As of this this morning (Monday, June 17), the 2019 Iron Butt Rally is officially underway, with riders spreading out all over the US trying to rack up points.
The Iron Butt Rally runs every two years, and it’s run by the Iron Butt Association, an international organization of more than 50,000 members interested in long-distance motorcycle travel. The Association runs a variety of rides you can complete, in exchange for a shiny certificate—get your witnesses and receipts in order, and you can get a certificate for 1,000 miles in 24 hours, or 1,500 miles in 36 hours, or for visiting a huge number of national parks, and so on.
However, the Iron Butt Rally is the Association’s toughest event. It sends riders across the country to checkpoints that must be reached within a certain timespan, and the riders can visit other waypoints along the way for extra points. Ultimately, most riders run over 9,000 miles over the 11-day rally, and many ride more than 11,000 miles.
For 2019, the rally begins and ends in Greenville, South Carolina, with Day 4 and Day 8 checkpoints in Tacoma, Washington. The bikes are a combination of machines you’d expect (Gold Wings, FJR1300s, Harley-Davidson tourers) and machines you wouldn’t expect (there’s a ’70s-era Suzuki GT750, a vintage Honda Silver Wing tourer).
At this point, the riders are out on the road and expected to stay off social media, to avoid accusations of receiving inappropriate outside help. However, thanks to modern GPS tracking technology, you can follow the progress of the riders via Spotwalla. Basically, Spotwalla takes waypoints from GPS tracking units like the SPOT devices and plots the devices’ progress on a Google Map. See this year’s map here.