Americade is an International Event
Leo and Linda Goulet turned quite a few heads on their way to Americade.
The couple came all the way from Long Sault, Ontario on a kind of hybrid vehicle — half motorcycle, half car — that gives them the best of both worlds.
Goulet owns Leo Motors, a body shop, where he spent 160 hours working on the unique vehicle with friends Dennis Pilon and Bobby LaPierre.
“I told Leo he’s going to cause an accident because everybody wants to look at it,” Pilon said.
Linda Goulet, who rides on the back, said that passing truckers would slow down along side their vehicle to get a better look at it while traveling down the Northway.
The couple quickly drew a small crowd of admirers wherever they parked the three-wheeled vehicle, such as Beach Road, in Lake George.
The front part is a 1981 Honda Goldwing. The back is the rear end of a Toyota MR2.
So the Goulets can enjoy the freedom of open air riding, like any other biker, while relaxing in the comfort of a much larger vehicle. The rear end even has a trunk for storing their gear.
Pilon helped with the body work while LaPierre did the intricate wiring job. The drive system is from the Goldwing. But the fuel-injected engine and a front dashboard are from the Toyota.
“It handles really good on the highway,” Leo Goulet said.
The cycle-car is painted a beautiful black cherry and has four cylinders. However, they’re already building a more powerful six-cylinder version of the vehicle using a Fiero car, made by General Motors.
On the way to Lake George they stopped in Warrensburg.
“Someone came up to us and said, I’ll give you $9,000 on the spot,” Pilon said.
However, Leo has no plans of parting with his beloved new toy.
The Goulets were making their eighth visit to Americade, which got off to a slow start because of the weather but finished with a flourish as sunny skies returned to the Lake George region during the latter part of the week.
“It brings in so many people,” said Linda Williams, an employee at the Lake George Shop, a souvenir store on Canada Street. “We get the same people year after year.”
Some motorcyclists aren’t able to pack larger souvenirs, so the store ships things to wherever people want them.
“That brings them back because they know you do it,” Williams said. “The more accommodating you are, the better off you’ll be.”
Some people traveled halfway around the world to reach Americade this year, such as Jan Sorensen of Denmark, and Rob Roberts, one of the event’s many volunteers who came all the way from Hawaii.
Steve Kellogg from Green Island, near Troy, belongs to the Red Knights, a group of motorcycling firefighters. Nearly 400 of them got together for a dinner at the Lake George firehouse.
“I like coming here for the camaraderie, meeting people from everywhere and the chance to see beautiful machinery,” he said. “It makes a wonderful weekend.”
Featured activities included stunt shows by two-time world champion trials rider Tommi Ahvala of Finland and women’s national champion Caroline Allen. Nationally-known comedian Alonzo, winner of NBC’s Last Coming Standing, entertained crowds and bikers took part in a night-time light parade, a kaleidoscope of color as they rode around an illuminated hot air balloon.
Of course, most people simply like taking scenic day trips throughout the Adirondack region.
There were more than 240 vendors, a record, at the TourExpo trade show, which Co-Director Christian Dutcher attributes to Americade’s reputation as the world’s largest, well-run gathering of touring motorcyclists.
“I think that’s because we target a specific demographic,” he said. “Americade at its heart is a convention. The die-hards, who plan to come here months ahead of time, will show up regardless of weather conditions.”
That’s what brings the manufacturers and dozens of other firms who sell motorcycle accessories, knowing they’ll have a large audience to deal with.
“Even during the recession we’ve done well,” Dutcher said. “Everything that’s done is very carefully considered. We set a very high standard for ourselves.”