By default, bikers in the organized biking community are sociable and live for getting together.
The reason is simple. Getting together means to ride your bike, or rather, that it what it should mean.
As with everything, rallies have evolved over the years.
In the beginning bikers rode together to a quite place out of town, usually in the middle of nowhere, with no facilities, and they partied.
Some carried a bed roll (just a blanket), some nothing, and others had small tents. They'd make a fire, braai their meat and drink their beer.
They would talk bike until whenever, settle disputes, tell dirty jokes, laugh and party and then go home. The old timers describe these events as the best
of their lives and many stories are still told around the camp fires when the tongues are loose.
As the numbers in the community increased, some were sharp to realize that money could be made if these get togethers were better
organized. Thus evolved the rally...presented by bikers (usually a club) for the enjoyment and pleasure of other bikers. Originally, these
first rallies were rather exclusive. They were small because the infrastructure to advertise them was limited, and in most cases you
attended by invite only. It was unthinkable to arrive in a car (also called a cage) or have your kit transported for you.
These things were just not done. Hell, these were bike rallies. After all, going in a car, or bringing a car
along defeated the aim of it all...which was riding your bike
to party with your brother bikers. It was all about that ride.
Today, many rallies are presented countrywide, but man...they have changed! Has the evolutionary change been good though? Well, that question is not easy to answer because there
are as many opinions out there as bikers. The modern breed of new bikers have only been exposed to what they know. If they did not enter the organized biking community in the correct
way, they will not have been taught, and will not know of anything other than what is dished up to them today.
One has to approach the answer to whether or not the evolutionary changes are good by looking at the big picture and asking yourself whether
or not the changes are good for biking.
It's a free world out there and you will choose your rallies and pay your own hard earned money for the one's you decide to support.
OSBM has compiled a list of some important things that could influence your choice:
Host and Gate Price
Who is hosting the event, and why?
Are the hosts bikers themselves and why are they presenting the event? If they are bikers it's not really important why they are presenting
the event, even if it is to boost their own funds. Any club that is prepared to work hard to present a killer rally is
entitled to their profit. Usually, the profit is donated to some or other charity anyway. If they are not bikers then beware. In
this case it's usually about pocketing your money, and as much thereof as possible. Bikers support bikers, who support bikers.
How much must you fork out to get in?
Is the gate fee set to harvest as much of your hard earned cash as possible, or is it of such a nature that you get what you pay for? You
must decide. In recent time it has become almost customary to present a lucky draw with some or other big prize as the main prize, usually a
motorbike, or even a few motorbikes. Because these prizes cost money, that money must be recouped via the gate fee, so at the end of the day
you'll be paying for them anyway. It's been proven time and again that bikers do not go to a rally because or the main lucky draw
prize. Organizers will do well to take note of this and attempt to cut their costs so as to pass those savings on to their supporters.
Very important. Do the hosts allow the public in? Today, all too many hosts do, and simply because it's more revenue in their coffers.
This is not good for biking or bikers. Since the beginning, a rally has been a bikers only domain - a place where bikers can gather, let their hair down,
and do the things bikers do best. It's a fact that when the public gets in there's trouble. The greater majority of bikers DO NOT want to share a rally with the
public. A host who allows this is depriving their supporters of their right to exclusivity, so you should find out beforehand. OSBM
has no option but to encourage only rallies where the public are not allowed, as we still firmly believe that a rally is an exclusive biker only domain.
Come on hosts and organizers, forget the money and honour your supporters, biking, and most importantly, your reputations - and earn respect!
Cars and Bakkies
The use of cars and bakkies to transport kit has become the rule rather than the exception to the rule, and event organizers are keen to
accommodate it because it means revenue. However, this practice is hurting biking. OSBM is aware of the advantages of riding without kit and is not
opposed to this practice, but we are opposed to the abuse that happens because of it. People are using cages as their only mode of transport to the rallies.
This is what is happening. Why would a real biker want to go to a rally in a car? Are the occupants of these cages bikers or public posing as bikers? Who knows,
because if you can't see a bike you can't be sure. Bikers would surely prefer to ride their bikes? OSBM therefore has no option but
to discourage bikers from attending events that allow cages with "bikers" entry to those events. Our bikers need to return to their
roots and become proud - be that Knight Of The Road again.
Unless the rally is openly advertised as a family rally, OSBM is opposed to under 18's at a rally. Most of you will know
and understand why we say this, but there will be a few liberals who think it's good to let their kids be exposed to the happenings at a
rally, and they will protest loudly. When bikers let their hair down at a rally they do it in great style, and this is not something you want the kids to see.
Don't let the kid's time come before it's due. Let's leave it at that.
OSBM is aware that rallies come in different flavours. Some very popular rallies are advertised as family rallies,
so kids will be there. If you endorse that kind of rally, then by all means take your family and go enjoy yourselves. If you chose
to attend such a family rally then know what you have chosen, and expect to find what the organizers promised. Don't make
loud noises afterwards about the kids disrupting your "kuier" with their quads and rackety pocket bikes. It's another story to go to a rally
advertised as hard core old school only to find kids and public inside. We'd say that in that case that the organizers have committed treason
against the biking community by lying to get their support under false pretences.
You must make sure that the rally events you attend are what they say they are. If they allow something that goes against your grain, do not
go. Do not support them. Find another that offers you what you looking for. They are all out there. The choice is yours.
Finally, OSBM urges rally organizers to play their part to get our organized biking community back on track.
Advertise your rally in detail so that
potential supporters can see exactly what you offer. Never advertise anything you can't produce, and never break your word.
Leave the public out. Always mention your stand on this matter in your advertisement. The larger majority of our biking
community are one that public should not be part of their experience - they go to a rally to get away from them. The couple of public
you will lose will be nothing as opposed to the numbers that may now decide to support you. That's how it is.
Cut your costs. The cheaper the gate fee the more support you'll get. What the supporters save at the gate they can spend
on fuel to get there. They will only support your event if it suits their pockets. Remember, very few support an event because of a lucky
draw prize. Once again, the few you will lose will be nothing as opposed to those who will come because of the cheaper gate fee. Give back to
your supporters and reap the benefits.
Upgrade your recipe. Things are competitive out there. As the organized biker community becomes wiser, so you'll need to
accommodate them. If your numbers are down, look hard at your recipe! Don't blame the economy or the weather. Bikers WILL ride.