No One Judges The Ride At Americade

This week, bikers in the Northeast are flocking to Lake George, N.Y., for a motorcycle rally called Americade. Some 50,000 visitors take to the streets in tattoos, leather jackets and revving engines.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now a different kind of riding event - motorcycle rally - the Americade Festival in Lake George, New York, which draws thousands of bikers each year. North Country Public Radio's Zach Hirsch went to check it out - Got to know some of the riders.

(SOUNDBITE OF AMERICADE MOTORCYCLE RALLY)

DAVID SPRY: My name is David Spry. My biker name is triple X.

ZACH HIRSCH, BYLINE: How did you get that name?

SPRY: My size. I'm out of Charlotte, North Carolina. I rode up to Lake George - it was an 850 mile trip. To be a real biker, you proud that you road 800, 900, 1,000, 1,100 hundred miles or whatever. That's a biker's personal thing. Can't nobody take that away from you. And, you know, every time you get on a bike you're an inch within your life. You know what I'm saying? But it's the risk we take. You know what I'm saying?

HIRSCH: Why is it worth it to take that risk?

SPRY: Because you feel free on the bike.

(SOUNDBITE OF AMERICADE MOTORCYCLE RALLY)

PATCH MCGUILLICUTTY: All right, folks. Gather up and gather around. It's Show time, right here at the Wall of Death. I’m going to race, ride, slip, slide, dip, dive hyped up, high-powered motorcycles, all on the side of that 15-foot-high wooden barrel wall.

(APPLAUSE)

CARROLL ABATE: They really do this rally nice. My name is Carroll Abate, and I'm from Chesterfield, Virginia.

JOE ABATE: And I'm Joe Abate from Chesterfield, Virginia.

C. ABATE: We ride on a Gold Wing and it's a very comfortable bike.

J. ABATE: Some people call it a couch - shows you how comfortable it is. We, in the Gold Wing, like to stop at Dairy Queen and people that ride Harleys like to stop at bars. And that - of course that's generalizing. But, you know, that's the difference. (Laughter).

PEG MARTIN: When you come to Americade, you're just a rider. And no one looks up or down at you for what you ride. My name is Peg Martin. I'm from Massachusetts so it's about a four hour ride from here. It's not that far.

I ride a 2008 Softail Deluxe that's pink and white, and it's a breast cancer theme bike. Sometimes I get the little mocking kind of look and then when they get closer, and they see what I've actually done to the bike, I get respect. So it's fun, It's a lot of fun. I'm going to keep coming back every year I can. All right, well, stay cool.

HIRSCH: Yeah, you too.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BORN TO BE WILD")

SIMON: That audio postcard came from Zach Hirsch of North Country Public Radio. He attended the 32nd annual Americade Rally held every year in Lake George, New York.

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