The Golden Rule as shared by an old biker:
Treat me good and I'll treat you better. Treat me bad and I'll treat you worse.
1) You are not a bad ass.
Seriously, you will meet people who are. It's not always easy to tell who really is until it's way too late. Remember rule #1 and you'll have great time.
IF you don't believe rule number 1, head over to the open extreme fights at the Knuckle Saloon. Sign up and have fun.
BTW Don't stick a 1% patch on you're vest. It's pretty obvious who is and who isn't a 1%er and those who are take it Very seriously.
2) Show respect
Despite what Hollywood and the media says, bikers are really big on respect. Give it and you'll get it back. I've hung out with members of outlaw clubs many times at Sturgis. Remeber the Golden Rule and all will be well.
The funny thing is, once you get back home, you'll think everyone there is rude.
3) Ride your Bike! Leave the trailer home
This is a biker rally. If you trailer your bike, you're not a biker. Nobody really cares what you ride as long as you rode it.
I ride a Kawasaki Vulcan Classic. About the only time I was ever given any real grief was the first time I went. Then this scary looking outlaw club guy comes into the bar and shouts that someone's Vulcan's leaking all over the place. Figuring I was pretty well screwed at that point I went out to assess the damage. The guy had poured a bag of rice under my bike. I went back in and bought him a beer. He was laughing so hard he had tears running down his cheeks. Turned into a pretty fun night and I made some new friends.
4) Carry $250 cash on you at all times.
Relieving yourself in an alley will get you a $100 fine cash on the spot OR a night in jail if you don't have cash on you.
Everything is expensive. You will spend more money that your planning on. The Full Throttle's ATMs only give out $50 bills. That should be a clue.
5) Don't Drink and Ride!
It's dead obvious and you'll be arrested. The cops have a zero tolerance policy about that one.
Use Da Bus - most campgrounds have a shuttle stop these days.
Any drugs are an automatic arrest. "Came on Vacation Left on Probation" is only funny on a T-shirt. SD has very harsh drug laws.
6) Cell Phones /wifi
The population of Sturgis is 6,000. That's what the cell phone towers are designed to handle. It takes alot of speed dialing to manage to make a call. What's getting to be a running joke is it's easier to find a wifi connection. Oddly enough, it turns out a lot of Geeks are bikers. It's prety damn funny when you walk up on bunch of "scary looking bikers" discussing LINUX server configurations.
7) Buy your beer at the gas station
Campgrounds charge a fortune! Bars even more so.
Make yourself a Sturgis Cooler! Put a trashbag insde your saddle bag and fill it with ice and beer. :-)
Share your beer. Best way to make friends at Sturgis is to walk up to the neighbors and offer them beers.
8) Essential supplies -- Rain Gear! Bandanna! Pepto! Sunscreen! Trash Bags! Water!
Rain Gear - Rain, hail, high winds. It happens every year.
I like to pack a few trashbags in my saddle bags. Wrap a couple round your legs before you put on your chaps and you'll thank me later when you hit the monsoons. Same goes for a fleece. Riding long distances in rain gets damn cold!
Bandanna - Always have a bandanna on you. It'll take the sting out of rain on your face and you can soak it in water and stick it on your head when it's too hot.
Pepto - good for all sorts of maladies you want to deal with on a long ride. Did I mention grease is a food group in Sturgis?
Sunscreen - You're going to be outside ALL day everyday.
Water bottles - Hyrdrate or die. If you're not used to all day rides you won't believe how dehydrated you get.
9) Bring tools
Duct tape, adjustable wrench, metric and regular Allen wrenches. You might not be the one who broke down, but you will meet people who have. If you save someone a tow from the middle of nowhere, you just made a friend for life! BTW - when I busted up my ankle I was able to duct tape it back together well enough to make the 500 mile ride home. Fantastic stuff!
10) Have Fun!
Everybody came to have a good time. Kick back with a cold one and enjoy the freak show. Talk to people. Drinking beer and swapping stories is what it's all about. Well that and the three B's. You'll be back...
BONUS TIP! Everything is half price on the last day. Wait till the 14th to do your shopping.