95th Laconia Motorcycle Week

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Article And Photos By: Melissa Shoemaker

Originally Published In The October 2o18 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

My first time riding east of Indiana was amazing. I started off from my little town in Southeast Missouri and headed out towards WV and the BMR. I met up with a friend in southern IL, and we rode a total of 590 miles the fi rst day, dropping us in Grayson KY. We left the next morning and traveled across WV to meet up with day 2 of the Gypsy Run and camped with the rest of the group at a very quaint little campground near Romney. From here the group rode through the mountains and past Seneca Rocks and on to the BMR. This was my fi rst BMR. I had such a wonderful time, but as noted by others before “it’s really not that good”. I made new friends and was able to spend quality time with my moto-family! I greatly enjoyed the games, and the mini-bike events are now a new favorite. The mini-bike jousting was probably the best thing I have seen in a long time!

From BMR I continued east with a trio of riders who were gracious enough to let me ride along and get me through NJ and NY. Although it rained almost the entire way, I truly enjoyed the journey. Thanks to Tim for getting me safely across the George Washington Bridge and on my way towards Connecticut where I spent the night. From here my journey continued alone through Massachusetts into New Hampshire and on up to Laconia for the 95th running of Laconia Motorcycle Week. I was defi nitely in awe of the beautiful scenery of the mountains and countryside along the entire route. Being from the Midwest, I am accustomed to rough roads and potholes, but I will tell you, the Interstates in New England are defi nitely some of the worst I have been on.

Once in Laconia I obviously had to learn my way around, but once I fi gured that out, it was a straightforward layout. I liked that Lakeside Ave in Weirs Beach was only open to motorcycles and once I knew where I was going, the one-way aspect wasn’t so bad  either. Grease & Gears Garage was set up at the top of hill at the Laconia Roadhouse & Smokin Tire Saloon and as always delivered a great array of builders doing their thing and sharing their knowledge with the world. The weeks guests included Rodney “Skully” Jenson of Skully Customs, Will Ramsey of Faith Forgotten Choppers, Evan Favaro of Speakeasy Motors, Nick Beaulieu of Forever Two Wheels Maine, Dave Knoderer of Letterfly Pinstriping, Rich Pitoniak of Pitoniak Cycles and Ben Davis of Moto Gypsy. Of course, Chris, Pat & Mark were also on stage working on the Tea Tracker. Cycle Source also brought Old Time Bike Games to the Roadhouse for the first time, and the turnout was great. If you have never been to Cycle Source Old Time Bike Games, you’re missing out. Chris, Heather and the guys really know how to get the crowd going and put on a great show! Of course, the favorite is always the weenie bite, and the participants at the Roadhouse did not disappoint, especially with the new hashtag #twogirlsoneweenie… you have to have been there to get it! The Roadhouse also offered plenty of great bands, and Jack Schit kept the crowd entertained as the Master Of Ceremonies. The daily wet t-shirt contests on the main stage were a huge draw, pulling participants and the winnings from the enthusiastic spectators, it seemed to get crazier as the week went on.

I was able to take some time and enjoy some riding while I was there. I met up with a friend, and we hit the Kancamagus Highway, which is 34.5 miles of scenic highway! I was sad that I never saw any moose, but at least that also meant I wasn’t dodging them on the road. I didn’t get a chance to ride the Mt. Washington Auto Road but will plan that on my next visit, for sure. I heard it is a must do, and a little scary, but I think I am ready! There were two separate Hill Climb events during the week. The first was held on Tower Hill in Weirs Beach. The Classic Racing Association hosted this event, and it drew a large crowd as antique motorcycles raced up the hill to see who could get to the top the fastest. This nostalgic event takes you back to the early days of the Rally when riders would race to the top of the steep hill for nothing more than bragging rights. The AMA sanctioned Pro-Am Hill climb was held at Gunstock Resort where riders raced up the side of a 70-meter ski slope. It was amazing to see these bikes fly up the hill, some reaching the top in as little as 5 seconds. Cycle Source’s own Xavier Muriel was guest host of the CHaD Ride at the Roadhouse on Thursday morning. This ride kicked off their CHaD appreciation day, which raised money for the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth. After the ride, participants were treated to lunch, a silent auction and a chance to purchase raffle tickets for a brandnew Indian Motorcycle.

The Thursday evening POW/MIA Vigil drew lots of people and appears to be the longest running weekly vigil in the country. It has been going on every Thursday for 30 years. It is held in Heskey Park in the quaint town of Meredith. During motorcycle week, the vigil begins with a parade of bikes that start off in Laconia and parade through Weirs Beach and up to the park where they ride under two giant flags that are hanging from 2 firetrucks. The Laconia Motorcycle Week organizers and the entire Lakes Region really did a great job welcoming the riders to the area.

They seemed to be happy to see us, and that is always a great feeling. There were daily rides that left from Rally Headquarters, and you could even take the train from Weirs Beach to Meredith and back. My fi rst experience in Laconia was a great one, and I am hoping to add it to my list of yearly events. My ride home was just as good as my ride out. I was lucky enough to spend one night with a friend and venture into New York City for the fi rst time. WOW, what a city! I just wish I had more time there. The rest of the trip was uneventful, other than the rain, as I had to hurry home to return to my “day job.”

 

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