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Americade, post mortem

goldings695 and I spent two days (June 3 &4) at the rally. The Lake George area is gorgeous and has some tremendously fun roads to ride. The rally itself was OK. I'm a bit on the fence about whether I would attend again, but tipping towards "I'd go to that locale again, but not for the rally."

Roads are free (well, except for taxes) so it was an odd experience to sign-up for a rally and pay for rides. The justification being 1) it's an aggregate of other riding enthusiasts 2) it is guided and 3) most of the day rides provided lunch or dinner and perhaps 4) paid off local gov't fees for the event space and traffic control? It was still odd for me. The other oddity was the need to purchase a parking sticker in order to park on the main drag, where the bike show off and cruise activities were. I'm willing to walk and look, but never feel the need to put my bike on the pedestal.

The crowd was undeniably older and emphatically cruiser and Gold Wing type tour bike centric. I would hazard that those bikes outnumbered sport bikes, standards, and dual-sport bikes 200:1. I wouldn't say that the rally is "for" old people, but the attendance made it feel that way. Granted, we went mid-week rather than weekend, so the majority of people who can come at that time are retired. Even later, by Thursday, when we returned, there were only a small handful of 20-somethings and a larger dash of 30-ish.

Most of the activities, other than the rides, are things I don't care much about: author guest speakers, riding coaches, fireworks, boat cruises. There was a huge vendor area, which was worth the $10 to get in. The quality of the vendors was much higher than at Daytona Bike Week or Sturgis. Goldings695 got some braided steel brake lines for his Ninja.

We finally bought the bike-to-bike communication set, which we've been talking about buying for years. We bought Cardo Scala brand ones. Awesome! The noise cancelling works! The voice-activated works! Sound quality was pretty good. We are quite pleased. The last system we tried was the Chatterbox, a radio frequency-based system. It sucked, in spike of being $100 per rider 7 years ago. A couple years ago we'd heard about Bluetooth based ones, but hadn't found anyone who owned one or seen any in the cycle shops. At Daytona last year we saw a different brand on display -- but pamphlets and empty display boxes only -- none for purchase or to touch and feel and it required your Bluetooth phone to have signal. The Scala will work with your phone but doesn't require it.