Get Ready for the 2016 Cannonball!
The Race of the Century, the 2016 Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run, is just days away. Which means dozens of your fellow AMCA members will be heading off on the adventure of a lifetime, piloting motorcycles that are at least 100 years old coast-to-coast, from Atlantic City, New Jersey, to Carlsbad, California.
This amazing journey will play out over 16 days, beginning Saturday, September 10, and concluding 3,319 miles later on Sunday, September 25.
So how can you follow the Race of the Century? We’ve got everything you need to know.
First, as he has since AMCA Honorary Member Lonnie Isam Jr. launched the first Cannonball ride in 2010, our own Bill Wood will be driving one of the sweep trucks for the event, and will be filing reports from the road each day. You’ll find those reports right here, in the Club News section of the AMCA website. Just look for updates each day.
When can you expect updates to appear? Typically, the process of getting to the nightly destination, traveling to multiple hotels to drop off bikes that were picked up during the day, checking out what major repair projects are going on in the parking lots, taking photos and then sitting down to write the story of that day pushes these posts very late into the night. Because the situation changes every day, we can’t be sure when you’ll see each report, so unless you’re a serious night owl, we’d suggest you just plan to check the website each morning as soon as you wake up.
This year, Bill also hopes to try posting some news from the road as it happens directly to the AMCA’s Facebook group page. These posts could include things like live coverage of roadside repairs and significant milestones of the journey. But all of that will depend upon time pressures and the reliability of cellphone signals along remote rural back roads. So, uh, no guarantees, OK?
This is a public Facebook group, but you do need to have a Facebook account to see it. You can find it by going to www.facebook.com and searching for “Antique Motorcycle Club of America’s Facebook page.” This group also happens to be a great resource that has attracted more than 26,000 members with literally hundreds of posts per day about old bikes, so you might want to join the Club’s Facebook group while you’re there.
OK, that’s how you can follow the ride from the comfort of your own home. But we know a lot of AMCA members would like to meet up with the Cannonball as it passes near them. So below, we’ve included a guide to every scheduled public stop from coast to coast. For each day, you’ll find the destination for that stage, the number of miles Cannonball riders will cover, and scheduled stops at lunchtime and at the conclusion of that day’s ride in the afternoon.
Typically, these stops are at public places like motorcycle dealerships or closed-off downtown areas of host towns. If you arrive a little before the times shown, you can watch the bikes roll in, wander around and check them out during the times listed, then watch everybody roll out to their next destination. Of course, while you’re there, the dealerships and/or local shops would be happy to have you order some food and maybe pick up a souvenir. And each of these stops will also include an AMCA table, manned by a member volunteer, with info about the Club for motorcyclists attracted by the event.
You will notice that some days include public lunch and afternoon stops, some days include just one or the other, and some days include no public stops at all. You will still be able to catch up with riders in the host city that night, but they will be spread out over a few different hotels, and there won’t be any public event where everybody will be in one place.
If you plan to catch the Cannonball in one of these cities, it won’t be hard to find the parking lots filled with old bikes and support vehicles, but remember that riders and crews have a lot of work to do before the next morning, so be supportive, but try not to get in the way.
OK, now on to the difficult part. Yes, we know you’d like to “ride along” on the route these historic bikes are taking across America. And we’re going to ask you not to do that.
Why? Two reasons. First, this is a competition, and part of the skill is in following a route that is secret even to the riders until the night before each stage. So no, we can’t publish maps of the stages, because nobody has them.
Second, and much more important, there’s a real safety issue here. Cannonball competitors are going to be aboard century-old machines of very modest capability when it comes to overall speed, sudden course changes and stopping. That’s why the Cannonball is laid out on lightly traveled back roads that give riders the maximum maneuvering room. But if a bunch of spectators decide to ride along, it puts Cannonball competitors into the midst of a coast-to-coast rolling traffic jam, which is hardly what these bikes were designed for.
So, if you do come across Cannonball competitors on the road, please do them a favor and give them lots of room. Some of these bikes will be going as fast as they can reliably travel, and yet they’ll still be moving well below the posted speed limit. Trying to nurse that bike across the country without losing miles to mechanical problems is difficult enough. The last thing your fellow AMCA member on his 1912 Harley single needs at that moment is somebody (or a pack of somebodies) tailgating him every step of the way.
Our suggestion? Pull over at a convenient spot and settle in to watch this 100-year-old parade pass by. Chances are, you’ll never see anything like it again.
Where You Can Catch Up with the 2016 Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run
Saturday, September 10
Stage 1 to York, PA (152 miles)
Official Start: Kennedy Plaza, The Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ, 8:15-10:30 a.m.
Lunch: Chesapeake Harley-Davidson, Darlington, MD, 1-2:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 11
Stage 2 to Morgantown, WV (228 miles)
Lunch: Greater Cumberland (MD) Regional Airport, Noon-1:30 p.m.
Afternoon: Triple S Harley-Davidson, Morgantown, WV, 4-6 p.m.
Monday, September 12
Stage 3 to Chillicothe, OH (218 miles)
Lunch: S & P Harley-Davidson, Williamstown, WV, 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m.
Tuesday, September 13
Stage 4 to Bloomington, IN (224 miles)
Lunch: Mason, Ohio, 10:15 a.m.-Noon
Afternoon: Harley-Davidson of Bloomington, Bloomington, IN, 3:45-5 p.m.
Wednesday, September 14
Stage 5 to Gape Girardeau, MO (247 miles)
Afternoon: Water Street, Cape Girardeau, MO, 3:30-5:45 p.m.
Thursday, September 15
Stage 6 to Springfield, MO (249 miles)
Friday, September 16
Stage 7 to Wichita, KS (250 miles)
Lunch: Commercial Bank parking lot, Parsons, KS, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Afternoon: Twisted Oz Motorcycle Museum, Augusta, KS, 3:30-4:45 p.m.
Saturday, September 17
Stage 8 to Dodge City, KS (184 miles)
Afternoon: Boot Hill Museum, Dodge City, KS, 3:45-6 p.m.
Sunday, September 18
Rest Day, Dodge City, KS
Monday, September 19
Stage 9 to Pueblo, CO (272 miles)
Tuesday, September 20
Stage 10 to Durango, CO (264 miles)
Lunch: Cole Park, Alamosa, CO, 10:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Afternoon: Durango Harley-Davidson, Durango, CO, 4:45-6 p.m.
Wednesday, September 21
Stage 11 to Page, AZ (262 miles)
Thursday, September 22
Stage 12 to Williams, AZ (195 miles)
Friday, September 23
Stage 13 to Lake Havasu City, AZ (232 miles)
Lunch: Mother Road Harley-Davidson, Kingman, AZ, 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
Afternoon: Querio Drive, Lake Havasu City, AZ, 3:30-5 p.m.
Saturday, September 24
Stage 14 to Palm Desert, CA (241 miles)
Lunch: Luckie Park, Twentynine Palms, CA, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sunday, September 25
Stage 15 to Grand Finish in Carlsbad, CA (101 miles)
Lunch: Temecula Harley-Davidson, Temecula, CA, 10:30a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Finish: Visitor Center, Temecula, CA, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
See all news stories>>