Beginning Friday, September 10, Andy Divine will take part in the most difficult antique motorcycle run in the world.
The race, Motorcycle Cannonball, is a cross-country trek which you must complete on a motorcycle that is over 100 years old. This year’s race is the 2nd longest Cannonball in terms of miles totaling 3717.8 miles.
This may seem like an undesired challenge to most, but Andy sees it as a welcomed adventure as he’s hoping his 1917 Indian Power Plus is up for the task.
The 2021 Motorcycle Cannonball, which was postponed last year due to COVID, is broken into 17 stages. The race begins in Sault Ste. Marie, MI on September 10 and finishes in South Padre Island, TX on Sunday, September 26.
Each stage runs roughly 250 mile of small highways and scenic routes through towns in Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas.
An added challenge to the already daunting adventure is riders must use a scroll on their bike for directions. No Google mapping allowed! At each destination, local businesses welcome the bikers and crews and host for the evening. At their nightly destination, crews will work hard to fix and fine tune their motorcycle for the next day of riding.
As you can imagine, getting these ancient iron machines across the country is no small feat. On a good day, the Power Plus runs at a top speed of 45 miles per hour, with some temperament. A support crew of friends and family will send Andy off at the beginning of each day and meet up with him at the next destination, taking a completely different route than the riders. Their job is to track down any parts or equipment needed for when Andy gets done riding for the day, if needed.
You may be wondering, what happens if the bike breaks down along a route? Since the support crew is not allowed to travel the same route as the riders, Andy will hope he brought the correct tools along to get it going before the sweeper truck picks him and the bike up for a ride to the stage destination. Then work begins on the bike to get it running for the next day.
Points are awarded for miles rode, but Andy isn’t worrying about winning the race, rather just crossing the finish line. One of his goals is to also ride at least half of the miles.
He’s most excited about the unknown adventure, grit, and support from other riders throughout the run. He feels his skills as a mechanic will be in his favor and has confidence in his bike, but he’s also going to need a lot of good luck to get through it.
The Motorcycle Cannonball originated in 2010 when founder Lonnie Islam, Jr., gathered 45 of his fellow riders to ride along the shores of the Pacific Ocean. That simple ride changed the way people viewed the antique motorcycle.
Every two years marks a different route for the Cannonball. In 2016, over 100 bikers lined up in New Jersey to finish in California, and in 2018 bikers who were lucky enough to get off the waiting list made their way to Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon.
We are excited to see what unfolds as Divine makes his way cross country and will provide you with weekly updates throughout his journey.