AMERICAN MOTORCYCLIST MARCH 2020
Can’t miss dual sport and adventure Rallies
Four 2020 Opportunities To Have A Blast In The Dirt
Whether you’re new to adventure or dual sport or have been riding on backroads or trails for decades, you should attend an AMA-sanctioned adventure or dual sport event.
Riding with family and friends is lots of fun, and an organized ride—especially in a part of the country that you don’t normally visit—increases the fun factor by doing the planning for you.
The AMA sanctions dozens of recreational off-road rides each year around the country. They offer a variety of terrain, and many include group meals.
Routes are often already laid out for you. Some rides also include lodging in the registration fee.
“AMA organizers plan some of the best rides throughout the United States because they are experts in the best routes in their regions,” AMA Recreational Riding Manager Heather Wilson said. “This gives AMA members the opportunity to travel near or far and enjoy scenery and camaraderie they may not have found on their own.”
Participating in an organized ride also provides an opportunity to improve your riding skills. You can watch how other riders handle a trail, as well as have the peace of mind that comes from riding with an organized group.
Organized riding events also help introduce you to other riders you can share stories and build friendships with.
See www.americanmotorcyclist.com for more dual sport and adventure rides. Here, are four dual sport and adventure ride rallies that pack rides, activity and camaraderie into single events.
When: May 12-17
Where: Mcalevys fort, Pa.
Pine Barrens PA Wilds
If you’re a glutton for off-road riding, Pine Barrens Adventures has the ride you’re looking for. Called the PA Wilds 1000 for 2019, the ride will include more miles in 2020.
Pine Barrens owner Jack O’Connor said he’s still laying out the exact route for the May 12-17 event, but it will kick off in McAlevys Fort, Pa.
He wants to continue the tradition Pine Barrens started seven years ago with the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon ride and show adventure riders that you don’t have to travel out West to ride through amazing wilderness.
“This is a really special part of the country that not many people know about,” he said.
One big change for the 2020 ride is that lodging and dinners will not be included in the registration fee. O’Connor said he made the change to give participants more flexibility on lodging and meal costs. Lunch is still included in the fee.
Family Off-Road Adventures
For riders who live on the West Coast or just want to ride there, Family Off-Road Adventures offers an easy-going, scenic adventure ride through California’s Yosemite National Park.
The two-day Yosemite Adventure Tour is open to all street-legal dual sport and adventure motorcycles. It is based in Buck Meadows, Calif.
The ride covers about 100 miles each day, mostly on dirt roads, with some short sections of paved roads.
Participants should bring rain gear and a camera, and the self-guided tour uses GPS routing. A free GPS training class is available at 6:30 p.m. the evening before the event gets underway.
Lunch is provided each day, and on Saturday evening riders returning from a fun day of riding in the Stanislaus National Forest are greeted with an optional barbecue and raffle.
Proceeds from the raffle benefit the BlueRibbon Coalition, which advocates for riders’ access to public lands.
Motorcycles must be able to travel at least 75 miles between fuel stops and must be equipped with an exhaust that has a spark arrestor and is no louder than 94 decibels.
The ride is limited to 150 riders.
When: March 26-29
Where: 801 Steer Creek Road, Tellico Plains, Tenn.
Organizer: The GS Giants
Registration Fee: $25-$60 (day passes), $125 (advance), $150 (at the gate)
Advance Registration deadline: March 15
March Moto Madness
A little town at the end of one of the nation’s best motorcycling roads plays host to an early spring off-road rally.
The March Moto Madness rally kicks of March 26 and includes four days of adventure riding in the Great Smoky Mountains.
The rally takes place in Tellico Plains, Tenn., which marks the western terminus of the Cherohala Skyway. First held in 2006, the 2019 event was attended by more than 750 people.
There’s also a lot of great dirt riding nearby, including dirt roads and challenging single track.
Route sheets are available, so attendees don’t have to spend time planning their daily routes.
While this is a recreational riding event, there’s some competition fun to be had on the rally grounds, too. Slow races, a skills course and other field meet activities are included on the March Moto Madness schedule.
For those new to off-road riding, training classes are available for riders of all ability levels.
Camping is available on the rally grounds for tents and RVs (maximum 28 feet long), complete with a campfire each night to build comraderie among the attendees.
You won’t go hungry at this rally. With a full registration, breakfast is included for three mornings and dinner is provided on Friday and Saturday nights.
Day passes are available that do not include meals or camping.
When: March 27-29
Where: Hammonton, N.J.
Registration Fee: $225
Registration Deadline: March 22
Pine Barrens 400
If 1,500 miles of gravel and dirt seems a bit much, take on a different type of dirt-riding challenge with the Pine Barrens 400. The 15th edition of the rally offers adventure riders the challenge of navigating their middle- or heavyweight adventure machines though portions of an East Coast Enduro Association course.
While the three-day event—nicknamed the “Hard Adventure Ride” for 2020—takes place on a competition course, it is not a race. The GPS-led ride uses portions of the enduro layout that are suitable for adventure bikes and allows riders to challenge themselves on highly technical terrain.
O’Connor said the course will be more difficult than past Pine Barrens rides, including trenches and narrow sections between trees that may be difficult for large adventure-touring bikes. Fortunately, there will be ways for riders to avoid the more difficult parts of the course if the going gets tough, with optional bypasses around some of the more difficult sections.
The starting order of each section of the course changes for 2020. Riders of smaller displacement machines will be allowed on the course first. The change is intended to help riders not feel pressure to ride beyond their ability because they’re holding up another rider.
“This year, we’re using [about] 200 miles of enduro track, which includes fire cuts that are 2 or 3 feet wide,” O’Connor said.He also said there are dirt roads that run along the fire cuts, so riders will have points where they can get off the more difficult route and onto the road.
Motorcycles must have a U.S. Forest Service-approved exhaust system, and trail bikes and two-stroke motorcycles are not allowed on the ride.
The ride is limited to 150 riders and participants must register in advance. Lunch is included each day.
Off-road riding school
If you haven’t ridden on dirt before or are re-entering the world of off-road motorcycling, trial and error can be a challenging way of learning to ride.
A brief off-road orientation class may be offered at select events, but do you really want to spend your time learning to ride when everyone else is having fun on the trails?
Instead of stressing out on your first trail, take an off-road riding course that teaches basic and intermediate riding techniques.
Pine Barrens, the BMW Performance Center, the Honda Rider Training Center and other organizations offer courses for riders of many skill levels. These classes teach techniques for new riders to ride off-road safely.