History of  Motorcycle Week in New Hampshire

The History of Motorcycle Week in New Hampshire: A Travelers Guide To Bike Week

A Week of Motorcycle Events, Competitions, Swaps, and Rides in the NH Lakes Region

Welcome to Motorcycle Weekend in New Hampshire is more than just an event; it’s a celebration of freedom, community, and the enduring spirit of motorcycling. From its humble beginnings to its status as a premier rally, the evolution of Motorcycle Weekend reflects the passion and dedication of the motorcycle community. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a curious spectator, the rally offers an unforgettable experience filled with excitement, camaraderie, and the breathtaking beauty of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region.

The Evolution of Motorcycle Weekend in New Hampshire: A Journey Through Time and Culture

The Early Days: The Birth of Motorcycle Weekend

Motorcycle Weekend’s roots stretch back to the early 20th century. The event traces its origins to 1916 when a group of motorcycle enthusiasts organized the first Gypsy Tour in Laconia, New Hampshire. These tours were a series of events sponsored by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM), designed to bring riders together for a weekend of riding, camping, and socializing.

The picturesque town of Laconia, nestled in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, was an ideal location for these gatherings. The combination of scenic routes, the majestic beauty of Lake Winnipesaukee, and the rolling hills provided a perfect backdrop for motorcycling. The early Gypsy Tours featured hill climbs, races, and field events that tested the skills and endurance of the participants.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the popularity of these events grew, attracting more riders and spectators each year. The Laconia Classic, a motorcycle race, became a central feature of the rally. By the 1930s, the event had gained national recognition, drawing riders from across the country.

NH Motorcycle Week

Who Started Motorcycle Weekend?

The establishment of Motorcycle Weekend in New Hampshire can be credited to the collaborative efforts of several key figures and organizations. Among them, the Laconia Motorcycle Club played a crucial role. Founded in 1916, the club was instrumental in organizing and promoting the early Gypsy Tours.

Another significant contributor was the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), which succeeded the FAM in the 1920s. The AMA’s support and sanctioning of the events helped elevate their status and attract a broader audience. Local businesses and community leaders in Laconia also recognized the potential economic benefits of hosting such an event, providing additional support and infrastructure to accommodate the growing number of participants.

Motorcycle Weekend Events: A Celebration of Biking Culture

Motorcycle Weekend in New Hampshire is a vibrant celebration of biking culture, featuring a diverse array of events that cater to enthusiasts of all ages and interests. These events showcase the skills, camaraderie, and passion of the motorcycle community.

Motorcycle Races

Racing has always been a cornerstone of Motorcycle Weekend. The Laconia Classic, now known as the Loudon Classic, is one of the oldest motorcycle races in the United States. Held at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, this race attracts top riders from around the country. The high-speed action, combined with the challenging track layout, makes for an exhilarating experience for both participants and spectators.

In addition to the Loudon Classic, the event features a variety of races, including vintage races, supermoto, and flat track racing. These races highlight the evolution of motorcycle technology and racing techniques, offering a thrilling spectacle for fans.

Weirs Beach Motorcycle Parade

The Weirs Beach Motorcycle Parade is a highlight of Motorcycle Weekend, drawing thousands of spectators and participants. This iconic parade features a dazzling array of motorcycles, from classic choppers to cutting-edge sportbikes. Riders showcase their machines, often adorned with custom paint jobs and modifications, creating a vibrant tapestry of color and sound.

The parade route winds through the heart of Weirs Beach, a popular destination known for its scenic beauty and vibrant atmosphere. Spectators line the streets, cheering and taking photos as the parade passes by. The sense of community and shared passion for motorcycles is palpable, making it a memorable experience in a beautiful setting with Lake Winnipesaukee glistening in the background. It’s no wonder why Motorcycle Weekend in New Hampshire attracts riders from all over the United States and beyond. The event’s reputation as one of the premier motorcycle rallies in the country ensures a diverse and enthusiastic turnout.

Motorcycle Races and Events held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

New Hampshire Motor Speedway hosts motorcycle racing and events

National and International Motorcycle Riders & Races

Riders travel from as far away as California, Florida, and even Canada to participate in the festivities. The rally’s timing in June, coinciding with the start of the summer riding season, makes it an appealing destination for long-distance riders. Many enthusiasts plan cross-country trips around this annual event, using it as a focal point for their journeys of traveling New England.

In addition to the national and international attendees, Motorcycle Weekend also sees a significant presence of local and regional riders. Bikers from New England, including Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and Rhode Island, flock to Laconia to join the celebration. The proximity allows for a strong local turnout, contributing to the event’s vibrant and lively atmosphere. As always, please use caution and watch for motorcyclists on the road.

Laconia: The Heart of Motorcycle Weekend

Laconia, NH is the epicenter of NH Motorcycle Weekend. Located in the Lakes Region, Laconia is a charming city that embraces its role as the host of this iconic event. With a population of just over 16,000, Laconia transforms into a bustling hub of activity during the rally, welcoming tens of thousands of visitors. You’ll enjoy visiting local restaurants, pubs, and even a classic theater.

Historic Significance

Laconia’s history is deeply intertwined with the rally. The city has hosted the event for over a century, making it one of the oldest motorcycle rallies in the world. The historic Weirs Beach area, with its boardwalk, arcades, and scenic views of Lake Winnipesaukee, provides a picturesque setting for the festivities. For motorcycle riders especially, this is an amazing opportunity to visit New Hampshire.

NH Local:  Support and Community Involvement

The success of Motorcycle Weekend is due in no small part to the support of the local community. Businesses, restaurants, and hotels in Laconia and the surrounding areas all gear up for the influx of visitors, offering special promotions and events to enhance the experience. Residents also embrace the event, often volunteering or participating in various activities. Bike Week is truly a community event .

The Expanding Scope of Motorcycle Week

While Laconia remains the focal point of Motorcycle Weekend, the event’s reach has expanded to include neighboring towns such as Meredith, Sanbornton, and Belmont. These communities play an integral role in the overall experience, offering additional venues, events, and accommodations.

Meredith, located on the western shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, is known for its scenic beauty and charming downtown area. During Motorcycle Weekend, Meredith hosts a variety of events, including bike shows, concerts, and charity rides. The town’s welcoming atmosphere and picturesque setting make it a popular stop for riders exploring the region.

Belmont, situated just south of Laconia, also plays a significant role in the festivities. The town’s spacious fairgrounds and community centers provide ideal venues for large-scale events such as swap meets, vendor exhibitions, and stunt shows. Belmont’s central location makes it a convenient base for riders attending the rally.

New Hampshire Motorcycle Week Events

New Hampshire Motorcycle Week is more than just a weekend; it’s a week-long celebration filled with diverse events and activities. From races and parades to bike shows and concerts, there’s a bit of something for everyone to enjoy during Bike Week.

Bike Shows and Competitions

Motorcycle Week features numerous bike shows and competitions that showcase the creativity and craftsmanship of motorcycle enthusiasts. Custom bike builders from around the country display their creations, competing for coveted awards and recognition. These shows highlight the artistry and innovation within the motorcycle community, offering inspiration to both seasoned builders and aspiring enthusiasts.

Concerts and Entertainment

Live music and entertainment are integral parts of Motorcycle Week. The event features performances by local and national bands, covering a wide range of genres from rock and blues to country and metal. Concerts are held at various venues, including outdoor stages, bars, and restaurants, creating a lively and festive atmosphere.

Charity Rides and Community Events

Motorcycle Week is also a time for giving back to the community. Many charity rides and fundraising events are organized throughout the week, supporting causes such as veterans’ organizations, children’s hospitals, and local charities. These events offer riders the opportunity to contribute to meaningful causes while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow bikers.

NH Lakes Region Attractions: Exploring Beyond the Rally

The Lakes Region of New Hampshire, with its stunning landscapes and abundant recreational opportunities, offers plenty of attractions for visitors to explore during Motorcycle Weekend. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.

Lake Winnipesaukee: The Jewel of the Region

Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in New Hampshire, is a centerpiece of the Lakes Region. Its crystal-clear waters and picturesque shoreline provide a perfect setting for boating, fishing, and swimming. During Motorcycle Weekend, many riders take advantage of the lake’s beauty, enjoying a scenic cruise aboard the MS Mt. Washington, or relaxing on its sandy beaches.

Outdoor Adventures

The Lakes Region is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to motorcycling, visitors can explore a wide range of activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and zip-lining. The region’s numerous trails and parks, including the iconic Mount Major and Gunstock Mountain Resort, offer breathtaking views and exhilarating experiences.

Cultural and Historical Attractions

For those interested in cultural and historical experiences, the Lakes Region offers several attractions worth visiting. The Wright Museum of WWII in Wolfeboro provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of World War II, while the Moultonborough’s Castle in the Clouds offers a step back in time with its historic mansion and stunning gardens. The NH Living Attractions section provides additional information.

Restaurants and Lodging: Welcoming Bikers with Open Arms

The influx of visitors during Motorcycle Weekend means that local restaurants and lodging establishments play a crucial role in ensuring a positive experience for attendees. From cozy inns to lakeside resorts, there are accommodations to suit every preference and budget.

The Lakes Region boasts a diverse culinary scene, offering everything from casual diners to fine dining establishments. Many restaurants embrace the spirit of Motorcycle Weekend, offering special menus and live entertainment. Popular spots such as the Naswa Resort and the Looney Bin Bar & Grill become gathering places for bikers, providing a lively atmosphere and delicious food.

Accommodations in the Lakes Region cater to a wide range of preferences. Riders can choose from a variety of options, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds. Many establishments offer amenities specifically designed for motorcyclists, such as secure parking and bike wash stations. Booking early is recommended, as lodging fills up quickly during this popular event.

Motorcycle Week Impact on New Hampshire Tourism

Motorcycle Weekend, or Laconia Motorcycle Week, has a significant impact on New Hampshire’s tourism industry. The event attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, generating substantial economic activity and showcasing the state’s natural beauty and hospitality.

Motorcycle Week serves as a powerful promotional tool for New Hampshire. The event draws attention to the state’s scenic landscapes, outdoor activities, and cultural attractions, encouraging visitors to return for future vacations. The positive experiences of attendees often lead to word-of-mouth recommendations, further enhancing the state’s reputation as a top travel destination.

Beyond the economic impact, Motorcycle Week fosters a sense of community and pride among local residents. The event’s long history and cultural significance create a shared sense of identity and tradition. Efforts to preserve and promote the rally ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy and celebrate this iconic event.

For NH Visitor Information

For more information about visiting New Hampshire and exploring the many attractions, events, and accommodations available, visit NHLiving.com. This comprehensive resource provides valuable insights and recommendations to help plan your perfect trip to the Granite State.


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