One of the many downsides of the pandemic has been the cancellation of motorcycle rallies and other events. Americade, billed as the world’s largest traveling rally, has taken place in Lake George, New York, in late spring (usually the first week of June) every year since 1983.
The 2020 edition of Americade, which would have been Guru Fred Rau’s 30th consecutive appearance at the event, had to be canceled. In January of this year, Americade announced that the event would be moved from early June to September 20-25.
“We want to be 100% sure that an Americade 2021 takes place,” said Christian Dutcher, director of the Americade. “Moving it to September gives us a very high probability of that happening. September is also a great time of year for horseback riding, with mild temperatures, no rain and the start of the fall foliage season. It should be fine.
It happened, and the event was a huge success. But since it was Americade, of course there was rain!
Rider has supported Americade since the early days, and as we do every year, we sponsored the Opening Celebration on Monday evening, which is open to participants who pre-register for the rally. Guests dined under the large tent on the lawn of the Fort William Henry Hotel & Conference Center, overlooking Lake George and the surrounding mountains. The Rick Bolton Trio and mentalist Dustin Dean provided the entertainment and we gave out door prizes.
The rally got off to a real start on Tuesday with guided and unguided rides, seminars, vendors and food at the Expo Tour, rides (BMW, Honda, Indian, KTM, Triumph and Yamaha), boat rides, shows and many other Activities. As Lake George sits at the eastern end of Adirondack Park and not far from Vermont, there is no shortage of fantastic roads within a 100 mile radius.
On Tuesday night, while the guests were enjoying the medieval feast under the big tent, I did an onstage interview for Rider magazine’s insider podcast with Bill, Gini and Christian Dutcher, the family who founded and runs Americade. We talked about how the rally started and what helped it become such a popular and unique event. (To listen to the episode, visit ridermagazine.com/insider.)
On stage after the podcast interview were the Knights of the Americade Round Table. Fred Rau, Bill Dutcher, Momma D (Dee Jones) and I wore wreaths and drank mead as they told humorous and embarrassing stories about our collective two-wheeled journeys and experiences. The crowd laughed a lot the hard way, and they especially enjoyed it when we answered questions from the audience.
Wednesday morning started cloudy and gray. At 7 a.m., Fred Rau hosted his popular coffee club. At 7:30 am, in rain gear, I lined up on Beach Road for the Lake Placid Adventure, one of the day’s many guided attractions. We were joined by a group from the Wounded Warrior Project, which Americade has supported for several years. The rain stopped after about an hour and we enjoyed a scenic ride up Whiteface Mountain, a delicious lunch at the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid, and a stop at the Olympic training facilities for the jump. in length and bobsleigh.
Under the big tent on Wednesday and Saturday evenings, comedian Alonzo Bodden entertained the crowds. In his stand-up sets and his special “Heavy Lightweight” on Amazon Prime Video, Bodden’s comedy is topical. But as a longtime motorcycle enthusiast with several bikes in his garage, when Bodden performs at Americade, he interacts with audiences and spins comedy gold from his on-site motorcycle-related dialogue. Bodden returns year after year, and each show is unique. (To listen to our interview with Alonzo Bodden on Rider Magazine’s Insider podcast, visit ridermagazine.com/insider.)
Thursday I had the chance to take a ride with Bodden, Motorcycle life columnist Peter Jones, Adam VanderVeen of Triumph America and Isle of Man TT racer Dean Court. Once the rides were over, we refueled a Rocket 3 GT, Trident 660, Street Triple and Speed Triple 1200 RS, and headed to Hwy 9N along the west shore of Lake George . We got back to town just before the rain started.
After a violent storm passed in the wee hours of Friday morning, the sky cleared and the next two days were sunny. Being just a few hours from the New York and Boston metropolitan areas, Fridays and Saturdays are still the busiest days in Americade. The Expo was packed with people buying new equipment and having audio systems and accessories installed on their bikes.
Under the big tent was the Friday Night Spectacular, with a dinner, a jury of the public’s choice, the Brown Liquor Social Club, the Vintage Bike Roar, awards and major door prizes. There was a boat cruise on the Minne-Ha-Ha and fireworks on the lake.
A Ride for Kids charity run on Saturday raised over $ 17,000 for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. From 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., it was the Block Party & Music Festival. Like every night of the rally, there were bikes parked along Canada Street and others were going up and down, many adorned with brightly colored lights.
Next year’s Americade is June 6-11, 2022, so start making plans now. For more information, visit americade.com.
Check out some of the bikes we saw at Americade: