Brave enough to ride the Big Bear Run? June 27-28, 2015

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by Yellowjacket, Apr 30, 2015.

  1. Yellowjacket

    Yellowjacket Long timer

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    It's getting to be that time of the year again when those in the know start to tremble and ask the question, "Should I or should I not go for a plaque this year at the Big Bear Trail Riders Big Bear Run?"

    It's actually an AMA sanctioned, District 37 two day Dual Sport and Adventure Bike Ride on June 27-28, 2015, held at Big Bear Lake, CA, starting from the Convention Center. On Saturday there is a hard route, easy route, and adventure bike route. On Sunday, there's usually just an easy route. Most riders that rode that hard route are bushed and can't ride Sunday too.

    On Saturday, if you make it through all the checks on the hard route and collect all seven tickets and turn them in when you get back in the afternoon or evening, you'll earn a coveted plaque.

    The hard trails consist of all the hard stuff (black diamond trails) up in Big Bear and some in Lake Arrowhead. Sometimes the route goes down to the desert, making things twice as challenging because of the heat. Think of all the nasty trails like Gold Mountain, Redonda Ridge, Belly Ache, John Bull, Pussy Cat Hill and then add a handful of jeeps with their doors open on those trails that won't let you by, downed bikes strewn all over the trails, dust, boulders and solid rocks with no dirt, plus a 200 mile day, and you have an idea of what your day will be like. Oh, and there are no roll charts anymore. You're just following your downloaded GPS. Sounds like a load of fun, right?

    Here's the link to the flyer:

    http://www.district37ama.org/dualsport/ridefliers/BBTR2015BBR.pdf

    I used to be the District 37 Dual Sport Newsletter Editor, so I did write-ups each year about the event. A young girl, Missy Glassett, won the plaque on her plated CRF230F with her dad. A former District 37 W1 Women's expert racer, Amy Hasten, won the plaque more than once on her WR250R with her father-in-law, John Kearney. I included their stories in the newsletter. As I kept writing the newsletter, my writing got better and the articles about the Big Bear Run got longer.

    If you want to know what the event is all about, read the articles and see what the riders go through to earn the plaque. Read THEIR OWN stories.

    Here are the articles I put together about the Big Bear Run. I think you'll find them entertaining. You'll want to read them in order to see how the riders progressed over the years and if they achieved their goals of winning a plaque:


    July/Aug 2008: http://www.district37ama.org/dualsport/Newsletter/080701-Newsletter.pdf


    Sept/Oct 2009: http://www.district37ama.org/dualsport/Newsletter/090901-Newsletter.pdf


    Sept/Oct 2010: http://www.district37ama.org/dualsport/Newsletter/100901-Newsletter.pdf


    Sept/Oct 2011: http://www.district37ama.org/dualsport/Newsletter/110901-Newsletter.pdf


    Sept/Oct 2012: http://www.district37ama.org/dualsport/Newsletter/120901-Newsletter.pdf

    Please note that the easy route on this ride isn't all that easy. Don't think you can take your wife on it if she's used to easy jeep roads. There are sometimes a black diamond trail that's put on the easy route that I can't ride. I have to find a way around it by using a map or my GPS. Just a word of caution.

    If you have any questions, post them here. It would be fun to hear from some of the riders who have won plaques or tried for them in the past.

    There will be some vendors at the Convention Center parking lot Friday afternoon/evening. You really want to arrive then to sign up if you're doing the hard ways. Don't think you can show up Saturday morning and sign up at 6 a.m. and get a plaque. You really need to be ON THE TRAIL by 6 a.m. if you are going for a plaque. It's often a 12 hour day for most of the plaque winners, except for the super studs.

    Good luck!
    #1
  2. Jbstevens44

    Jbstevens44 Been here awhile

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    Does it start and stop at the same sport each morning and night (by the camps)
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  3. EZ300

    EZ300 Just wanna ride my motorsickle

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    I will do it if you're up for it Jeremy!
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  4. Yellowjacket

    Yellowjacket Long timer

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    Yes, it does, at the Convention Center.
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  5. Jbstevens44

    Jbstevens44 Been here awhile

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    I've found a few videos on you tube looks like all jeep roads with lots of rocks. Any single track ?
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  6. Yellowjacket

    Yellowjacket Long timer

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    Oh yeah, there's some single track some years too. Belly Ache is single track and next to a cliff with a drop off a looong way down. Don't want to be making any mistakes there.

    You have to watch out with throwing single track in with over 250 riders going for plaques. It could cause a bottleneck really easily in the above situation.

    Redonda Ridge isn't jeep roads. Neither is the trail down into Devil's Hole with the creek crossing. That's definitely single track.
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  7. Jbstevens44

    Jbstevens44 Been here awhile

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    Your starting to talk me into this. What are the rules for street legal ? I'm from Arizona and the bike is registered street legal here but I know the rules are different there.
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  8. palada

    palada Perma-n00b Supporter

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    I did this last year and I'd like to do it this year, but my wedding anniversary is on the same weekend. I got serious stink-eye when I proposed Big Bear as our destination. Might as well have asked if I could have another woman along :lol3

    I did the 'easy' routes, but there were a few places that were definitely not easy.
    #8
  9. ballisticexchris

    ballisticexchris Long timer

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    What is the mileage between fuel stops? My stock tank is good for just about 70 miles. I would like to at least make the effort to get a plaque. From the looks of the past rides, it almost seems like a desert race with hundreds of guys starting at once. No roll charts is kind of shaky. I would be bringing a paper map just in case....

    Is anyone camping? I'm actually thinking of tent camping at Holcomb for the weekend and doing both days. My wife is still not sure if she wants to come.
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  10. ballisticexchris

    ballisticexchris Long timer

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    After some more discussion with Carol, I'm thinking of staying at Best Western and just focus on finishing out the one hard day on Saturday. Even if I don't get a plaque it would be worth the effort.

    This would be different than rides in the past. I'm thinking there are so many guys riding this thing that the goal would be head out early Saturday and just keep moving. Bring my own quick lunch and don't make many stops.
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  11. speedygee68

    speedygee68 dirt eater

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    I did this about 4 years ago on my TE610 and went the wrong way (up) John Bull trail. But did the rest easy. I seriously don't think I wanna be playing around on my big ole 990 Adventure. Do you get many big bike riders? I only seem to remember a bunch of 310's.

    ps, my wife will not be joining me on this one for sure. :)
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  12. Yellowjacket

    Yellowjacket Long timer

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    In California we have to have turn signals and a mirror. However, I don't know the rules regarding if you are from another state and are visiting California and riding here. With so many of the bikes here plated in AZ from CA residents, I know the rangers are used to seeing AZ plates. Not sure about the cops. Let me look into that for you. I'll ask the president of the Big Bear Trail Riders.

    The cops in Big Bear have given out tickets over the years during this event. So have the rangers. One of the reasons why a ranger gave a rider a ticket is because his tires weren't DOT. Can you believe it? Perhaps the rider was giving the ranger a hard time and that's why it happened. Since I ride in Big Bear at least twice a month, I just changed my tires to DOT to avoid any hassle in case I'm ever stopped. But I'm not suggesting anyone else has to do that.

    Last year a Big Bear cop was upset because several riders came in at night with their turn signals broken off (this happens on this ride because you fall over or crash so many times. The riders were using hand signals and the cop said hand signals are illegal to use instead of turn signals. Let's not start that debate here. The riders said they were on an organized event and explained why their turn signals were broken off. The cop showed up at the Convention Center asking for the BBTR president. Oh, I won't even finish this. Anyway, cops will be cops. I don't think the riders got tickets for that.

    Exciting stuff, right?
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  13. Yellowjacket

    Yellowjacket Long timer

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    Big Bear is a wonderful place for an anniversary! Your wife really doesn't want to book a cabin or a room in a resort hotel in Big Bear and then get a spa experience while you ride your bike for the day? (Ha! You can tell I'm not married. :D What do I know?) And then spend all day Sunday with her. :lol3 Don't you think that might slide?

    Thanks for chiming in about the easy ways not being all that easy so other riders don't think, "Oh, it's just a woman saying that."
    #13
  14. Jbstevens44

    Jbstevens44 Been here awhile

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    Well crap now your talking me out of it. I do not have blinkers and have no intention to get any. Let me know what you find out. Hopefully I can get by without it. I was really starting to get excited about the event.
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  15. Yellowjacket

    Yellowjacket Long timer

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    I just got out my roll chart from 2012 to check the gas mileages for you from that year. Since you want to do the hard route, let's see what they are.

    Check this out. To first gas, 71.5 miles. To second gas and lunch, 42 miles. Lunch to finish, 59 miles. However, that was a short year, only 173 miles. Let me grab another roll chart from another year.

    In 2011, to first gas, 69 miles; to lunch /gas, 46 miles; from lunch to finish, 85 miles. That year was 200 miles. One year the hard route was 220 miles.

    So you need to make plans to carry gas on you. Keep in mind that there are a LOT of steep hills to climb, and that may use a LOT of fuel. Some hill climbs you may have to try several times.

    I know what you mean about no roll charts. There have been riders that have missed getting the plaque since the BBTRs have gone to GPS only because they missed a section and missed getting a ticket. (Ty Davis is who I'm thinking of.) I think the roll chart would have helped them here. Using GPS only is tougher because you have to be moving for it to work. It's easy to end up going on the same trail backwards.

    Regarding camping for those who may want to try that. The phone number for the Big Bear Ranger Station/Big Bear Discovery Center is 909-382-2790. The web page for the San Bernardino National Forest is www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino
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  16. Yellowjacket

    Yellowjacket Long timer

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    You'll be a lot more comfortable staying at a motel/hotel than camping. You will not want to be messing with camping equipment, I don't think, when you have getting this plaque to concentrate on. Plus, you will be dying for a shower after you come in Saturday night. Trust me on this.

    In case anyone wants to know, the Motel 6 in Big Bear is right across the street from the Convention Center. It is so nice to be able to walk back and forth from your room to signups to the banquet, etc. Really worth it to stay there. It's not a run-down Motel 6 either. There are a ton of riders that stay there for the weekend. I haven't heard of anyone having any problems with their bikes being messed with. Of course, everyone locks their bikes up in their trucks. They're not stupid.

    You can park your motorhome/trailer/camper in the Convention Center parking lot for dry camping. It's free. Really frugal people just sleep in their trucks in the parking lot. There are portapotties set up in the parking lot.

    Okay, regarding the mad dash Saturday morning. Yes, it was that way last year at 6 a.m. The first ticket you received was leaving the parking lot, I believe. Or perhaps you just had to line up to leave the parking lot. There was a long line before 6 a.m., I heard. At 6 a.m., there was a mass of riders leaving. I don't think they broke any speed limits going up Division St. to Hwy 18, but I would have liked to have seen it. What separates the men from the boys is Gold Mountain. It's usually the first obstacle you hit and it's not too far from the Convention Center, just off Hwy 18. If you get there first and you're a good rider, you're fine. If you arrive in the mass, you have bodies and bikes you have to ride over, around, through, etc. Just watch last year's videos on YouTube and you'll see I'm not joking.

    You want to leave early, but plan your strategy. Maybe leave a little later? Maybe not. There is a riders' meeting Friday night, but it's not advertised well, so few riders attend. That's when the info is given out.

    Yes, you want to keep moving, but in order to have energy, you do need to eat snacks every 45 minutes to an hour, or your body will give out on you. Yes, you do need a quick lunch and quick gas. The last two years, riders returned to the Convention Center for lunch in the area, so you were able to go back to your truck. (If it was parked there.) No guarantee it will be like that this year, though.

    The 16 year old girl that got the plaque had her mom meet her at the gas stops and give her gas, give her lunch and therefore there was no waiting for her or her dad. It worked for her.
    #16
  17. ballisticexchris

    ballisticexchris Long timer

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    Really good info! Thanks so much for posting here young lady! Really nice of you to give a heads up as to the difficulty of the ride. My wife is as excited as I am!

    I've decided to run my desert tank and fuel sack. Good for the whole ride. Then I can concentrate on just moving and stop only to shake off numb hands and shove food down my throat.

    I don't get a chance to do many of these dual sport events. I'm 100% doing this one. I'm already planning on practicing some of the hard stuff such as Redondo, John Bull and White Mountain in the next month.

    My bike is no longer carrying a bunch of bags with dual sport crap. I'm going lean this year with exception of big fuel.

    Just did a full motor/carb tune, chassis and suspension rebuild

    [​IMG]

    I'll put on the big tank and go for it.
    #17
  18. Yellowjacket

    Yellowjacket Long timer

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    Those trails are always on the ride. Practice them in both directions. Add in Gold Mountain too. If there are jeeps on the trails, except for Redonda, that will be even better. :D

    If you put a number plate bag on your bike, you could put your snacks/gel packs in it and not have to take off your back pack each time you stop. You don't have to buy a number plate bag made for bikes; they are expensive. Go to REI or Sports Chalet and find a good fanny pack like from Eagle Creek. (Get one that's large enough that will carry a map too. You can carry a micro fiber cloth to wipe your goggles off in it also.) Cut off the straps and bolt it to your number plate. That's what I have done with all my bikes.

    You see lots of bikes on District 37 dual sport rides with number plate bags.
    #18
  19. Yellowjacket

    Yellowjacket Long timer

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    I forgot to answer your question.

    There is an Adventure Bike route planned. I don't know how many showed up for it last year. But it is on the AMA Adventure Bike list of rides in the magazine.

    Last year I think one of the places it went to was Green Valley Lake. If the route went there via 3N16 instead of the highway, then there was a creek crossing and some sections of dirt road that were just a little rough. Not bad, just some up and downhills that are not totally smooth with some medium-sized buried rocks.

    I would guess the route would have jeep roads. Not totally smooth. Expect some rocks and ruts in places. A smidgen of shallow sand in a couple of places.

    I would not take a large bike on the easy course unless you are extremely skilled on it. As I said in another post, the easy course is not always easy. It may take you on blue diamond steep single track and then throw you on a black diamond trail with huge boulders that's uphill. Just when you thought the John Bull Trail was for the plaque pursuers, you may find yourself on it on the easy route.

    I sometimes wonder what the BBTRs are thinking when they lay out the easy route. They're certainly not thinking of me, a very experienced novice rider.

    But it makes me a better rider in the long run. (If I can get through the terrain.)
    #19
  20. Excndez

    Excndez Girly Adventurer

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    Drink beer all night show up on a Honda 70 and kick some ass!:rofl
    #20