6. Full Rally
3 days of fun. You just walk around, chat with everybody. People will approach you to just chat, trying to get your opinions on anything.
I had a mission though; I wanted to update the new bike I just bought. While basically the bike is fine, does not need a thing, I noticed I lean forward too much, putting pressure on my wrists. What I needed were handlebar risers and sure enough there was a guy selling them. It seems so easy to ‘just’ raise the handlebars by putting a block over the steering column, but it is not. One has to consider the brake lines, the clutch lines or any other cable that runs from the handle bar to wherever. If I extend those by 2“, will the cables be OK? I was glad the man from ROX was there to help. Naturally I wanted them installed too, but that created an issue. He only sells them, who will install them? Again, it seems an easy thing to do, but it’s not.
You need the correct tools and it does not make sense to buy tools for a one time application or use.
I also did not like the one rear light on my new motorcycle. I like a ‘backup’ system, just in case. So I went to a lighting specialist ‘Clearwater’ and they sold me the ‘full Billy’, a light that seems indestructible and will light up in addition to the stock, standard light I now have. I like it that way.
The last item I was looking for was a replacement for the ‘light bulb’ stock lighting system, with the newer, better system of using LED lights.
Weiser helped me with that.
But... even that was not so easy, you cannot just snap on the LED’s. You see all new Motorcycles now have a CANBUS system, an electronic watchman that constantly, at all times, cycles a checkup through the whole bike’s electric system. If new electronics are added or anything ever goes askew, a light will notify you that something is wrong. Or, in critical circumstances, the bike will not even start.
Welcome to the new world of electronics, yes even on a bike. The world is no longer a totally mechanical place, high tech reaches into the deepest crevices of our lives.
So for the first 2 days I was on a search mission, finding what I needed, having it installed, picking up the bike later on, etc.
The rally has vendors, many of them. All seem to specialize in items that a motorcycle dude needs or things he/she needs like improved noise cancelling ear plugs. You would be surprised as to how many ways you can ride a motorcycle. You can be a racer, an off road biker, a dirt track specialist, a dual sport rider, a long distance tourer, etc., etc. If you like very old bikes, like 1926 or later, they have a section for vintage bike riders too.
I fall into the Long Distance Adventure Rider (of the mild adventure sort). There are hard core riders who will leave me in the dust, literally! While I travel on dirt and gravel roads I cannot say that is what I love to do. The bike becomes wobbly and traction is never really secure. Only your skill will keep you balanced and going forward.
And therein lies the point, the MOA tries to teach ‘all’ riders what is best for them, for their way of riding. While it is a club it is also a teaching institution on many levels. You can learn to be a good street rider with courses offered. You can take the course of the GS Giants, a sub-club that loves riding over obstacles and through dirt, rocks and sand. So where do you want to go when you are at a rally like this? It really depends on your interest as to where you will spend most of the time during those 3 days.
The MOA rally is full of seminars. For about an hour you sit in a lecture-like setting and listen to topics that interest you.
I attended a lecture from Garmin on the latest GPS, the Navigator VI.
I also took a mini course on Furkot’s latest edition of travel planning software.
I thought about travelling with a ‘group’ through Russia via bike and listened to a Russian Company advertising their guided tours from St. Petersburg to Moscow.
Carol attended seminars on First Aid, Noise Reduction Hearing Protection, Sidecars and Furkot.
Carol and I took half a day off doing the Pub Crawl; Visiting a few local beer brewers in Des Moines. We found out really quickly that this was a tour we should have avoided, but hey, we tried it.
Carol and I do not walk around together, we just meet for lunch or dinner but do our own ‘research’, then bring it back to our tent base at night and rehash what we have seen, learned and experienced. We also listen and share what is ‘new’ with the other tenters all around us. At night there is kind of a get together ‘circle’ of folks that are at the rally and now just relax in their chairs. The weather is hot, nobody wants to get to ‘bed’ early, the tents would still be too hot.
So people hang around, talking, sharing info and experiences, having a drink, etc.
It is the ‘cozy’ hour, most people actually come to the rally to just do that, shoot the breeze, sit and chat, listen to the latest.
It certainly is appealing to just sit and talk, we do this a lot too but at the MOA rally we mostly try to visit the seminars, learn of the latest, newest and then chat with friends we have not seen for a while.
We walk around the vendor area and there is a lot to talk about. One of the, now not so new vendors, is Mosko who develop soft luggage for bikes. Their picture gallery gives you an idea what I love about motorcycle riding.
3 days fly by. There is just too much going on at a rally to list it all. Come and see for yourself in 2019 in Woodstock, TN. https://www.bmwmoa.org/default.aspx
|Have My Rally Mug & Ready for Coffee? Beer!|
|Half the Room of Rally Goers Waiting For the Closing Ceremonies|