Sturgis road trip 2011

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Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Tuesday, July 19, 2011

 My first, and hopefully not last, attempt at providing you, the casual reader, with a glimpse of my trip to the 2011 Sturgis Bike week in South Dakota. I'll be leaving with three friends from Western Massachusetts, all on our own bikes, and traveling close to 4000 miles round!

 Needless to say, anyone that rides a motorcycle has heard of the Sturgis motorcycle rally. It's been something I've always wanted to do, and with the way the economy is today, I've been lucky to keep a job, and amass enough vacation time to allow this trip to happen, and with the support of my loving wife and family, it looks like it will be a reality.

 I've been to rallies before, living in New England gives me access to Laconia, Americade, Rendezvous, and a little south of here, Myrtle beach. These are great bike events, all with their own feel, but nothing could compare to a trip halfway across the country to what has been called the greatest gathering of bikes and people in the world, not to mention the incredible sights and winding roads through the Black Hills.

 A little history...

The Sturgis Motorcycle rally is an American motorcycle rally held annually in Sturgis, South Dakota usually the first full week of August.

The first rally was held on August 14, 1938, by the "Jackpine Gypsies" motorcycle club, who still own and operate the tracks, and field areas where the rally is centered. The first event was called the "Black Hills Classic" and consisted of a single race with nine participants and a small audience. The founder is generally considered to be Clarence "Pappy" Hoel. He purchased an Indian Motocycle franchise in Sturgis in 1936 and formed the "Jackpine Gypsies" that same year.
The original Indian Motocycle was invented, and built in my hometown of Springfield.

The focus of a motorcycle rally was originally racing and stunts. In 1961, the rally was expanded to include the Hillclimb and Motocross races. This could include half-mile track racing (the first year in Sturgis, there were 19 participants), intentional board wall crashes, ramp jumps and head-on collisions with automobiles.(sounds like fun, doesn't it?)

The Sturgis Rally has been held every year, with exceptions during World war II For instance, in 1942, the event was not held due to gasoline rationing. With the cost of gas now approaching four bucks a gallon, I'm curious how it will effect the rally attendance this year.

 The rally is a couple of months away, plans are being made, routes are being hashed out, so more details will emerge in the next few weeks, Next week or so, I'll go over the cast of characters, and the machines we'll be riding.

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