Not necessarily. It would be good if you knew how to do basic tasks (e.g., changing the plug), but generally everyone is willing to help someone who is broken down. There is usually enough knowledge and skill between everyone in the group to solve most issues.
Can I put tools and equipment on the support truck?
Bigger items might be accommodated on the support truck but will have to be approved in advance. However, a torque wrench and some larger electrical tools will be supplied on the support truck for use at camp.
What expenses am I responsible for during the trip?
Fuel/gas, parts and anything else you might need to fix your bike, and snacks and drinks above and beyond what is catered (some people get hungrier than others).
What sort of luggage do you recommend?
We will be going through water crossings, so waterproof bags (hard or soft) are good. It is important that your luggage is securely attached to you or your bike (we do not recommend just bungees or ratchet straps to the seat) because it is likely that it will fall off over some of the rougher sections.
Gas containers must be DOT approved and seal completely.
What should I pack?
Clothes for the trip (recommend plenty of spare socks and a spare pair of gloves), waterproof gear (we WILL get rained on), camping gear, spare parts, spare gas, basic tools.
Riders are provided a suggested, comprehensive packing list in advance.
Can I modify my bike?
Performance and suspension modifications that were available pre-1980 are acceptable. Performance and suspension upgrades/modifications that were only available after 1980 are not acceptable (e.g., monoshock). Also acceptable are upgrades to lighting (e.g., LEDs), upgrades to the ignition system (e.g., electronic ignition) and any aesthetic changes you want to make.
What size and type of bike do you recommend?
Personally, we think the best bike to do the trip on is an XT500; however, we can’t all be so lucky. Therefore, any 250cc or larger displacement motorcycle that has been prepared well in advance has been ridden successfully in this event. A 125-cc Penton has survived both the Coastal and Mountain routes, but it was meticulously prepared and the only smaller cc bike that has fared well.
What is a typical day like?
There is no typical day, but expect to be in the saddle 8 to 12 hours/day. There will be breakdowns that take time to repair. Depending on the group, a gas stop can take 1/2 hour (especially when helmets come off).
Breakfast is served at the campground while everyone packs up their own camping gear and does final prep on their bikes. Packed lunches and snacks are provided at this time. Groups roll out when enough people are ready to form a group. Follow the roll chart to the next campground. Dinner will be ready at the campground. Each rider sets up his/her own camping gear and performs bike repairs, if necessary.
When do I need to arrive at the starting point?
The riders’ meeting for the Vintage 1000 occurs the night before we leave on the route, so you need to be at the starting point the afternoon before the event starts.
The riders’ meeting for the Vintage 500 occurs the morning of the event, so it’s up to you whether you arrive the night before or travel down that morning.
Can you recommend accommodation?
For the Mountain Vintage 1000 route and Vintage 500, if you email us before the event, we can help you find something that fits your budget. Otherwise, (past and present) event participants living in Chattanooga are usually happy to put someone up – we can help get you paired up with someone.
For the Mint 400, Western Vintage 1000 route, and LAB2V, we'll help organize accommodation before and after the events.
Join us on the next trip
This event draws a certain kind of person - someone who is willing to put themselves through the hard long days of riding a finicky old bike. We make it through loose wires, blown headlamps and tail lamps, sheared bolts, parts falling off, iffy suspension, and more. And, yet, at the end of it, everyone's still smiling, if a little worse for wear.