If you are planning on going to the 2014 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally – the oldest, largest, and most popular motorcycle event in the entire world – make sure you have a travel plan before you hit the road and your journey will be smooth and problem free.
A list of helpful resources such as South Dakota lodging tips, highway speed limits and motorcycle helmet laws will be included at the end of this guide.
Each year more than 600,000 people travel to Sturgis to celebrate the annual motorcycle rally. Many of these visitors make their reservations for lodging and other necessities far in advance, so you may find that most of the local motels are already fully booked. While lodging is at a premium throughout August in both Sturgis and surrounding areas, there are still other options such as RV and camper rentals or cabins in one of the many campgrounds and popular Sturgis entertainment centers such as the Legendary Buffalo Chip.

sturgis main street full of motorcycles

Before you hit the road…
Sturgis is officially a 7 day event (August 4th – August 10th), but hardcore motorcycle enthusiasts always arrive early and leave late, so it is vital to plan in advance. If you don’t book ahead, you will find that making last minute reservations for lodging, rental cars and other important travel services is either impossible or out of your financial reach.
Lodging
While many of the local motels in and around Sturgis and Deadwood may be either fully booked or have limited availability during the rally, it is still possible to find a decent room in one of the surrounding cities such as Rapid City or Spearfish – but keep in mind that some cities are more expensive than others.
Your best bet is to use an online travel service such as TripAdvisor or Expedia to book your lodging as far in advance as possible. This will help you find the lowest possible prices while ensuring you a place to stay for the rally.
If you are planning on camping or bringing an RV or camper to the rally, you will definitely want to consider the Buffalo Chip Campground – located less than five miles from Sturgis Rally Headquarters in downtown Sturgis. The added advantage of camping at the Buffalo Chip is the incredible entertainment available there during the rally: everything from great concerts, a zip line across the amphitheater, food, vendors and much more. The Sturgis Buffalo Chip offers highly competitive prices and with all that happens there – why not make it your home base for the rally?
There are a variety of campgrounds in and around the Sturgis area, and they all have pros and cons. But – no secret here – the rule of thumb is that the further away from Sturgis they are located, the cheaper they will be. Some campgrounds have restrictions, such as the Vanocker Campground which promotes a “Quiet” atmosphere, while the Glencoe Campground is more of an “Adult” spot. So if you are looking for a quiet place to sleep after enjoying the rally, make sure you do your research ahead of time so you know which type of atmosphere you can expect. Once you have picked your spot – go online, head to Google and make sure it is what you are looking for (quiet, adult, concerts, etc).
Another option for groups traveling together is renting a house in or around Sturgis. You can get plenty of information from your favorite hotel booking site or visiting the Sturgis, South Dakota Chamber of commerce at www.sturgisareachamber.com (605)347-2556 or head to the Official Sturgis Rally website at www.sturgismotorcyclerally.com.
Traveling a long distance…
If you will be traveling long distances such as from another country, then you have quite a few additional things to consider, such as:

  • Airfare
  • Car rentals
  • Shipping services (to transport your motorcycles)
  • Motorcycle rentals

There are a few local shipping service companies that specialize in motorcycle transporting. While rates will vary depending on where you are shipping from, it is in your best interest to call around to get the best rate. If you are unsure on which company to choose, you can always make a call to your local Harley-Davidson dealership, as they will undoubtedly have information to help you find the right shipper.
If you have never before prepared your motorcycle for long-distance shipping, there are a few things to consider before you arrange for your motorcycle to be transported. Taking the time to do the following things will undoubtedly help save you money and protect your bike from costly damage while in transit.

  1. Thoroughly clean your bike, removing all dirt and soil deposits.
  2. Disable any alarm system
  3. Make note of any existing dents scratches, etc.
  4. Take detailed pictures of your motorcycle at the shipping drop-off location or before it is picked up by the shipping company
  5. Keep only a ¼ tank of gas while your motorcycle is being shipped.
  6. Talk with your shipping company about insurance options to protect your motorcycle from theft or damages
  7. Ask around and check the internet for reviews/suggestions etc. for a good company

Traveling old school style…
If you plan to ride your motorcycle to Sturgis, you must be prepared for any foreseeable issues such as flat tires and minor breakdowns. It is common for small groups of bikers to make their run to Sturgis with a truck & trailer to hold their bikes. This enables them to take a break from the road from time to time and to carry spare parts with them for emergency roadside repairs.
Interstate 90 is the center point to the City of Sturgis, with US 14 to the west and State Highway 79 to the east. Using Google Maps or a similar online map program will make it easy as pie to plot out your route, plan rest stops for food & gas and pass through important points of interest along the way. If you have a Smartphone, you can easily use it as a GPS system with Google Maps and many of the other popular navigation apps made for Smartphones.
Once you have created your travel itinerary, make sure you give a copy to everyone traveling with you as well as to a friend or family member back home, for use in case of an unforeseeable emergency. The closer you get to Sturgis, the more congested traffic will become. Be prepared for the fact that you will have to contend with not only other fellow motorcyclists, but a variety of commercial vehicles and travelers who are unfamiliar with the roads in the area.
Protect yourself with a BAM card from Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®
Even the most experienced riders can have motorcycle accidents or roadside emergencies, so it is a good idea to get yourself a BAM card in case you or someone in your traveling party should run into problems. The BAM card is 100% free and can get you out of a serious jam should you have an accident or roadside emergency. Visit the BAM website at www.russbrown.com/join-bam.html to join BAM today. If you arrive at the rally and have not yet signed up for a BAM card, make sure you stop by one of the Russ Brown booths to get one. Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® are the Official Attorney Sponsor of the rally and will be set up on Main Street, Lazelle St and at the Buffalo Chip. They are also giving away a brand new Harley-Davidson Softail Motorcycle in the fall and by signing up for BAM you will be automatically entered in the bike drawing (in person sign-ups only).
The benefits of the BAM card:

  • Emergency Roadside Motorcycle Service
  • Nationwide Legal Service Network and immediate legal assistance if you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident
  • 24 Hour Toll Free Motorcyclist Hotline
  • Emergency I.D. Card
  • Motorcycle Storage
  • Blood Donations
  • Hospital Visitation

Motorcycle Lawyer Biker Attorneys dlkajd;ak
Know the Rules of the road
Every motorcyclist is expected to know and abide by the local riding laws while traveling to Sturgis. If this will be your first time making a long distance run, it is recommended that you take the time to visit the websites of all of the states you will be traveling through to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road, including helmet laws.
Once you have made it to Sturgis, be prepared for abnormally high traffic and general congestion on the local roads leading in and out of town during the rally. This can make it somewhat difficult to get to your destination in a timely manner…so stay cool and enjoy the view! To ease traffic and ensure public safety, local and State police will be strictly enforcing driving laws.
The Speed limit while riding on the interstate in South Dakota is 75 MPH. Local speed limits will be posted in and around Sturgis, but be aware that the South Dakota D.O.T. and state police may have temporary laws in effect during the rally. There will be signs posted in any such areas. Save yourself some time and money in potential traffic tickets by visiting the South Dakota Department of Public Safety website at http://dps.sd.gov/enforcement/highway_patrol/faqs.aspx
While helmets are not required for anyone over 18 years old, protective eyewear is. South Dakota does have specific laws regulating things like handlebar height, the use of cellphones while driving and other laws that may not be in effect where you live.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum has a list of the most common laws that pertain to motorcyclists, as well as some basic local laws for drinking, etc. Visit them at http://www.sturgismuseum.com/sturgisrally-info
Helpful Resources
The Sturgis, South Dakota Chamber of commerce at www.sturgisareachamber.com (605)347-2556
South Dakota Department of Public Safety http://dps.sd.gov/enforcement/highway_patrol/faqs.aspx
Sturgis Motorcycle Museum http://www.sturgismuseum.com/sturgisrally-info
The closest airport near Sturgis is located in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Rapid City Regional Airport
4550 Terminal Road, Suite 102 Rapid City, South Dakota 57703-8706
Phone: (605) 394-4195 Fax: (605) 394-6190
Delta Connections – Sky West…………………………….800-221-1212
Northwest Airlines…………………………………………….800-447-4747
United Express………………………………………………….800-241-6522
Taxi service                 
Dakota Taxi………….. (605)722-9222 or (605)920-2020
Service to Deadwood, Lead, Sturgis, and the Spearfish areas. Additionally they offer service to Rapid City and the Rapid City Regional Airport
Car rentals
Avis Rent-A-Car……………………………………………….800-831-2847
Black Hills Practical Rent-A-Car………………………..800-722-0207
Budget Rent-A-Car……………………………………………605-341-9040
Casey’s Auto Rental Service……………………………….605-341-7340
Dollar Rent-A-Car……………………………………………..800-800-4000
Enterprise Rent-A-Car……………………………………….800-325-8007
Hertz Rent-A-Car………………………………………………800-654-3131
National Car Rental…………………………………………..800-227-7368
Rent-A-Wreck of the Black Hills………………………..800-733-9735
Thrifty Car Rental……………………………………………..800-367-2277

Motorcycle Rentals
CycLease.com Motorcycle Rentals …………………….800-742-2044
Buffalo Chip (702-944-3600)
Midwest Motorcycle …………………………………………888-237-5853
1844 Junction Ave, Hills Vending building, Sturgis
Chrome Horse Harley Rentals…………………………….877-305-8899
2114 Lazelle St., Sturgis, SD
Eaglerider…………………………………………………………800-501-8687
Motorcycle shipping
Harley Haul www.harleyhaul.com (610)716-7515
JHK Bike Movers www.jhkbikemovers.com (267)421-8872
Freight Center www.freightcenter.com (800)716-7608.
Paul Remington Motorcycle Transport www.remingtontours.com (732)598-2610
Old School Motorcycle Transport www.oldschoolmotorcycletransport.com (570)864-0901
South Dakota Department of Public Safety http://dps.sd.gov/enforcement/highway_patrol/faqs.aspx
Sturgis Motorcycle Museum http://www.sturgismuseum.com/sturgisrally-info