Motorcycle rider's bucket list

Posted by

For most motorcyclists, there are three rallies that make it to the proverbial bucket lists:

Daytona.Laconia.Sturgis.

An interesting element about all three of these rallies is that they are held in relatively small towns yet easily pull in a half-million riders year after year. These rallies have their own personalities and quirks and only upon visiting them in person can a rider compare and contrast the nuances that will make them prefer one over another. Most riders will quickly learn that it is best to find a great parking space and walk amongst the watering holes, vendors, and thousands of other motorcycles rather than trying to ride with their hand firmly on the clutch at speeds of 3 miles per hour.

Daytona Bike Week

The 74thannual Daytona Bike Week will be held March 6 – 15, 2015 it is essentially the kick-off to the annual riding season with bikers from far and wide descending upon the east coast of Florida to show off their chrome steeds.

There are certain things to keep in mind when traveling to Daytona such as ensuring everything about a motorcycle is legal according to Florida state laws. Frequently, law enforcement will cite items such as an obscured license plate or handlebars being too high as just cause to pull a rider over for a more thorough review.

Once a rider is confident their bike is adhering to all laws, a hearty supply of patience is required because it will take time to make it over the intercostal bridge from the mainland to the A1A which will be the main drag for the riders.

A major challenge to Daytona is that it is so alluring to riders from the north where motorcycles have been “winterized” during the colder months and riding skills have become rusty. Add in some alcohol and bravado and it can be a recipe for trouble and that is why Daytona frequently has serious injuries and fatalities during their bike week.

On a positive note, the area merchants and hotels are very accommodating to riders and go out of their way to ensure a good time is had by all. In fact, many hotels will issue sheets of cardboard to patrons that are checking in to ground floor rooms and insist upon rolling their bikes inside; the cardboard protects the carpeting from oil stains.

Laconia Motorcycle Week

While Daytona and Sturgis seem to carry more name recognition, Laconia is actually the grand-daddy of them all. 2015 will be the 92nd years for Laconia Motorcycle Week and it will be held June 12-21, 2015.

Located in the middle part of New Hampshire, this rally naturally centers on Weirs Beach along Meredith Bay. This rally pulls in a massive audience due to its proximity to major metropolitan markets such as Boston, New York City, and even Philadelphia which is less than 400 miles away – or one good, hard day of riding. Laconia has less than 16,000 residents, however, the rally will pull in well over 500,000 riders from all along the Eastern seaboard.

Due to the gorgeous terrain around New Hampshire, many riders opt to camp rather than find hotels. In fact, the main goal seems to be in logging some serious mileage on the back roads while keeping Laconia as the hub to return to daily.

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Suffice to say that 2015 is going to a serious blow-out for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as it celebrates its 75th anniversary during the dates of August 3 – 9. Sturgis, South Dakota has less than 7,000 residents but pulls in hundreds of thousands of riders each year.

Unlike Daytona or Laconia, this rally really spreads out to all points including Spearfish and Deadwood to the west and Rapid City to the south. There is some truly gorgeous riding to be had in the legendary Black Hills with great sights such as Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Most riders that visit Sturgis for the first time would do good to plan on arriving a few days before the rally begins or stay a few days later and enjoy the gorgeous scenery in that remote, rugged part of the country.