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Thinking about going to Laconia , 1st time. Input wanted


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In place of my usual trip out to Sturgis, I am thinking about going to Laconia in June. Would be leaving from Indiana , meeting with a friend coming from St.Paul, Mn. Or I might consider going to St.Paul and riding with him across the UP of Michigan. Then thru Canada for a bit , come back into the states near Buffalo, N.Y. Any other route suggestions will be welcome. Did not want to stay in Cn. too long because of the costs of travel there.

Now Re: Laconia. I finally know my way around Sturgis, - N.H. is a blank. It looks like limited ways to get into Laconia and are there any suggestions on places to stay that are reasonably priced. What is the typical attendance at Laconia , is it a huge rally like Sturgis or only 50-100,000 riders. Is it open enough to get in and out, and only crowded when you are in town. Any pros and cons you can offer about this rally appreciated. Sturgis is always a safe bet for me, I like it and the riding once there is great.

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Well, since no one has chimed in yet...


I have never been to Sturgis, or Daytona, so I really have nothing to compare Laconia with, except maybe Americade. Laconia is nice, although I personally enjoy the area a lot more after Bike Week. The non-riding population will love your quiet motorcycle -- assuming you're taking the BMW there.


What I most appreciate about it is that it is smack in the middle of the greatest riding in New England. New Hampshire's White Mountain region, Vermont's Route 100, and Maine's coast line are all within a couple hours ride. You'll want to consider the White Mountains and the Maine coast in particular because New Hampshire's interior gets awfully hot and humid during bike week (although last June it pretty much rained all week). I find it all but impossible to keep cool in my RT in those conditions; I just want to rip the fairing right off the bike. New Hampshire doesn't have a helmet law, and some guys simply forgo their lid in hot weather, but that's not what I do. I either cook, forgo Laconia alltogether, or another great idea is to spend the day swimming in Lake Wennipesaukee. Now that's a nice, clean, cool lake and a real hoot to plunge in on hot days for sure.


Bike Week does have a lot of activities, some of which take place at the New Hampshire International Speedway. But my favorite thing to do there is to go to Weirs Beach, which is the Bike Week "ground zero", on a Friday or Saturday night. First, get there early as you'll experience some horrific motorcycle traffic jams. Park the bike, get out the camera, and walk around, especially once the sun goes down. I cannot vouch for what you'll see(!), but it will be an experience to remember that's for sure :grin: Probably not unlike what happens at Sturgis and Daytona at night, too.


How big is Bike Week? I have no idea how many motorcycles typically gather there, but were I to guess I'd say it's definitely a huge rally. Bikes as far as the eye can see; riding, parked, traffic jammed, gassing up -- everywhere!

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Oh, as far as where to stay, I recommend somewhere *away* from Laconia IF you want a good night sleep. If noise (motorcycles and loud music) doesn't keep you up then by all means get a small hotel room or private cottage (there are tons of them to rent, check out Craigslist) near ground zero. I typically stay in the Concord area and just ride back and forth.


Camping is also a very good alternative. There are plenty of camp grounds in the area and this is probably what a lot of guys end up doing anyhow. Can't beat the price!

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I have never been to Sturgis, or Daytona, so I really have nothing to compare Laconia with, except maybe Americade. Laconia is nice, although I personally enjoy the area a lot more after Bike Week.


That about sums it up for me too.


Since Laconia is a 3 hr ride for me, I've done day trips and never stayed after dark. Apparently things do heat up a bit after dark. But it isn't the same as Laconia Bike week of 15-20 years ago where bikes get burned and such. The local police are very strict during bike week now. But even with that, I'm sure you will see just how well alcohol and riding mix while there. You will see burnouts in the streets and lots of black leather (unless you catch a glims of female). You will see lots of chrome and maybe a helmet. Your ears will ring for a week afterwards. Weire's beach does have a small vendor area where you can get a tatoo or a pin-stripe on your bike.


The Hill climb is fun to watch. But the traffic is horrid getting to it. Plus the parking is dirt and your bike will be after parking there for the event.


Loudon races are fun. Again, horrid traffic (absolutely stopped for miles). No vendors to speak of.


I've heard from my buddy that Sturgis is sooo much better (again, I cannot elaborate).


As James said, the area is much nicer after bike week. The June weather is typically rainy too.

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If you've never been to New England and want to see the area then go for it. Personally, given a choice I'd pick Sturgis every time. But, I lived in NH for twenty-five years and I'm still close enough to ride there regularly so it's not that big a thrill. I've been to the Sturgis area numerous times, once during the rally and I just love that area. Slabbing it across MN & SD to get there wouldn't be a very exciting ride though.


The Laconia/Weirs Beach area is very congested during bike week - traffic is an absolute nightmare. It's a big rally that happens in a fairly small area.


There's a lot of great riding and scenery in the surrounding ares of NH, ME & VT though. You would be able to ride some nice roads thru the scenic White Mountains of NH, enjoy Lobster on the rugged ME coast, and wind your way thru some beautiful VT countryside. SD & NH are two very different places.


Tough choice.

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I live in Maine and have been to Laconia many times. If you want to be in a crowd of primarily Harley enthusiasts, then go to Weir's Beach, park on Lakeside Drive and walk around, it's a great show. One tip if you want to avoid sitting in traffic is find the train station in Meredith, park your bike there and take the train into Weir's Beach, it's much nicer than sitting in traffic for an hour trying to get in and out. The area is great to ride in and if you come early, there is a great BMW Campout on the first weekend of Laconia Motorcycle Week that is put on by the Yankee Beemers. Check it out: http://yankeebeemers.org/Pemi_River.html


Good Luck, Don

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Thank you all for the input. I'm thinking it will be Sturgis again. From articles I have seen in m/c mags Laconia is too much like trying to get around in downtown Daytona - you don't. And I never run out of great riding out in Dakota. Getting there I like to take the back way in, which for me is Rte 50 and then 44. This will take you past the back side of the Badlands and a few biker stops along the way. But this is a somewhat desolate route which is what I like. Crossing the Missouri just west of Platte is spectacular and kind of what makes the route for me. Thanks again.



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