In "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," author Robert M. Pirsig describes being on a motorcycle as being "completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming."
Organizers of the Lake Tahoe Motorcycle Ride & Rendezvous hope to bring that same sense of presence to riders visiting the lake for their inaugural event, which begins Thursday, Aug. 23.
Event co-organizer Mike Bradford, who owns Lakeside Inn & Casino, said he and organizer Carl Ribaudo, president of Strategic Marketing Group, had been talking about creating an event for motorcyclists at the lake for years and finally felt they were ready to do so.
"We wanted to appeal to people to come to Tahoe to appreciate its beauty and take advantage of the natural resources, but we paused because we couldn't figure out what that event would be," Bradford said.
Bradford said he and Ribaudo, both motorcyclists, checked out a variety of events to see what was offered and get a better idea of what would fit the environment at the lake. They checked out cruiser events, Street Vibrations in Reno, the River Run in Laughlin, Nev., and realized those gathering were more about the social aspect of motorcycling. That's when they began to develop a clearer vision for what they had in mind.
"For cruisers, it's all about coming and going," he said. "We wanted this to be truly about the adventure of riding itself."
This year, between 40 and 50 riders are expected to attend the event. MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa is the host venue and its location will provide visibility so people will know something is going on, Bradford said. There will be a few social events and a variety of vendors to show off new equipment, as well as appearances by famous racer Jimmy Lewis and retired racer Dick Mann, but the event's focus will be on riding.
"There will be a lot more focus on a rider's skill and ability - the desire to really go ride," he said.
As part of the planning process, Bradford said he and Ribaudo reached out to other motorcyclists to come up with a few good rides to share with visitors. They developed maps of the area that include both pavement and dirt rides designed for motorcyclists of all skill levels.
"We've engaged local riders to go on rides," he said. "We want people to come to this and feel like they know people in Tahoe and can call them to go riding if they want to. It could be a social network for people who may not otherwise find each other."
Because it's the first year, Bradford said he hopes to get feedback from riders to help them develop it for the future.
"We want them to come back," he said. "We want to make it as relaxing and fun as it can be for those who come. Once we've established ourselves as being able to make it happen, we want to get dedicated riders to get the word out."
For more information or to register, visit http://adventuremotorcyclerendezvous.com/.