LACONIA - One of the nation's premiere motorcycle rallies gears up for the start of its 90th anniversary run next weekend, which organizers predict will draw many first-time riders eager to be part of the historic event that remains deeply rooted in the joy of the ride.
"It's all about riding," organizer Charlie St. Clair said, noting the nine-day event's trademark: "In Laconia, We ride."
The oldest motorcycle rally in the country, Laconia Motorcycle Week runs June 8 to 16.
While some bike rallies push musical entertainment and racing, Laconia Motorcycle Week stays true to its mission to encourage motorcyclists to get out and explore New Hampshire's natural beauty, said St. Clair, executive director of Laconia Motorcycle Week Association.
"We are not, by any means, a generic motorcycle rally. We stick by our name. ... We push riding motorcycles," he added.
St. Clair said he has talked to many Midwesterners planning to make their first visit to Motorcycle Week to be part of its 90th Anniversary.
The event began in 1916, but did not run continuously.
Popular events include riding up Mt. Washington's Auto Road, which is restricted to motorcycles Monday and Thursday of Motorcycle Week.
One tour takes motorcyclists on hill climbs in Canaan. And, for the first time, a self-guided tour of working farms across New Hampshire will be available to bikers.
"We expect an awful lot of people to be here," St. Clair said.
Last year, unofficial estimates showed about 250,000 people visited Laconia at some point during the nine-day event and pumped about $200 million into the economy.
"It is important to remind everyone there will be a lot of visitors on motorcycles in the state and to keep an eye on them," St. Clair added.
For more information, call 366-2000.