View from our tent Stefan goes electric Jayne rides an electric bike Rally in the Gorge 2012 logo


Motorcycle Rallies I Have Attended
(& what makes a great motorcycle rally)
 
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My tweets here are about travel, motorcycling, tent camping, bicycling (mostly as a commuter), and things I find amusing. I tweet maybe up to half a dozen times a day, on a really good day - usually much less.

 
disclaimer

  I like looking for motorcycle rallies to attend. I love riding my motorcycle more - and traveling by motorcycle even more than that - but motorcycle rallies are still nice, because I love socializing, and I love learning anything that will make me a better rider and that will increase my enjoyment of just riding, or motorcycle travel. 

What makes a good rally? Information that is of real value to me and applicable to how I ride, or want to ride. That could be any of the following:
  • Test rides of at least a few motorcycles. Especially if there is at least one motorcycle that a short person like me, at 5'4", could ride.
  • Presentations, panel discussions or vendor displays that have anything to do with motorcycle rider safety - any aspect of riding and parking safely. 
  • Presentations or panel discussions about common mistakes or misunderstandings motorcyclists make (and how to stop doing it). The more fun and interactive these can be, the better.
  • Presentations about a ride through some part of the world I would love to visit.
  • Workshops on riding in certain riding conditions (in the rain, on snow, on gravel, on dirt).
  • Workshops on how to do something while on the road, far from a phone, like change a tire.
  • Workshops or vendor displays regarding first aid.
  • Presentations, panel discussions or vendor displays about the coolest motorcycle travel gear and travel tech (what's so great about mesh jackets and pants? Or special socks? Or the Spot tracker?).
  • Riding tips for short riders.
  • Workshops about cooking while camping (beyond the pouch).
  • A presentation by anyone who travels internationally.
  • A presentation by a woman who travel internationally (and even better - if men attend to, so they understand how to be great travel buddies for women on the road).
  • Presentations about budgeting to travel long-term.
  • Presentations, panel discussions or vendor displays regarding options to keep your motorcycle from getting stolen.
  • Route maps and tourist information for the area. Maybe I want to come back when there is no rally going on! And if that info includes some really special road I might never have known about otherwise, all the better!
  • Swag: stickers, pens, keychains, coupons, magazines, etc.
  • Vendor information - I love to be woo'd!

There are also MUSTS for a great motorcycle rally:

  • A detailed web site that provides complete details on what attendees should bring, and not bring, parking, programs/workshops, etc. The dates of the rally should appear on EVERY web page.
  • Safe motorcycle parking. That may mean being able to park my bike right next to my tent, or in a locked facility. I should never have to walk a long way to get to my bike.
  • Camping and parking in an area that is not easily accessible to passersby; locals shouldn't be walking through where people are camping or parking.
  • Constant "welcome" moments. Every day should start with a welcome by rally organizers. Every evening or shared meal should start with a welcome by rally organizers. 
  • Clean bathroom facilities, enough for all attendees to not have to form long lines every day. These should be cleaned and stocked daily (twice daily if they will be in heavy use).
  • Lots of picnic tables.
  • Places for people to gather in case it rains, or gets too hot.
  • Information about local places to eat, if it's not obvious by just driving to the nearest city.
  • A big bulletin board where any attendee can post information or messages.
  • Lots of opportunities for riders to talk together.
What's nice, but not totally necessary:
  • Raffles and silent auctions, particularly when the funds go to a credible, reputable, non-religious charity.
  • T-shirts.
  • One free meal, or one free drink ticket.
  • A bonfire.
  • Games.
  • A restaurant or pub, or even just a convenience store, within walking distance.
  • A quick followup on the web site about the event after the event.
  • A survey to ask attendees how they liked the event.
What isn't helpful, or a turn off for a rally?
  • Presentations that are just about "and then I went here, and then I went here." How did you choose the route? Did you ever pay a bribe? How did you choose where to eat? Where to stay? What insurance did you use?
  • Presentations or workshops that assume all motorcycle riders want to go as fast as possible.
  • Workshops that assume all riders are 5'7" or taller.
  • Workshops about personal motivation - anything with "cave man" or "run with wolves" in the title.
  • Workshops that assume everyone has been riding since we were children.
  • Camping that is never quiet - that's impossible for anyone to get enough sleep.
  • No opportunity for late night gatherings that won't disturb other campers.
  • Volunteers or staff that spend most of their time talking to each other, rather than talking to rally attendees. 
  • Volunteers or staff not always making sure people coming onto the grounds are a part of the rally. 
  • Prohibitions on bringing in food or drinks. 
  • No vendors, or just one or two vendors.
  • Constant changes in programming, lots of cancellations, etc.
  • A high price that doesn't fit what I'm going to get as a result of attending.
  • Sexist activities or imagery; stripper poles, wet t-shirt contests, clothing or gear with sexist comments or images on such, bikini bike washes, etc. 
  • Activities that assume everyone is a Christian.
   
You want an aluminum top box, but the huge alu boxes of most sellers for one or even two helmets are too big for you, and too expensive?

My husband has designed an aluminium topcase just for you! (and for us, because it's what we wanted on our own bikes)

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

20 liter (5.3 gallon)

400 x 250 x 200 mm
(15 34" x 9 34" x 7 34")

1.6 mm (116") thick aluminium

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

  • completely welded, not only glued or riveted
  • lid with four loops to fasten additional luggage
  • lid completely removable, which makes loading and unloading much easier
  • two tie down hooks, which can be locked with a small padlock each
  • gasket in the lid makes the aluminum box completely waterproof
  • all attachment parts (loops, tie down hooks, and screws) are made of stainless steel
  • all corners and bends are rounded
  • light weight, only 2.3 kg (5 pounds)
  • spare parts available
Also available in custom sizes (including a larger size, which is usually in stock).

And, yes, those side panniers are also available to order.

I've been to these five motorcycle rallies:
Also see: Disclaimer
Any activity incurs risk. The author assumes no responsibility for the use of information contained within this document.

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