Let’s go for a ride

Published 8:11 pm Wednesday, June 23, 2010

For motorcyclists with a sense of adventure — and some time on their hands — the Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia is getting up to full speed this month.

The self-guided tour of the state was developed by the Governor’s Motorcycle Advisory Council, and is aimed at promoting economic development and motorcycle awareness, said Diana Boxey, tour manager for the Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia. The tour began April 1, and runs through Nov. 1. The Suffolk Visitor Center on N. Main Street is one of the stops on the tour.

“It’s been a really great opportunity for riders who don’t normally visit the smaller destinations,” Boxey said.

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This is the second year of the tour. About 580 riders made the tour last year, and more than 700 have begun so far this year.

The tour’s 82 stops — mostly visitor centers, hotels, historic businesses and tourist attractions — can be visited in any order, and riders must collect stamps from the destinations they visit to collect points, which can be turned in for prizes at the end of the tour. Riders must register online and pay the $25 fee, which entitles them to a T-shirt and their passport to collect stamps. Accumulated points can be used to enter a drawing at the end of the tour for a variety of prizes, including gift certificates to many of the sponsors. Those who visit every stop will be eligible to enter a drawing for the grand prize — a getaway for two at a Virginia Beach resort.

Some riders already have begun to send in their completed passports, but there still is plenty of time to do the tour.

“There’s usually one or two retired riders who get in their passports within the first month,” Boxey said.

Boxey believes the idea is unique to Virginia, though she has heard of regional motorcycle clubs doing tours just in their area.

“I haven’t really heard of any other states doing it,” she said. Some people from North Carolina, however, have been attending some of the motorcycle council’s meetings with hopes of putting together a similar tour in their state.

“Hopefully, it will continue to grow and develop in years to come as we learn more about it,” Boxey said.

For more information on the Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia, visit www.vamotorcycletour.com.