Posts Tagged ‘americade’

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Americade plans July event this year

A popular annual motorcycle rally could look very different this year.

Nearly every year for the past 40 years, Lake George has been hosting one of the most popular seasonal events in motorcycle culture: Americade. Traditionally Americade is held the first week of June, but in lieu of this year’s events, rally organizer Christian Dutcher said the event will be pushed back until July 21-25.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Lake George Fears Loss of Millions if Americade Leaves

If you didn’t know Lake George businessmen, you might have been moved, if not embarrassed, by the love they expressed for Americade and its founder Bill Dutcher at a tribute thrown for the motorcycle convention earlier this week. But as someone attending the event remarked to me, “they’re not doing it for Bill, they’re doing it for themselves.”

Here’s how we covered the event in the Lake George Mirror.

“This is a love fest, and I’m loving it,” said Americade founder Bill Dutcher at a luncheon billed as an Americade Appreciation Event, hosted by the Inn at Erlowest on Tuesday, June 16. » Continue Reading.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Adirondack Bracket: Round Three Recap


If it looked as though seasonal residents just didn’t show up for their match against the Wild Center otters, it’s because they didn’t. Excuses ranged from new restrictions on use of corporate jets, to a few who were laying low, waiting to cash their TARP-subsidized year-end bonuses. It was an early present for otters Squeaker, Louie and Squirt, who will celebrate their birthdays on Sunday.

Speaking of anniversaries, quadricentennial explorer Samuel de Champlain showed off his skillet skills, making a 30-minute meal out of Rachael Ray.

In the second quad, home to a couple of southeastern Adirondack powerhouses, file this one under “just say nose.” Hard-riding, hard-partying Americade succumbed to white nose syndrome. We are talking about the mysterious fungus that’s devastating bat populations, aren’t we? And E-bay watch out: Warrensburg’s World’s Largest Garage Sale discounted, tagged and liquidated another cherished Adirondack icon, the lean-to.

In the third quad, two lopsided pairings in the round of sixteen has cleared the way for a classic showdown between endurance and speed. Moose were overrun by the Northville-Placid Trail, while TR’s Midnight Ride left hunting camp coffee cold. The 25th veep’s lightning-fast buckboard ride from Tahawus to the railhead at North Creek will now face the 133-mile-long recreation trail, which was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in the 1920s. This match-up promises to be a rough ride, much more than a simple walk in the park.

In the final corner of the dance floor, the iconic Adirondack pack basket proved to be more decorative than utilitarian, getting stuffed by popular local hang-out Stewart’s Shops. And finally, nordic-combined golden boy Bill Demong could not find the right combination to defeat Canadian drivers. Work continues on what particular characteristics distinguish Canadian drivers from any other sort.

Coming Monday: The Final Four.


Monday, April 21, 2008

The Dangers of Americade Revisited

Springtime means a lot of motorcycles on the road. It also means Americade, the annual motorcycle fest in Lake George that draws some 60 or 70 thousand riders to what is considered the World’s Largest Touring Rally.

According to their website, this year:

You can enjoy 5 new MiniTours, 3 Poker Runs (with a new route), a new scavenger hunt, 2 TourExpo tradeshows (bigger than ever), a new Moonlight boat cruise as well as a dozen daylight ones, 2 rodeos, 50+ seminars, 2 parades, parties, nearly $100,000 in door prizes!

Also: 17 manufacturers offering demo rides on the latest bikes and trikes, and on Saturday, World Champ Chris Pfeiffer will demonstrate his amazing riding skills. And… a whole lot more.

I wholeheartedly support Americade, but increasingly every year the rally draws criticism from our friends and neighbors. Among the chief complaints are the role tax money plays in supporting the event (which brings thousands of dollars to private businesses) and the sometimes caustic attitude of event organizers (who have repeatedly threatened to take Americade elsewhere if they don’t get their way).

Last year, I wrote a piece called The Dangers of Americade that questioned the deafening silence of organizers on the issue of safety. I pointed out that according to an Associated Press report, Americade founder Bill Dutcher stated that he was “aware of only one death among the hundreds of thousands of bikers who have registered for Americade over the years.”

My argument was simple, Dutcher assertion was blatantly false – many folks are killed coming and going to Americade. I argued that Americade organizers should stop obfuscating the facts and show some leadership on the issue of safety and in particular, on the continued cultural sense that automobile drivers own the road. Not even on their website, loaded with corporate logos and tips for attending the event, do they bother to even mention safety. They do take time to try to keep out the the folks they think are riff-raff, however, as I noted last year:

While the Americade website offers no safety advice or links, it does take pains to remind a certain class of riders that:

Americade… [is] a convention of riders and passengers who enjoy riding tourers, sport-tourers and cruising motorcycles.

Americade is a gathering of friendly, fun-loving folks, for whom motorcycling is a social hobby, but not some form of rebellion. It’s NOT the place for shows of speed, hostile attitudes, or illegally loud motorcycles. Americade supports the AMA position that “Loud Pipes Risk Rights.”

Nowhere does it remind riders that, unfortunately, riding a motorcycle is dangerous in our car-centered, self-absorbed world. It’s one of the most important issues facing bikers (as well as pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists) today. It’s probably safe to say that every bike club in America has a memorial to one of their riders killed by a car or truck.

That recently drew some discussion on the original post from a long time rider who took offense with my call for Americade organizers to show some leadership. One of the arguments the commenter made was that:

Americade is run by motorcyclist for motorcyclists and the overwhelming majority of the attendees are very experienced motorcyclists. Very few of the attendees are newcomers to the sport. When they are newcomers they usually are in the company of experienced riders who are introducing them to the fun of Americade. Americade does not pose any dangers for riders that don’t exist every other time they throw a leg across the seat of their ride.

Motorcycling is all about freedom and the responsibility that goes along with it. Anyone who expect someone else to be responsible for their safety on a motorcycle has no business being on one. All riders learn very quickly that they are responsible or managing the risks when riding. No one can do it for them.

That’s sounds great, but it’s not the truth. A new study by Gannett News Service reporters John Yaukey and Robert Benincasa called Risky Ride looked at data from the federal government’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System:

Nearly half of the riders killed in 2006 were age 40 and older, and nearly a quarter were 50 or older. The average age of motorcyclists killed in accidents was about 38.

Half of motorcyclists killed between 2002 and 2006 lost control and crashed without colliding with another vehicle… Motorcyclists account for about 2 percent of vehicles on the road but 10 percent of all traffic fatalities, according to federal statistics.

The main point of the study is that the trend toward fewer helmet laws has led to an increase in fatalities. According to Yaukey and Benincasa:

Death rates from motorcycle crashes have risen steadily since states began weakening helmet laws about a decade ago, according to a Gannett News Service analysis of federal accident reports.

I don’t agree with helmet laws, though I think you’d be stupid to ride without one for any distance (yeah, I know, and even down the block… blah, blah, blah).

I do however, still think it’s long past time for Americade organizers to take a leadership role in rider safety – something – anything – to show a commitment to rider safety for bikers young and old. It makes even more sense now, that their is a rise in rider deaths with loosening of helmet laws to show the world that riders care about safety and don’t need the nanny state to keep them safe.

Don’t you think?

BTW: Last year’s post was prompted in part by the news that Alan Gregory, author of Alan Gregory’s Conservation News was hit by an 85-year old driver while bicycling near is home. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in long term hospital care – the good news is, one year later, he is getting back to blogging. We missed his insights and are glad to hear of his return to the blogosphere.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Dangers of Americade

This past week marked the 25th Anniversary of Americade, one of Lake George’s premier tourist events. The motorcycle rally, billed as the world’s largest for touring bikes, brings bikers of all stripes to pack Lake George streets and bars. It also brings locals from nearby towns into the village on what, for some, is one of the only trips they’ll make there all year.

There’s an excellent article on Americade and its founder Bill Dutcher by Associated Press sports writer John Kekis. It gives a nice history of the rally’s founding, touches on the boon in trike riders (that’s good for Chestertown’s Adirondack Ural) and the event’s economic impact. It also, makes some pretty crazy claims about how safe the event is.

Here are some highlights:

Upward of 60,000 motorcycle enthusiasts – most on two wheels, but many now on three – will ride into town this week and transform this village of fewer than 1,000 full-time residents into a motorcycle heaven.

The rally, which once filled the economic void between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, is now the mainstay of the whole year. Past estimates of Americade’s economic impact have been pegged at anywhere from $20 million to $40 million, though Dutcher hopes to get a more accurate figure this year from research to be conducted by the Technical Assistance Center at Plattsburgh State University.

“It is our largest single week economically,” longtime Lake George Mayor Robert M. Blais said. “It takes up every road and byway. People have come to accept it.”

Indeed we have. In fact they are still rolling by our house 20 minutes north of the village right now, days after the rally officially ended.

Blais was in office when Dutcher originally came to the village board with his idea. The moment remains etched in his mind.

“I thought it was a great idea,” Blais said. “I understood fully it was the touring folks that would be coming, but when I brought it to the attention of the village board, they were apprehensive. They didn’t want another Sturgis. They were concerned it was going to be loud, troublesome, boisterous.”

It wasn’t. Americade is about as peaceful as a motorcycle rally can be. And it certainly is no Sturgis, the massive South Dakota rally where 11 of the 300,000 people who showed up at the ride’s 50th anniversary in 1990 died. Dutcher said he is aware of only one death among the hundreds of thousands of bikers who have registered for Americade over the years.

That’s stretching the truth to say the least. Any local you ask will tell you about the riders killed every year at Americade time. They may not all have been officially registered for the rally – which costs anywhere from $57 to $95 per rider, depending on the package – but many visitors to Americade have been killed coming and going, and in tooling around locally in the days before and after the event.

But while the Americade website offers no safety advice or links, it does take pains to remind a certain class of riders that:

Americade… [is] a convention of riders and passengers who enjoy riding tourers, sport-tourers and cruising motorcycles.

Americade is a gathering of friendly, fun-loving folks, for whom motorcycling is a social hobby, but not some form of rebellion. It’s NOT the place for shows of speed, hostile attitudes, or illegally loud motorcycles. Americade supports the AMA position that “Loud Pipes Risk Rights.”

Nowhere does it remind riders that, unfortunately, riding a motorcycle is dangerous in our car-centered, self-absorbed world. It’s one of the most important issues facing bikers (as well as pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists) today. It’s probably safe to say that every bike club in America has a memorial to one of their riders killed by a car or truck.

New York has the highest number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths and injuries in the U.S. What’s more, pedestrian and cyclist deaths make up a majority of traffic deaths in the state.

Just this past week a car-bike collision hit close to home when we learned the news that Alan Gregory, author of Alan Gregory’s Conservation News was hit by an 85-year old driver while bicycling near is home. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and is in long term hospital care.

Although Alan’s home is in Conyngham, Pennsylvania, until he was run-down in the street by a car, he was a regular writer on topics Adirondack and a staunch and intelligent defender of the Adirondack wilderness. His concern for the Adirondack environment is the kind of concern that has helped make Lake George such a great place to have a touring rally. The natural beauty of the Adirondacks is, in fact, one of Americade’s main features.

The promoters of Americade need to be reminded that it isn’t the rebellious who are the danger at Americade. The danger is that Americaders, and others, have to share our common roadways with highway hogs.

Americade’s promoters and participants have the perfect opportunity to engage us in serious ideas about sharing the roadway with people using other forms of transportation – bikes, cars, trains, buses, and feet.

Denying that there is a danger to Americaders, is not the first step.



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