It’s the tail end of August 2023, and that means it’s almost time for the 2023 Motorcycle Cannonball to officially kick off. For those unfamiliar, the Motorcycle Cannonball is essentially an antique motorcycle endurance race—not an all-out speed run.
The event started with 45 riders back in 2010, and was a biennial event up until 2020, when COVID forced postponement. With the dawning of the 2021 Motorcycle Cannonball, the new odd-year biennial pattern was established—and so, the 2023 event is just around the corner.
The 2023 Motorcycle Cannonball will see participants travel approximately 3,800 miles, with a route that starts in Virginia Beach, Virginia and ends in Oceanside, California. Kickstands will go up at the starting line on September 7, and the 2023 event is scheduled to conclude on September 24.
Participants ride a wide range of truly antique iron, with the only real stipulations being that a) it’s a motorcycle, and b) it was built before 1933. Since it’s an endurance race, riders will need to be prepared to do some roadside wrenching and/or maintenance as necessary.
As with all bikes, individual requirements will vary, since individual rides vary. There are some planned cultural and wrenching stops along the way, but anyone running this event will likely want to have any specific spares they suspect that they could need on hand. Fellow riders tend to be a helpful and resourceful bunch, but being as prepared as possible goes a long way toward everyone having a great time along the way.
For 2023, a total of 16 stages plus a prologue are planned. The Prologue starts in Virginia Beach on September 7, and each of the stages will take place each day after that, on a predetermined route. Participants will travel through North Carolina (including a stop at the Wheels Through Time Museum), Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona before spending the last two stages in California.
The 2021 event saw a total of 88 riders line up at the start, when it ran from Sault Saint Marie, Michigan to South Padre Island, Texas. For 2023, plenty of riders have signed up, and will be riding a wide variety of antique motorcycles. Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of Harley-Davidson and Indian bikes on the entry list, as well as a 1929 Scott Flying Squirrel Deluxe, a 1928 Terrot HSC, a 1926 Ner-A-Car C, a 1928 Moto Guzzi Sport 14, and plenty of other bikes that most of us don’t see every day.
If you’re not participating in the 2023 event, you may want to check out the planned route and stage stops so you can watch as these rare machines roll by.