Are you really a biker if you haven’t had the sound of your exhaust swallowed up by the roar of thousands of motorcycles revving at a biker rally? Imagine Glastonbury, but with bikes. That’s a whole lot of roar energy. Like music festivals, biker rallies are a thrilling experience like no other. Enthusiasts from around the world turn up in their thousands to ride, mingle, and drool over motorcycles. If you’ve ever been to one, you’ll know what we’re talking about. If you’ve never been to one, we’ve got some awesome recommendations for you below.
This is by no means a definitive list of all the biker rallies out there. It’s more a collection of some of the most famous biker rallies from around the globe. The ones that every serious biker should try to attend. At least once.
So, if you have a bucket list and a motorcycle, read on and take note. And if you don’t, it’s time you got both.
Bike1066 (Hastings, England)
Marketed as ‘Britain’s biggest free-to-attend motorcycle festival’, there’s really no excuse for missing out on Bike1066. Celebrated annually over the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend, Bike1066 is one of those typically British biker rallies.
It all begins with the traditional May Day Run — a 50-mile motorcycle route from Locksbottom in Kent to Hastings, East Sussex (where King Harold took one in the eye from the Norman invaders). Thousands of bikers gather every year for Bike1066, making their way down to the South-East corner of England. As well as the bike rally and trade expo by the sea, there’s also a chance for you to discover one of the most famous historical sites in all of England (since you’re in the area). You are in 1066 Country after all.
Thunder in the Glens (Aviemore, Scotland)
TITG. As far as biker rallies go, Thunder in the Glens wins the most scenic location award. Aviemore is situated in the stunning Cairngorms National Park, in the Scottish Highlands. With several organised rides over the weekend, you can discover some of Scotland’s hidden highland gems as you thunder through the glens astride your hog (or other motorcycle of choice).
There’s plenty of musical entertainment to enjoy across the weekend too. And, as far as accommodation goes, there are several biker-friendly hotels serving the rally, as well as onsite camping (for the more adventurous). So, grab your tartan, pack your kilt, and take some whisky to warm your cockles in the evening.
The Great Malle Rally (London, England)
Looking for adventure? Look no further. The Great Malle Rally is the longest motorcycle rally in the UK. Join hundreds of riders as they carve their way along 1250 beautiful miles, from the Southern tip of England to the very Northern tip of Scotland.
This 5-stage/day motorcycle rally winds itself across some of Britains most jaw-dropping landscapes, mountains, coasts and valleys. Camping under canvas throughout the trip, it’s a biker rally for the truly adventurous. Of course, biker rallies of this magnitude and with this level of organisation and support don’t come cheap. However, tickets sell out fast. Which pretty much tells you all you need to know about The Great Malle Rally.
Faro Motorcycle Rally (Faro, Portugal)
From some of the best biker rallies in the UK, we now head over to mainland Europe. Starting off with something warmer. A lot warmer. For a positively sizzling atmosphere, head over to Faro, in the Algarve, around the third weekend of July. That’s when the Faro Motorcycle Rally comes to town.
With live music, 24hr bars, trade stands, bike shows, fair attractions, and tattoo contests, this biker rally is a full-on festival. You can camp onsite or nearby to really soak up the atmosphere. Alternatively, there are many biker-friendly hotels you can check into. If you fancy a real bike adventure, why not use our tips for planning a motorcycle trip to help you plan your route down to Faro for the rally? Go on. You know you want to.
Elefantentreffen (Bavarian Forest, Germany)
And now for something completely different. The Elephant Rally — Elefantentreffen — is not for the faint at heart. In fact, you’re going to want to pack your thermals for this one. It takes place around the last week of January, or the first week of February, each year, in a valley in the Bavarian Forest. So it’s cold. Colder than a polar bear’s toenails.
Snow’s pretty much guaranteed. Making this one of the toughest and most epic biker rallies around. But that doesn’t seem to deter the thousands of bikers that rock up every year from across the world. That’s because every biker should experience Elefantentreffen at least once in their lifetime.
Pingüinos (Valladolid, Spain)
If the harsh German winter is a bit too extreme for your liking, perhaps Pingüinos is a suitable alternative. Typically scheduled around the second weekend in January, Pingüinos kicks off the European biker rallies calendar. Although it’s not as cold as the Bavarian Forest, Puente Duero, in Valladolid, can get pretty cold in winter. Pingüinos means penguins in Spanish, after all.
You won’t be alone though. Pingüinos tends to attract around twenty thousand bikers from around the world each year. The rally takes place in a huge pine forest, featuring live music, awards ceremonies, delicious local food and plenty of drink, this is one helluva way to kick off your biking year.
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (South Dakota, USA)
A bucket list of biker rallies would not be complete without some of the biggest motorcycle events from across the pond. And they don’t come bigger than the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. This biker rally has been an annual fixture in the biking calendar since 1938. Back then it was a pretty small affair. These days you can expect around half a million bikers to descend upon the small town of Sturgis.
Taking place in early August, Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is 10 days and nights of riding, food, and music (with some big-name headliners). In the shadow of Mount Rushmore, this is a motorcycle adventure to remember. And one not to be missed. So get it on your list.
Daytona Bike Week (Daytona, USA)
Famous for its International Speedway and the Daytona 500 NASCAR race, Daytona, in sunny Florida, becomes biker heaven for one week in March each year. Surround yourself with every type of bike under the sun and immerse yourself in a week-long spectacular event by the beach.
Daytona Bike Week is a high-octane festival and feast for a biker’s soul. Enjoy concerts, motorcycle races, bike shows, rallies, manufacturer showcases and some warm spring riding along Daytona Beach and the famously scenic A1A Highway. Is it time to saddle up yet?
ROT Biker Rally (Texas, USA)
ROT (the Republic of Texas) Biker Rally doesn’t have the same long history that Sturgis and Daytona enjoy, but since starting in 1995, it’s grown into one of the largest biker rallies in the USA. The 4-day event takes place in June at the Travis County Expo Center in Austin, Texas. Famously, this biker rally closes off more than 50 city blocks for its downtown Austin bike parade. Quite a sight to behold and a thrill to be a part of.
There’s always a strong musical line-up at ROT, as well as the usual biker entertainment — stunt shows, exhibits, tattoo contests, races, and rides. If a visit to the Lone Star State is long overdue, plan your motorcycle trip to include ROT. It’s definitely one to add to the bucket list.
Which of These Biker Rallies First Then?
If by now you aren’t itching to attend one of these biker rallies, you should be ashamed of yourself. Go sit on the naughty step and think long and hard about why you even have a motorbike.
Of course, some of these biker rallies involve a lot of travel and a significant expense to take part in. But it’s a bucket list. So set a date in the future and get planning and saving. You won’t regret it.
In the meantime, you can start your biker rally adventure with some of the smaller, cheaper options. It’ll help you build up to one of the big boys.
Once you’ve been to one, just like your helmet visor at high speed on a curvy country road, you’ll get the bug.