LAKE GEORGE - Tens of thousands of motorcyclists will be wheeling into the region this week for the traditional offerings of the nation's leading touring motorcycle rally, Americade.
Huddling at a computer and answering a flurry of phone calls Monday, Americade founder Bill Dutcher said he was happy that advance registrations were only down a few percentage points from last year, which was a record.
"Considering the state of the economy, we think we're doing pretty darn good," he said.
This year's 27th edition of the world's largest and most renowned tour motorcycle rally features new events and contests that are likely to pique riders' interest, and keep the rally fresh, he said.
The Americade event listings cite new activities of a competitive fuel-economy run, a motorcycle drill team performance atop Prospect Mountain, bowling sessions a line-dancing dinner and new tours.In the new economy run, motorcyclists will be babying their throttles over a 100-mile course to vie for the honors of owning the most frugal bike.
Also, a new Mardi Gras cruise has been scheduled. The cruise includes Cajun food.
Dutcher said Monday that most all his cruises, including the new Cajun edition, were sold out, a very positive indicator of this year's prospects for the rally.
An independent study conducted recently has estimated that Americade brings in $46 million annually to Warren County's economy.
While some rally activities started Monday, the rally shifted into full gear Tuesday, when open registrations were accepted.
"Motorcycle riding has an escapist aspect, and with all the gloom-and-doom news out there, riding motorcycles is particularly attractive," he said.
Dutcher said he was looking forward to seeing Americaders in years past - if he can get out from behind his computer.
"It's always a pleasure to see friends you haven't seen for a year," he said. "I wish they could come a week later when my work is done so I could really hang out with them."