The 37th Annual BMW International Rally will be held at the Appalachian Fairgrounds, located in Gray, Tenn., on the outskirts of Johnson City, on July 16–19.
This is the biggest event of the year for the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America (BMW MOA), with an anticipated crowd of between 8,000 and 10,000 riders, which will in all likelihood make it the biggest rally in Tennessee this year. One reason that such a large turnout is expected is because of the Rally's central location to such a large number of great motorcycle roads. There are already maps of different routes on the BMW website that show both the quickest, and curviest, ways to get from the Fairgrounds to the more popular roads. As with any large rally, there will be a huge vendor expo, demo rides (BMWs only), and door prizes for attendees.
The rally is for BMW owners and their guests. (Guest aren't required to be riding a BMW.) Pre-Registration is $30 for BMW MOA members, and $40 for non-members. Prices are $5 higher at the event.
Another event within the event at the rally is Camp GEARS. Camp Gears (Gaining Early Advanced Riding Skills) is a new two-day rider seminar that is sponsored by the BMW Motorcycle Owners Association Foundation. The Camp is going to be held July 14–15 in Johnson City, two days before the BMW MOA International Rally.
The purpose of this two-day camp is to teach new riders the riding and touring skills that will help them ride safer, and get more enjoyment out of their future motorcycling adventures.
"Most of our instructors are less than 30 years old, but have many years and many miles of experience," says Mandy Langston of BMW MOA. "We cover such topics as safe riding habits, how to properly pack your bike, and tips for camping and cooking on the road. We even have one instructor who is a weather expert who gives tips on how to recognize when, and how fast, dangerous weather is approaching."
Camp GEARS is free to any new rider between the ages of 16-26. Participants get to attend a graduation dinner, and receive free admission to the BMW MOA International Rally the next day. These seminars are non-riding events, so it isn't necessary to have a bike to attend. There is a group ride on the last day, so people who don't have a bike will miss out on that.
For more information on Camp GEARS call 636-394-7277. For more information and pre-registration for the BMW Rally visit their website bmwmoa.org/rally09.