Americans rode to a South Dakota city, Sturgis, for bikers paradise event — the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally — this month. The granddaddy event of motorcycling is being held from August 7 to 16 despite coronavirus fears.
The Sturgis Rally is one of the largest and prestigious gatherings of motorcyclists in the world. The bikers paradise event, featuring custom motorcycles, rides, food and concerts, usually draws hundreds of thousands to South Dakota. But, attendance expectedly slumped this time around due to virus concerns.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to its knees. Nevertheless, it didn’t falter the spirits of those who arrived in Sturgis for the bikers pilgrimage this year.
Sturgis— City of Riders — has kept up the tradition of the rally since 1938.
The annual mega biking rally kicks off on the first Friday of August, which happens to be August 7 in 2020. Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen announced the formal start of the rally.
The opening — usually marked by a grand ceremony, cancelled this time. The mecca of motorcycles follows an array of activities over the ten days. Attendees immerse in concerts, exhibitions, recreation, bike rides to nearby attractions, shopping and many exclusive events in the granddaddy motorcycling rally.
A city divided on the granddaddy event
2020 has divided the City of Riders with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Though the bikers paradise is underway, the general ambience — deafening rumbling and roar — is lacking.
Some locals worry the mega rally might exacerbate the pandemic situation and put them on harm’s way. Some rally-goer too are cautious. Whereas some favour the annual tradition. The rally is also crucial to the economy of the city, state and region.
These certainly aren’t the best days for Sturgis. Many of the local businesses are closed and many planned events cancelled. The virus has sowed discord in the city as the mega biking rally proceeds.
‘Harley’s everywhere, face masks nowhere,’ several media reported. To tens of thousands of biking pilgrims, participating in the granddaddy motorcycling rally is a family custom. Motorcycling is a lifestyle, and Sturgis Rally served as a temporary respite to the masses cooped up in homes for the past several months.
South Dakota Department of Health on Saturday reported that the number of coronavirus cases in the state had crossed 1000, with 134 deaths. There are fears that the biking pilgrimage might be a super-spreader event.