The 74th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is still four months away — August 4-10, 2014 — but plenty of riders planned out every detail last year. Sturgis, South Dakota is a town of less than 7,000 people, but nearly half a million bring their bikes to the popular festival every year.
The first ride to Sturgis is a rite of passage. Attendees map out each and every mile in search of the ultimate road experience en route to South Dakota, but let’s be honest — it’s not for everyone. Riders from Miami, Florida to Bellingham, Washington make the trek, but for many it’s just not an option.
Ignore the “Stugis elite” who look down on those who ship their bike to the event. It is better to ship and ride than to not ride at all. If you’re planning to ship or tow your bike up to Sturgis, here are a few key things to know:
Research a Shipping Company
If you have a truck, towing hitch and trailer, great! There’s no need to continue with this section. But you’re not left up the creek without a paddle otherwise. Companies like Haul Bikes specialize in transporting motorcycles (and other small vehicles) from point A to point B, anywhere in the continental US.
The price is steep, $500-$600 each way, but what you’re buying peace of mind. They do the packing and shipping and all you have to do is greet your bike in Sturgis.
That trailer and hitch we mentioned earlier, you actually don’t need them. Some motorcycle tie-downs, a ramp, and an able-bodied friend is all it takes to load a motorcycle in the bed of your truck. This quick video is a handy how-to that will help you load and secure your bike in a cinch.
You can throw a tarp over the top if you’re worried about weather, but that’s really all there is to it.
Ship Your Parts
No, we don’t mean buy your parts at the store and ship them to South Dakota. Use an online motorcycle store like MotoSport and skip the middle man. Online retailers usually have good prices and deals on shipping(sometimes even free). You can order the parts at home and have them waiting for you at your rental home or hotel in Sturgis.
Give Yourself a Ride
Who said your only two options were shipping and riding? The Dakotas have some of the most beautiful countryside in the United States and just because your bike is in the back of the truck doesn’t mean you have to drive the whole way. If you’re making the trip with a friend, and they don’t mind driving solo for a few miles, find a scenic route outside South Dakota and ride the rest of the way up. You get the pleasure and convenience all at once.
Just be a friend and promise to do the driving next year.
About the Author: K.C. Dermody is an experienced freelance writer dedicated to creating high quality articles, web content, copywriting, e-books and more. She has published work on numerous sites and printed publications including Yahoo! Travel, Sports & News, RunLiveLearn, The Sherpa Report and many others.