The Eastern Tandem Rally is the oldest continuous tandem-oriented rally in the USA. Started informally in 1973 with a small group of seven tandem bikes meeting for a two day weekend in Cape May, NJ, it has sponsored an ETR rally for forty years since, annually ranging from June to October. A list of its rallies may be found here. In many early years the ETR utilized college campuses as host locations, but also supports hosting events from hotels, as well. The organization is composed of a Board of Directors and a small cadre of Officers elected by the Board.
ETR is affiliated with the League of American Bicyclists, and was incorporated in 1985 as Eastern Tandem Rally, Inc. Eastern Tandem Rally is a Rhode Island corporation and registered with the IRS as a not-for-profit 501 (c ) (7) social and recreational organization. Contributions to ETR are welcome but are not tax-exempt to donors.
For many years, the ETR was a single rally organization, sponsoring the annual Eastern Tandem Rally in summer months in locations from Virginia to New Hampshire, and as far west as Ohio. But its consistency and longevity meant that other rally organizers were attracted to it for other tandem events.
In 2001 the ETR was asked to assume sponsorship of the Mid-Atlantic Tandem Enthusiasts (MATES) Rally, a smaller regional rally organized by individuals who wanted a regional rally in the Mid-Atlantic states, and didn’t choose to travel to New England for the more distant ETRs.
Again in 2007, the ETR took over sponsorship of the Eastern Tandem Offroad Rally, a smaller fat-tire event held since the early nineties in the New York Catskill region or the South Jersey Pine Barrens.
Likewise, in 2009, due a sizable and consistent tandem presence at the PPTC’s St. Michael’s (MD) Weekend rally, ETR was invited to co-sponsor the St. Mike’s Weekend, a rally since dubbed the Spring Thaw, owing to its early April timeslot in the Eastern cycling season.
So over the last several years, the ETR organization has provided structure and sponsorship for as many as four annual rallies: the granddaddy Eastern Tandem Rally (ETR), the Mid-Atlantic Tandem Enthusiasts Rally (MATES), the Eastern Tandem Offroad Rally (ETOR) and The Spring Thaw; the latter remains co-sponsored with the Washington, DC-based Potomac Pedalers Touring Club (PPTC).