Sturgis Motor Cycle Rally                                              Version French   

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Main street de Sturgis le parking motos

First of all know that Sturgis is a lost corner at the power of 10, a small town in South Dakota of 6,000 sleepy souls which suddenly transforms at the arrival of half a million bikers who for 10 days go fire and this since 1938. Attention candidate for the "Sturgis Motorcycle Rally" the festivities are straddling two weekends in August and do not ignore the first is the most lively. Note also that Sturgis is not confined to the inner city, it is part of the spectacular Black Hills. To finish the intro, here it is a space of total freedom: jeans, cowboy boots, T-shirt and no helmet. Welcome to the hive of die-hard bikers.

City center of sturgis

Entrée de la ville incontournable photo

Now let's get to the heart of the matter, the whole town is of course saturated with very strong Harley Davidson bikes. The main pole is Main Street closed to cars where our dear bikes are well aligned in four rows. This is the photos, this is where you have to be seen. The second pole of attraction is the parallel avenue called Lazelle street which has everything that has to do with our brêlons, the only place where exhibitors can spread out, and it is "full" on both sides of the avenue . Having already been here with the Alsatian agency Westforever, as an aside a must, and unpretentious so we were not blues, we knew where to land and without our beloved GPS. We get into the best saloons in the area, there are five of them and are the rally benchmark. We classify them for you in increasing order of our feelings.

The Iron Horse saloon

Sturgis Iron horse saloon

On Lazelle Street, the best known since it reigns supreme even until Daytona. Entrance through a clothes shop that no one will ever wear with a barbie doll type hostess with hair so red that it looks like she's going to catch fire.
At nightfall it starts to move seriously with high quality hard rock where the groups follow each other all day but it is rather on the back that the atmosphere is strongest towards the Broken spoke. Looks like the two saloons have made a solidarity agreement. For more calm, go upstairs they will tell you: reserve for VIPs! continue to jabber French it will pass hands down ....

The Broken Spoke saloon

The Broken Spoke saloon Sturgis

The Broken Spoke saloon produces a crazy atmosphere which as indicated above takes advantage of the musical atmosphere of the Iron it adjoins. The clientele here is almost outright bikers, real brothers, hence the friendly and good-natured atmosphere. Rest assured, even soaked up, all behavior remains surprisingly exemplary and the police tend to get bored. At the Broken we get a glimpse of the real rally with extravagant outfits lined with crazy looks. Heads and ears clogged by decibels, we hesitate between a "Nathan" hot dog, a round table on Trump or a spitz. We take the last we do not know should not die idiot but honestly at the first sip it is not terrible.

The Knuckle saloon

The Knuckle saloon de Sturgis

The Knuckle saloon: still on Lazelle street but much higher, there we start to enter the big leagues. Rock to the limit in a sort of arena, improvised bars everywhere with hostesses whose winning trifecta is undoubtedly face, buttocks, chest and ... dollars.
Tired of the spitz we move on to the excellent margarita (7 dollars). Who cares for the degree of alcohol we are on foot. An insane orchestra of quality brought by a girl (Jasmine Cain) enchants us, well it is sure that it is not the Marcel Amont style. The girls line up to have their breasts painted with the obligation of stars on the nipples, these Americans are very prudish. Your body temperature often borders on nuclear fusion except for the restaurant, in view of the cook you are seriously considering a preventive antibiotic treatment. It is common knowledge here that the word US food finds its full meaning here.

One Eyed Jack's saloon

One Eyed Jack's saloon de Sturgis

The "only one eye" Jack's saloon: the only big one on "Main Street". Emblematic of the rally, we eat quite a bit there and the atmosphere is very special. Several cleverly calibrated bars on the ground floor each run by two ultra sexy girls, ranging from the ultra push-up bustier to the garter doors, which you can imagine are setting fire everywhere both literally and figuratively. The view is breathtaking from upstairs but the seats are expensive. The only place where one of the bars was controlled by a very naked hunk ... More Here to calm the stomach we went to the large glass of San Pellegrino, the Perrier they do not know, it's the countryside here I tell you?

Full Throttle saloon

Full Throttle saloon a l'extérieur de la ville

The Full Throttle saloon: the best for last, located outside of town on 79 North. It's crazy to see such a thing. It's an old abandoned factory transformed into a saloon where they even kept the machines by adding welded sculptures typical of bikers, even Indian Larry has his effigy in modern art. Here you can set up all week long there is still a campsite called "Papy Noël" I believe. In short, we had so much fun there, and we were only two lost French speaking American like a Spanish cow, that we are obliged to recognize that here it is the paradise of the bikers. Note this is the only place encountered where a doctor has a stand in front of the exit door, which is to say the atmosphere at night. When it comes to parking, it's scary, it's as big as the Orly airstrip.

Anecdote: Alain had a standoff with an Irishman and he won a Budweiser. MDR!

The Black Hills

Les Black Hills to Sturgis

Now on to more serious. The next day the miraculous, the survivors, the survivors of the saloons get on their brêlons for tourist hikes because Sturgis has an indisputable master asset: his environment which would make the most jaded ecologists green with envy. Located in the Blacks Hills, several days will not be enough for you to go around it. Who hasn't heard of Mount Rhusmore or Crazy Horse or Custer Park. Who has not driven on the Needle road or the Iron mountain with its 360 ° roads. Who has not come face to face with a herd of wild bison or more distant the lunar landscape of the Badlands. And there is still a lot to discover and amazing villages to walk through (Deadwood, Keystone, Custer city). This is all the awesome magic of Sturgis. We stop there so that it does not become razor sharp, moreover it is time for the traditional pastaga and we found some, without the olives anyway but as our friend Luc Mimi and Alain said are ecologists who preserve the layer of yellow water (Pernod-Ricard) ...

How to get to sturgis

Map to Sturgis

This is a rally that we are doing for the third time and given the excessive prices to pay for every biker's dream, let's try to avoid painful mistakes as much as possible. Read this page it is built to help new candidates for delusions ... Know first of all that Sturgis is always at the beginning of August (second week). The Sturgis rally is the largest gathering of bikers in the world, which entails quite a few inconveniences. It is also good to know that the gathering goes far beyond the given dates, especially upstream. As an aside if you are only a tourist on 4 wheels and on a ballad to avoid these dates, it is an enlightened advice.

Essential documents: your passport valid 6 months before the return.
Your French driving license will suffice here, international travel will be appreciated.
An electronic travel authorization called Esta 14 dollars (on the website of the US Embassy). Beware of the many scams of phony sites!
On the plane you will be asked towards the arrival to fill out other papers, remember to bring a pen. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that it is important, on the outward and return journey, to check in with your airline between 3 days and 24 hours before departure depending on the company. Check-in can be done either via the web with a printer or at the counter at the airport or on your smartphone by barcode. Also think about the limit of your credit card to avoid the unpleasant surprise of a possible refusal of a deposit, for example.

Make the right choice

Air France en stationnement
Difficult choice, especially since all the prices fly away in a radius that you can not even imagine, first because it is in August and then the rally which, financially speaking, does not give any gifts, ( rentals have special rally surcharges and even the police double the price of tickets, that is to say). From Paris you will be prompted to land in either Salt Lake city (Mormon Vatican) or Denver, like most. For having used them both it does not seem like a good choice financially speaking. So don't do anything about it unless you decide on a bigger run like the splendid one of the Westforever agency. The subject here being only the gathering that remains there as a choice, look at the map above a city has been a little forgotten in the East it is Minneapolis. All the big companies are landing here (in St Paul) and the prices are lower. There are three choices: renting a small car at the airport ($ 260 per week at Budget) it will only serve you to reach your hotel there and back. The most interesting is to take your hotel in Rapid city, the Harley dealership (Black Hills) for the rental of two wheels is very present and active. The second option, a little more expensive unless you are alone, is to take the direct flight to Rapid city from Minneapolis. (320 euros Delta AR or 600 euros a couple). Finally the ideal but very expensive solution, rent a Harley at the Minneapolis airport and take the road directly where you want. I urge you to write down all these solutions according to your needs, compare them and make your choice accordingly.

Diaporama photos to Sturgis

Our video of the Sturgis rally shot on site in 2018


Statue Indian Larry
To finish

In the spotlight in front of the Full Throttle saloon an artistic stele representing the regetté Indian Larry who died at 55 (August 2004) of a motorcycle stunt


What is certain is that you will not regret the trip.

Hope to have helped you good road and take care of yourself

Alain and Mireille Klein for tripriders.


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