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A year after a hurricane strikes, motorcycle riders return to Florida to rally and help with recovery


Motorcycle riders are a hardy bunch of people—no climate-controlled cabin for us. We encounter the forces of nature straight on. Whether it’s wind, rain, or extreme temperatures, we ride for the pure joy of thundering down the road. Even stormy weather forecasts for the rally we’re riding to won’t deter us from enjoying the fun and camaraderie—unless the forecast is for a Category 5 hurricane.

Hurricane Michael and the Thunder Beach Autumn Rally 2018

Hurricane Michael was the first-ever Category 5 hurricane to make landfall on the Florida panhandle, slamming into the coast on October 10, 2018. It packed peak winds of 160 miles an hour and a storm surge as high as 14 feet when it landed in the area between Panama City and Mexico Beach. The storm was responsible for the deaths of more than 40 people and caused $25 billion in damages. Needless to say, the rally was cancelled, and the rally site became a staging area for storm cleanup efforts.

Rally for hurricane relief

Rally promoters rose to meet the situation and relocated the Thunder Beach rally, rescheduling it for a few weeks later at Casino Beach in Pensacola. The event focused on raising money for Hurricane Michael disaster relief and helping keep the media aware of the needs in the area.

Thunder Beach 2019 returns to Panama City Beach

Less than a year later, the 19th Annual Thunder Beach Autumn Rally returns to Panama City Beach on October 23–27, 2019. While the region is still recovering—and will be for years to come—they’re welcoming the thunder of about 50,000 motorcycle riders back home. The Thunder Beach rally is known as the “most biker-friendly free rally in the United States.” Organizers are inviting you to be a part of the area’s recovery effort by simply showing up and supporting the economy of a community that supports motorcycle riders.

Details: Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally
Event Dates: October 23–27, 2019
Event Location: Panama City Beach, Florida

Thunder Beach® Productions, Inc.
PO Box 18259
Panama City Beach, FL 32417

Toll-free: 888-396-1638
Office: 850-249-7627
Fax: 850-249-7630

Riding opportunities

The best part of riding to motorcycle rallies is the chance to explore different parts of the country. The Florida panhandle and the Gulf Coast region offer some good riding opportunities in a comfortable climate. Consider heading east and exploring the Apalachicola National Forest or ride west along the Gulf Coast. In central Florida between Orlando and Tampa, you can check out the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve. There’s a lot to see and plenty of southern hospitality to make your weekend memorable.

While out on the road to Thunder Beach to help the area recover, you’ll want to protect yourself—and your bike—from the dangers of accidents and crashes. Discounts can help make insurance coverage even more affordable. And a number of insurance coverages like roadside assistance are out there to cover you while you’re on your ride.

Till next time ride safe!

Related links:

Looking for more rides in the sun and fun of Florida? Here’s one featuring the scenery of historic coastal byway A1A.

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