Yep, that time of year has rolled around once again for the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the largest gathering of bikers anywhere… in the world. This event is centered around the town of Sturgis, South Dakota, USA, but spreads for miles — from Wall, South Dakota to the East to Devil’s Tower, Wyoming to the West. Many thousands of bikers show up at this event every year.
For me, it is one of those “bucket list” things for bikers. That is, a “do it once in a lifetime and that’s enough.” It is interesting to see so much activity related to motorcycling in one place, but what goes on there does not appeal to me. Okay, I’m a bit of a prude, perhaps, but I will not ride my Harley without a helmet, or while wearing shorts and sneakers, or while intoxicated. I don’t go camping with thousands of my closest friends, party and drink all night. I don’t chase “biker chicks” or find any interest in whatever buxom babe is trying to sell me something. I value my hearing, and the noise with all those bikes in one place is astoundingly difficult to be around, even with good ear plugs. The noise kinda shakes you to your core.
How do I know this is what this motorcycle rally is like? My partner and I attended one of these events, back when we were younger and could tolerate the shenanigans better. We enjoyed riding all around South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado. Great scenery. But the noise and the party atmosphere, even then, was too much. When we left, we said to ourselves that we could scratch something else off our bucket list, but that we would not plan to return again.
Someone wrote to me recently to ask if I were going to be there. I politely replied, “no, no plans to attend again. Too far away, and I can’t take the time to ride there and back.” He understood. I wished him well on his journey.
I know that I am an exception — a biker who goes to bed way too early, doesn’t drink alcohol, and whose other half has no social interests at all, so partying late into the night just won’t happen. Also, I have to admit that this is where being gay is an issue, too. I have no interest in women, and don’t really want to see all the scantily-clad women around there. While the straight guys ogle them and behave in ways unpublishable, I remain disinterested.
If you’re going to Sturgis, have a good time. But do me a favor: wear long pants, sturdy motorcycle boots, a DOT-approved helmet, and don’t drink alcohol if you will be driving (your bike or a cage; doesn’t matter.)
Life is short: be responsible while having fun.