Rally Rambles


Tags: BMW, rally, BMWMOA,

Alison and BMWs 


Looking back, high summer equates to rally season. Whether you ride a Vespa or a Ducati, there will be a rally somewhere for your chosen mark.  Say what you will, most of us enjoy looking at and comparing our own to those things that are familiar. Bikers are no exception and it is great fun to kick tires and swap lies with like-minded riders. 

With all of this in mind, and the hopes of finding some riding pants that fit, we (my trust R80G/S and I) pointed south in mid July for the BMWMOA National rally in Vermont.  I had only ever attended one big rally prior to this summer and expectations were running high. Now that I am back home and the bugs have been washed off the bike, I am somewhat ambivalent about the whole experience. 

The organization and thoroughness with which the rally was marshalled was truly impressive. 5,000 plus bikes is a truly astonishing number of vehicles, plus all of those who arrived by other means – we are talking about a serious crowd… Registration, traffic flow, camping, seminars, vendor facilities – I have no complaints on any of those fronts. So why am I less than enthusiastic in retrospect? 

Let me describe one particular bike that happened to be parked beside mine at mid-day. This was a 2004 model G/S – ostensibly a dual-sport machine. It sported aftermarket panniers that brought the width of the bike to 46 inches  across the rear. There were no less than three small view-screens mounted on the handlebars-GPS, Radar detector and something else that I could not identify; plus a CD player, garage door opener, and a few more mysterious gizmos. Heated seat and heated grips were factory installed as were fully integrated ABS brakes. The tail trunk looked big enough to hold two full-face helmets as well as the kitchen sink. The tank bag was one of the variety designed to keep electronic components recharged from the bike’s electrical system. There was a small sticker on the windscreen to let the world know that a performance chip had been installed. The proud owner informed me that he had put 2,700 miles on the bike and that it had never been ridden in the rain or on gravel. This was his longest trip so far (280miles) and he was quite proud of himself.  He was staying in a nearby hotel for the rally. 

2/13/2009 2:12:28 PM

I have been riding for over 45 years...I have 4 bikes...I have camped a lot and been all over the country riding coast-to-coast. I say...to each his own...I am just happy that the fellow rides a motorcycle. I commend him and everyone else who rides. I say you AND him have a right to do what ever you like. :)

big koala
2/13/2009 4:49:39 AM

While I'm not a gadget freak, at age 66 I appreciate a real bed, instead of a sleeping bag on a thin pad. I like to feel well-rested before heading out on a long ride on a bike. In a car, if I need a nap (not uncommon for someone of my age), I just pull over, but that's a lot more difficult on my bike. Last time I took a nap on a picnic table in a campground, I woke up surrounded by campers, who were wondering if I was dead. bk

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