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dragster 04-22-2012 04:53 PM

sturgis 1st timer for 2013
Hi all
A mate and myself are planing to come over to Sturgis 2013
I would like to know is it possible to organize the trip ourselves or just use a tour company
Personally I would like to try and organize it myself as the organized tour from here ( Australia ) or very expensive .
I would also like to know the following
Where to stay either in strurgis or is it better to stay in a town close ?
Is it better to camp or stay in hotels and what place would people recommend ?
Has anyone hired a Harley to go and if so who ?
I am sure I will have more questions
Thanks in advance

JDowns 04-22-2012 09:32 PM

Hi Dragster,

By all means no need to take a tour. It is just a large gathering of bikers. Sort of a carnival atmosphere with over a half million people converging on southwest South Dakota. I didn't understand Sturgis until I stumbled through town in early August on my way from the west coast. I had been camping near Devils tower the night before and headed into South Dakota on some backroads and turned south towards Rapid City and hit a paved road and suddenly there were thousands of Harleys. I finally figured out this must be the famous Sturgis rally. I was on a 250 dirt bike heading to Nebraska and the folks were quite friendly. There were tatoo parlor tents and people selling doorags and Harley this and that. Millions of dollars worth of shiny bikes parked up and down main street. Sort of a Disneyland for Harley riders.

I was like a fish out of water with a full face helmet, camping gear strapped to the back of a dusty dirt bike. But it was totally amazing. And suddenly I understood. It was all about the people. Hundreds of thousands of them hanging out, partying and checking out the scene. Like a Harley Woodstock.

I am no Sturgis expert. Maybe others will chime in. But there is no reason you can't fly in from Oz and rent a Harley and ride to Sturgis. Everything in the area will be rented. The motels are booked for a 200 mile radius for top dollar long in advance I hear, so camping would be the cheaper option. Maybe rent a bike in California and ride it out. Although it is so choked with people and bikes with farmers renting out their land for top dollar to park and camp, I would probably just fly in to Rapid City from Oz and rent a car and drive up and car camp and people watch. A lot cheaper than renting 2 Harleys and parking them for a couple weeks at Sturgis.

Then you could fly to San Francisco and rent a couple Harleys and really go riding someplace fun like up hwy 1 along the coast and back before heading back home.

John Downs

dragster 04-23-2012 04:07 AM

G`day John
Thanks for the reply
I never thought about that you are probably right in what you say about hiring a car instead as the bikes would not get used that much if everything happens in town but if they do organized runs from town the bikes would be the go .
I was over in your beautiful country about 6 months ago and did the 101 HWY from LA to San Francisco with the wife and we hired a Mustang to do that .
Maybe it would be better to hire some Harleys from somewhere in Rapid City and ride them to New York via Milwaukee

nohogrider 04-23-2012 08:06 PM

Hey Dragster
I live here in Rapid City and J Downs was pretty much spot on about the Sturgis Rally. It is very much the people watching. To be honest it is probably the worst couple of weeks to try to ride and enjoy the beautiful Black Hills. With so many bikes and people trying to figure out where they are trying to go it can get a bit frustrating at times.
The great part is the feeling you get when you think of all the riders from all over getting out to do what they enjoy.
Let me know about what dates you will be in the area and I can see what I can find for a rental bike and local lodging for you and? You never know I just might have a spot in my travel trailer for you here in the yard.

PM me if you are interested
Cheers Mate!

dragster 04-28-2012 02:04 AM

G`day nohogrider
Thanks you very much for the offer the help out :thumb
When we get some dates organized I will send you a PM with the details

Reryder 04-28-2012 02:08 AM

There is a few outfits advertise in the Aussie bike mags that will ship your own bike to the US and back and arrange the paperwork etc. Might be an alternative to renting bike etc.

Flashmo 04-28-2012 03:26 PM

No need to go with a tour company, just plan everything yourself.

Once you get your dates figured out, PM nohogrider, and start a thread in the Regionals forum. You will probably get great road advice, and offers of accommodations...the price for a room is usually paid by swapping stories and buying a few beers.

No better way to see and learn about an area than staying with locals.

GOZFST 05-09-2012 11:14 PM


Originally Posted by dragster (Post 18519048)
Hi all
A mate and myself are planing to come over to Sturgis 2013
I would like to know is it possible to organize the trip ourselves or just use a tour company
Personally I would like to try and organize it myself as the organized tour from here ( Australia ) or very expensive .
I w ould also like to know the following
Where to stay either in strurgis or is it better to stay in a town close ?
Is it better to camp or stay in hotels and what place would people recommend ?
Has anyone hired a Harley to go and if so who ?
I am sure I will have more questions
Thanks in advance

Good Luck finding a place to stay, hotels are booked months in advance and they raise the rates considerably. I live about 19 miles East of Sturgis. You can rent HD at Black Hills HD in Rapid City, I assume you'll need lots of lead time to rent something. They do have a very large fleet of rental bikes. You can do it all on your own, but like a previous poster noted it's very crowded everywhere that time of the year. When you get closer to the date let me know and I can give you some ideas on where to ride.

Strokizator 05-11-2012 03:29 PM

You didn't mention how much time you have for this trip. One good plan would be to fly into Denver,CO which is easier than Rapid City. Rent a bike there and tour Colorado & Wyoming, with a couple of days spent in Sturgis. You can take in Yellowstone National Park. The entire state of Colorado is mile after mile of great mountain roads.

theofam 05-11-2012 10:10 PM

I've hit Sturgis 4-5 times over the past 13 years, and it is a blast! While I agree some go for the people watching, I've always enjoyed riding the beautiful Black Hills by day and settling in to a town in the evening for the scene. You can make it whatever you want it to be. I live in Denver, Colorado, and it's an easy 7-8 hour ride up to Rapid City. You could fly in, rent bikes, ride the Rocky Mountains for a few days (check out RoadRunner magazine for a recent shamrock tour using Frisco as a home base), then head through Wyoming to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Some things to check out are the Badlands east of Rapid City. You'll think you've ridden to the moon. On the way there, a must see is Wall Drug. It defies description.

A ride through Custer State Park almost guarantees you'll ride alongside anywhere from 20-500 (depending on the day) buffalo. Cruise the twisties of Needles Highway and marvel how each tunnel nicely frames Mount Rushmore before dropping down the suspended road, better known as the "pig tails."

You'll enjoy seeing Deadwood where Wild Bill Hickok was killed. Check out HBO's Deadwood series for a glimpse of how the town was established.

The Wednesday in the middle of the rally has "No Panties Wednesday" in Beulah, Wyoming. Beulah goes from population 425 to 100,000 by noon. It's friggin' crazy! Get there around 7am for breakfast and watch the town explode.

Then, at noon, it's off to nearby Sundance, Wyoming. My friend Lori owns the Dime Saloon out there and Travel Channel is often there filming her "Wednesday Burnout" outside the bar. If you join the burnout contest, take your blown rear tire to Woody's there in town - skip the HD dealer, he's a $%^&. Sundance and Beulah are located in Wyoming's only county where you can have alcohol outside bars, so it's nice to walk around with a beer.

Not far from Sundance is the famous Devil's Tower. You'll remember it as the huge rock formation in Close Encounters of a Third Kind.

Sturgis is a sight to see. That many bikes in one spot is mind blowing. The cops have zero tolerance, so behave. Get to some of the bigger bars/properties outside town. They're cool to check out.

As for places to stay, good luck. Reserve early. As for bikes, check out It's 10 miles from Denver International Airport. Maybe they'd even shuttle you to and from the airport.

There is so much beautiful country to see up there, I think you'd have a great time. You won't regret it.

RUSTYtankerBEAN 05-11-2012 10:44 PM

I am from Rapid City also (25 miles south of Sturgis) Seeing that you are going in 2013 you have a lot of option going for you. If you want the "FULL" experience I would recommend renting an actual house in Sturgis. Many people leave for that week and rent there fully furnished homes out for people. In my opinion I would look at renting a cabin in the hills outside of Sturgis, there are many to choose from and the fact that you are over a year out you could get one reserved fairly easy. The best part about getting a cabin is you get to be away from all of the people you see during the day and have a chance to relax. If relaxing is not your thing and you want to party your balls off I would say try the Buffalo Chip. This place is one huge party all the time with live bands and hundreds of vendors. I would not recommend getting a hotel...that is boring. Here are some links to get you started. Feel free to PM me. I will help you out as much as possible.

Aaron Harley Rentals in Rapid City F*cking Party .........Party cabin rentals ( I just typed in black hills cabins)

mustangdown 03-30-2013 10:32 AM

Hey Aaron.
I too am going to Sturgis 2013. I am an old Aussie building a rammed earth home and living on a horse ranch outside Tulsa OK - got my green card about 3 yrs ago. I love the long trips and am looking forward to Tulsa OK to Sturgis SD and return in August - around 1800 Miles, (in our language 3000 Ks). I travel with my swag between me and the sissy bar so keep an eye out for me 'cos I'll be "winging it" too. I've been right around Aus, and up the middle several times since I got the Sporty in 2002 (65,000 Ks). My bike is fully imported from Aus (I brought it with me when I immigrated). We Aussies should all arrange to meet up somewhere when we get to Sturgis just to have a couple of ales, spead some good old Aussie bullshit, and blow off a bit of steam just to let them know we are there. I've never been to Sturgi but I have maps and a GPS on the bike so that I do'nt get lost. Get back and see what we can arrange. Don Gower

UKbri 03-30-2013 04:08 PM

If you want to get 'in amongst it', stay at the 'Glencoe Campground'. That's where all the crazy shit goes down.

ggemelos 04-01-2013 11:27 AM

I did Sturgis back in 2003 from the San Francisco area. It was one of my first long road trips. I will second the Bad Lands as being a great spot to visit. Besides being something worth seeing, it is far enough away that it will not be too crowded. Trying to ride in the Black Hills near Sturgis during the rally is like being on a very slow moving conveyor belt, it is really not worth it. The riding to and from the rally can be great. If you have time, Glacier National Park is amazing. I am not a fan of Yellowstone, it is one of the most developed and visited national parks, but the Grand Tetons are worth a visit in that area. If you do pick Yellowstone, make sure to ride Bear Tooth.

As others have mentioned, the Black Hills are full of great riding, just not during the rally.

High Country Herb 04-01-2013 02:46 PM

We were there the week before the event, so we missed the crowds.

We stayed in Deadwood one night, which is probably the best "Old West" town in the country, and about 10 miles from Sturgis. The next night, we stayed in Keystone, which is about 45 miles south, close to Mount Rushmoore. Both were worth seeing. I would think rooms are booking up fast, as are rental bikes.

I like the idea of renting them a little further away, such as Denver, and making a loop of it. These events are usually more fun when there is a ride to get there.

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