Cross Country Cool

Classic Motorcycle Caravan Makes Pit Stop In Falconer

Motorcycle enthusiasts visit Harley-Davidson of Jamestown to meet the riders going on a coast-to-coast road trip from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. The Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run will continue until Sept. 23. P-J photos by Eric Zavinski

FALCONER — The Motorcycle Cannonball organization is hosting their biannual Endurance Run, which features 107 riders all on motorcycles released before 1929 traveling from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon.

They made a pit stop during their newly begun 3,647-mile trip in Harley-Davidson of Jamestown on Monday evening. Residents and motorcycle enthusiasts perused the caravan of choppers and talked with riders, who are taking this monumental journey from Sept. 8-23.

“We have all walks of life,” said Jason Sims, director of operations at Motorcycle Cannonball. “These are all hardcore antique motorcycle enthusiasts.”

He organized the Endurance Run, the fifth one overall. Riders have traveled cross country four times before and always discover different parts of the United States along the way. The group traveled from Atlantic City to San Diego in 2016.

Sims said it was a pleasure to spend their third evening of this year’s trip in Falconer and that the turnout provided a warm welcome. The Motorcycle Cannonball group will leave Chautauqua County between 7 and 8 a.m. from Holiday Inn today.

Two men look at motorcycles used by the Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run. P-J photo by Eric Zavinski

Almost all states and 15 different countries are represented by the riders of Motorcycle Cannonball. Sims said the youngest rider is 19, and the oldest rider is 79. They bring with them vans to sell merchandise and bring parts for repairs that might be needed throughout the journey. That may often be the case, especially with 2016’s run that featured all motorcycles having been built before 1916.

“People are always wondering what we’re going to do next,” Sims said.

Commenting that the Endurance Run is both physically and mentally challenging, Sims said this event is the hardest motorcycle event in the world. That doesn’t get in the way of safety, however, as modern brakes and lighting can be installed on the antique bikes.

Sims credits the largest number of riders they’ve ever had as a testament to the power of media, especially social media. His organization has drawn an international crowd.

“It just has to feel right,” Sims said regarding everything from the style of motorcycle they ride to where in the country they visit.

This year, the riders will be passing through the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore and Glacier National Park. States in the northeastern and northwestern United States have mostly been skipped in past years’ trips, so Sims said the group is excited to make their way through both regions this time.

Wednesday’s pit stop will take place at Bowling Green, Ohio.

Those interested in learning more can visit motorcyclecannonball.com. Updates regarding the current run can be found on their Facebook and Instagram pages. Merchandise can be purchased at cannonballstore.com.

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