Full Throttle Saloon

Motorcycle Touring Mathematics 101

November 2010

Or, The Numbers Behind A Legit ‘I Rode Mine’

Here are the four official checkpoints in the AMA-sanctioned and SCMA-sponsored USA FOUR CORNERS MOTORCYCLE TOUR that’s on my bucket list, along with the approximate distance from each checkpoint to Sturgis, South Dakota:

NW: Blaine, Washington: 1,211 miles
NE: Madawaska, Maine: 2,142 miles
SW: San Ysidro, California: 1,380 miles
SE: Key West, Florida: 2,352 miles

Based on these statistics, we can reasonably assert that no motorcyclist in the Lower 48 states should have to ride more than 2,400 miles to attend the annual Black Hills Motor Classic, and that for most of those riders the distance would be significantly less. If you were coming from Altoona PA, for example, you’d only need to ride about 1,500 miles to earn the right to have Main Street vendors Mary or Gloria sew an “I Rode Mine” patch on your riding vest at the next Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

And why do I mention Altoona? Because that’s where a young rider we’ll call Andy said he was from when he introduced himself to me while waiting to buy a beer at the Gold Pan Saloon in Custer SD last August. Andy asked me where I was from, and I told him Miami (actually I’m from Texas and presently exiled in South Florida, but I kept it short). He immediately replied with “So, did you trailer your bike here, or have it shipped in?” My reaction gave him my answer, but I was civil enough to ask, “Didn’t you ride here?” His reply was “Naw, I trailered mine. I didn’t have time to ride.”

That concluded my exchange with Andy, but what he said stuck with me… “I trailered mine. I didn’t have time to ride.” What the hell did that mean? I may never know exactly, but perhaps I can shed some light on the having “time to ride” part:

Unless your motorcycle is extremely slow and/or your tow vehicle is extremely fast, trailering your bike from A to B will not get you there any faster than riding it. And if you live anywhere in the Lower 48, have (at least) 2 grand to blow and 2 weeks of vacation time coming, a Sturgis Bikation might be well within your reach and could be a memorable experience.

Any proficient and healthy motorcyclist on a properly equipped and maintained motorcycle should be able to safely ride 600 miles a day. At that rate, Andy from Altoona would easily make South Dakota IH-90 Exit 32 in 3 days, as would even a Key Wester in 4. And assuming two weeks of vacation equals 16 calendar days, even if you take 5 days to ride there and 5 days to ride back–which for Andy from Altoona would require only 300 miles a day–you can still enjoy 4 days in the Black Hills and have 2 days left over to chillax after you return home.

So if you haven’t done so before, think about keeping it real and actually RIDING your bike to Sturgis next year. That way when you get there, you won’t be tempted to be *this* guy:

“I remember i was sitting at the little harley shop in keystone SD and this guy who was just talking about unloading his bike from the RV saying he wants an I rode mine harley hat and i looked at him and was like really how far did you ride and hes like the whole way and i told him i just heard you say he just unloaded from the rv and hes like well riding in my RV still counts as me riding my bike to sturgis and then he goes and hops onto a scooter. A GOD DAM 200 CC scooter with his i rode mine harley hat.”–Source: http://bit.ly/aCetk9

Until next time, Ride Long, Ride Free!

Bruce Arnold aka IronBoltBruce

IronBoltBruce is … a record-holding long distance motorcycle rider … bikers’ rights activist, grateful partner of RC and proud member of The 100 … political agitator targeting social injustice and piercing the veil of our two-puppet system to expose the institutionalized greed of the Kleptocracy pulling all strings Left and Right … like Thomas Jefferson, an aficionado of ethnic aesthetic and a philosophical anarchist who accepts the State as a necessary evil under which the best government is less government.