By Jamie Jarvi.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a true bucket-list destination for any motorcycle enthusiast. Each year thousands upon thousands of riders descend on Sturgis, S.D., and turn this small, sleepy town into a motorcycle mecca. Some travel the road to Sturgis as an annual endeavor, while others make it a once-in-a-lifetime journey. In either case, there is always the thrilling experience of hitting the open road to Sturgis. For those taking their inaugural ride to the world-famous Rally the week of Aug. 8-14, we’ve got some ideas to keep in mind that will help make your first rally appearance a success.
Formulate a plan:
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the sights and sounds of Sturgis. Leaving room for spontaneity is essential, meaning you don’t need a minute-by-minute itinerary. But having some guidelines ensures you are in the right place at the right time, whatever your dining/entertainment/riding needs. Before you leave, check out the various venue schedules to see what they have in store throughout the week and plan accordingly.
Prepare your bike:
Nothing is worse than a roadside breakdown, whether on Main Street in Sturgis or en route to and from the rally. Before you hit the highway, make sure your bike is Sturgis roadworthy for the miles ahead. Check your tires for proper inflation and tread; chain/belt condition; brakes; lights and, of course, fluids. A fresh oil change with AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oil will help your engine deliver peak performance despite the intense heat for which Sturgis is famous. Check your motorcycle specifics here.
Sturgis can get hot. Very hot. Bring light-colored clothing that breathes and reflects the sunlight. Long sleeves are a must to prevent windburn, so bring something light and easy to take on and off before and after the ride. Don’t forget sunscreen to keep you protected during the long hours you’ll spend out in the open.
Did we mention Sturgis can get hot? Staying hydrated is key to staying alert and refreshed while clocking miles under the sun. Plan rest stops around gas stations and restock your drinking fluids often.
Be prepared for lots of bikes. And wildlife.
Driving alongside a large pack of bikes takes skill and confidence in your riding abilities. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and practice safe riding habits to keep yourself and those around you out of harm’s way. Additionally, South Dakota has deer, bison, coyotes, sheep and other animals roaming the frontier and wandering onto roadways. Be alert to their presence and avoid riding at night.
Most importantly, have fun and enjoy making memories at the largest motorcycle rally in the US. Expect to see thousands of enthusiasts who share your passion for riding, and hear a week’s worth of powerful exhaust and bike rumbles from every bike model imaginable. Expect to see AMSOIL, the Official Oil of Sturgis, welcoming riders in the Main Street booth just east of Junction Ave. and conducting oil changes at the locations below. When the 2016 event draws to a close, expect to leave while already making plans for your next trip to the historic Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
AMSOIL Oil Change Locations:
Mad Dog Custom Cycles- Intersection of Sherman St. and Junction Ave. (across from Sturgis Harley-Davidson)
John Todd- Near Taco Johns on Junction Ave.
X-treme Cycles- Rapid City (I-90, exit 55 near Rapid City Harley Davidson)
55 Cycles at the Crossroads – Buffalo Chip Campground