2017 North American V-Strom Rally?
This thread is about whether or not the community would like to have a North American Rally next year and a possible location.
V-Strom Rallies have evolved significantly over the last fourteen years with a significant split in focus. The large continental or national rallies (200 or so attendees) have given way to smaller regional rallies (~20 to 80 attendees). These regional rallies have some pretty strong followings. Here are some of the reasons:
Close to large populations densities
Consistent strong volunteers
While some find going to the same place year after year comfortable and reliable, others yearn for a variety of locations.
On the flip side, the western rally (the decedents of the original north american rally) has lapsed due waning attendance and a scarcity of volunteers to act as hosts.
I personally like the idea of getting out and seeing different parts of the country and of course larger groups means more of what we all go to rally for.... more bikes, more and varied farkles, personal solutions, and just plain interesting stuff and people.
However, many folks can't get away to more than one rally a year so the local gatherings are their best option and greatly appreciate that they continue consistently every year.
So, is there a need for a large North American Rally? Here are some possibilities. These are just straw men suggestions for discussions.
South Dakota - Yellow stone, The Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, and Grand Tetons all within easy reach.
Colorado - Amazing roads all of the western part of the state and centrally located.
Arkansas - Greywolf endorsed. Apparently one of the great riding areas in the country.
Thoughts and suggestions on location and participation?
Maybe it was GrayWolf who liked Arkansas. I've only passed through it on the Interstate. Colorado has always been my favorite place.
My mistake, it was John Weldon who suggested Arkansas as a gathering place many years back.
I ran a 65 rider FJR rally in Spearfish SD last year.
There are great roads to ride and great gravel and two track as well.
There is also a fair bit of pretty technical adventure trail too.
I'd be willing to set this up if there is sufficent interest.
There are several Mom and Pop motels in downtown Spearfish that I reserved last year at about $60 per night with a single queen bed, some two bed rooms as well.
We did a steak dinner one night in the park for about $25 including beer.
I can get the rooms blocked now if there is interest.
The last weekend in June would work good here in Spearfish, not much else conflicting in town. July full and then the Sturgis Rally screws up late July and most of August too.
I'm running another FJR event in Red Lodge MT at the end of June, about 70 participants there.
My vote for SD !!!
If planned in advance I will go.... Long way from Ecuador and probably arrived on a rented strom.... Lol
My sons and daughter were born in NE and travelled 4 - 5 times to Badlands, Mt Rushnore etc...
South Dakota or Colorado would be less tourist. Anywhere around Yellowstone, Teton will be packed with tourist and motorhomes all summer, the exception would be Glacier NP in Montana, dealing with the tourist would be worth a trip back there, but not nearly as many as Yellowstone.
Food for thought -
The TDM correlations (time-distance-money) will probably keep regional rallies higher on the "might do this" list, but if the goal of a national is to attract a wide audience and truly see a worthwhile attendance, my thought is to choose a venue with a view to geographically centered.
For example, it is 375 miles west from Lebanon to Denver, CO.
So for a guy like me, an extra day on the road to get the the Rockies is an attractive factor.
Here are how my distances shape up:
- To Lebanon, KS: 936 miles
- To Denver, CO: 1,270
- To Pinedale, WY: 1,670 miles
There are a half-dozen nice motels and another half-dozen flophouse quality establishments in Pinedale. (Don't worry about how I know this, just trust me...)
Finally, if you "go east" it is equivalent distances to find decent riding in the hill country of Missouri or Arkansas or similar places. By decent riding I mean something other than the flat, straight roads of the mid-west.
Personally, my days of day after day riding to get somewhere for a cup of coffee are over. I would trailer to anything beyond an overnight stay, meaning a day out and a day back from home.
Mileage and population density are relevant but sometimes in a negative way!
One universal theme of a rally is "the trip" or ride or however you want to word it. That can be a 250 mile ride for a first time adventurer, to well over 1000 miles for those of us that enjoy the challenge of going further and finding out EXACTLY how good your bike is! It is just over 1000 miles each way when I attend the V STrom Eastern Rally. It will be 1700 miles one way to another rally I will attend in July.
While it would be nice to ride just a few hundred miles, I think attendance for a well organized event would have MANY attendees from 700 plus miles away. Look at the BMW rallies, which may be overwhelming to some in numbers but that fact shows that distance is simply irrelevant to someone that WANTS to attend.
Some consider the smaller rallies or get-togethers as tune ups for the big events. Especially those that want to camp out. There is no better test of gear...than to use it!
You do have to build a reputation with these things. So venue will matter a lot, especially first time out. Don't exclude the East Coast automatically. That will guarantee attendance. West Virginia, parts of New York come to mind. Especially if considering a date where it is hot in most of the country. Camping in WV in July/August can be quite nice for instance. Date is more important than venue imo. You do not want to fight for attendance interest!
National rallies also do well when they are in a similar time frame each year but rotate venues. The national speleological society is well attended and isn't in the same place each year. It can always go back to a locale after several iterations. It would make it a lot more appealing to a greater range of riders imho.
I like the idea though
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