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Thread: What is a Rally?

  1. #1

    What is a Rally?


    Many people ask us what a rally is. Basically it is an event where riders are given a set of route instructions that they must complete in a 24 hour period. The base route is approx. 1,000 miles. During the 24 hours there are several checkpoints that the rider must get to during certain time periods, usually 2-3 hours. In addition to the base route, there are several questions and bonus locations that a rider may attempt for additional points. The Rally is a test of map reading skills, reading comprehension and time, distance and fuel management.

    Here is what we tell participants in the Rally Pack:

    First, you have to understand, it is NOT A RACE! A motorcycle rally is a competitive event that involves riding a motorcycle over a certain distance with time restrictions. Some have argued that this makes it a speed contest. It is not. The difference is that there is no advantage for getting anyplace first. There is no advantage getting to checkpoints before they open, or getting to bonus locations first. A slower rider making good route decisions will get a better score than a fast rider making poor decisions. That is the difference between a rally and a race.

    The most important thing for all riders to bring is a good attitude. This is a fun event. We will not tolerate whining, crying, and complaining. Although this is a competitive event, there is no big payoff for winning it. It is meant to be a fun game. The most important aspect is safety. We don’t want anyone getting hurt. Getting a first place trophy is certainly nothing to get killed over.

    As you can see, safety is our primary concern. As the a group, we have proven to be far and away the safest group of motorcycle riders in the world. When considering accidents per miles ridden, we are the best riders on the planet. For instance, in the 2004 Cal 24 Rally, the total miles ridden by 46 riders was over 45,000. We had two riders have minor accidents, both in a construction zone that had just been watered down. If the average motorcycle rider puts on 3,000 miles per year, (It is actually slightly lower than that) then it is roughly the same as having two minor incidents in 15 years of riding. Other rallies have similar experiences.

    I personally feel that riding in an organized rally is much safer than riding a Saddle Sore 1000 on your own. Why? First, there is always someone looking out for you. We make it clear that all the other riders must stop and render aid if another riding is having problems. We track rider's progress at all checkpoints. If a rider does not make a checkpoint, we start calling people and looking for them. Second, it is much easier to stay awake and alert when your participating in an event that requires your attention everywhere along the way. During the Cal 24 you are constantly looking for point opportunities. You are never just droning along the highway watching the odometer change.


    As of today, the Cal24 organizers are taking entries. Rally numbers are assigned according to when the entry is received. Several months before the Rally, paid participants receive a Rally Pack. This Rally Pack contains everything the rider needs to know to participate. It includes Hotel/Motel information, Tech Inspection information, Banquet information and the Rally Schedule. This information is not public, and will not be given out to people who are not entered in the Rally.
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  2. #2 newbie
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Astoria, OR

    GPS and Photo Requirements

    Good Afternoon, Tom

    Will digital cameras be permitted, and will a GPS be required?


  3. #3
    Hi Cameron -

    I can't answer on behalf of Tom, and I'm sure he'll be along shortly. But the Cal24 has allowed digital cameras for the past 2 years, and I'd suspect that they will continue to be allowed for 2009; Polaroids are getting harder and harder to come by.

    If the same holds true for GPS; it has never been required, but has been a useful tool for folks. I wouldn't imagine that changing for 2009 either.

    - Alex
    If Poker's a sport, so's this.

  4. #4
    RallyBastard for life Cal24Master's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    San Jose
    Hi Cameron,
    Yes, and No. We have allowed digital cameras for the last several years. Since Polaroid discontinued the manufacture of film, everyone has to be able to go digital. We do it a little different. We do not require you to turn in the memory cards as some other rallys do. In fact, we just look at the pictures on your camera and download them into our computers only if it is necessary to see something better. In past years we have sealed the cameras to prevent people from manipulating the pictures, but I don't think we will even do that this year.
    As for GPS. It has never been a requirement to have a GPS. If what you are doing is just riding for the Saddle Sore certificate, there is no reason to have one. However, if you intend to be competitive in this event, that is that you want to try to win, or come close, NOT having a GPS would be a severe disadvantage. I think it has been close to 10 years since anyone won the rally without one. That doesn't mean having one guarantees success, you still have to know how to use it effectively.

    Hope this helps,


  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Cal24Master View Post
    Hi Cameron,

    In past years we have sealed the cameras to prevent people from manipulating the pictures, but I don't think we will even do that this year.

    Tom, this is great news. Those stickers you use are a pain to remove. Thanks for the change.

  6. #6
    Found a nice write-up on wikipedia that describes pretty concisely what a rally is:
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