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Thread: Hey 1st time Rally goers!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Craftsbury, Vermont

    Hey 1st time Rally goers!

    I'd really be interested in your feedback. What went well? What did you find confusing and how could it be done better? Were your expectations met? Did you feel welcome?

    One suggestion I overheard this morning was to have early morning shuttles serve as a sort of orientation cruise, with a volunteer familiar with the grounds pointing out the various facilities and activities to help folks get the lay of the land.

    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Evansville, Indiana
    My wife and I attended for the first time and enjoyed immensely.

    I like the idea of a tour (orientation shuttle).

    I would have loved to have had a rally app instead of the rally book.

    Name badges with where you are from and what you ride would be awesome. I realize it would be difficult to print one out and match it to every attendee, but maybe it could be a blank so that the wearer could fill it out. Metzler gave out some awesome (expensive) helmet bags. Maybe they could print their logo on each badge to defray the costs.

    We, would like to see BMW more involved somehow. I absolutely loved my test ride on a R Nine T Scrambler, but I would think they could send somebody for a few seminars about the direction of the company.

    I really liked the seminars. I attended many, but missed several because there were so many that interested me. I think it is a testament to all of the great topics scheduled.

    Fairgrounds were first rate. Prices were reasonable. I also enjoyed looking at the attendees bikes parked all around the facility.

    The MOA rally gets a big thumbs up from the Ferguson's!

  3. #3
    I enjoyed it as well. However, it was a little overwhelming at least on Thursday. I am a new participant to MOA (or any m/c related events) and I don't have ton of hard core riding under my wheels. So I trailered the bike. But nobody made me feel bad about that decision.

    Getting my tent area was a bit of a hassle, but cool once I found out I didn't need to move my truck. I immediately headed for a test ride on a new F850. It was nice, but I wish the route didn't include so much of I40.

    I think I did an OK job of figuring out what *I* wanted to do. Since the weather was nice and I didn't know anyone, I got some of the local maps and followed those routes. They were fantastic. I do wish there were like some kind of local ride organized, I saw some groups of folks heading out to do something, but I don't know what that was. But Thursday night I felt like a pro navigating the area.

    A first timer meet up (or even a second timers meet up) would have been a good idea. Everyone was SUPER NICE and friendly and helpful when I need help (like when I wound up with someone else's wallet!!!). I volunteered and just chatted with folks to see where they were from as a way to break the ice.

    I am part of some car clubs but have never attended a national event (our local chapter is the biggest in the land). This Rally was TOP NOTCH and amazingly well run, funded and thought out. I was REALLY impressed.

    Nice job everyone.

  4. #4
    Registered User BarryinIN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Indiana USA
    I am/was a first-timer. The orientation shuttle sounds like a good idea.
    There were things on the maps and in the book that I could find OK, but some I didn’t know what they were or were for. Sometimes I thought I knew, but was wrong.

    I saw “sewing area” and seriously thought it was a place to practice a sewing hobby until I walked by and saw what was going on. I didn’t feel too bright about that once I knew, but I now suppose how would I have known?

    I had a bike problem that turned out to be a weak battery. A couple of people passing by said “At least there are plenty of mechanics over there if you need one”. “Over there” was accompanied by a vague wave that took in most of the grounds. Was there a “Mechanics Row” or something? I didn’t need one as it ended up, but I guess a quick tour would’ve shown me before if there was one.

    And if there isn’t one, well, there’s an idea for you. If someone has some skills, let them setup a canopy along with others doing the same.

    I expected there would be a “swap meet” type of area where members could put out unwanted items. I know, there is the inside and outside vendor area, but I’m thinking about a more...casual... thing for lack of a better word. Or maybe there was and I missed it.
    I was in a few conversations where people talked about unused gear they had for years like gloves and parts for bikes they no longer own and wondered why they kept them. Well, there is a good place to get rid of them.

    I didn’t really know anyone there, but if I needed a tour perhaps the best thing I could’ve done was walked over to my local club’s camping area and asked for some guidance. I think their spot was pretty far from the center of action, and I’m half-crippled and wasn’t going off to uncharted waters if I didn’t need to. If I needed to, I would have, but again this is what a tour would do.

    That does remind me of something else. Since I didn’t camp, I parked in the grass lot behind the vendor building the first morning as instructed. I assumed I wasn’t allowed anyplace else, which was fine and made sense to me. No problem.
    But, I was in the Streetmasters class on Saturday and since it was on the other side of the grounds, that posed a dilemma. I knew I’d have to get over there somehow. The evening before, I rode around to find a route I’d be allowed to take over there so I could be ready. I guess I worried over nothing, because between that exploring and my regular wanderings on foot, I saw people riding and parking anywhere that wasn’t well blocked off. Or that’s how it seemed to this newcomer.
    I’m sure there is a protocol of some sort involved in where you could go, but the longer I was there, the less I knew what that might be.

    Not complaints, just questions and observations I had. I wouldn’t have brought any of it up if not asked here. None were serious enough to go running around looking for help, but still useful things to know.

  5. #5
    I took a 3 hour ride over to the event on Friday. Due to work commitments and a funeral service that I had to attend on Saturday, there was no other possibility of me making it there for a Saturday day-pass. I had hoped that a day-pass would be available on Friday or, at the very least, entry into the vendors area for a quick visit. I had planned to spend some money there and support the vendors who set up. I was sure there would be some new goodies that I was not aware of that might pique my interest. I'm fairly new to the BMW's but I've been riding rice burners for over 40 years. Other than hanging around with other BMW riders for a long time, this was the first official BMW that I tried to attend.

    Little did I know, the Saturday Only day-pass was a "set in stone" rule. Unless I wanted to shell out the $85 or so for a 2 hour visit, I was not allowed into the event. I tried talking with the head guy at the registration booth but no go. Did being of member of the MOA help? Riding a BMW help? NO. The only thing that would have helped is being stupid with my cash - not going to happen. I've worked too damn hard to earn such an expensive bike to be stupid with my cash.

    From what I was told, some people previously took advantage of early day passes and stayed overnight without paying. Here's a novel idea: use different colored wrist bands for different day-passes OR place a hold for the rally cost on a credit card or cash until the day-pass is turned back in for proper credit. I'm sure there are plenty of easy solutions to allow more people to enter and participate, IF you want them to.

    You only get one chance to make a first impression. It was not a very good one. At least my 6 hours of riding was rain free.

  6. #6
    Registered User WWeldin's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Lilburn, GA
    Some drone video footage would be more practical as an orientation tour of the rally grounds,which could be updated as the days progress. I did see the video, on the forum, of the vendor set-up prior to our ride to the rally. As I was walking around, I recognized some vendors from the video, which made one a little dizzy to watch with all the panning back and forth; no offense-just some constructive criticism. I was actually trying to see vendor brand names that I may be interested. I am aware that the length of the video has limits.

    Also, stating that such and such is over in the MOA building was a little vague, as the actual structure was labeled (Building D, if I recall correctly) and was easier to spot from across the way. Paper signs at ground level were present. I arrived on Friday so a lot of attendees could point you in the right direction. Not a big factor, though. After about an hour of walking around, we got our bearings and figured out where we could go when we needed to. It was a great lay-out, by the way.

    As far as parking, we opted to stay parked at the registration building as we toured the rally for the first visit; we stayed at a local hotel. Once we witnessed the routine of coming and going, we decided to do our day parking a little closer to our central starting point. With my wife and I voulunteering for different functions and shifts, we found that it was more convenient to park closer. That allowed us to access the bike for storage. We ended up day parking in the paved lot around the main building. Allowing bikes to go almost anywhere inside the rally, was beneficial if you are having farkles installed. "Just bring your bike by and we can see how that seat cover (or whatever) looks and feels like." Some vendors were doing installs, tire changes, and such as the like.

    Again, not complaining. We enjoyed our first National.

    2000 R1200C, 2019 R1250RT

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Central OH, South TX
    I have been a member (on and off) since 1992, but this was my first National. I loved it. Hats off to the organizers and volunteers, I think most people have little concept of what it is like to pull off an event of that size in such a seamless manner. The preparation and planning must be enormous and I certainly appreciated it.

    I think the admission cost is reasonable given the amenities and facility, it's actually a bargain if you consider what has to be organized and executed for everyone to have a safe end enjoyable weekend.

    I loved the people. Saw some old friends and met some great new folks. I'm worried that the crowd was older than I expected. (but that is another topic of conversation) I met many folks from Canada, which I did not expect, and I thought it was great that lots of people were enjoying extended rides prior to, or after the national.

    I was helping out with a vendor that is a friend so I might not have had a chance to experience everything, but I still got a very good feel for the event. I am a vendor myself, but for a product that typically does not attract a BMW rider. My perspective is slightly different as a do multiple rallies a year, but none BMW focused. This was amazingly well organized in comparison, especially considering this event moves around each year.

    I know it adds another level of complexity, but a true swap meet would be a welcome addition. There is just not enough BMW used stuff/bikes/parts at Barber or Mid-Ohio and I could just tell lots of those folks had barns full of great stuff back home.

    I'm home for a day and then off to the Born Free Vintage Chopper Show in Silverado California this coming weekend. I wonder if I'll see any of you there?
    Last edited by scqtt; 06-17-2019 at 07:48 PM.

  8. #8
    Registered User powwow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Bend, OR
    This was my second Rally, but the first for my wife. We had a great time and, as usual, the Rally as very well organized and run.

    I did miss the Rally app as having to access the MOA web site for information was a bit clunky. I never was able to find the daily agenda on the MOA site, so I assume it was only available in the book? We camped off-site at the Cedars State Park (many thanks to the MOA member that recommended that was awesome) and attended the Rally, visited vendors, etc. on Thursday and Friday. We decided on Saturday to just wait and attend the closing ceremony/concerts on Saturday night. Of course, we then missed the drawings for that day. would be nice if the numbers were posted (something as simple as posting a picture of the board) rather than always having to walk past the board.

    Thanks to all the volunteers who make this happen. I was not able to volunteer this year, but will certainly be helping in Great Falls next year.
    Larry Gregerson; Bend, OR
    MOA #93031

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by powwow View Post
    I did miss the Rally app as having to access the MOA web site for information was a bit clunky. I never was able to find the daily agenda on the MOA site, so I assume it was only available in the book?
    There is a convention in web-based mobile (responsive) sites where three bars signify the main menu.

    Those bars are in the upper right corner of the MOA Rally home page, and they were hard to see. But... click on those bars, then the + sign located next to the "About the Rally" item in the flyout menu, and then choose "Event Schedule" in the sub-menu.

  10. #10
    Registered User powwow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Bend, OR
    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    There is a convention in web-based mobile (responsive) sites where three bars signify the main menu.

    Those bars are in the upper right corner of the MOA Rally home page, and they were hard to see. But... click on those bars, then the + sign located next to the "About the Rally" item in the flyout menu, and then choose "Event Schedule" in the sub-menu.
    Familiar with the bars...I did that, but could never get the "+" to open on my iPhone XS. It could certainly be operator error, but I'm pretty tech savvy and could never get it to work right.

    I still think a Rally app would be appreciated by many of the attendees...just sayin'.
    Larry Gregerson; Bend, OR
    MOA #93031

  11. #11

    The Good and areas to improve

    First off, the good. This was my first rally, folks were friendly, food and beer prices were very reasonable and offered a good variety, facilities were passable, weather was excellent. Music was excellent. Vendors were good and offered a variety of options.

    Areas to improve.

    Registration was an unmitigated disaster. I printed my registration paperwork with the QR code, carried it 1800 miles through the rain to be told, "we don't use those, I need your last name." Really? It's 2019, there should be at least two registration lines, one for those that show up with their paperwork in order and one for those that don't. I got stuffed into a pseudo line in them middle of the room left to stand and wait while the people who showed up with nothing passed by, including EVERYONE in my group that didn't have their paperwork. Room was too small, staff didn't know how to run the computers, parking was a hot mess.

    Logistics, specifically camping, was another exercise in frustration. It started before the rally when some of the rally folks said there was no club camping areas, it was a free-for-all, while others, including the club website said there WAS club camping area. After multiple email exchanges we got the club camping spot reserved and sorted out. Arrival at the event results in the same confusion. No club camping area from some, other said there was. No one knew where anything was located. We called, texted, and searched for near an hour before finally figuring it out on our own. Shuttles were a nice thought, but two shuttles near empty driving 50ft apart are pointless. Shuttle drivers should know to stay apart in order to service folks on a regular schedule. Waiting twice as long for two shuttles together isn't good planning.

    Facilities, mostly nice, but the showers were WAY over-subscribed, long lines and flooded floors of nasty water. I showered at 2pm and still had to wait in line. Food vendors were good, but too few in number, again, long lines. Signage was sorely lacking, we spent a lot of time hunting for things, buildings, events, etc... Staff didn't know where things were. Event planners can tell you exactly how many showers you need for the number of people you are expecting. How many people per hour can you service with each shower, then do the math on how many you need to get people serviced timely. Desperately needed a good map and a working rally website or app for mobile devices. In an event space as large at this, flags outside should be used to provide guidance and details on locations of important guest services and such. The vendors figured it out, take a page from their book and do the same. Registration, guest services (event info, sewing, door prizes), education, etc... Setup a help booth, centrally located or some sort of text or email assistance. Wifi would be a nice addition, cell service melted down Friday and Saturday during the day. I realize the infrastructure may not be available for wifi, but it would be nice to have if you could swing it. Charging stations? Onsite shipping.

    Closing ceremonies, again, nice, the Perf Center stuff was very cool, the videos ran too long, the 1 hour turned into 2 hours, stage should have been centrally located with the spectators. Heck as good as the PC riders were you could have put it in the middle and they could have performed around it. Screen should have been bigger, appropriate colors should be used to make the text readable. Blue background and black text doesn't work on a small screen from the other end of the field. High contrast is key if you have a small screen.

    I hope you take these as constructive, I'll be back and appreciate all the hard work, time, and effort. Organizing an event this size with volunteers is a significant undertaking. I think with a little professional event planning help these issues could be easily resolved.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by powwow View Post
    I still think a Rally app would be appreciated by many of the attendees...just sayin'.
    I think an overall MOA app with a Rally section would be appreciated by many members...

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Charleston, SC
    First time at the National. Overall a great experience and the organizers did a great job! I had no problem registering or finding a camping spot.

    Things I would change.
    A more detailed map. I agree with some of the posts above that an app would have been great.

    Need more food vendors with more food selections. I came to the rally solo and tended not to leave the site for food.

    Provide a water sources for campers near camping areas.


  14. #14
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    I think an overall MOA app with a Rally section would be appreciated by many members...
    Why can’t the forum be used for this? There is a rally section and a bookmark will take you directly to the Rally section if that is all the user wanted to explore.
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
    Mod Squad
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    Why can’t the forum be used for this? There is a rally section and a bookmark will take you directly to the Rally section if that is all the user wanted to explore.
    Because the Forum doesn’t have location services, commerce services, real-time interactive messaging or the ability to share data with other social services.

    That, and unfortunately fewer and fewer people are using forums any more.

    fwiw, I did pitch a use for the Forum at the Board Meeting, saying that it could be used as an on-line collaborative work environment to support volunteerism.


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