Monday, June 08, 2009



I sometimes have a hard time comprehending people who like to own things and not use them. Over the years, I’ve even had some old race bikes that I would manage to get out for a parade lap. I try to ride most of the bikes I own. It is a tall order at times [top pic - a group of Vincents stop at an 80yr old gas station in Appalachia; two Shadows, a Comet, and an Egli].

Anyone who has put on a Rally these days knows it is not a simple feat. You have to book a venue, get event insurance, caterers, PA system, trophies, mailings, security etc.,etc..
Years ago we were putting on an event. With just weeks to go, I noticed that very few entries were coming in. Consequently, we changed it and called it an “UNRALLY”. You booked your own room, you bought your own meal, and you pretty much could do as you pleased with likeminded folk. There was no money being paid to an event. Kind of like picking a coffee shop as a jump off point for a morning ride. In this case the binding glue was Vincents. We typically have 8-10 show up. A ride leader will go on a ride. You can follow if you like. You don’t have to either. Everything becomes an “UN” event or uneventful [second pic; why they call them the Smoky Mountains!].

Typically done in some sort of pastoral setting like the Smokey Mountains, we have access to scenic twisty back roads. Rides are kept to a moderate pace but then people have been known to break away at a more “brisk” pace. [Third pic; a small resort in the middle of nowhere is the best rally spot - make sure they have a restaurant]. We have done things like Deals Gap aka. The “Dragon”, a road between North Carolina and Tennessee that has 311 turns in 11 miles (We do it early in the morning before the Squids are out). Sometimes it is just studying a Deloreme map and figuring a nice loop of 120-150 miles to do in a day. It’s good for your bike and good for your head [last pic...the Road is all-important].

[Some comments from Pd'O - having organized quite a few Week and Weekend rallies, I echo the sentiment that it can be trying to plan and predict, especially after laying the groundwork for a good time, getting all the puzzle pieces together of good roads, accomodations, food. An 'Un-Rally' sounds pretty appealing too! But, there is something really nice about Just Showing Up, paying your check, and 'only' worrying about your mount and your progress!]


Anonymous said...

I really enjoy you site and go there multiple times in a day to see if you have had time to post a new entry.
I was wondering if you have any musings on looking for and finding, or never finding a very small part, which has held up and entire project?
I saw a small bit on you looking for some Amal-Fishers for a R51SS project (wonder if you still have the bike and what state it might be in) and wondered what one has to go to find something integral to a restoration.
I have been looking for needle jets for a pair of Dell'orto SS1 carburetors so that they will run on my R51/3. With the Internet today it hasn't been difficult, but the difference between pre-war and 1960's production has to be large.

Sleeping Dog said...

Less is more!

Anonymous said...

Hello Paul

Great site. Lots of wonderful exotica and some interesting "everyman" bikes too. Overall a nice balance with a genuine enthusiast feel. Thank you very much.

Can we get a mention for Sump somewhere on your site, please? We're a fairly new business founded by long time Classic Bike magazine writer/photographer, Danny DeFazio.

Sump's main business is publishing, but we're also a web resource - and might yet become an online magazine. We're working on it at the moment.

You can find us at:

Can I suggest that you check out, in particular, our Pioneer Run eBook. It just might surprise you, and it's a free download.

Thanks in anticipation.


Lenka Dienova
Sump Publishing

Garth said...

sounds great!

Anonymous said...

G'day Paul

Are you "THE" Paul de Orleans, I'm gobbsmacked!! How did we catch such a big fish? I'll have to get you to autograph my hard drive when your in Albany Paul. The Vintagent site is bloody awesome and cops a flogging at my place.
I enjoy googling hero's of the past,Donovan,Nuvolari,Bennett etc but one chap who has brought us so much information, Bruce Main Smith the man himself, has so little written about himself. Titch(legend)is always in the lime light. Wow! Paul De Orleans! I'm going to get ragged for groveling.

Cheers Richard

motorbike rider said...

Hi Somer. The unrally sounds like great fun. We need more folks putting on events like this (and folks attending too!). Thank you for making the effort.

Pete Young

eric said...
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