QUEENSBURY — After hearing the annual Americade motorcycle rally was canceled due to the coronovirus pandemic, local bikers started to plan their own smallscale version of the event.
They put out the word through social media and now hundreds of bikers are expected to gather in the parking lot of the former Kmart on Dix Avenue this weekend, as first reported by the Post Star. Bikers will meet up on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. and take off for scenic route rides to Lake George beginning at 2:30 p.m.
Initially, organizer Dustin Mingo said they were expecting maybe 100 people now it’s looking more like 500, based on how many people said they would attend on Facebook.
“I know 100 people personally that are going,” Mingo said.
Despite the influx of people, Mingo said he hopes all the attendees respect social distancing protocols.
“It does make me a little nervous. I made it clear time and time again to everyone participating to follow state regulations,” Mingo said. “I think a lot of people are going to respect my word because I’m very involved in biking around here, and I think they are going to do what they are supposed to do.”
Mingo and Jace Varney, another of the co-organizers, started planning the “underground” event when the Americade proper was canceled. Americade usually is the unofficial kick off to the summer season every June in the Lake George area. However, due to the pandemic, that event was first postponed until July then canceled when organizers decided there was no safe way for thousands of bikers from around the country to descend on Warren County
“Now that everything is canceled it’s hard. Us bikers are a tight-knit community, and Americade is something I look forward to every summer,” Varney said.
However, it’s about more than just keeping the tradition alive. Varney said he hopes the event will give local businesses – that may have had slower foot traffic than usual – a boost.
“We’re trying to make up for the lost revenue,” Varney said. “This is a big time of the year for them.”
Village Mayor Robert Blais told the Post Star he was fine with the event as long as everyone follows state guidelines.
“We’re used to having motorcycles in the village,” he said. “So long as they obey all the local laws and the governor’s regulations on social distancing.”
Source: Times Union by Rebecca Carballo