This fall’s Motorcycle Cannonball, though four months away from the official Grand Start gathering in Newburgh, New York, is already well under way. Lonnie Isam and crew has been busily making preparations for the 2-week, coast-to-coast road trip that will span almost 4,000 miles on pre-1930 motorcycles of all marquis. Though held on U.S soil, the 2012 iteration is for all intents and purposes, a worldwide event.
Over 75 riders, from 11 countries across 4 continents, will participate in a historic motorcycle ride that has captured the imaginations of people from around the world. This odyssey promises to be a once in a lifetime experience for those who will wrangle their vintage iron for 17-days while meeting America and its residents one mile at a time.
Not since the days of Cannonball Baker, the run’s namesake, has a journey been planned on such an intimate and optimistic scale. Baker, who set his records in the early years of the 1900’s, made several coast-to-coast runs during a time when pavement was uncommon and support crews were non-existent.
The route chosen for this year’s endurance run is even more grueling than the 2010 Motorcycle Cannonball and was recently driven by route master, John Classen. He declared the route “Challenging, to say the least.” From road closures to vast distances between gas stops, the riders will have many difficult and tricky circumstances ahead of them as they set their sights on the famed Golden Gate Bridge in September. John will drive the route for a second time in July to make the final arrangements.
“The first three days of this route will be a bitch,” Lonnie Isam states. “It will get a lot easier once we get into Iowa but this will be a true endurance run for both riders and machines. The first half of this ride has a lot of miles per day, and to do it continuously day after day will be a true challenge, we’ll put these guys to the test. We couldn’t have done this route with earlier bikes, this generation of motorcycles will be able to handle it but there will probably still be a lot of rebuilds. It’s going to be a great adventure, we’re all really excited about this.”
As for John, he’s concerned. The route is, as mentioned, difficult. Check back with us as we post his daily findings while making arrangements from the back roads of these great United States. California, here we come!