My first ride on a motorcycle scared the living daylights out of me. Now, I’m constantly begging my friends for a ride and dream of the day I get my own bike and ride off into the sunset. Ok, maybe not into the sunset, but definitely to the closest motorcycle rally in my hometown.
Each year thousands upon thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts gather in some of the country’s wildest party spots to mingle, and of course ride, with their fellow bikers. Looking to plan your next bike trip? Consider one of these fabulous festivals:
1. Laconia Motorcycle Week
Laconia Motorcycle Week is one of the oldest and largest motorcycle Festivals in the country, taking place each year at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Between 300,000 and 400,000 bikers attend the weeklong event for camping, vendors, racing, and so much more! The 2008 event will be held from June 14 – 22nd and marks the 85th anniversary of Laconia Motorcycle Week!
2. Laughlin River Run
Out west and along the banks of the Colorado River, the Laughlin River Run is the destination for Harley riders. The festival features concerts, a bike show, gaming, and several rides designed to support major charities such as the Easter Seals, Boys & Girls Clubs, and the Susan G. Komen Brest Cancer Foundation. Ladies are especially welcome in Laughlin, especially if they’re riding their own bikes!
3. The Rock Store
The Rock Store isn’t so much a festival as it is a year round destination for bikers. Located in Los Angeles, California, a trip to The Rock Store requires a trip through the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains. Almost every biker in the area knows about this amazing destination – including hotshots like Jay Leno. Drop by one weekend for a drink or a burger!
4. Girl Power Run
The annual Girl Power Run takes place in San Francisco, California every year and is for girls only! Sponsored by the Devil Dolls, it’s a short, three-hour ride designed to give biker girls a chance to bond without being overshadowed by the concept of women on the back of a bike. While the Devil Dolls is one of the most well known female bike clubs, there are certainly others. As a matter of fact, all-women biker clubs have been around since the 1940′s. The girls let the guys join in on the fun later on for contests and food!
5. Route 66
Route 66 runs from Chicago, Illinois through to Santa Monica, California. Stops along the way include Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. The AMA runs regular motorcycle tours along Route 66, allowing you to ride and enjoy some of the country’s most beautiful and historic scenery without worrying about the route you’ll take or where you’ll be able to stop to eat and sleep. If you’re traveling from a distance and can’t bring your own, you can rent a cruiser in Chicago and then hit the road!
6. Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is another one of the largest bike festivals conducted each year, with anywhere from 450-800,000 riders flocking to the hills of Sturgis, South Dakoka. The 10-day festival takes place every August – this year from the 4th through the 10th. The rally started out almost 70 years ago as a small race and has evolved into an amazing event, chock full of bikes, rides, camping, and entertainment you won’t want to miss!
7. Daytona Bike Week
Bikers itching for the winter months to end flock to sunny Daytona, Florida every month for one of the earliest bike festivals of the year. Almost 500,000 bikers will visit Daytona over the course of the week for races at the Daytona International Speedway, bike and merchandise displays, crazy parties, food, fun, camping, and entertainment. Looking for a unique wedding experience? Dozens of couples get married on the beach during the Daytona Bike Festival every year!
Find a discount Daytona hotel for your stay during Bike Week.
8. Evel Knievel Days
The Evel Knievel Days festival is held in Butte, Montana – the home of the legendary Knievel himself. The festival is only 7 years old, and is designed to catch the attention of bikers on their way to the Sturgis Festival. This year’s event will be held from July 24th through the 26th. There will be races – there will be rides – and there will be dozens of crazy stunts crammed into this short event. Everything is Evel Knievel style. Don’t miss out!
9. Rolling Thunder
The Rolling Thunder festival is held on Memorial Day weekend every year as thousands of bike riders and military veterans travel from across the country to Washington, DC to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to pay tribute to our country’s finest military members and those who gave their lives. The ride actually forms in areas all across the country, but the original ride started in New Jersey.
10. Harley-Davidson USA
The Harley-Davidson factory in Milwaukee is an incredibly popular destination for bike enthusiasts, and for obvious reasons. Harley-Davidson festivals and rallies form all year round, all over the world and the company also sponsors it’s own Rolling Thunder Ride each year. Eat in the Harley-Davidson restaurant in New York, visit the factory in Milwaukee, or locate any of the Harley-Davidson stores throughout the country and stop in on your next ride. You’ll be greeted with a warm biker welcome!
It doesn’t matter where you ride, as long as you get there safely and have fun. Enjoy the summer on your bike – especially as you take advantage of the incredible gas mileage those of us without bikes are NOT getting these days!