The other day a first grade friend of our daughter’s with shaggy red hair, (he’s been growing it out for a while) also the son of the local minister, knocked on our door as he was riding bikes in our neighborhood. “Hi, Heather, is Greta home?” he politely asks taking off his bike helmet and giving his long locks a toss from side to side. Even as my daughter snagged her helmet and ran past me standing at the door, all I could picture was this scene 10 or so years down the road. A taller, deeper voiced version of this tiny redhead is going to pull up on his motorcycle to see if Greta wants to take a spin up the Kanc or through the notch just to get to a trail head for some hiking or to hear a band play somewhere. I’m going to say something like, “Wear your helmet, be safe, and watch out for moose. Oh and be home by midnight!” Like my mother always told me, nothing good ever happens after midnight. She was right.
I know right now that our daughter is going to love riding motorcycles because she loves speed, probably her own but also happy to catch a ride in the same way her grandmother loved motorcycles too until her brother’s accident. Each year Laconia Bike Week rolls through our White Mountains, I think of my Uncle Gordon about 50 times a day. I also think of my Aunt Rosie and Uncle Ken and how they came all the way from Florida to do a Fall Foliage Ride through our beautiful mountain notches to raise money for Geoff’s non- profit Eastern Adaptive Sports (incidentally to be held Sept. 22 this year so mark your calendars). My Aunt CI and Uncle Jimmy also came to support the event, as did my Aunt Laurie and Aunt Sue. Despite being paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, I know without a doubt in my heart that Uncle Gordon doesn’t regret one moment spent on the open road on his Harley. He also, no doubt, regretted other choices, but not when it came to his love of motorcycles.
The bikers over the years we have met who stay in our neighborhood are always kind, chatty, courteous, and up early to make the most of the good weather. The crew from Iowa we met at ice cream today just wanted their picture taken with service dog Emerson. Good, good people. There is the guy who comes each year without fail with the biker barbie on the back, and I’m not talking about his blond human companion, although she is lovely. Rather, there is a tiny barbie facing outwards which makes us laugh every time we see her. Sometimes she is scantily clad, (which the kids surmise is due to the hot weather) while other times she is fully covered in barbie black leather.
Watching the scene unfold during different parts of the day is awesome. There is the early morning crew, getting ready for a day of riding, but first they are going to breakfast at the Woodstock Station or Peg’s. I love the ritual of each person getting off the motorcycle, some checking different elements of the cycle itself, while others fix different elements of their outfit. But always, they say hello with a smile and some friendly words. Lately, I’ve really been enjoying the numbers of single lady operators cruising these back roads and open byways of northern New Hampshire. I’m not keen on riding a motorcycle myself, but I could sit in downtown North Woodstock and watch others ride them all day. There is the lunch crew, taking a break during a 100 mile day, or those spending the night here in town at any one of our fabulous hotels or campgrounds, excited to park their baby and have a responsible adult beverage.
I’m hoping some motorcycle enthusiasts are reading this because I’d really like to extend a personal invitation to return to the North Country of New Hampshire to what is turning into a foliage tradition with a cause near and dear to our hearts. Eastern Adaptive Sports (www.easternadaptivesports.org) hosts a Foliage Ride from Riveredge Marina (one of EAS’s main sponsors) in Ashland, NH on Little Squam Lake through and around a few mountains, notches, and overall beautiful places. This motorcycle ride is NOT to be missed. We reconvene for a super cool lunch and auction behind Truant’s Tavern located in the heart of North Woodstock and also on the river. Our dear friend Chris Williams supports EAS in many ways, but this motorcycle ride has grown in large part due to his efforts, along with our friend Michelle Nestor who is the actual backbone (or working spinal cord in this case) to Geoff’s vision. Together, with the support of Truant’s Tavern and many others, this makes great team work. Now, we only need some of you from Laconia Bike Week to come on back on September 22 to view our majestic fall.
For updated event information, check out: https://www.facebook.com/events/1655992411119227/
Until we meet again, motorcyclist enthusiasts, thank you for visiting our mountains, for eating in our local restaurants and pubs, for checking out our local shops and spending money on whatever you can fit in those tiny leather saddle bags on your bike, and for chatting with families like ours. My husband LOVES to travel in a side car, which my college friend Julie arranged for him during last year’s EAS ride. He wants a Ural, which I’ve told him may be possible once our children go to college. They are 7 and 8, so the math is upsetting to him, but you know where I’m coming from; I know you do! Thanks again! Hope to see you in September– if not this weekend in downtown North Woodstock or Lincoln, NH. Please share with any of your friends who ride motorcycles or might want to make a donation to a life changing organization like Eastern Adaptive Sports.
PS. Yes, that was us you met today or early evening at Truant’s Tavern or Woodstock Station or downtown North Woodstock with our children and yellow lab inviting you to come back September 22. To be clear, we don’t often parade our family downtown inviting people to motorcycle events held in September. It’s bike week though so how could we pass it up?