According to the encyclopedia of Alabama the trail of tears commemorative motorcycle ride has drawn as many as 150,000 riders forming a caravan as long as 25 miles in recent years. no other motorcycle ride in the world comes anywhere close to that number of riders. keeping so many riders safe requires a willful observance by all of some basic rules.
a very large number of the riders begin the ride at bridgeport. But many riders try to join the procession as it moves across northern alabama. So below we have a list of rules that we insist everyone observes. It is vitally important to the safety of all, both riders and those that are observing the ride from the roadside.
1. INTENDED FOR EXPERIENCED RIDERS ONLY WITH SAFE MOTORCYCLES
Yep it sure is easy riding on your new 650 at 50 MPH on a straight road. But riding a 1,000 pound touring bike with several hundred pounds of riders at 15 MPH in a tight group formation takes good, current, riding and balance skills. If you are a new rider or have not ridden in groups for a while, take a riders course, get some miles, and join us for the ride next year. Drive your cage one more year and meet us this year in Bridgeport, Huntsville, or Waterloo.
2. COME EARLY - BELLY FULL - BLADDER EMPTY - GAS TANK FULL
If you must leave the ride, you will need to join us at the next stop. Please do not attempt to catch up and get back into the formation. Go easy on the coffee :-o. Not only does it demand pit stops, but the caffeine dehydrates you as well. The best 2 words of advice are: BE PREPARED!
3. JOIN THE RIDE ONLY AT DESIGNATED STOPS
Sorry, but we can no longer invite you to join the main ride anywhere along the route. In the past riders have tried to join by pulling out from the side of the road and forcing their way into the formation. On several occasion this has caused riders to go down. We are very lucky that someone was not injured. For the safety of everyone (and to prevent being ticketed), please join the main ride only at designated stops.
4. TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT ESCORTS
We are very fortunate to have Alabama State Troopers, County Sheriff Departments, and City Police Departments to escort us all the way from Bridgeport to Waterloo. You MUST be in the main formation between the leading State Trooper vehicle and the trailing vehicle to be protected from other traffic and ride through stop lights and signs. Law Enforcement will be at all MAJOR intersections, but may not be at lesser intersections. If another vehicle pulls into the formation, do not attempt to stop them. They will be pulled out of the formation at the next major intersection. The Friday ride from Chattanooga to Bridgeport on the Friday before the main ride on saturday is NOT escorted and all traffic laws must be obeyed.
5. STAGGERED FORMATION
We strongly recommend riding a staggered formation. Riding side-by-side where the least little slip, dodge, or panic stop can cause someone to crash or go down should be avoided. Be alert, and do not leave gaps or cars may pull in between motorcycles. The bottom line is use good common sense.
6. HELMETS ARE REQUIRED
Please wear your helmet at all times on the ride. They are required by state law in Tennessee and Alabama and being a participant in the escorted ride does not exempt you from the helmet law. Fair warning, you can be ticketed. Write you congress man/ woman if you disagree but wear your helmet.
7. NO DRUGS OR ALCOHOL
This is a non-alcohol ride, please do not bring alcohol with you. Please do not ride if you are impaired in any way.
8. AVOID CONTACT WITH SPECTATORS
We strongly suggest that you avoid water handouts, high fives, and let your passenger do the waving. Failure to do so is simply asking for trouble. There are TOO MANY bikes on this ride close together. A small wreck could spell major troubles and injuries. Be safe and keep both hands on the grips and watch the bikes in front and behind you.
This ride is in memory of the Native Americans removed from their lands. We ask that you respect the purpose of the ride. Do not fly a flag unless you have years of experience doing so. The wind is very unpredictable and significantly complicates handling of a bike. If you decide to fly a flag we suggest you fly the U.S. Flag, AL-TN Trial Of Tear's Flag, Tribal Flags, Military Flags, or your State Flag or maybe your Team flag if appropriate and in keeping with the purpose of the ride. And of course, Dale Hemp, Spirit of America has provided our recognition flags at no cost. (visit forgotten Heroes website) If you fly a flag, We strongly suggest you verify your mountings prior to the ride for the safety of those behind you. Failure to do so is simply asking for trouble. There are TOO MANY bikes on this ride close together. A small wreck could spell major troubles and injuries to those behind you. Be safe and keep both hands on the grips and watch the bikes in front and behind you.
9. HAVE FUN
Remember the reason for the ride is to honor the Native American Indians that were forced from their homes and were marched across the country with many losing their families and friends and their own lives. We ride to remember. Enjoy the feel of thousands of motorcycles, the entertainment along the way, the food, and the many vendors. Your support and participation is strongly appreciated and the ATTOTCAI BOARD simply like to say "THANKS".