With Laconia’s 92nd Motorcycle week starting on June 13 to June 21, it gives us a reason to look back on my first Laconia Motorcycle week.
A 90+ degree early summer Friday about 20 years ago I set out on my Duck Tape sporting 1987 Honda Nighthawk (please don’t be too jealous) following a group of newly discovered friends kind enough to let me tag along for my first Laconia Rally. This pilgrimage was my coming of age, a rite of passage and the first time that I would truly witness the lore that defines one of the most iconic subcultures of America. This was a defining journey… One that would start a lifelong bond between this man and his machine.
From the moment we turned off RT 93N to NH RT 11 and then 11B the excitement about the weekend would only intensify. Within minutes (traffic dependant) we would arrive and I’d understand why a hundred thousand people from all over the country flock to a small town in New Hampshire to spend their hard earned vacation time!
After negotiating parking we ventured to Weirs Beach – a row lined with thousands of bikes. Choppers were the order of the day and the stretched, raked and chromed were status symbols. To my young and unseasoned eyes, this spectacle was one of the most awesome scenes I had ever witnessed. Incredible artwork shrouding eardrum shattering power plants as far as the eye could see! The Laconia faithful seeping out of bars, flooding t-shirt shops and patiently waiting their turn at fried dough stands. It dawned on me that this is a carnival designed for us, the less discerning but much more entertaining adults of New England!
After a cold one and a few snacks we moved venues to the field of vendors in search of a mirror that fit a metric cruiser. Yours truly may have been looking for a sweet upgrade to the stock donkey ears stock Ole Blue (pet name for my starter bike). Unsurprisingly, the options for mirrors along with floorboards, tank painting, dyno-tuning and every other option were limitless. We set up nearby Weirs and took part in the evening festivities before getting ready for a spectacular ride up Mount Washington the following morning.
While the scene at Laconia 20 years ago was incredible for a newcomer, the event has grown an order of magnitude over the following decades. The quality of bikes has improved, the visions of builders have diversified and the events go well beyond fried dough and vendors. One thing doesn’t change, it is a place where we all decide to take a few days off work and spend time surrounded by people who prioritize the world they way we do… bikes, the lifestyle of freedom and curvy open country roads.
After a snow-clobbered winter like we just experienced, we need a 90 degree Laconia Motorcycle week more than ever before. Unfortunately we’re not unlike all of you – we have to take a few days off work to make the trip up north. That brutal winter limited work for a few of us meaning taking a few days to cover a rally wasn’t an easy decision. This year Beantown Baggers is especially lucky and thankful as for the first time ever we have a sponsor who is backing us to provide the incredible Laconia coverage you’ve grown to expect from this publication. Progressive Insurance has partnered with us to cover this rally as we have for years. We will be receiving a little extra access to a concert being held for Laconia attendees as well as other interesting events that contribute to the spectacle that is Laconia. Some of these events include Flo’s Chop Shop on Weir’s Beach, giveaways and light bike washes (with owner’s permission) at Loudon’s Speedway where we’ll be watching the races. Progressive has provided the band schedule available online here: http://www.laconiamcweek.com/schedule/band-schedule. Before you ask: did we sell out? No, but couldn’t afford the time this year if it weren’t for Progressive’s help.
Many things have changed since I first pulled into Weirs Beach and the first time I ventured up Mt. Washington. The event is much bigger with better entertainment and much more to do. Builders have pushed the envelope to drastically improve the custom creations. Bobbers and baggers have replaced choppers as the bike du jour and I have traded my Nighthawk for a Harley (and then another Harley and maybe one more). With all of these changes, one part of Laconia Motorcycle Week event is consistent: It is New England’s own rally, held within spitting distance of the country’s best roads. More importantly it is ground zero where we can share road tales with people who have a true interest in where we’ve been, where we’re going and the roads we will take along the way.
- What was your first Laconia Motorcycle week like?
- What was the most memorable moment you had at Laconia?
- Will you be going this year and will we see you there?
- If this is your first trip to Laconia, let us know about your first trip – undoubtedly it will be unforgettable.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org to tell your story. We’ll likely post it during the rally.
Also, if you see one of us walking around, stop and say hello. We’ll likely have some pins, stickers, shirts and hoodies available for Beantown Baggers fans.
See you at Laconia!
Beantown Baggers has partnered with Progressive Insurance to bring Beantown Baggers readers the best Laconia Motorcycle Week coverage possible!