On Aug. 27 and 28, 300 long-distance motorcycle riders will converge on Tucson for the 39th annual Three Flags Classic tour. Riders from all over the USA and Canada will leave Tucson early Friday morning of Labor Day weekend and travel the West’s backroads to Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia. Their four-day, 2,300-mile journey will take them through parts of Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Riders stop and overnight wherever they want, but need to make checkpoints during their operational hours.
Each rider carries a Three Flags “Passport” from Tucson and it is stamped at the three checkpoints along the route… Torrey, Utah; Twin Falls, Idaho; and Walla Walla, Washington. Riders arriving at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort before 9 p.m. on Sept. 1 will receive a limited edition belt buckle, a long standing tradition that serves as a completion trophy.
The riders come from 30 states and four Canadian provinces. Men and women from 35 to 80 years old will ride. Some people ride over 2,000 miles to the start, then ride over 2,300 miles to Canada and still have to ride home. It’s an exhilarating and challenging ride that can come with extreme weather changes and elevations. Riders must be prepared for 40-degree mornings and 100-degree afternoons along the way.
“Over the years we have been faced with occasional mountain snow storms, blazing desert afternoons and all-day rain mixed with mostly beautiful days and moderate temperatures. You have to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best,” commented Steve Shulman, Vice Chair and one of 30 volunteers. Shulman further stated, “We are excited to be in Tucson for this year’s start and think we’ve put together a great route. Many of our riders have participated for over 30 years, so there must be something great that draws people to it.”
No SCMA Board member or those who put the ride together are paid. All people who put on this ride do so for the fun of it and their love of long-distance motorcycling. Riders pay a fee to go on the ride. They receive refreshments, meals and paraphernalia relating to the ride.