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Sandi Prosnitz likes to cruise with the East Coast Biker Chicks. Photo courtesy of Sandi Prosnitz.




Find your ride

Want to buy a motorcycle but aren’t sure what’s best for you? Motorcycles of Manchester’s business operations manager Anthony Lockwood and sales associate Jennifer Wheeler share their expertise on different styles of motorcycles, and fitting them to your fancy.
 
Standard
These old-school classics were popular in the 1970s. They’ve since slid out of fashion but are beginning to come back into style again. Riders sit straight up, which is good for those who aren’t sure what position they want to ride in. 
They also don’t have a lot of damageable parts. 
“New riders don’t crash, they usually fall...and I like this type of bike for a new rider because there’s not a lot of parts to get damaged,” Lockwood said.
 
Dual Sport
These on-and-off-road bikes are one of the top-growing segments of motorcycles. They’re reliable and inexpensive, and with trail systems opening and closing at the blink of an eye these days, they give riders the flexibility to jump to the street if a trail unexpectedly ends, Lockwood said.  
Dual sports have tires built for on and off the road and are lightweight, which makes them good for first-time riders. But the multipurpose tires means a slightly rougher ride on the road. 
“When you take anything that’s dual, it takes a little bit away from one side and a little bit away from the other side to make a decent all-around bike, but not perfect for either one,” Wheeler said.
 
Cruisers
Cruisers are popular with just about anybody out of their 20s. They are comfortable rides with a more relaxed seating position. 
“A lot of people say it’s like riding your couch,” Wheeler said. 
Cruisers come as classics and customs. Customs have more of a rigged-out front end and skinny front tire — a low, mean, sleek style, Lockwood said. Classics embody a classic Americana look.
 “A lot of new riders, when they see themselves on bikes, this is always what they envision themselves on,” Lockwood said.  
Customs are better for shorter rides while classics are great for longer journeys, and both tend to be on the heavy side. 
 
Tourer
When fully dressed, tourer bikes have saddlebags, windshields and hard trunks. They typically have a lot more accessories and often come with radios, GPS, cruise control, heated seats and handles. 
“All the stuff you learned to love on your car is now on your bike,” Lockwoods said. 
Fully loaded, they tend to be expensive, though, which can deter new riders.
 
Sportbike
These built-for-speed bikes often attract a younger crowd of riders. 
“We don’t see middle-aged women or middle-aged men drooling over those,” Lockwood said. 
They tend to have a bad rep for being uncomfortable because riders lean forward over the bike. But while they are not as comfortable for long rides, Lockwood said, they’re more comfortable than people think. 
Sportbikes aren’t typically the go-to ride for inexperienced riders, Lockwood said.
 
Scooter
“You can’t drive a scooter and not have a smile on your face. That’s all I can say,” Lockwood said. These super simple rides are a lot less powerful than other motorcycles. 
Most models are limited to 30 mph, though some of the modern ones will approach 40, Lockwood said. Other more powerful maxi scooters can ride on the highway and go up to 100 mph. Good mileage is a big benefit. The smaller ones get between 100 and 120 mpg. Students and people who have short commutes, as well as campers who like to put them on the back of their motorhomes, gravitate toward scooters. They’re also great for people who want to ride but are intimidated by motocycles or not as coordinated. 
“I have a silly little rhyme about the scooter. It’s: All you need to know is twist and go,” Lockwood said.
 
Ride Soon, Ride Often
Upcoming meetups, rallies, festivals and charity rides 
 
Annual Keene Spring Motorcycle Swap Meet
Event type: Swap Meet
Where: Cheshire Fairgrounds, Keene
When: May 4, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Contact: 352-1836 
 
ECBC NH 4th Annual Ride for the Animals 
Event type: Charity Ride
Where: Thrifty’s Second Hand Stuff, 1015 Candia Road, Manchester 
When: May 17, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. 
Contact: sandirides@gmail.com
 
Stateline Motorcycle Swap Meet
Event type: Swap Meet
Where: 108 Durham Road, Dover  
When: May 18, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. 
Contact: 978-6602
Website: statelineswapmeet.com
 
Motorcycle Swap Meet
Event Type: Swap Meet 
Where:   10 Village Rd., Shelburne 
When: May 24, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. 
Contact:  466-5069
Website: birchbend.com 
 
Laconia Bike Week  2014
Event Type: Motorcycle Rally
Where:   Weirs Beach, Laconia
When: June 14 - June 22 
Contact:  366-2000
Website: laconiamcweek.com 
 
Wings and Wheels
Event Type: Charity Ride
Where: Skyhaven Airport, 238 Rochester Hill Road, Rochester
When:  June 14, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. 
Contact: 335-0011
 
Ride Your Motorcycle to Work Day
Event Type: Fun thing to do 
Where: Everywhere
When: June 16
Website: ridetowork.org
 
Laurie’s Ride for Breast Cancer
Event Type: Charity
Where: 321 Mammoth Road, Londonderry
When: June 22, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. 
Contact:  365-5687
Website: lauriesride.org 
 
Poker Run to Benefit Friends of 
Forgotten Children
Event Type: Charity ride, poker run
Where: 134 Hoit Road, Concord
When: June 28, 7 a.m. 
Contact:  jessaflanders@outlook.com 
Website: facebook.com/events/569928889748434/
 
2nd Annual Salvation Army Ride For The Red Shield
Event Type: Charity Ride
Where: Route 11 Harley Davidson Shop, Rochester
When: June 28, 8  a.m. 
Contact:  332-2623
 
Building Dreams for Marines 
Motorcycle Run 
Event Type: Charity Ride
Where: 10 Flagstone Drive, Hudson
When: June 28, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. 
Contact:  881-7663
Website: bsiw.com/bdfm-bike-run
 
The 5th Annual Heather Lynne Sibert Memorial Ride
Event Type: Charity Ride
Where: 239 DW Highway, Meredith
When: July 19, 7 a.m. 
Contact: 284-7229
Website: heathersride.webs.com
 
Granite State Thunder Run 
Event Type: Charity Ride,  Poker Run
Where: 420 Second St., Manchester
When:  July 19, 10 a.m. 
Contact: 303-3665
Website: rolling-thunder-nh1.org
 
Keara’s Ride for the Cure 
Event Type: Charity Ride
Where: 39 Shadow Lake Road, Salem
When: July 22, 8 a.m.
Contact: 893-1506
Website: ksrideforcure.com
 
The Nick Jennings Memorial Ride
Event Type: Charity Ride
Where: The Walmart Superstore, 85 Route 101-A, Amherst 
When: July 26, 8:30 a.m. 
Contact: 522-4233 
Website: lifesshortridehard.com

 





Ready to Ride
Motorcycle season shifts into gear

05/01/14



 I was doing it. I was actually riding a motorcycle, and not on the back of someone else’s bike.   

Before I took a basic riding course offered by Motorcycle Operators Safety Training, Inc. (M.O.S.T.) I couldn’t have identified the bike’s clutch, let alone make the thing go.  But by mid-afternoon on the third and final day of class, I was weaving through little orange cones, making 130-degree turns, swerving around obstacles and switching gears like a pro. 
OK, not like a pro. But after pushing away my fear and earning myself a few gnarly bruises, I could ride well enough to get my motorcycle endorsement — an icon added to my driver’s license by the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles  that means I’m street-legal on a bike — along with 13 other students who’d passed the course.  
New Hampshire loves its motorcycles. Most years, the Granite State ranks No. 1 for per capita motorcycle ownership. In 2013, there was one registered motorcycle for every 14 adults in the state, and one in every eight licensed drivers held a motorcycle endorsement. With a community so large, there’s a class, event, bike and drive for every kind of rider. 
First-time jitters 
Drivers in New Hampshire aren’t required to take a motorcycle rider course before earning their endorsement, but there’s no substitute for learning the right way to ride, said Wayne Stanley, owner of M.O.S.T. The New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles trains about 2,000 students a year, and in 11 years M.O.S.T. has graduated 5,300 people. Both programs offer basic, intermediate and advanced rider courses. 
“People are really amazed at what they’ve gathered in just a couple days of going through a structured course,” Stanley said. “One exercise is just a building block to the next. They’ve gone from sitting on a motorcycle to ... doing cornering, hard braking and things like that.”  
The instructors at the three-day basic motorcycle classes assume their students are, like I was, completely clueless. They are patient and encouraging, and, following the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s curriculum, they start with the basics. 
The course begins in a classroom where students learn the ins and outs of rider safety, the parts of a bike, and how to operate it — at least conceptually. Then comes the fun (or terrifying) part — at least 10 hours of hands-on training in a large parking lot. Riding begins with simply sitting on an idling bike, continues through a series of skills exercises and ends with a skills assessment test. The instructors allow plenty of time for students to ask questions and provide personal pointers whenever possible. 
“The instructors made it a lot less nerve-racking,” Sara Guinesso said after completing the course. 
A few students in my class already had motorcycle experience. One man had been riding for 13 years in Finland and was taking the class to get his U.S. license. A heavily tattooed Manchester restaurant owner had enrolled because his co-worker convinced him to join so he could finally “ride legally.” A young woman had been an avid dirt biker but wanted to take a bike to the streets. 
The others were newcomers, and most were excited and eager to learn so they could  ride with their friends or family. In other words, they were there for the right reasons. 
The worst thing someone can do is take the course for the wrong reason, like to please someone else, said M.O.S.T. instructors Don Gilbert and Jane Leafe.
“You will get somebody who is getting a lot of pressure from a family member or whatever, and it’s not even comfortable for them,” Leafe said. “Sometimes they are nervous they are going to pass and someone is going to make them ride a motorcycle in traffic.”
Gilbert recalled a woman he instructed years ago who had been in a crash with her husband. 
“He wanted to ride again, and she didn’t want to. He made her take this course, and she was a wreck,” he said. “Couldn’t make a right turn because that was how they crashed and she was traumatized by it.”
While it was evident that nobody in my class had been forced there, a couple of us, myself included, battled stronger jitters than the rest. 
“I was nervous as hell. Absolutely leery,” said Juliann Atkins of Amherst, who was taking the course with her daughter. But after she had passed the assessment test, she was ready to buy her own “small” bike. 
I found myself repeating “breathe, breathe” before many of the exercises, trying to calm down. When I asked Gilbert for tips to quell my nerves, he closed his eyes, touched the tips of his pointer finger and thumbs together, and said “Ommm.”
“One of the biggest things is to relax and have fun,” Leafe said. “Once you’re tense and you’re nervous, things don’t always go smooth and then it just accentuates the nervousness.” 
I finally did loosen up, but not before nearly throwing in the towel. If it hadn’t been for my instructors’ encouragement, I would have quit before I got my first taste of the joy of being on a bike.  
By the second half of the final day, I could feel myself smiling as I eased around a turn. Since the lesson, whenever I see motorcycles cruise down the street, I can’t help but feel the urge to head to the closest motorcycle dealership. 
 
Play it safe
You’ve probably heard the old joke: There are two types of motorcyclists — those who have crashed, and those who are going to crash.
The reality may not be quite as bleak, but anytime a driver chooses to travel on two wheels instead of four, the chances of serious injury or worse are significantly increased. 
“You bump something or something bumps you, you go down,” said Lawrence Crowe, motorcycle rider training coordinator for New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles.
Despite the risk, New Hampshire loves its motorcycles. And while the state has somewhat lax motorcycle laws — for instance, it is one of only three states that don’t have helmet laws for adults — safety should be a priority.
Wear a helmet: The state doesn’t have an adult helmet law, but so what? Aside from taking a rider training course, this is the No. 1 best thing riders can do to be safer on the road, according to Crowe and many others. Of New Hampshire’s 29 fatal motorcycle crashes in 2012, 66 percent of the victims were not wearing helmets. Head injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes, and according to the U.S. Department of Transportation motorcyclists not wearing helmets are 40 percent more likely to die of a head injury than those who wear them. Ride with a DOT-compliant helmet, and replace it after every impact. 
Stay visible: Staying as visible as possible to cars on the road also helps keep riders safe. Choose brightly colored clothing over black, and position the bike in a line of travel that makes you most visible to other drivers.
“Distracted driving is at an all-time high. People who are unaware is a huge concern,” Crowe said. “Motorcycles tend to be invisible for many motorists, so riders should do things to make themselves as visible as possible.”
Know the road: Being familiar with the terrain could also save your life. New Hampshire roads can pose specific challenge even for experienced riders, because the most scenic areas are hilly, rocky and full of curves and sharp turns, which make the ride exhilarating, but also more dangerous.
“We have wonderful roads, but infrastructure has good spots and bad spots. Our corners also tend to be blind and have a lot of trees around them,” Crowe said.
And don’t ignore those seasonal hazards. At the beginning of the year a lot of sand on the road and lingering potholes can provide problems for riders. Looking toward the end of the year, “wet leaves are another issue. They can be like ice in the curve,” Crowe said. “You have to really be looking ahead to negotiate around these things.”
While much of the enjoyment of riding comes from reveling in the scenery, leaf-peeping and view-gazing ought to be kept in check. For the greatest chance of avoiding obstacles, it’s best to look 12 seconds down the road.
Senior safety: With all the movies featuring young, fearless road racers weaving through cars at galactic speeds, it’s no wonder people assume 20-somethings and teens are the riskiest riders on the road.
Not so, said Crowe. In all the fatal accidents in 2012, 62 percent of the victims were between the ages of 40 and 59 years old, and most of those were older than 50.
Older riders tend to be at higher risk of crashing for a couple of reasons. They may be returning to riding after taking years off to tend to family obligations, so their skills are no longer as honed. Physical changes can also pose a problem.
“Our eyes aren’t as good, and our reflexes aren’t as fast. Add to the fact that motorcycles are getting bigger and faster, and it’s really causing a problem for that demographic,” Crowe said.
To help avoid age-related crashes, older riders are encouraged to take a rider training course and to be sure to ride in their comfort zone — sound advice for any rider.
Don’t feel pressured: Never ride for the wrong reasons. Fear can make someone a bigger danger to himself and others. Don’t let anybody pressure you into tackling terrain that’s beyond your comfort zone. You are riding for you and no one else. 
 
Women of the road
Think motorcycle driving is reserved for men? Think again.
The industry is changing and women are moving from the back seat and taking the handles. According to The Motorcycle Industry Council, in 2012 6.7 million of approximately 27 million U.S. riders were women — that’s a 37-percent increase since 2003.
Still, some could-be women riders stay away from bikes. They don’t know how to get started or they don’t have friends who ride. They could be intimidated by the idea of controlling the bike, or the expenses of owning one might be overwhelming.
Whatever the reason, New Hampshire’s female riders know that overcoming the obstacles is incredibly rewarding. Here, three very different women motorcyclists tell the Hippo why a love of the road ought to be embraced, no matter which set of chromosomes you have.
 
The team player
Sandi Prosnitz has loved motorcycles for as long as she can remember, but it wasn’t until about four and a half years ago that she got on a bike.
“I was dating someone who rode, and it just seemed like the right time to sign up, take the safety class,” she said. “Before that, I couldn’t test-ride bikes. I didn’t know what I was doing, so it was a convenient time to get help with test riding and picking out bikes.”
As the story goes, the relationship fizzled, but her love affair with biking was forever. She started off riding a Honda Shadow VT-700 and now rides a 2004 Harley Davidson Softail Goose named Priscilla (bikes, like boats, are always named after women because “you should cherish them and treat them special and handle with care the same way you do a woman,” Prosnitz said). She rides as much as she can, whether to work or for leisure on the weekends. The very first season she rode, she clocked 7,000 miles.
After the split with her partner, she found herself riding solo for a year or so until she joined the New Hampshire chapter of East Coast Biker Chicks, an all-female riding club established in 2003. The New Hampshire chapter is the nonprofit’s largest, with about 35 members. The women ride together for day trips and long weekend cruises. 
Joining the Chicks, for Prosnitz, was a total game-changer. It was the missing piece of the experience that provided a community of people who all have at least one thing in common.
“A lot of people will say family is who you choose, not necessarily what you are born into, and these girls are my family,” she said. “They are the most supportive, wonderful family. Anything I need, they are there and vice versa, I would give them the shirt off my back. It’s a big help in a world that is traditionally dominated by men, which can be intimidating.” 
The Biker Chicks don’t all fit into the typical stereotypes of the hot, sexy bikers whose wheels have lots of chrome, or the heavily tattooed “manly” women. While those women certainly exist, the women run the gamut of looks and lifestyles, she said.
“A lot of them wear size 2 XL T-shirts, and a lot of them are always in motorcycle boots even in January,” Prosnitz said. “And a lot look like your stereotypical [rider with] wallet-on-chain, tattoos. And then a whole lot who are very feminine, who wear heels and skirts, so I think that that’s across the board.  Some are professionals, some blue-collar workers, some are grandmas.”
Prosnitz, who now identifies as a lesbian, said there tends to be more gay women riders than straight ones — at least in the circles she rides in — because they aren’t  stereotyped  as the “weaker” sex.
“If you break out of that heterosexual expectation of women,  you find it can be really liberating,” she said.  “When I was trying to figure myself out in straight relationships, I dated a couple guys who always expected me to be on the back of their bikes.”
 
The lone wolf
As a 17-year-old, Derry resident Lisa Crawford fell in love with something loud, heavy and seemingly out of reach. Motorcycles intrigued her, but the idea of controlling a several-hundred pound machine that offers very little protection was scary.
Still, those motorcycle women — boy, did she want to be one.
“You always get a bitch on a bike, and I always wanted to be that bitch on a bike,” she said. “I’m an ’80s chick. I like tattoos and blond hair. … I liked the whole idea of it. When I saw a girl on a motorcycle, I’d get whiplash.”
At 31 years old, that became a reality. Her friend and her friend’s husband, who both rode, convinced her to push through her fear and take a course, then get her permit.
“The first time, I rode in a parking lot and the next day I was on [Interstates] 93 and 123, going to work on the highway. Once I got on the bike it was very natural to me,” Crawford said.
Crawford said she feels secure on a bike and isn’t afraid of the road. She likes to ride alone, or with male motorcyclists.
“I ride a lot harder than other girls, so I typically ride with a lot more guys because I can keep up with them. Girls don’t have the confidence level to ride the way I ride,” Crawford said.
She sees benefits in solo riding too. She prefers less structure to what her day will be like than groups can afford, she said. And when she rides in groups, she doesn’t know what the other riders’ abilities are, which could pose problems. When bikers ride together, because of the proximity of the bikes, their safety is in each other’s hands.
Going at it solo doesn’t stop Crawford from feeling like she’s part of a community. Showing up independently provides opportunities to make friends. If she pulls into a gas station and there’s two other motorcyclists parked there, it’s like “Hi, how are you doing?” she said. Though she gets a lot of attention for her fierce riding style despite her gender, that’s why she loves it.
“I ride for feeling, not for attention,” she said. “Some are girls who want the image but don’t have that outlook.”
 
The veteran
When Salem resident Stephanie Karley was a little girl she always thought riding a motorcycle “seemed so neat.”
It didn’t take her long to act on that feeling. At 17 years old, she wound up on the back of a bike with a guy, who “scared the crap out of her.” After that she swore to always ride alone.
When she asked her father if she could buy a bike, he said no. Not long after, she came home with one anyway.
“He asked, ‘Where’d you get that?’ And I said, ‘I bought it.’ And he said, ‘OK, let’s go for a ride.’”
Now, at age 63, Karley has clocked 46 years on a motorcycle. Currently she rides a 2000 Suzuki Intruder LC 1500 — one of the lower large bikes out there.
Back when she started, women were not riding their own motorcycles at all, she said. Occasionally, when Karley took to the roads, police would pull her over just to make sure their eyes weren’t deceiving them.  And the guys who rode, well, they became a bit defensive.
“At the time guys were always like, ‘Oh, well my bike is bigger, my bike is bigger,’” she said.
In the 1980s, she started riding with a group of about eight other women. Like Prosnitz, she said the female camaraderie gave her a sense of freedom. She no longer needed to depend on the guys who were more reckless than Karley, a self-proclaimed safety nut.
Now she rides with the East Coast Biker Chicks and is the oldest member — but that doesn’t slow her down.
“Most of the time people don’t think I’m as old as I am. It’s just cool,” she said. “I blend right in, and I always did. When I started telling them how old I was it was like, ‘What, no way!”’
All those years riding have given Karley some serious perspective on what it means to be a female motorcyclist, which translates to some sound advice for could-be women riders. Her No. 1 tip: Don’t be afraid, and don’t let someone convince you that you can’t do it. You just have to get the right person to teach you, and taking a safety course is key.
Karley doesn’t have plans to retire her motorcycle any time soon.
“I hope I’m going to be riding until who knows when,” she said. “I decided if I can’t go on two wheels I’ll go on three.”
 
A ride on the rocky side
Cruising at 70 miles per hour, the wind blowing across your body as you roll down a lonely highway can feel like a manifestation of freedom. 
In the woods, trails are much narrower, and riders can’t reach such great speeds. Still, they can feel that same freedom going 30 miles per hour. The adrenaline rush comes from the challenge of the terrain, navigating through trees, roots and rocks. 
Trail riding is a sport that’s intensely physical, said Thomas Levesque, one of the charter members of the Merrimack Valley Trail Riders, an organization that has helped maintain trails and advocate for riders for 34 years.
“You don’t appreciate that exertion while you’re riding,”  he said. “At the end of a ride on Sunday, you’re exhausted. Come Monday and Tuesday, you really feel you accomplished something.”
While many riders enter into the sport through peer groups or family, some transition into it from other types of riding. They may feel that street riding has become too dangerous, and they are tired of worrying about other operators on the road. 
“Some folks decided, ‘I like idea of being on a bike but feel I’m pushing my luck. I’ll come to the  trails.”’ Levesque said.
Fifty-eight-year-old intermediate-level  rider John Mesick took up trail riding as a low-impact alternative to hiking. In his younger years, he was an avid mountaineer. He’d hiked all of the New Hampshire 4,000-footers, backpacked all of Vermont’s Long Trail, and took on much of the Appalachian Trail. But when his knees wore out, his doctor agreed that dirt biking would be a good fit for him.
“I have to be careful about how far I walk and on what kind of surfaces. The days of walking on ledges are over,” he said. “I really enjoy the scenery and being out in the woods. My motorcycle is very quiet. I can view wildlife. I see deer, coyotes, moose, birds — just being out in the woods is what I like.”
There’s a steep learning curve, said Mesick, who gets out about two or three times a month. Even though he considers himself an experienced motorcyclist and bicyclist, he fell down a lot his first year, especially when trying to get around turns. The best way to learn, he said, is to go with experienced trail riders. 
“[My mentors]  rode with me when I  must have been boring them to tears. They gave me good advice. They told me to ride in front of them so they could see what I was doing and critique it. They also had me follow them to see what they are doing.”
When it comes to finding places to ride, options can be limited, Levesque said. Public land, especially in the southern areas of the state, is hard to come by, and permission from each individual land owner on a route is needed to ride on private land.
In southern New Hampshire, the Hopkinton-Everett Trails area is one of the only spots to go. That land is privately owned by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, leased to the state and maintained by the Merrimack Valley Trail Riders. It offers about 27 miles of trails, 80 percent of which are shared with ATVs.
Further north, the options increase. Jericho Mountain State Park in Berlin offers miles of trails that feed into a 1,000-plus-mile interconnected  trail system being developed in Coos County.  
While northern communities have embraced dirt bikers and credited them with helping keep the economy afloat, the state’s southerners aren’t necessarily on the same page. Some dirt bikers, including Levesque, blame an ATV invasion for blocking land use access for dirt bikers. Last year, 18,645 ATVs but only 2,866 dirt bikes were registered with the Department of Fish and Game for trail use. 
The high profile of off-road vehicles has meant more riders were driving without necessarily adhering to the rules. According to Levesque, that elicited outcry from landowners and municipalities and resulted in the shutdown of trails to both kinds of vehicles.
“Although we are two different groups, [we are] categorized together and regulated together. So we’ve lost some trails over the years,” Levesque said.
 
Riding for a cause
“Do Gooder.” “Philanthropist.” “Humanitarian.” Not the first words that come to mind when thinking about bikers?
Motorcycle charity rides often are conceived when people combine their love of riding with an issue that has personally affected their lives. Bill Delaney started Keara’s Ride for the Cure after his daughter was diagnosed with fibrosis, a form of cancer that doesn’t have a cure. At the time, Delaney didn’t ride a motorcycle, but his son, who did, came to him with the idea.
“He thought it was a great idea, but he was younger, and he was expecting to get a bunch of people getting together outside of my house and do it that way,” Delaney said. “I said, ‘If we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it right.’ … Last year we had almost 90 motorcycles. That’s not going to fit in my yard.”
The ride starts at the Derry-Salem Elks Lodge instead. In the first year, about 40 bikers came out to ride. All the proceeds went to the Children’s Tumor Foundation, because that was the only organization raising money to research Keara’s ailment. But in the past couple years, more charitable foundations have cropped up, so Delaney splits the money amongst them. 
“It doesn’t matter if they’re in a biker club or just friends riding together. They all come together, and it’s all for the same cause. It’s really amazing. It’s touching,” Delaney said.
The local police from the towns they roll through make sure that everyone’s safe by directing traffic at busy intersections and keeping track of the riders’ progression.
“The police come along for the ride. They give out a speech telling people how to ride and how to be safe…. They say don’t do anything crazy, take a nice and easy pace. We usually ride less than the speed limit. Everyone knows why they are there and what to do,” Delaney said.
Another charity event, the Nick Jennings Memorial Ride, was created to honor Nicholas Jennings, a sports enthusiast who rode motorcycles and died in a car accident 10 years ago at age 16. 
“We’ve always ridden together,” said Scot Pettengill, who organizes the ride with Nick’s father, David. “The morning of  Nick’s passing he was coming to my house to go four-wheeling with my son, who was one of his classmates. Saturdays and Sundays we’d go bike riding in the pits.”
Now in its 10th year, the ride raises money for a scholarship for students who, like Nick was, may not be straight-A students but try their best and enjoy sports. Four or five $1,000 scholarships are awarded yearly to students at five local high schools.
Instead of a typical cruise, they do a poker run. Riders get a playing card before they head out at the starting point and pause at three stops along the way to get other cards and build up their hands. When everyone gets to the finishing point, prizes are awarded for things like best and worst hand.
“It gives everybody something to think about and it gives us a chance to do the work we need to do, keeping track of riders and getting ready for the meal,” Pettengill said.
The motorcycle community raises more money for charity than the U.S. government, said Lucky Belcamino, founder of East Coast Biker Chicks.
“In any given town or community, on any weekend in the spring and summer, there are an abundance of motorcycle rides for causes,” she said. 
Last year, the East Coast Biker Chicks New Hampshire Chapter raised more than $5,000 for the New Hampshire Humane Society by organizing a scenic ride.
 
As seen in the May 1, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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