So, in past articles I’ve written about tandem rallies one of the things I recommend is planning ahead. I didn’t do that all that well for this year’s Southern Tandem Rally.
More specifically, find a good source for a tandem event calendar — like our companion website, www.TheTandemLink.com — that consolidates all of the information and locations for the coming year’s tandem rallies and then figure out which rallies you’d like to attend. If it’s a good site — like ours — it will provide you with links to the rally websites as they come on line where you’ll find out information on the host hotels and when registration opens.
It’s the next little recommendation that I failed to heed with regard to this year’s Southern Tandem Rally over in Cullman, Alabama, and that was to secure your hotel reservation even if you’re on the fence as to whether or not you’ll actually register for the event. After all, hotel reservations can be cancelled without any penalty and it gives you your best shot at securing a reservation for the kind of room that you’d like within the reservation block and at the rally package price. Note: Bear in mind, this doesn’t necessarily apply to rallies that have a more tightly structured registration process where you’re required to register before you can secure your reservation, e.g., The Georgia Tandem Rally for instance.
Anywho, we’ve been wrestling with a scheduling conflict as there’s another event we really wanted to attend on the same weekend as the Southern Tandem Rally; Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach Florida. Yes, another one of those “other” bike rallies that we enjoy nearly as much as our beloved tandem rallies. For the past couple of years we’ve attended the fall edition of Thunderbeach down in Panama City Beach, Florida and been able to avoid conflicts with STR. However, for this fall we and our friends David & Deb had discussed early-on that we’d like to give the Daytona rally a look-see this year, just to change things up a bit, noting we’ve also been attending the spring edition of Thunderbeach: gotta guard against falling into a rut, eh?
For a variety of reasons, I had it in mind that we’d simply pass on this year’s STR over in Cullman and do the Daytona rally… up and until about two weeks ago when we were finally able to resume riding the tandem after my two-month bout with sinusitis. Yeah, we’d really missed tandem cycling and, more importantly, seeing our friends at the monthly PEACHES rides and other rallies. In past years we would attend the Alabama Tandem Weekend, the Georgia Tandem Rally, the Tennessee Tandem Rally and then either the Eastern Tandem Rally, MATES Rally or an Off-Road Tandem Rally in the Summer/Fall and wrap up the season with STR. Well, this year the Spring edition of Thunderbeach fell on the same weekend as the Alabama Tandem Weekend, there was no Tennessee Tandem Rally, the ETR/MATES events just didn’t work with our schedules and there was no Off-Road Tandem Rally. No doubt about it, we were losing the bubble on the tandem scene and that wasn’t a good thing.
So, last Sunday while enjoying lunch at Hemingway’s on the Square in Marietta after a morning tandem ride and then a ride to lunch on the Harley, Debbie and I had a serious discussion about October: just what were we doing to do? Thunderbeach in Panama City Beach, Florida; Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach, Florida; STR in Cullman, Alabama; or another visit to Key West just before Halloween? After hemming and hawing over it, we finally decided that STR was a must-do for us: we’ve really missed visiting with our tandem family and friends and STR was traditionally the last get-together of the year until the Alabama Tandem Weekend in April or the Georgia Tandem Rally in May. With that decided, we had early and late October to consider. Well, we definitely wanted to get in another motorcycle road trip and Debbie really wants to get some time in the sun and on the beach. The trip to Key West would be a two-day there and two-day back adventure unless we went hardcore and did the 14-hour, 850-mile highway trip in a single shot with an early get-up and after sunset arrival on both ends. Oh yeah, and my folks tend to visit around the end of October / early November. Hmmm, perhaps another short visit to PCB and Thunderbeach would be the better choice. So, that was the plan.
Yeah, well, good plan from the standpoint of having a plan “better late than never” except when everyone else took your advise and booked rooms before signing up for a tandem rally. Case in point: STR still only shows 24 teams as being registered, which has remained unchanged since early May. So, given there’s typically an upper limit of 120 teams for an STR, I’ve forgotten my own advise and am thinking they’ll have plenty of non-smoking, King-size rooms. OOOooo. So close, yet so far. When I finally got around to making a hotel reservation today, imagine my surprise when I learned STR’s block of rooms had been sold-out and the only other non-smoking room they had available was a special needs room with two full-size beds! doh!
Yup, snake-bit by my own indecision and lack of action. Glad that we got a room, but really surprised registration is only showing 24 teams. My gut tells me they just haven’t updated the registration info since early June and there are s few more teams signed-up. Time will tell… noting we probably won’t submit our registration until pretty close to the deadline, assuming they’re no where near having a sell-out.