Bike Week

Going Local: The Lakes Region

Aug 28, 2018

The Exchange explores the Lakes Region as part of our ongoing series, Going Local

The Lakes Region is a huge tourism draw, featuring outdoor recreation from boating to bike week. Yet the region struggles with maintaining a strong workforce and providing affordable housing for people living and working there year-round.

This show originally aired on August 9th, 2018. 

Rick Ganley / NHPR

This week on Radio Field Trips, Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley met up with some bikers for Laconia’s annual Motorcycle Week.

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Casey McDermott / NHPR

 

The 95th Laconia Motorcycle Week kicks off this weekend, marking the start of the Lakes Region summer tourism season.

 

The festival draws in visitors from across the country, and is a revenue boost for restaurants, bars and hotels in the area. 

 

But some folks who've been working Bike Week for years, like Steve Penlin at the Broken Spoke Saloon on Weirs Beach, say they've noticed a demographic shift in the biker community.  

 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The iconic Weirs Drive-in Theatre will screen its final movies Monday night, ending a remarkable run for this slice of Americana in Laconia, N.H.

Opening with a single screen in 1949, the Drive-in, after being purchased by the Baldi family in 1974, added three more screens. Today, its 13 acres look a little tired, but every night through the Lakes Region summer, cars and vans and pickup trucks piled with mattresses and blankets fill its parking lot.

weirsbeach.com

Laconia has wrapped up the 92nd annual Motorcycle Week, in which thousands took part in local events and motorcycle tours into the Mount Washington Valley despite periods of heavy rain. 

While Motorcycle Week has sometimes been characterized by arrests and unruly behavior - or at least concerns about such behavior - Captain William Cleary of the Laconia Police Department says that wasn’t the case this year. “We’ve had extremely large crowds all week – nice crowds, well behaved,” he said. “Arrests and numbers like that are down. Our tickets and accidents are down as well.”

weirsbeach.com

The annual Laconia Motorcycle Week kicks off Saturday.

The event's executive director Charlie St. Clair says it typically brings in hundreds of thousands of riders to the Granite State.

"Our best year was in 2004. We had 430,000 people that year, but everything's weather dependent, of course," he said.

While the Lakes Region is seen as bike week central, he says it’s become a statewide event.

   

Police officers and outlaw biker gangs often stand on common ground. Both attract the young and adventurous who value order and brotherhood. And tens of thousands of cops belong to legitimate motorcycle clubs.

But some within law enforcement worry that too many officers believe bikers are misunderstood and say that empathy can put police or the public at risk.

  The biggest motorcycle rally in the Northeast kicks off in New Hampshire in two weeks, and law enforcement officials and organizers say they anticipate no repercussions from this month's deadly shootout between rival motorcycle gangs in Waco, Texas. 

Laconia Motorcycle Week runs from June 13 to 21. It left its raunchier and riot-scarred days in the dust more than a decade ago. Today, it draws hundreds of thousands of bikers and revelers to the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee _ boosting the local and state economy. 

Bike Week Looking Bright

Jun 19, 2014

Bike week has arrived in the Granite State once again, and the forecast for the 91st annual rally is bright. And local vendors anticipate a record New Hampshire Bike Week on more than one front.

At first, local vendors were worried about turnout. Last year rain and lower temperatures overshadowed the week.

But, Laconia Bike Week Association director Jennifer Anderson says New Hampshire businesses need not fear:

A Taste of Bike Week

Jun 14, 2013
Abby Kessler / NHPR

The 90th annual Laconia Motorcycle Week has a distinct sound that revs and rattles throughout the Granite State during the nine day rally, but over the years “bike week” has also become known for its unique taste.

“We do a lot of eating at bike week,” Jennifer Anderson, director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, said laughing.

During the event, vendors set up temporary stands along the Loudon racetrack, selling chicken tenders, soft pretzels, fried dough, sizzling pizza and seafood to patrons who watch sports bikes orbit the track.  

Four Motorcyclists Die In One Day

Jun 15, 2012

With Laconia Bike Week underway four motorcyclists were killed in separate crashes Friday including one in the North Country, according to news releases from the state police.

The latest occurred about 4:15 on the Everett Turnpike near Exit 8 in Nashua. Police said Michael Loverme, 24, of Merrimack, lost control of his motorcycle, crashed and died of “severe trauma.” The accident in the North Country occurred on Route 16 near Dummer Pond Road about 3:15 p.m.

Future Of 'Bike Week' Relies On New Marketing

Jun 15, 2012
Emily Corwin / NHPR

Once upon a time, Laconia Bike Week was a rowdy affair with a lot of drinking and wild behavior.

Bike Week's Wall of Death

Jun 14, 2006
Michael Al

All this week, New Hampshire Public Radio is bringing you some of the sights and sounds of bike week in Laconia.

Tuesday's Postcard from Bike Week

Jun 13, 2006

For plenty of participants, Bike Week is nothing short of a Dionysian pilgrimage.