September 6, 2023
Today, riders participated in the preliminary activities in preparation for the launch of the 2023 edition of the Motorcycle Cannonball. After completing their onsite registration, riders rolled their bikes onto the Virginia Beach boardwalk just behind the Holiday Inn & Suites North Beach, our host hotel, for technical inspection.
Those riders and staff who arrived a day or two early, though, were able to participate in partnership with the nonprofit All Kids Bike organization to start a new bicycling program at College Park Elementary School, where kindergarteners were surprised by a presentation of 24 new bicycles. This program will help kids learn to ride during their physical education classes. Last year, the Motorcycle Cannonball’s sister event, the Cross Country Chase, participated in a similar program in Springfield, Illinois, and plans to continue the program in the future.
Tech inspection, a critical component of the Cannonball, continued throughout most of the day, with staff thoroughly checking each motorcycle to help ensure safe operation on the 3,800 mile cross-country trek. Riders were also provided with an optional 22-mile course map to help familiarize them with the turn-by-turn direction sheets that will be used throughout their 17 days on the road to the West Coast.
The evening concluded with a short staff meeting, where assignments were discussed, and medical staffer Vicki Sanfelipo provided medical kits and performed several demonstrations as a follow-up to the prerequisite Accident Scene Management Course that each staff member had previously completed.
Tomorrow’s Prologue of 32.5 miles will mark the official start of the Cannonball, with riders departing the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier shortly after 3:00 p.m. This is where the rubber meets the road; several riders have already experienced some problems with their antique iron. Let’s see how many riders make it to the starting line!