As one of the oldest motorcycle rally events in the United States, Laconia Motorcycle Week is an opportunity to gather with fellow motorcycle enthusiasts to celebrate a love of the road. Every year, hundreds of thousands of motorcycle lovers flock to Laconia, New Hampshire for a nine day event that is as rooted in history as it is in the biker culture of today. From the bikers of yesteryear to those new to the motorcycle world, Laconia Motorcycle Week has something for everyone and the celebration isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
The History of Laconia Motorcycle Week
While Laconia Motorcycle Week now draws around 400,000 people from all over the country every year, this enormous celebration stems from more humble beginnings. In fact, the first Laconia rally, while unofficial, was a gathering of only 150 riders. In 1917 the Federation of American Motorcyclists sanctioned its first official Gypsy Tours, giving birth to all of the nation’s motorcycle rallies that would follow.
1917’s Gyspsy Tours were organized by motorcycle enthusiasts for motorcycle enthusiasts- much like today. These overnight events were coined as “gypsy” tours because participating riders would travel long distances to meet in a favorite destination, sleeping in tents around campfires along the way. These events eventually became tradition with Gypsy Tours occurring on the same weekend every year all over the country.
Laconia’s first official rally would later be founded in 1923, occurring alongside the Loudon Classic motorcycle race. Events were scheduled for the enjoyment of enthusiasts and included races and shows. As the years went on with great success, Laconia’s weekend rally began to attract riders in stronger numbers. Motorcyclists began to arrive in Laconia earlier and earlier in preparation for the weekend until the event eventually became a week-long celebration.
In the early 1990’s, Laconia’s local businesses joined in a coalition with the area’s local motorcycle groups, founding the Laconia Motorcycle Rally and Race Association. This coalition took on the joint efforts of planning, scheduling, and promoting the event across the nation. Today, Laconia Motorcycle Week is the ultimate destination for motorcyclists, enthusiasts, and spectators alike to gather with those who share their passion.
Laconia Motorcycle Week 2019
Laconia Motorcycle Week is celebrating its 96th year in 2019 and the event is still going strong. Riders from far and wide again make their way to Laconia, New Hampshire in droves. While Lakeside Avenue in Weirs Beach is always the center of the week’s activities, motorcyclists can enjoy various attractions throughout the region.
Laconia is the ideal location for the week’s activities and those who return each year love the scenery of the area, perfect for a day in the saddle. Mount Washington Auto Road, for example, is a favorite for those looking to take in the beauty of Laconia. This famous road climbs over 6,200 feet up the highest peak in all of the northeast leading to the most spectacular view to be found in the area. New Hampshire’s scenic routes offer a glimpse at a variety of landscapes, from lakes and beaches to mountains with something for every rider to enjoy.
2019’s Motorcycle Week will be filled with the same attractions and activities that have made the event so successful in the past. With live music, bike shows, a hillclimb (one of the most popular events), stunt shows, competitions, vendors, and demonstrations, this year’s events will be sure to please- keeping motorcycle enthusiasts returning for many years to come.
Laconia Motorcycle Week is celebrating its 96th year as the event centered around the passion of the hundreds of thousands who gather there. With the motorcycle community at its foundation, it’s likely it’ll be around for another 96 years to come.