This week saw the 93rd annual Motorcycle Week in Laconia, New Hampshire kick off with the usual pomp and circumstance. The world’s oldest bike rally runs from the 11th of June through Father’s Day this year, nice timing for dad/kid activities even if it does fall on the last day of the rally. As with all such events, lodging can be a real pain to secure, so if you missed it this year you’d best go ahead and make your reservations now for next year’s event that will run from June 10th through the 18th, 2017. To all of you heading home from the event, be ye careful on the road.

Continue reading for my look at the week ending June 17, 2016.

Harley-Davidson’s Lazarus Anniversary

2016 Motorcycle Week In Review, June 17
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Thursday the 16th marked a day that Harley riders the world over should observe as an official holiday, says I, says he who says nothing. Back in June of ’81, a group led by Vaughn Beals bought Harley-Davidson back from bowling-ball manufacturer AMF, and launched one of the most profound brand turnarounds in history.

The Motor Company’s reputation deservedly slipped along with its quality under AMF, and one has only to poke around online to find the tiresome anti-Harley sentiments alive and well all this time later, even if the vast majority of it is based on information over three decades old! So, Happy Birthday to the “new” H-D that just saw the passing of its 35th year, in spite of the doomsayers that post up op-ed pieces about Harley’s imminent demise with every tick and waver of sales and market-share numbers. I wonder, which wine (whine?) pairs best with crow?

Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride

2016 Motorcycle Week In Review, June 17
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Next up is some future history, if you like. The 100th Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride presented by BMW Motorrad is scheduled to start on July 3rd, and run through the 23rd. Named for the epic 1916 ride by the Van Buren sisters Augusta and Adeline, the commemorative event starts in Brooklyn, New York, and culminates in San Francisco, California.

Not only is this ride of historical significance for the advancement of women in a time when certain constraints were the societal norm, but the proceeds go to Final Salute Inc. and the Women’s Coalition of Motorcyclists. Final Salute provides housing and support for homeless female veterans in the U.S., and the WCM works to bolster the ranks of women rider-coaches, so the monies generated by this run all go to a good cause. Plus, it’s hard to beat the comradery that develops when you put that many state lines behind you with a group of like-minded people. Ask me how I know.

Shelina Moreda Joins Erik Buell Racing

2016 Motorcycle Week In Review, June 17
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Erik Buell Racing (EBR) makes the news again this week with the Friday announcement concerning its Chinese Pan Delta racing interests. The beautiful and talented Shelina Moreda joins the EBR race team as a pilot for the EBR 1190, and she looks to further EBR’s dominance in that circuit. Now for the best part; she will be the first female racer to enter this particular series, a move EBR hopes will inspire and empower women by her very presence in this male-dominated sport.

Bell Helmet Makes Riding Safer

2016 Motorcycle Week In Review, June 17
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I call anything that makes riding safer, and collisions more survivable, a good thing. Bell Helmets is one of the most famous brands in the world, and its R&D department has been hard at work to keep it that way. In an industry first, Bell announced its Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) that will roll out this Fall in the Qualifier DLX, MX-9 and MX-9 Adventure. This is the first time Bell has made the system available for a streetbike helmet, and is part of the natural trickle-down effect from the racetrack to the rest of us common schlubs. A slip-pane system in the helmet provides 10 to 15 mm of “give” designed to absorb the energy at the point of critical acceleration/deceleration to reduce trauma to the brain and hopefully limit the severity of potential brain injuries.

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