What is it about a "rally"?


  • kwthom
    started a blog post What is it about a "rally"?

    What is it about a "rally"?

    In a parallel universe, a conversation had begun quite some time ago on a topic most everyone here has an opinion on.

    In the interests of transparency, I'll leave out a few things, but the questions are:

    Years ago, there were scores of participants in most of the fully-organized, and even partially-organized motorcycle touring events. We'll use the generic term "rally" for the purpose of this discussion. Preparations for future events seem to indicate fewer and fewer people willing to commit in advance to these sorts of activities.

    There's probably some history that may shine a bit of light onto this question. I *know* there are people here that have "been there, done that" who may be able to amplify what I think is happening.

    Yes, in decades past, you did have a large group of people that did involve themselves in many of these activities. I suspect that there's a different mindset between rallies in the east and rallies in the west. I don't believe this is unique to Goldwing riders, Honda riders, or anything like that. Riders in the east seem to have more opportunities to rally and the desire for the fellowship - maybe more than the riding itself. Thus, a region with more organized activities. The group dinners, the pre-planned ride routes, the ride leaders (no, I didn't write "road captain", but almost!) is what I mean by organized. To me, it seems that you see a lot of the same or similar actions and activities from GWRRA, Star clubs, etc.

    It does seem to be a little different in the west. After all, if you have to go 500 or 1200 miles to get to a rally location, it's now a commitment to do it. Eighty miles? 150 miles? Maybe you just show up for a few hours on Saturday, and sleep in your own bed later that night.

    More organized and structured in the east (or for riders originally from the east), less organized in the west - mostly.

    I seem to think that there's a group of people that are looking for a mini version of Sturgis or Americade with these sorts of loosely organized events. But then, many will complain about it being too big! A double-edged sword, huh?

    The other salient point here is what is it that makes these events a success?

    Forum life isn't what it used to be. By that I mean you had the one place that organized all of these activities. Before internet forums like this one, you have various email lists, you have groups that still exist and most have never heard of like Wings Over The Internet (WOTI), Delphi groups, not to mention an assortment of defunct internet forums. Again, this isn't Goldwing or Honda specific, as I mentioned - many other makes and models (other than Bar-and-Shield - more on that in a sec) probably are experiencing these same issues. With limited means to get the word out, and for those that chose to do a bit of 'keyboard riding', you had but a few places to get the skinny on an event. You also had the ability of finding out that so-and-so stated on-line "I'm going!", there might be a few people out there that'd go "I want to meet so-and-so, I'm going, too!"

    Recall the history of Bar-and-Shield - corporate really created that image from a reasonably young age for the company to succeed, they needed to have that 'club (by brand)' affiliation. Once the general public was sold on that, the rest is history. Every Japanese manufacturer, as well as most all of the European builders of motorcycles are the antithesis of this thought process - "they buy our bikes not because of the club, but because the engineering is better." Am I right? Think about it - still true today.

    Due to the changes in forums, along with some of the changes in people, that nucleus of people that were involved in the past doing these things have moved on to greener pastures. Perhaps they also just got fed-up and quit "Screw this, I'm gonna let someone else do this. It's too hard, and nobody here appreciates what I've done!"

    Bet you could do equally well in organizing an event in a different social media environment these days. A significant percentage of the heavyweight names from years past - the very ones mentioned earlier that would talk up activities like this - have moved on.

    Finally, I'm not here to tell this owner or anyone else how to run their forum. I'm simply pointing out what had happened from this user's perspective. There was a time that many involved were either supporters of the forum (privately owned...) or were small-scale mom-and-pop advertisers. Again, I'm quite certain you have a lot of other forums, not just powersports, that have similar issues.

    Is there a corollary to be drawn between these two activities? Maybe.

    • kwthom
      kwthom commented
      Editing a comment
      Interesting comments, gents!

    • kiptap
      kiptap commented
      Editing a comment
      Last several times to this rally is has rained at least two of the three days, once there was sleet, but it still seems to hold a strong following. 34yrs and climbing and of course rain again. I believe they buy up the entire camp area, one year it looked like a scene from Woodstock, you couldn't buy a spot to pitch your tent. Great people, unique motorcycles, great time. Everyone heads over to the local Fire Dept. hosting a pancake breakfast to support a small town FD. Ride parts of the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, just a great time and very frugal, (2 night camping, 2 diners, 2 breakfasts, coffee & beer truck, firewood, raffle tickets and a cup all for $40 bucks) and no, I never owned a Moto Guzzi, they don't care what you ride. Packing right now, can't fit jack in this 2018 hahahah, but I still love it.

      May 17 to May 19, 2019
      The West Central Illinois Moto Guzzi Riders Inc. Sorry absolutely no pets allowed anyone who brings a pet will be asked to leave. Registration includes: rally cup, Friday night chili and brats, Saturday night smoked pork dinner, Continental breakfast Saturday and Sunday, 24 hour coffee and cold drinks, hot showers, two nights camping, no electrical hook-ups. ALSO included: wooded campsites, 50/50 drawing, door prizes. Location: 9 miles north of Oquawka, Illinois on the west side of the Great River Road at Big River State Forest. Accordance to the campground-no generators after 10:00 P.M. and before 7:00 A.M. Price: $35 before May 1st, $40 after May 1st. $5 for children 12 and under. For pre-registration send rally fee to: E.G. Bowman, Box 231, Kirkwood, Illinois 61447. For information call: E.G. Bowman 309-371-7912 or John Hart 309-337-0190.

    • kwthom
      kwthom commented
      Editing a comment
      Ahhh...this brings up another wrinkle in the discussion - and that is...well, just what *is* a rally?

      It seems that kiptap has utilized probably the original definition of 'motorcycle rally' and that is an event with other motorcyclists at a remote location. Much like what you described, sounds like a fun time - even with crappy weather! A bad day of camping is usually better than a good day of working.

      There's a couple of other possible 'rally' definitions, which involves meeting at a remote location in order to ride the roads in a region that you don't normally get to go. Events that occur in other states, which might take a day or more as I wrote before, to get to. A motel/hotel/casino and access to great roads in a region along with other willing motorcycle enthusiasts is all that's required.

      A deviation to that second definition would be a competitive rally. You go in order to compete in a scavenger hunt against other motorcyclists for locations previously plotted in a game format by a 'rallymaster'. The 'big dog' event in this category comes up in a couple of months, starting in South Carolina this year - the Iron Butt Rally.

      Maybe Rocky is on to the answer...we're all getting older.
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