Tag Archive: americade


Here is the text of the first post I have made on the Times Union Biker Blog.  This entry can be found here.  Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Rose Winters

Over the last few months, I have been talking with Mike Huber about blogging for the Times Union. I first met him in March at the Media 2010: How Blogs Shape The New Conversation conference at St. Rose. I have since been to a few other Times Union sponsored events we would always end up talking about creating a biker blog.

I wanted to write this blog for two main reasons. 1) To help raise awareness of motorcycles on the roads. 2) To share my love for the open road with other bikers. I have recently had a few friends involved in serious motorcycle accidents, one unavoidable and one because of someone’s carelessness behind the wheel.

I would also like to shed a little light on the stereotype that bikers are “bad people.” Sure, there are bad apples here and there, but for the most part, bikers are the most kind, charitable people you will ever meet.

Some of the regular readers may already know me from my interactions on many of the current Times Union blogs. For those that may not know me, I am (obviously) an avid motorcycle rider. I have been riding for ten years and really enjoy being out “in the wind” on the bike any chance I can get.

I am also a photographer. My love for photography is just as strong as my passion for motorcycles. That’s why I created the Capital Region Photography Meetup Group. The initials of this group (TCRPMG) make up the username I have been using on the blogs and on Twitter.

Now that you know a little about me, let’s find out a little about you. What do you know about motorcycles? Do you ride them? Do you have family that rides?

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On Friday morning, we got up bright and early and were on the road by 8:30, headed back up to meet the guys for the ride we didn’t get to do on Thursday.  When we got to the hotel the guys were staying at, one of the guys was missing.  He had gone back down to the expo to exchange the boots he bought the day before.  They were a size too small and hurting his toes.

He got back to the hotel and went to put them on, and the strap on the back to pull them on broke.  Crap.  Guess we’re not leaving anytime soon.  We all got geared up and went back down to the vendor where he got the boots.  They exchanged them and this pair did the same thing.  He was offered a refund, but he needed the boots as the heel on the boots he wore to Americade had separated from the boot.  So, he kept them and we got ready to ride.  While we were waiting, we noticed that there were helicopter rides leaving from that area and flying over the Americade festivities.  They were only $60 too, which was pretty cheap.

Rose and I also bumped into someone we know while we were waiting there.  A friend of ours that rides with us every Wednesday night happened to show up and we flagged him down and said hi.  After a little bit of chatting with him and taking pics of the helicopter, the guys were just about ready to leave.  As we walked towards them, Rose pointed out a sports bike with Louis Vuitton material on the windscreen and seat.  Not something you see every day, but definitely interesting.

When we got back on the road, we headed out to Old Forge.  The guys head up there every winter to go snowmobiling, and they really like the area, so we were going to check it out.  It was quite a hike, but we pulled it off.  We ended up riding about 250 miles that day.  It was a long day, but we had a lot  of fun.  Two of us even went ahead of the pack and cut up a really great twisty road.  It made me so happy.

Back at the hotel that night, the guys fired up the grill and cooked hot dogs, burgers, bacon and ham steaks.  They even invited others that were out in the hotel courtyard to come and have some of the food.  They had an extra bed free, so we spent the night so we could hang out later and not have to ride home in the middle of the night.  The next morning, it poured.  We waited for a break in the downpours and headed for home.  We had our rain gear, so we stayed dry, but we passed a lot of bikers that didn’t have rain gear, and boy were they wet!  It pays to be prepared.  See ya soon!

Every year, Rose and I head to Americade in Lake George to see the massive influx of motorcycles.  The bikers come from all over the the US and Canada to participate in this rally.  It is estimated that 50-60,ooo bikes will ride into Lake George for the week of Americade.  I didn’t take the time to count them all, but there were a load of bikes there, despite the gloomy weather we had last week.

On Thursday morning, we put on our rain gear and headed up the Northway knowing we might hit some rain.  It’s annoying, but not a big deal if you are prepared for it.  We have friends that live close to us that head up every year and stay in the same hotel.  So, we went up to meet them for a ride to Old Forge.  There was a threat of a pretty strong thunderstorm, so we decided to stay local and head downtown to the expo and the forum to see what the vendors had to offer.  The picture below is of the parking lot outside the expo.  Despite the threat of rain, the bikers turned out in droves to peruse the forum.

Inside the expo we found hundreds of vendors.  Some of the bigger names were companies like Kuryakyn, Givi, Nolan, Mustang seats and so many more.  If it is motorcycle related and you are looking for it, there’s a good chance you can find it in the expo.  You could get new tires, pinstriping, seats and many more accessories added to your bike while you wait.  It is truly a one-stop shop for bikers. As we walked around, I saw something that made me smile.  Indian motorcycles seems to be back in business.  They have gone out of business and been brought back a few times, and it seems like they’re back again.  Indian motorcycles are the epitome of a classic motorcycle.  Even the new ones look like the classics of the past.  Here’s the truck and some of their motorcycles.

After a few hours in the expo, the sky started to look a little dark.  As we were walking out, we heard thunder off in the distance.  Time to hustle up and get on the bikes.  We got back on the bikes and headed back to the hotel.  On the way, we saw a few bolts of lightning and it rained pretty hard.  Luckily, I hadn’t taken my rain gear off, so I stayed nice and dry on the ride back to the hotel. This is what we saw when we left the expo…

We hung out at the hotel and had some great times with our old neighbors from Delmar.  It’s a really great time, as a lot of the same people come back there every year.  So, it’s like a family reunion each time.  People are incredibly friendly, and more than willing to come hang out, sharing great stories and good company with you.

Around 10pm, Rose and I hopped on the bike and headed back to Albany.  We were tired, but needed to get home to take care of the dog.  Be sure to stop back by tomorrow to hear more about our trip back up on Friday.  See ya soon!

Looks like Indian is back in business.

Yes, that is Louis Vitton fabric on the windshield and seat.

A few ducks were cooling off in the motel pool at last year's Americade.

Yesterday, I did something I have never done before.  I participated in a “peaceful rally”.  This rally was put on by the members of ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) of New York.  The purpose for this rally is to fight the profiling of motorcycles and illegal roadblocks that target only motorcycles.  We rode downtown to the the Capitol building to make our voices heard.

The New York State Capitol

The bikers came out in large numbers.  I would guess that there were four or five hundred motorcycles that met in Schodack and rode into downtown Albany.  The line of motorcycles for a mile or so in front of you and behind you is quite impressive.

Halfway up the street

A little farther up the street. The bikes went on forever.

One of the main issues that were discussed today were the roadblocks that target only motorcycles on the way to Americade and the Harley Rendevous.  The police pull over motorcycles and issue ridiculous tickets for exhaust, helmet and license violations.  It’s not right.  I understand the helmet and license issue.  I wear a full face helmet all year round and would never ride with a brain bucket or no helmet at all.  That is my choice.  If people want to ride without a helmet, that is their choice.

What bothers me is these roadblocks are basically entrapment.  They only pull motorcycles over.  While you are there, they look at your pipes.  If they are not stock pipes, you get a ticket.  That is total crap.  My bike is obnoxiously loud (quote from my friends) and I wont change it.  I changed my pipes once.  I was going for my road test at the DMV and figured I would get flack for the pipes, so I had them swapped for the day.  On my way to the DMV, a car came over in my lane and I had nowhere to go but into the guard rail  I made my peace, confident I wasn’t walking away from this one.  Quick thinking on my part and a fast bike got me out of it.  I punched it and leaned it hard and was able to swerve clear of the guard rail.

That day, I swore to never change those pipes.  Most people think it’s just to be annoying, but people just don’t see you when you’re on the bike.  They are too busy eating or texting while driving and swerving all over the road.  I saw a t-shirt today that was dead on, but I didn’t get a picture of it.  It said “I’m sorry my loud pipes disturbed your phone call”.  Funny, but sad.  It amazes me how little people pay attention when they drive while talking on the phone.

Most people don’t understand or just don’t care that loud pipes do save lives.  I’m not saying I’ve never made unnecessary noise.  But for the most part, they are there for safety.  With my bike being as loud as it is, if you hit me and say you didn’t hear me (or feel the vibrations from the exhaust) there’s a problem.  You know when I am in your blind spot.  You know when I am next to you.

I can rant and rave here all day, but if I can reach a few people at a time and make them aware of motorcycles, it will make me very happy.  The best thing I have seen so far is a slogan that reads “Look Twice.  Save a Life.  Motorcycles are everywhere.”  There are a few variations of this saying.  Take the two seconds to turn your head and see if we are next to you.  Put down the phone and turn your head to see who’s there.  And this doesn’t just go for bikes.  We wouldn’t have all the accidents we do if people would just pay more attention.  It could save your life.  See ya soon!

Every summer there is a very large gathering of bikers in Lake George, NY.  When I say a large gathering, I am not joking in any sense of the word.  For one week in June, it is estimated that 50-60,000 bikes roll into Lake George for Americade.  Along with all those bikers come tons of vendors and motorcycle companies.  During this week, you can find darn near anything you need for your motorcycle.  From nuts and bolts to custom seats to tires to camping trailers you can tow behind your motorcycle, it’s at Americade.  I can’t imagine needing something that I couldn’t find there.

Corbin's Custom bike(?)

Each year when Americade rolls around, Rose and I head up two times during the week it is going on.  Once, in the car in case we buy something too big to carry home on the bike, and the second time on the bike to meet our friends and go on some rides in the area.  Some of the rides in Lake George area and the surrounding area are amazing.

A heavily customized Harley Rocker

We have a bunch of friends that rent a hotel just outside of the town every year.  We usually go up the second day and meet them for a three lake ride and then go back and hang out at their hotel or go into town to see what’s going on.  Hanging with those guys is always a guaranteed good time.  They will keep you in stitches with their hi-jinks.  They are some of the best friends you can have.

One of Geico's bikes

As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the big motorcycle manufacturers come into town and offer free demo rides on their bikes.  Two years ago, I took out a few Harleys on a demo.  Up at the Roaring Brook Ranch, you can find demos from BMW, Triumph, Can-Am, Victory, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki.  It’s a great place to try out that bike you may be thinking about purchasing.

Another Geico bike

Another thing I love about Americade is going down by the lake and looking at the parking lot full of bikes.  It’s like a sea of motorcycles.  Walking through the parking lot, you can see a vast majority of bikes from all different manufacturers.

A sea of bikes

You will also see a lot of crazy customized bikes.  Bikes with amazing paint jobs.  Bikes with trailers.  You just never know what you will see next.  I even saw a chopper with a small inline 6-cylinder motor and covered with spikes.  Even the guy’s helmet was covered with spikes.

So, this year I will attend Americade as I do every year.  There’s talk that the Department of Environmental Conservation has raised the fee for the space Americade uses by some ridiculous amount and Americade might not come back next year.  This is absurd.  Come  on, New York.  Soda tax, fat tax, closing the state parks, and now trying to kill Americade?  This is getting out of control.

No matter what you do at Americade, don’t do this…

You’ll get in big trouble!  See ya soon!

You know you want it

So, I started blogging last Monday.  I wasn’t sure I would stick with it, or if people would even read it.  Here’s what I have gotten from the feedback over the last week;

It seems that the people reading my blog respond quite a bit more when I write about cars and motorcycles.

Fantastic!  So, I will try to, at minimum, post at least one blog a week about those topics.  I will probably do more than that, but at least I know what some of you like.  At least I can tie them in with my photography based blog. Come on warmer weather!  I am going to need a lot more pics.

Let’s start with my bike.  If you read Friday’s blog, you will know that I have a Harley V-Rod.  I bought it with about 1,800 miles on it, and now it has about 18,000 miles on it.  I really love this bike.  I bought it as it sits, with the only changes being; the mirrors, as something very large fell off a guys bike one night, bounced and hit my mirror and shattered it.  I also changed the seat.  I had the Willie G. seat on there when I bought it, and it went beautifully with the lines of the bike.  Looks, don’t always make it comfortable.  It was sooooo uncomfortable.  Maybe it’s because the bike is lowered, and the ride is a little choppy, but after an hour, I have to get off and walk.

I really like my bike as not too many people have them, and that’s because it was never really accepted by the “Harley” crowd.  You see, the V-rod was designed in conjunction with Porsche.  But, the main thing that others don’t like is that it is water-cooled (has a radiator) vs the traditional air cooled engine.  To each their own.  People will like what they like, and I can’t fault them for that.  Sales can’t be that bad, as they are still producing the bike some 7 or 8 years later.

Another thing I love about it is the power.  Instead of the tradition 5k or 5500 rpm redline of a Harley, the V-rod has a 9,000 plus rpm redline.  It also has a streetbike tire on the rear.  I have a nice 180 rear tire that lets me lay it right over and drag the pegs, lifting my foot up on them at times.  Here’s some pics of my boots, so you can see that I’m not joking.  That’s how I got the nickname ‘pegdragger’.

Boots

Boots

Left Boot

Left Boot

Can you tell I favor laying it over on the left side?  That’s not from walking on the side of my foot.  They’re ground down from dragging on the pavement.  Love it!  Here are a couple pics of my bike..

My V-Rod

My V-Rod

Self Portrait

Self Portrait

Pipes

Pipes

See, it says Harley...

See, it says Harley...

A little Photoshop.  Let's not forget the POW-MIAs

A little Photoshop. Let's not forget the POW-MIAs

So, now that I’ve babbled about my bike, how about you.  Do you ride?  On your own or with someone?  Have you always wanted to but never have?  Tell me about it.