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Thread: Mr. Chairman: What's a Rally?

  1. #1
    Registered User relic's Avatar
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    Unhappy Mr. Chairman: What's a Rally?

    Mr. Friedle,

    I know many officers and members of our organization spend countless hours and miles to host an annual rally. My sincere thanks to you and all of them for that. I've become accustomed to the traditional rally format and am so grateful to your predecessors. I'd like to share the conditioned expectation, and my perception of, "Rally":

    At a Rally, we ride to the venue, locate the showers, beer garden and vendors, then choose a central location with easy walking access to all, park the bikes and set up a camp. We post our location, and the riders in our group (many who only occasionally see each other) join the campsite.

    We camp, arrange our tours, both riding and walking, within and outside the grounds, and plan our dining and beverage opportunities relative to our camp. When we enjoy adult beverages we are within our "secure non-riding" venue. "Camp" in this sense, is a dynamic opportunity for friendship and fellowship unique to the traditional BMW rally. Other marques do the "hotel thing". I have been among them, and now choose the BMW experience.

    That said, we visited Charleston early May and will again visit in July with serious reservation. Your ÔÇÿ03 urban scatter of MOA events has taken the highlight of our riding season and made it another challenging metro tour. The dynamic of the "camp" can't happen in various hotel lobbies, multiple urban parking lots, or scattered across the many tent and remote cycle parking areas.

    Even worse, when we leave our trusty steeds in lots and garages, we leave them to the vulnerabilities of all the worst of things we ride to avoid. In our secure BMW riding community with perimeter definition, I have few concerns. Outside our perimeter, our toys are attractive and at risk! Your plan is full of security issues and mass transit schedules, and I'm not happy knowing I'll have to deal with those added concerns.

    I hope the that members who anticipate the ÔÇÿ03 event, enjoy all you and your staff have worked so hard to achieve. I further hope that future events are more in keeping with the traditional Rally format that many of us plan our summer tours to include.

    Bob Foster
    MOA 76074

  2. #2
    On the Blue Roads RevWillie's Avatar
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    Relic,

    I share your concerns about this National. Transportation,security,and community are all subjects that many of us who frequent MOA Nationals are wondering about in Charleston. I have to go to this Rally with an open mind, but I fear that this will not be anything like the 14 Nationals that I have participated in. We all applaud the hard work that the Chair and staff have done, but I wonder what will come out in the end. It gets harder each year to find a facility that can accomodate our growing numbers, and I fear that we may have become too large to continue to hold National Rallys like the ones that we have had in the past. I guess that we will just have to go to Charleston and see what the future holds for us.

    I look forward to some interesting discussions in the beer tent at this Rally--I'll be at the first session on Wed.night for anybody that would like to talk about our future.
    Onward, through the fog!

  3. #3
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    In my opinion, a rally is whatever you make it.

    While the facilities may be different, the general hanging around, bikes and visiting with old friends shouldn't be considerably different than what I've experienced in the past. I park my motorcycle in downtown San Francisco and have never had a problem. The beer tent will be a short stumble from your tent.

    Unlike previous rallies, you'll be more involved in the actual town you're visiting. I can't tell you a thing about downtown Oshkosh, Moodus, Morganton or Redmond. I can however tell you all about downtown Durango, which is probably the closest to what I expect to see in WV this year. Instead of being isolated on the outskirts of town, we were able to walk to the rally from our hotel and could walk downtown for a beer with dinner. The transportaion they had set up there worked perfectly. I'm expecting no less in Charleston.

    I'm going to go with an open mind and have a ball. I'm going to a rally.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  4. #4
    '99 '03 '06 National Co-Rally Chair Friedle's Avatar
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    What's a Rally

    Sorry I haven't answered this sooner, but I just got back about an hour ago from a few days in Charleston attending to Rally details.

    Dave Swider has given the perfect answer. A Rally is what you make of it. This Rally will really be no different from previous Nationals. If you were a camper at previous Nationals, there is still plenty of camping opportunities in Charleston. It is NOT a hotel rally like the Honda Hoot where there is no camping. In Charleston there will be the main camping area at the U of C that will exceed all expectations in terms of shade, landscaping, great lawns, paved parking, showers, restrooms, food and entertainment. If you want quiet camping, there will be a distinct quiet camping area. If you want more private camping, we also offer that option. The only major things that won't be in the camping areas are the vendors and seminars. I think the fact that these parts of the Rally experience will be located in the totally air conditioned Charleston Civic Center will be viewed as a positive thing. We will be filling about 90,000 square feet of vendor space and about 100,000 square feet of seminar space. It is very difficult to even find a Fairgrounds with that much space, much less air conditioned space complete with AV, speakers, T-1 computer hookups and everything else our seminar presenters and commercial vendors appreciate so much.

    The Beer Tent at Charleston will be the same size as Trenton, 60x120, and will be filled to the top just as it always is at any National. Campers will either be able to walk to the Beer Tent or take a free shuttle bus so they don't need to ride if they want to drink. For the first time, hotelers will also feel a direct part of the Rally since they will not be forced to find lodging 20-60 miles away from a Fairgrounds. If anything you may find more friends at the Beer Tent this year than in past years.

    You don't mention where you live Bob, but I presume at some point during the year you might ride your bike into "town" to gather supplies for the homestead. How do you safeguard your bike then, or do you take it into the general store with you?

    Charleston has the lowest crime rate of any city of it's size. Just take the same precautions you might take when you are out riding or camping at a State Park or KOA anywhere and you should have no problems. At the U of C we will have our MOA Security people, the U of C campus police and the Charleston city police. Coverage is just as complete at the other two camping areas. At the Civic Center parking you have a choice of paid parking, with attendents, at the Civic Center or free parking across the street at the Charleston Mall parking garage, with a MOA dedicated area secured by the Mall security personnel.

    Again, as Dave said, the Rally will be what YOU make of it. I hope you decide to attend the Almost Heaven Rally. I know you will have a good time if you do attend. Perhaps you might even choose to volunteer your assistance on one of the various committees, security maybe?
    Ride fast safely

  5. #5
    Registered User relic's Avatar
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    Unhappy

    Mr. Chairman,

    Thanks for taking the time to offer a reasoned response. I do, however, feel that you dismiss rather than address, my concerns when you say, "This Rally will really be no different from previous Nationals."

    I will attend (as I have for years), and I'll volunteer (as I have for years) and I'm sure there will be memorable highlights. There always are. I'll repeat my thanks for all you and your staff have done. I just want say that the basic expectations of our traditional rallies have not been met by your unusual arrangements.

    One final thought: What in Charleston is so important that we can not rally elsewhere at one big party?


    Bob Foster,
    Indy

  6. #6
    Registered User TheSuperScoot's Avatar
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    concerns

    this is sounding a lot like a honda hoot.

    terry b

  7. #7
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    All I can say is that different is not equal to less good. I think it's going to turn out to be one of the best rallies ever. Never, at least since Durango, has there been a rally that will attract the BMW riding constituency that doesn't camp. Never has the hotel attending group had an opportunity to feel like they're part of the rally like I think we will in this one. I'd bet we see lots more wives attending this one as well. In my mind, if you can offer the national rally to a broader cross section of the MOA, you've done all the right things.

    I'm going to drag my sorry ass all the way across the country to go, so I'm anteing up big time on the bet it'll be good. We're still a month a way from this event and I'd bet it'll be more successful than our wildest dreams. I was at Rheinbeck with Michael and I can assure you, the man knows how to throw a party!

    When I travel, I like to see what people really do. I like to get a sense of what their communities and lives are like when I go visit. I've rarely had that experience at a fairgrounds. I avoid the chain restaraunts when I travel. I try and take the backroads and talk to folks when I'm out. As someone who's been to West Virginia not more than a couple times, I'm excited to see what the folks in WV do and are like. I'd bet Charleston will give me that insight.



    dave
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  8. #8
    Miserable Mark MarkF's Avatar
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    now for my two cents

    I think the rally guys have done a compromise to get a large venue in a "city" with lots of things to do and places to stay. It might be in response to the popularity of the many other brand "rallies" and the changing look of the BMW rider. Most of the "typical" bmw riders I have spoken to aren't happy with this year's format and many said they will skip it. Others will give it a chance but hope it's not the way of the future. But, the "typical" single male on an airhead with a tent and sleeping bag is quickly becoming a minority. There are far more couples on a big K or R looking for a nice motel. You can bitch all you want about it but the venue for '03 is set in stone (I bet '04 is pretty close, too) so it is what it is. Now, if the turn out is up this year you can guess what will the future will be. On the flip side, "the other club" is also having an east coast rally this year that appears more "traditional." It's in the fall so the attendance might not be a good judge but it would not surprise me if those numbers are way up.

    MarkF

  9. #9
    Confused Hillbilly 102624's Avatar
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    Why do people think that different is bad? Change is good. At the worst, it will mean that the format will not be used again. At the best, it may be better than past rallies. Only those who go and do not take the attotude that "this sucks, it's not just like..." will never have a chance of actually finding out if the new format is good or not. Kind of like the people who refuse to try and ride bikes of a different make. Just as there have been many who have tried a new bike, like BMW and found they loved it, I am very confident that many who try this new way of have a rally will also enjoy it. Hey, its not the BMWMOA National Camp, its the BMWMOA National Rally!

  10. #10
    '99 '03 '06 National Co-Rally Chair Friedle's Avatar
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    What's a Rally

    Perhaps what is not clear is that this year's venue is not a sea change for the BMW MOA, but rather the best venue we could find in the best riding state on the East Coast.

    We do try to plan out at least 5 years ahead to find a venue that can accommodate the needs of our large and diverse group. We still want to move the Rally site around the country to afford the opportunity for as many of our MOA members to attend at least one National Rally, but it becomes increasingly tough to find a suitable venue. We have even gone as far as to attend the national Fairgrounds Association convention, as a vendor, where we were looking to attract the attention of appropriate Fairground venues to host our events. WE wanted to buy from them, not sell them anything. That alone attracted attention from their group and helped to bring the name of the BMW MOA more widespread legitimacy and recognition with nationwide Fairgrounds managers.

    The Board of Directors is always open to suggestions from any interested member who thinks they have identified an interesting Rally site. It doesn't have to be a Fairgrounds, it can be a resort or a city just as well. My contact information is in the masthead of the BMW ON just waiting for a lead for a future site.
    Ride fast safely

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