I wish I could say we rode our bikes all the way from Lorain, OH to Sturgis, SD, but I cant. There was 2 other couples that went with us, we were all working and could not take that much time off work to travel 1,253 miles, not to mention the fatigue from trying to get there fast.
We packed up with a conversion van and a 26’ enclosed trailer to haul the 3 Harley Davidson Road Kings, an old full size fridge, blow up mattress and 2 tents. The guys took turns driving for the 18 hrs. it took to get there.We camped at Bear Butte Creek Campground outside Sturgis. We slept in the trailer and the other couples slept in there tents. It was a nice quiet campground, not a party all night campground. The view of the northern lights at night was amazing
We did a motorcycle trip somewhere just about every day we were there
You can’t take a trip to Sturgis without cruising over to see Mount Rushmore. You may have visited this national landmark on family vacation as a kid, but there’s nothing like seeing it from the seat of a motorcycle.
Rising an astounding 867 feet from it’s base, the Devil’s Tower is one of the most impressive natural wonders of the Black Hills. It was the first national monument established by President Roosevelt in 1906.
The old gold mining town of Deadwood, SD is a great place to stop for dining, shopping and legal gambling. This charming little town is notorious for being the sight where Wild Bill Hickok was shot.
Rapid City lies east of Black Hills National Forest in western South Dakota. It’s known as a gateway to Mt. Rushmore, the massive iconic sculpture of 4 U.S. presidents. “City of Presidents,” a series of life-size statues, spans several blocks downtown.
Needles Highway is a bucket-list destination for bikers who seek the thrill of the ride. This narrow, winding road makes its way up the mountainside, taking riders through one-lane rock tunnels and past the giant granite stone spires it was named after.
The Crazy Horse memorial is a colossal mountain carving that was started in 1948 to honor the Lakota warrior Chief Crazy Horse. If completed, it may become the world’s largest sculpture.
Vanocker Canyon Rd
It's short but sweet and it's also one of the most fun rides in the Black Hills, mainly because of the twisties. Take Junction Avenue out of downtown Sturgis; it’ll eventually turn into Vanocker Canyon Road past I-90. It’ll turn into a sweet little ride through the Black Hills National Forest, and then you’ll hit the town of Nemo. Quench your thirst at the Nemo Mercantile when you get there, or keep following Nemo Road (it becomes Canyon) all the way to Rapid City. Make sure you take your leather jacket with you, when we went we did not and it went from a 100 degrees in Sturgis to 50 degrees in Nemo. We stopped at the mercantile hoping for a sweatshirt or something they had nothing, all we had was a very small towel. Everybody there was in winter coats gathered around a campfire. It’s the long way to Rapid, but it’s way cooler than the slab, just make sure you have your riding gear.
We did not have enough time to see the Badlands! We did make it to Buffalo Chip Campground for a couple concerts; we saw Jonny Lang and Blue Oyster Cult. You ride your bike right up to the stage and watch the concert from your bike. There are a lot of booths open for some good food, and a lot of side shows going on during the concert. We also went to Full Throttle Saloon they had a lot to see and do, as well as the Broken Spoke Saloon. A lot to see and do in several cities around Sturgis and in downtown Sturgis, can’t see it all! Guess we will have to try to go back one day!
When summer comes around, avid motorcyclists plan their trips across county, state and even country lines in anticipation of the warm weather, excellent road conditions and plenty of opportunities to meet up with other riders. However, riding in the summer also has its fair share of hazards that, fortunately, can be offset by good preparation.
Many riders wear as little clothes as possible when traveling during the summer, which is the exact opposite of what they should be doing. This is because the more skin exposed to the natural elements particularly the dry air and blazing sun, the faster you can become sunburned, dehydrated and fatigued.
Instead, we suggest dressing in appropriate clothing including jackets and pants as well as gloves, scarves and sunglasses/motorcycle goggles. The combination of jackets, pants and scarves will protect your skin from the drying effects of the hot air and sun while the sunglasses or motorcycle goggles will protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet rays.
Most, if not all, veteran motorcyclists recommend hosing down your clothes including your pants with cool tap water, wearing these articles of clothing next to your skin and then putting on a leather jacket on top. The leather jacket should preferably have vents in it to allow air to circulate inside it, thus, slowing down the evaporative process. You should feel cooler despite the summer heat.
Dressing in layers even in the summer season also has its advantages when traveling to high-altitude areas like the Sierras or the Rockies. The temperature change can be as much as 30 degrees between the flat lands and the mountains, thus, necessitating the layers of clothes. Plus, the thin, dry air in the mountains can easily dehydrate the body, which the layers of clothing can substantially prevent from happening.
Wait for Cooler Temperatures
Obviously, the dry air and sunny heat is your most significant concern when traveling during the summer season. You can suffer from the symptoms of heat stroke including heat cramps, heavy sweating and lightheadedness, among others. We then suggest waiting for cooler temperatures before traveling on your motorcycle. You can travel either late in the day when the sun's heat is more forgiving especially when you are going west or early in the morning when the sun's heat is warm, not hot. Plus, traveling in the early mornings means lesser chances for thunderstorms, which can put a damper on your travel plans.
Ensure Gas and Water Supply
Last but not least, you should ensure that your gas and water supplies are sufficient for the trip. You don't want to push your out-of-gas motorcycle in the summer heat without a tree, gas station and home in sight while also being thirsty for water. At the very least, you can either be hydrated while waiting for rescue to come along or you can ride your motorcycle to the nearest establishment or home for a drink of water.
Of course, you must also ensure that your motorcycle is in good, if not excellent, working condition. Be sure to check your tires, engine and other vital components before traveling into the sunset, so to speak.
If you decide to carry a child, make sure the child can handle the responsibilities, and reach the footrests. They must wear a helmet and other protective gear and hold onto you or the passenger hand-holds.
Remember that the extra weight from a passenger can affect braking procedures, starting from a stop, and riding through a corner.
Start the motorcycle before the passenger mounts.What Car and Truck Drivers Should Know About Motorcycles
When a motorcycle is in motion, don't think of it as a motorcycle; think of it as a person.
Motorcycles can be hard to spot, so always make sure you look out for them, especially at intersections.
A motorcycle may look farther away than it is because of its small size. Assume that a motorcycle is closer than it looks.
Bikers often slow down by downshifting or rolling off the throttle and don't activate a brake light. Therefore, you should allow three or four seconds of following distance and predict that a biker may slow down without visual warning.
Bikers often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to stray clear of road debris, passing cars, and wind. Understand that these position shifts aren't to be reckless or to allow you to share a lane with them.
Bikers' Legal Responsibilities
Obtain a license. It has been estimated that one-third of bikers killed in crashes aren't licensed or are improperly licensed. State licensing agencies make sure that motorcycle operators have the skills needed to safely operate a motorcycle.
Know your state's helmet laws.
Make sure you get insurance coverage. Most states require liability insurance.
Don't speed. In 2007, 36 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes involved speeding.
Never drink alcohol and get on a motorcycle. In 2007, 27 percent of bikers involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit.
Motorcycle Riding Gear
Helmet - Make sure your helmet has a sticker indicating DOT (Department of Transportation) compliance. This means that the helmet meets certain basic impact standards.
Eye Protection - Make sure your eye protection is clean and unscratched. If your lenses are tinted, also take some that are clear in case you ride at night.
Pants and jackets should be made of thick material, such as leather, to resist abrasion.
Gloves should be worn at all times to prevent any injury to hands or fingers.
Wear over-the-ankle boots made of strong leather to protect your ankles. Also, make sure your boots have rubber soles and a good tread design for easy gripping.
Wear high visibility gear like bright and reflective clothing.
Before You Ride
Read the owner's manual so that you understand how to operate and maintain your bike.
Check the tires for cuts, foreign objects, and pressure.
Check the following parts:
Controls for kinks or stiffness
Lights, turn signals, horn, and mirrors
Oil, fuel, and coolant levels
Sidestand and centerstand
Carrying a Passenger on Your Motorcycle
Be aware that some states have minimum age requirements for motorcycle passengers.
Review your owner's manual for tips on preparing for riding with a passenger.
Before riding, practice low-speed clutch/throttle control and normal and emergency braking in an open area, like a parking lot, with a passenger.
Before heading out, hold a riders' meeting and discuss the route, stops, hand signals, and what to do if there's an emergency or if someone is separated from the group.
At least one rider in each group should have a cell phone, first-aid kit, and full tool kit.
To allow for enough time and space for maneuvering and reacting to hazards, it's important to ride in formation.
Do not ride in side-by-side formations because they reduce the space cushion.
From time to time, check the riders following in your rear view mirror.
Follow your bike's regular service schedule that's listed in the owner's manual and have these inspections done by an authorized dealer.
Check your battery once a month and make sure that the fluid level is correct.
Always take your tool kit with you when you ride.
Your owner's manual can tell you what to do in emergency situations, so make sure it's always with the bike.
On the Road
Always be on the lookout for potential hazards, especially at intersections.
Keep your eyes moving. If they are locked on one thing for more than two seconds, you may not notice a potential hazard.
Make sure other drivers see you.
Your headlamps should be on (even during the day), wear bright clothes, and always signal your intentions.
Use your horn to make people aware of your presence.
Position your bike where it can be seen.
When you're riding in traffic at speeds under 40 mph, keep a two-second gap between you and the car in front of you.
If you're traveling at higher speeds, the gap should be at least three or four seconds.
You should be at least two seconds behind the vehicle you want to pass.
Always turn and check your blind spot with your head.
Don't try to overtake another vehicle if a corner is coming up.
Dusk is actually the most dangerous time to ride, because people's eyes are adjusting from daylight to headlights.
The distance between you and the vehicle in front of you becomes even more important as it gets darker.
Wear a clear faceshield without scratches. A scratch can create confusing light refractions.