AMERICADE IS HERE!! June 1-8, 2013

AMERICADE IS HERE!!  June 1-8, 2013 – This is something like the arrival of Christmas, or the circus coming to town, at least for the 50,000+ people who come into the Lake George area for the annual event, the 31st this year. Only about 2% of the US population rides motorcycles, unlike other parts of the world where motorbikes of all shapes and sizes are a main form of transportation. But what America may lack in numbers is entirely made up in enthusiasm – motorcycles are an art form all their own! Just take a look at some of those magnificent machines!   The people who come to Lake George and Bolton Landing to ride or to watch absolutely love this icon of American spirit and freedom – something like wild horses, or the Marlborough Man (except on wheels) or Steve McQueen, a young Marlon Brando, Robert Redford and Paul Newman, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper – in our imagination every biker is strong, totally individual and fiercely independent, highly intelligent, interesting, patriotic, kind-hearted at heart, and has more than his or her share of courage – a necessity for whizzing along at whatever speed with only a layer of leather and (hopefully) a good helmet between you and the road. For me (memories) if you were on a motorcycle, you were NOT going to work – you were going somewhere fantastic, and the ride was absolutely the best part! Just the sound of the bikes, and the sight of so many riders going by brings a smile to my face! You go, guys! Founder Bill Dutcher brought Aspencade XII, the first “-cade” on the East Coast, to the Roaring Brook Ranch in 1983, “to provide a well-run convention for riders of touring motorcycles…riders who had a ‘mature attitude’ about riding…who would also stop and help other motorcyclists.” The roads in this area are just made for good motorcycle riding, the views are fantastic, and the tours (guided or individual) and scavenger hunts (which benefit charity) are some of the most popular events at the rally – along with demonstration rides from many manufacturers (valid license required, of course, and sign up early, these fill up fast). In 1986 Aspencade moved to Lake George village and became Americade, a name that better suited the multi-brand, national-sized rally it had become – one of the American Motorcyclist Association three national rallies, including Lone Star Rally in Texas and the Golden Aspen Rally in New Mexico. Each rally draws its own kind of crowd. One of my sons once rode his prized Harley round-trip from Denver, CO to the Sturgis, SD motorcycle rally, with his wife and children following in the family vehicle – proving how much they love him, if you ask me. (Over half the attendees at Sturgis now ship their prized bikes and fly in – and that local population swells from 6,000 to 600,000 during Bike Week, which has been held since 1938 – astonishing.) Americade is now the biggest multi-brand motorcycle touring rally in the world. There are 10 full-time, year round employees, and over 220 volunteers to help the staff during Americade Week, handling hospitality, tour escort and competition administration. The rally is action-packed: seminars and clinics by motorcycle professionals on a variety of riding topics; stunt, fashion and comedy shows; the “Globe of Death”; drill-team and judging competitions; field events; dinner cruises on the lake; hot air balloon rides (just for the riders, please, not the bikes); a special Harley Davidson road cruise; and of course the rodeo and huge end-of-the-rally party at the Roaring Brook Ranch where prizes are handed out. Many attendees come from year to year because there is so much to do, no one could possibly accomplish it in one short week – 2014 registration opens February 1! “All bikes are welcome at Americade – this is a family oriented rally where bikers come together for good clean fun, friendship, great riding, education and camaraderie. We support and share the belief of riding safely, responsibly and within the law…” said Bobbi Hardman, the 2001 Americade Queen. Staying within the law is important, especially for specialized equipment and exhaust pipes (modified pipes can make a lot of noise). Warren County and the New York State Police set up check points on Interstate 87 and Route 9 during the rally. There are also free equipment checks at the TourExpo Tradeshow. TourExpo, where you can get anything and everything motorcycle, has moved to the Million Dollar Beach parking lot and the Forum, and is running for ten days this year. Whether you a rider, a wanna-be, or a spectator – Americade has evolved into one of the greatest shows on earth for anyone who loves the art form of a finely designed motorcycle. Canada Street in Lake George is a daily showcase of the latest and greatest, along with the well-maintained and restored classics.  There is even a nightly parade of “light shows” of motorcycles with unique lighting. What more could one ask?! Bolton Landing holds a special “Bikes and Bands” craft show for the bikers in Rogers Park on June 7 and 8. And this year, the Bolton Chamber of Commerce, Inc. is holding a raffle for a 110th Anniversary Limited Edition 1200 Custom Harley Davidson Motorcycle – $10 per raffle ticket, with a special drawing on September 10, 2013. Tickets will be available at the Chamber office, the Farmers’ Market (every Friday morning June 28-August 30) and other events until the drawing; and you can see the machine at the Bikes and Bands craft show this coming weekend. What is your favorite part of Americade? The people? The tradeshows? The seminars? The almost constant parade of every kind of bike you can imagine? Penelope Jewell   ]]>