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Monday, 2 January 2012

Cannonball Endurance Run

Shamelessly stolen from the Bridge Club blog:

The Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance run is an event for pre 1930 motorcycles. In about 1930, motorcycle manufacturers mostly agreed on a standardised control layout - foot gearchange, hand clutch, twist grip throttle, etc. Before that there was an assortment of hand gear changes, lever throttles, foot clutches, hand and foot brakes. I rode some pre 1930 bikes at an VMCC event in 2010 (See GBC's blog - I was UN on this one. Pictures here), and even riding them for a couple of laps around a circuit is quite 'involving' with lots of lever twiddling, lack of brakes, and 'interesting' handling to keep you occupied. (The handling on these old bikes is a bit like pushing a wheelbarrow full of gravel - OK on the straights, but as soon as you bank they 'flop' over and you have to pull them back upright.)
I couldn't imagine what it would be like riding one of these bikes on the public road and having to mix with more modern vehicles, let alone take part in a long distance ride. And when I say 'long distance' I mean coast to coast in the US! It's 3800 miles (6100 km), broken into 14 riding days and one 'rest day'. The route takes in a dozen national parks and national forests, and they have planned four stops at museums on the way.
Even doing a trip like this on a modern motorcycle would be an adventure, so you've really got to hand it to the riders undertaking it on older bikes. Details and lots of photos from previous Runs on the website. And as blog posts look really boring without pictures, here's some from previous events:


  1. Curse you, I was going to nick that later!

  2. Shinya Kinimura is going to enter his 1915 Indian again. He's getting it prepped. I'm going to try to be at the finish in San Francisco, to cheer him on, and get pics.

  3. We couldn't do something like this in Europe as we can't ride that far in a straight line. Even Nordkapp to Gibraltar is 300 miles short. If I rode this far from my house I'd end up in Baghdad!

  4. Sorry about that Shinya, his last name is Kimura. I'm hoping to participate in the three day Moto Melee this year. A two week ride on an old bike would be tough. The scale of this country is staggering at times. I've lived on both East and West coasts and towards the middle,but have yet to travel a lot of the states.

  5. I've seen a few things on the Web about the Moto Melee. It's a three day 'tour' of California for classic bikes. (Google it for details). Hope it goes well Larry, and remember to take lots of photos!