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Thread: Basic Rally Information Required

  1. #1
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    Basic Rally Information Required

    It's my first time so be gentle. Never been in a forum. Never been to a rally. I'm wondering how the registration thing works.
    Is pre-registration required? Recommened? How about camping on-site? Can we book a spot or is it first come, first served? Will there be any spots left for Thursday evening arrivals? Obviously I could use a little help. Any other tips for newbies would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Rally Information Required

    Originally posted by IMARTIN
    It's my first time so be gentle. Never been in a forum.
    So far it looks like you are doing fine.

    Never been to a rally.
    They are fun. Bring a sense of daring and humor and it is a lot more fun.

    I'm wondering how the registration thing works.
    Is pre-registration required? Recommened?
    Pre registration is recommended so that you do not have to do it on site, saves time. In a few weeks there will be more directions about how exactly to register, so just keep checking back.

    How about camping on-site? Can we book a spot or is it first come, first served? Will there be any spots left for Thursday evening arrivals?
    There is a campsite and it is first come first served. There should be more than enough spots, if nothing else you will get to know people as you look for a spot.

    Obviously I could use a little help. Any other tips for newbies would be appreciated.
    Come prepared to have fun and the Beer Garden is always the hot spot.
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  3. #3
    On to Redmond! motoclass's Avatar
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    Hi IMARTIN,
    A pre-rally welcome to rallying!
    Glad you're going to make it to Spokane.
    You do not have to pre-register, however you save some money in doing so and it makes your registration process, once you arrive, go very quickly. $30.00 pre-register or $35.00 "at the gate" as we say. Recommended? Yeah, I usually recommend it.
    There will be ample areas for camping on site and I find that finding a good spot is easy up until about Saturday morning, as riders will still be arriving. It is first come first serve, but Thursday evening should be no problem for finding a good site to park your bike and pitch your tent. Offer of a cold beverage will likely get you welcomed into the best of spots! (Malt beverage, on the darker side, poured slowly, possibly from Ireland, always works with me).
    Other tips? Volunteer, for anything, even for just a single shift, you'll be glad you did! And enjoy being immersed in thousands of BMW motorcycles and their riders!
    Come and enjoy! Look me up when you get here.
    Chris
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  4. #4
    On to Redmond! motoclass's Avatar
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    Sounds like Brad and I are on the same page!
    Chris
    Last edited by Motoclass; 02-13-2004 at 05:27 AM.
    Chris Hughes - Ambassador
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  5. #5
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    I feel the love already. Perhaps it's just visions of dark ales dancing in my head. See you all at the rally.

  6. #6
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Volunteering is definitely the way to make a whole lot of new friends.

    Dave Swider
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  7. #7
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    Originally posted by KBasa
    Volunteering is definitely the way to make a whole lot of new friends.

    Offer to take a turn in the Beer Garden. That was fun!
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  8. #8
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    Cool For Rally Virgins

    Several BMW riders who have never been to a big BMW rally before have asked for some gentle information to help them understand what happens. We veteran rally rats tend to be a little flippant, since we understand that you'll understand once you get there. But, perhaps the following will set the stage:
    The big "International" BMW rallies attract somewhere between 4,000 and 7,000 riders, depending on location. Roughly half of the participants camp, the other half stay at nearby hotels/motels. For the campers, there are typically three different camping areas, quiet, not so quiet, and party all night. Camping is usually included in the rally fee.

    You're required to register (pay your fee and get identification) to be allowed into the rally grounds, often a county fairgrounds with a closed perimeter and one or more controlled entry gates. You can either register in advance, or register when you arrive. There will be a big registration tent (or building) where you either pick up your (cheaper) registration packet, or sit down and fill out the forms and pay your fees, by check, cash, or credit card.

    What you get is an armband (like those used in hospitals) and a packet of stuff, including the all-important rally program that tells you what's happening when. You'll also get some door prize tickets, maps, and coupons you can exchange at the "country store" for a metal rally pin and cloth patch. There is usually a large, indoor vendor area where you can stroll around until your feet wear out looking at BMW goodies. Unlike some other big motorcycle rallies, BMW rallies usually have useful gadgets such as driving lights, more comfortable saddles, riding gear, and even vintage parts. Lots of BMW riders heat up their credit cards buying goodies they discover at the rally vendors.

    Since the rallies are made to happen by a large crew of volunteers, the rally staff usually arrives on Wednesday, or sometimes Tuesday, to start getting set up. Most rally goers arrive Thursday or Friday. When you can set up a tent, and when you must vacate the rally site are usually posted on the rally web site, along with a whole bunch of other details, like how to find a motel room, where to eat, maps of the rally site, and so forth. If you're traveling a long way to get there, make the most of the event, and plan on arriving Thursday morning about 10a. There is a big awards ceremony Saturday evening, usually about 5p, but sometimes after dinnertime. Most everyone packs up on Sunday morning and heads out.

    The BMWMOA International rallies usually follow a very similar schedule, and offer similar events. There will be a number of fascinating seminars, where you can gather with a hundred or so fellow BMW riders and talk about packing the bike, riding skills, sidecars, navigation, riding gear, or foreign travels. These free seminars are usually about 60 to 90 minutes in length, and the times and subjects are listed in the program.

    Various awards are given out, including oldest, youngest, farthest, etc. in several different categories. If you think you qualify for an award, it's up to you to find the place to submit your "claim". They won't come looking for you.

    One very typical inclusion in BMW rallies is a beer tent, where riders can gather casually, sip a few suds, and tell various tall tales. The beer tent typically is open every afternoon and evening, and often becomes the place where you can find your friends, or make new ones.

    Other than special dinners given for groups such as Owners News contributors and BMWMOA ambassadors, you're on your own for meals, but wherever you go you'll see other BMW riders, and you'll find that most of us will welcome you to join us at a restaurant table. Don't be bashful about saying hello to another rider, or offering another rider a seat at your table.

    The rally will also have various gatherings, displays, and rides. Typically, there will be a display of vintage machines. There may be gatherings of Chromehead riders (owners of cruisers) or K1 owners, or airheads (owners of air cooled R bikes) You should feel welcome to go to any gathering or display, rub elbows and ask questions. In general you'll find BMW riders to be honest, astute, educated, well traveled, and much more interested in riding than posturing.

    Now, with that prologue, take a look at the rally site, and start soaking up the details. Even if all you do is show up and register, you'll have an amazingly fun and informative time, devoid of the usual "biker" stunts such as cole slaw wrestling, tatoos, getting falling down drunk, wheelies, burnouts, straight pipes and shootings that seem to be the norm at various other biker rallies.

    pmdave

  9. #9
    List Mistress mrskbasa's Avatar
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    For those of you with children, the National usually has some organized children's activities.

    Also, there is a "fun run" for those who want to run, field events on your bike, and other fun stuff!
    Tina Swider
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  10. #10
    Miserable Mark MarkF's Avatar
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    Re: For Rally Virgins

    Originally posted by pmdave

    Now, with that prologue, take a look at the rally site, and start soaking up the details. Even if all you do is show up and register, you'll have an amazingly fun and informative time, devoid of the usual "biker" stunts such as cole slaw wrestling, tatoos, getting falling down drunk, wheelies, burnouts, straight pipes and shootings that seem to be the norm at various other biker rallies.

    pmdave
    Great Job! You really summed it up.

    MarkF

  11. #11
    Ambassador at Large Jim Shaw's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Web Site Registration

    This year for the first time, you will be able to register for the Spokane rally and prepay your fee through a secure section of the BMW MOA web site <www.bmwmoa.org>

    That will become available after April first, so keep an eye out for it.

    Even though you haven't been to an MOA rally yet, you can imagine the work required to register and collect fees from 7,000 riders. You will be well ahead of the pack through preregistration on the web.

    The camping gear you should bring is similar to that which you would carry on a bike to one of western Canada's many municipal campgrounds. Most campers don't cook, as there is food on the grounds, and many restaurants nearby. If you are expecting friends, arrange to camp with them through cell phones, etc., if you like. Regardless, expend whatever effort is comfortable to meet as many people as you like. If you see someone with an interesting bike, riding suit, tent, or spouse (maybe not), ask them about it. Instead of sitting alone at a table in the beer garden, walk over to somebody already there, and ask if the seat next to them is taken, and ask where they're from. If they ignore you, get another beer, and do it again, elsewhere.

    I came away from my first MOA rally having made maybe 25 friends, and I still see most of them every year - along with 25 more for each rally since then - and I'm known as kind of an antisocial jerk. Think what you can do!

    Volunteering is an excellent idea. It doubles your fun, and builds even more lasting friendships. There's a list of rally subchairmen in the MOA mag a month or so back. Email them and ask if they need help. Tell them some of your incredible qualifications - or not.

    And remember...

    The MOA rally is run entirely by volunteers. Things can and will go wrong. For $35 US, this ain't the Hilton! Keep your humor, and roll with the blows. If something isn't going right, be part of the solution, not the problem.

    Read the program carefully up front - for your own enjoyment. It's no fun to find out on Friday that the seminar on lubing your splines that you desperately wanted to hear was on Thursday. Hang in the beer garden, even if you don't drink. The rest of us become very amusing after a few. Make plans NOT to ride after these visits. Ricochet back to your tent, and pee in a Gatorade bottle like the rest of us. (I'm already sorry I said that.)

    Never does the Golden Rule have greater application than at a huge rally like this. BMW riders are the cream of the crop. They mostly like to make friends and be outgoing. But even MOA may have a few curds in the cream. Drink in the good stuff, around them.

    I remember my first few minutes at my first MOA rally in Moodus, CT. I got there late, and virtually all of the good, level tent spots were taken. I rode around in huge circles, each time noting this space that looked like it was saved - surrounded by other tents. After finding nothing else, I sort of stopped my bike, and looked longingly at it. Guy looks over at me and says that spot is saved for a fellow from Ohio on a green bike. Disappointed, it took me a good fifteen seconds to realize I was from Ohio, and my bike was green. He showed me the ropes, helped me set up my KMart tent, and Jeff Davis, and later his beautiful wife, became good friends. They were at my house for a Christmas party this year.

    Catch my drift?

    Jim Shaw

  12. #12
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    For those more visually inclined...

    Interesting on-line experience that shows a little bit about what it's like to attend a rally.
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  13. #13
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    Hey Chris,

    You seem familiar with the camping facilities there at the Rally site, so I'd like to get you comment on finding spots to pitch a tent closer than the 13 - 14 miles shown on the BMWMOA website. The website idicates a KOA campground at 3025 North Barker Road which will accommodate 300 campers.

    If a rider got there early enough, could he/she find camping right there at the campgrounds? I loved the way we did it last year in WVa where we bunched together around the University and were able to stagger (forgive me) back to the tent from the beer garden. I'd prefer not to drive back to my tent following a typical "bonding" session with fellow riders (smile).

    Thanks,
    Roger

  14. #14
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    You'll be able to camp at the fairgrounds. Just a short stumble from the beer tent.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  15. #15
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    Smile



    Glad to hear that, Dave. Thanks for the reply. With any luck I'll get there in time for find a spot at the campground.

    Roger

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