand/bike specific events like BMW, Triumph or Honda Goldwing. So many choices, so little time.
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zcfqg-kVXWg
Why We Rally: So these are some of the key reasons we and others elect to join in the motorcycle rally fun:
- High potential for like-minded people in small space and time. Great chance to meet great people.
- Chance to see distant friends (Rallies can build lasting relationships).
- Validation & feedback for the way you have set up your bike.
- Knowledge transfer and ideas sharing. (Learning opportunities, often including rider training.)
- Finally meeting your www.facebook.com – only friends.
- Getting a taste of the locals. Insights for the best roads, rides and eats.
- Late nights by the fire with lots of stories and bench racing.
- Adult trick or treating. People really like the raffles and free stuff from vendors.
- Seeing the latest in gear & gadgets. Maybe your next bike or solution to current challenge.
- Solid excuse for adult beverages of choice and lots of (usually) good food.
And let’s not forget the bonus benefit that many rallies donate profits to charity. Good for them!
Gaila and I had a chance this past weekend to participate in the Touratech-USA Rally in Plain, WA (http://www.touratech-usa.com/Adventure/Events/JOPqYs/2014-Touratech-Rally) and the Overland Expo (http://www.overlandexpo.com/) event in Flagstaff, AZ in May. (Oh and www.GiantLoopmoto.com too.) Each have personalities of their own and have so much to offer attendees. Same is true for the vendors – over 6000 participants at the Overland Expo. Seeing old friends, meeting new ones and sharing experiences and expertise is what make them something that we enjoy. It is fantastic to get out and ride in new areas with new friends. BMW, Sturgis and Horizon’s Unlimited are up next.
Great Horizons Unlimited video talking about Why Rally: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i__7iIiE9R0
Having said all this, they are often anything but perfect. For example, here are some of the things you need to show patience for at your next gathering:
- Noise – these are generally just not quiet, early or late!
- Camp hours: Wow, does everyone HAVE to get up between 6 & 6:30am? Especially since they went to bed after midnight!
- Generators. At motorcycle rallies these aren’t too bad, but vendors and those that elect to trailer in often have one kicking up the decibel levels. Thankfully, most events require them off between 10pm and 6am.
- Food lines can suck. Hell, any line sucks but they can be worse if there is only one food provider or limited bathrooms and etc.
- Limited space. Sometimes, you really are just too close to your otherwise nice enough neighbor.
- Limited supplies like water, showers or porta-potties.
- Trash – it is super important for event organizers to deal with this in advance. Recycling too.
- Goodbyes. While the “hellos” are part of the good, saying goodbye sometimes means it might be one year or never before you get a chance to see new & old friends alike. Another good reason for modern social communication tools.
So, will you rally or not? If you never have, you should. We know there are plenty of things that try your soul, but there are even more reasons to join in the fun. Learn something new, meet new people and expand your motorcycling skills. You will be happy you did. If it is not your thing, then no worries – it leaves more space, food and fun for the rest of us!
In case you are interested, here a few select links that will give you some food for thought.
Horizons Unlimited: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/events
Great video talking about Why Rally: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i__7iIiE9R0
BMW Motorcycle Owners of America: http://bmwmoa.org/TheRally.aspx
Long listing of rallies: http://www.lightningcustoms.com/motorcyclerallies.html
AMA American Motorcyclist Association: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/events/search
Overland Expo: (Motorcycles and overland rigs/trucks) www.overlandexpo.com/
Rally In The Gorge: http://soundrider.com/rally/
Riders For Health – Seattle Scavenger Hunt III: http://www.meetup.com/AroundtheSoundRiders/events/148104362/