Then there are the rallies and locations whose specifics set them apart. For example, the very successful Americade rally in Lake George, N.Y., brands itself the "world's largest multi-brand motorcycle touring rally," and draws over 50,000 registered riders and as many as 100,000 fellow revelers on the streets. What sets Americade apart is its reputation as a much quieter event than most motorcycle rallies, and that's not just a metaphor: In order to keep the friendliness between the tour's organizers and the locals, everybody has agreed to keep the rally quiet by restricting the kinds of exhaust systems allowed to participate.
In mid-September, the awareness-raising Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride covers 230 miles (370 kilometers) over the route a thousand American Indians were forced to travel in 1838. There are charity and celebrity rides all across the country, often known more for their social conscience and political messages than for hardcore biking for its own sake. But anybody who loves his or her machine knows that the freedom of the road feels just as good, or better, when you're doing it for a good cause.
Of the all-women rides and rallies, the Women on Wheels Ride-In, in San Jose, Calif., is the largest and oldest on the West Coast, now in its second decade. For the East Coast, the Mid-Atlantic Women's Motorcycle Rally in Gettysburg, Pa., is heading into its 20s, too.
Whichever rally strikes your fantasy, rest assured that you can find tons of information online about them. Active forums can provide further ideas for area activities, ride shares and ride buddies. Biker communities are renowned for their openness and willingness to help a fellow rider out, and there's no such thing as a dumb question when you're dealing with the online biking community.
For more great information, check out the links on the next page.