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Let’s Make Riding GREAT Again in 2021

Planning is underway, but first some DECISIONS have to be made.

This is the time of year when event organizers traditionally begin making announcements about their rallies, rides, and shows for the upcoming year.  It’s usually one of the busiest times of year for us in the industry, even in Ohio where snow covers the ground and the ice / salt keep the bikes off the roads.  

This year, however, is certainly different.  

Even with a new digit on the calendar year and a vaccine hitting the streets – there’s still a lot of uncertainty as to what’s going to happen after all the craziness of the past 10 months.  And unfortunately, regardless of how optimistic we as riders and event organizers can be – it really depends on what the folks in charge decide when it comes to planning.  

“We absolutely want to have an event this year, but it really depends on what the Governor decides and how the local Health Boards interpret that,” commented Steve Ernst, with Ohio Bike Week.  “And that leaves us up in the air at this point.”

“There are a lot of moving parts and the process takes months of not only planning, but applying for permits as well.  Working within a city – on the actual downtown streets – there are a lot of departments and agencies involved.” Ernst, continued. “And everyone is waiting to see what the Governor and his folks decide.”

For this reason, Ohio Bike Week has decided to hold off on a decision and any official announcement until Mid-February in regards to their 2021 Rally.  (For official announcements and updates, follow Ohio Bike Week on Facebook – www.Facebook.com/OhioBikeWeek.)

It’s a little easier for events that are held on private property and don’t have to deal with as many different agencies.

“We’ve decided that the Smokin’ Country Bike Rally will go on in 2021 as scheduled for May 28th to June 6th,” announced Elmer Cole, owner of Cole Farms – host of the rally.  Cole Farms is a 180 acre rally and concert venue that offers camping and even amusement park rides on site.  In 2020, they announced a new event – The Smokin’ Country Saloon Bike Rally with an exciting lineup of performers including Texas Hippie Coalition, Ron Keel, and Liliac.   Originally intended for May, they were forced to reschedule the rally and entertainment to two weekends in the Fall.  However, the pandemic and state mandates forced them to again revisit their plans and eventually cancel their plans for 2020.  (www.smokincountryconcert.com)

These are the hard take aways that many event organizers are grappling with as they look towards 2021. 

Ted “Hollywood” Heckman, working with the Smokin Country Saloon Rally, commented “We are in the process of adding new artists and building out our May event.  We are working with the Health Department to assure a safe experience for everyone – but we believe that things are slowly returning to a sense of normalcy, well as normal as its possible to be!  We will have to change some things, certainly, but our hope is that we will soon be able to get back to hanging out together, seeing great bands perform, and just enjoying life as we once did.”

We really believe that this attitude, a solid plan, and us all working together – with the support of riders – will make all the difference in 2021; and ensure that we WILL have a GREAT ridiing season!

For those in the Akron / Canton area, the Greater Akron Motorcycle Club has teamed up with Thunder Roads Ohio to host a meeting for ride and event organizers planning motorcycle events for the upcoming year.

For over 25 years, the Greater Akron Motorcycle Club has published the Greater Akron Motorcycle Events Calendar – a charitable project that helps promote the riding community and raise funds for local charities.  Thunder Roads Ohio teamed up with GAMC and the calendar founder – Rich Robinson – years ago to help produce and distribute the calendar.  Each year, the whole process kicks off with a meeting of riding clubs, promoters, charities, and ride stops at the club the 3rd Sunday in January.

With so much uncertainty and questions abounding, a new approach was decided for 2021.

“This year’s meeting will be held at the Kent American Legion Post on Sunday, February 28th at 2pm,” Pat Tenney, with GAMC, announced.  “They have the space to better allow everyone to spread out and more easily follow social distancing guidelines.  Even then – we will be able to accommodate a LOT more people this way.”

“Instead of our traditional format, we will be starting with a general discussion amongst everyone as to what they are planning, concerns they have, and possible solutions available.  Even if you’ve never participated in the calendar before, if you are thinking of hosting a ride, bike night, or any type of motorcycle event in the area – we’d like you to come.”  Tenney continued.

Thunder Roads Ohio will be sharing information on their online registration system and options for digital check-in’s for rides.  Working with ReasonsToRide.com, both programs allow organizers to offer a COVID compliant, safer option for riders that’s more likely to not only work – but attract MORE riders!

At this point, we really believe that it’s on the riders to be positive and support not only local businesses but also the folks organizing events that we’ve all just taken for granted for years.  Ohio Bike Week, local Swap Meets, charity rides, and even the local bike nights need our support.  When the snow clears and we have a chance – we need to RIDE and get out to support these events.  Now, though, we need to be heard as decisions are being made.

“It would be great if folks took the time to let both us and the Governor – maybe even the State Reps and their local governments – what they wanted,”  Steve Ernst added.  “Hit us up on Facebook and let us know what you think.  If you think we should hold off – ok, let us know.  Or if you want us to hold the rally and you’re planning on riding – jump on and let us know.  And if you think things should open back up – by all means, let the Governor know!”

You can email Ohio Governor Mike Dewine at info@mikedewine.com or even find him on Facebook and Twitter – @MikeDeWine.

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