“Look for a shaded spot,” I told Ken, just before we pulled into the Salem Fairgrounds.
There were already a thousand tents throughout the grounds, but we did find a sycamore tree that offered afternoon shade.
“Well done, Ken.”
BMW motorcycling is somewhat unique among cycling cultures. The average age of BMW riders is about 40, but the average age of those attending the rally was about 60. The younger ones have jobs, and I can’t imagine the wife and kids wanting to take vacation with Dad at the BMW rally, although an award was given to a 4-year-old boy who rode all the way there from NJ with his Dad.
But it is not so much the age thing that is different about a BMW rally, but rather what goes on. This rally puts big emphasis on training, safety, riding perception, and riding technique. And there are lots of other activities including test rides, workshops, seminars, riding contests, bike judging, and vendors, among other things. Speaking of venders, you wouldn’t believe the “stuff” you can put on yourself and your motorcycle. Barbie has nothing on BMW in terms of accessories (I got a few items myself). Overall, the rally is really pretty tame, although there is a beer tent, good food, and nightly live music.
“Hey, Ken, where did this blue ribbon come from?” I asked when arriving back to our tent site one evening.
They have bike judging for different categories of machines, but I thought you had to register to enter the judging contest. I had just washed Boxxer at the wash station in the enclosure where the 4H boys and girls wash their animals during the state fair. Boxxer did look pretty good; maybe I got the “cleanest bike” award.
But the highlight of the event is meeting folks from all over the country with this single common interest, and exploring their particular take on what it means to own and ride a BMW. Believe me, there are lots of interesting approaches. Take a look at the “parrot” BMW and the dog trailer (photos).
Time for a Hefe at the beer tent.