300 motorcycle riders heading to Oakhurst Sept. 3

Oakhurst has been designated as check-in location during the Southern California Motorcycling Association’s (SCMA) 40th Annual Three Flags Classic Tour, featuring 300 long-distance motorcycle riders.

On Sept. 3, riders from all over the country and Canada will meet in Southern California, to start a five day, 2,400 mile ride from San Diego to Victoria, B.C. Canada. Leaving San Diego at 3 a.m., riders are scheduled to be in Oakhurst that day between 3 and 7 p.m., at the Best Western Plus Yosemite Gateway Inn on Highway 41.

Every rider leaves on their own, not a convoy, with riders stopping at four check-in locations along the route - Oakhurst being the first.

The designed route for the border-to-border ride has motorcyclists primarily taking back roads, two Canadian Ferries and terminating on Sept. 7, at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria.

Riders who arrive at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria before 9 p.m. on Sept. 7, will receive a limited edition belt buckle, a long standing tradition of the ride.

To make this a true border-to-border ride, at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 2, riders will travel to the Outlets at the Border in San Ysidro for a brief ceremony and photo opportunity. They will be addressed by local San Ysidro Councilman David Alvarez who will welcome them to the area and wish them a safe ride.

About 35 states are represented from the USA and five Provinces in Canada in the ride.

“It’s an exhilarating and challenging ride that can come with extreme climate change and elevations,” said Steven Shulman, chairman of the event and one of 60 volunteers who provide support for the ride. “There have been years with hail and snow, and other years with moderate temperatures. You have to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.,”

Shulman said this year’s ride is a milestone as it is the association’s 40th Three Flags Classic.

It was in the early 1900s when automobiles and motorcycles were exciting new ways to travel, that motorcycle riders would start at the Mexico border and ride all the way to Canada.

In 1974, Joe Usatin of the SCMA thought it would be a good idea to rekindle the border-to-border run. Labor Day weekend was selected for the annual date for the event.

“The underlying spirit of the event is that is that all the riders are goodwill ambassadors doing their part to promote long distance motorcycling,” Shulman said. “I think we have put together a great route this year. Many of our participants have done this ride for more than 30 years, so there must be something great that draws people to it.”

Shulman said no Southern California Motorcycling Association board member, or any of the volunteers who put the ride together are paid.

“All people who participate do so for the fun of riding,” Shulman said. “They receive a gift bag of items relating to the ride, and of course the famous limited edition belt buckle at the end.”