‘Motorcycle Cannonball’ to Finish Ride in Oregon this Weekend
Epic 3,700-mile trek on pre-1930 Harleys started on Sept. 6 in Maine and is event’s biggest rally ever!
When you think of Sturgis, you obviously think about the world’s largest Harley rally that takes place there each year. But the sleepy South Dakota town is also an important stop on another, equally awesome event. It’s called the Motorcycle Cannonball, and 2018 marks just the fifth year of its existence. It also just so happens to be one of the more difficult antique endurance motorcycle events in the world. And yet, over 100 people are participating in the grueling test this year.
Riding a pre-1930 (per the rules) antique motorcycle for thousands of miles over the course of several days is obviously not for the meek. But as James Sims, director of operations for Motorcycle Cannonball explained to KOTA News, there are plenty of good reasons for enduring that madness as well.
“To really be out there on a 90-year-old or older motorcycle, there’s really nothing like it,” he said. “It’s so mechanical. You hear the sights, the smells of everything that’s going on. It’s really a true challenge to try to keep these things running for the 3,700 miles that we’re going to do across the country.”
The 2018 Motorcycle Cannonball started in Portland, Maine, on September 6. It’s scheduled to conclude in Portland, Oregon, on September 23. The climb through Sturgis presented a particular challenge for riders thanks to the steady elevation changes along the way. But that hasn’t killed the spirits of Kersten Heling, who’s piloting a 1922 vintage Harley across the country.
“My husband took the boys and went home yesterday,” she said. “I had a good cry since I’m going to miss my family. But the Cannonball has become like family, too. They really have, so I’m going to finish. I’m hoping that someday my kids look at my doing this and say, ‘My mom is a badass.'”
In our eyes, she already is.