Vintage motorcycles are cool to see and all, but like any bike, wouldn’t you rather ride them? If riding vintage motorcycles is your jam, you’ll want to know about the Cross Country Chase. It’s the newest endurance challenge from the folks that brought us the Motorcycle Cannonball—and it looks like a blast.
Participating riders set out from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, on Friday, September 6, 2019 and make their way to Key West, Florida. Riders will be riding bikes manufactured between 1930 and 1948, and will cover an average of 250 to 350 miles per day.
There are several elements of challenge to this event, as well. For one, there will be no chase vehicles. Anyone participating must have appropriate tools and knowledge to fix anything that breaks along the way. Event organizers will provide maps each day to navigate, but riders are responsible for their own navigation.
All participating bikes must have original engine cases, transmission cases, and period-correct carbs to keep a level and period-correct playing field. Any rider 18 or over can participate. A total of 101 riders (or duos; two-up riding is also allowed) are currently listed as participating in the 2019 event.
There’s a motorcycle history test component to this event, as well. All participants must answer a 100-question test about American motorcycle history, and test scores will be tallied up along with the riders’ final scores in the Cross Country Chase event. It’s unclear whether the written portion is administered before or after the 2500+ mile ride, which might make a difference, depending on how exhausted and/or exhilarated you are at the end.
Also, there’s some handicapping. Older, lower-displacement motorcycles receive higher handicaps than younger, higher-displacement motorcycles. Average cruising speed is also taken into consideration when calculating handicaps.
Any time you see vintage bikes being ridden as they were meant to be is a good time, in my opinion. Here’s hoping this new endurance event goes well, and it becomes a regular fixture on the motorcycling calendar for years to come.