Event offers antique bike enthusiasts opportunity for competition, camaraderie

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Tue., Aug. 13, 2013
Gregg Grant prepares for a ride on his 1962 Harley Davidson Servi. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Gregg Grant prepares for a ride on his 1962 Harley Davidson Servi. Photos by Melanie Savage.

The Yankee Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The weekend of Aug. 3, the group once again took over the Hebron Lions Club Fairgrounds for its annual national meet. According to chapter president Dan Margolien, attendees come from all six New England states to show off antique bikes in various stages of restoration, swap parts, share stories and enjoy the camaraderie fostered by a shared interest. The group has been meeting in Hebron for more than 20 years, according to Margolien.

To qualify as an antique, a motorcycle must be at least 35 years old, said Margolien. Caring for these older bikes, “is about constantly chasing after originality,” he said. Motorcycles brought to the event are eligible for judging by a panel of experts, with higher points assigned to restorations that conform more to the original. Margolien pointed to a 1960s Harley Davidson with a shiny new red paint job and gleaming chrome, and a nearby 1970s Harley with dull, brown original paint. While aesthetically pleasing and more eye-catching, the red bike would likely garner fewer points, said Margolien. “This is all original,” he said of the less-flashy 70s bike. “Originality is the most sought-after.”

Part of what the Hebron meet offers is an opportunity for restorers to pick up needed parts. There were numerous vendors and bike enthusiasts set up at the fairgrounds, watching over tables and blankets littered with headlights, mufflers, handlebars and other bike parts. “Someone might need a headlight for their 1970 Harley and they might be able to pick it up here,” said Margolien.

Mansfield-area resident Sandy Gallo is an associate member of the Yankee Chapter AMCA. “We’ve got people of every possible age, from all walks of life here today,” she said, standing in the shade of one of the Lions Club gazebos. “It’s really a cross-section of people brought together by a common interest,” said Gallo.

Many people come to the meet to gain points for their bikes. There are also fun judging categories, according to Gallo. “I got a trophy once for best fender ornament,” she said. Motorcycle games also provide a measure of fun. Events such as the slow ride foster light-hearted competition while simultaneously challenging a rider’s skill level. “Anybody can ride fast,” said Gallo. “It’s really a skill to be able to ride slow.”

The annual road run takes an average of 40 or 50 bikes on a local ride of between 40 and 50 miles. “Our motto is, 'Ride ‘em, don’t hide ‘em,'” said Gallo. “There are people who build these beautiful bikes and just leave them sitting there,” she added. “That’s not what we’re all about.”

But for Gallo, the annual Yankee Chapter meet, like similar events, is all about the people. “Camaraderie is what I come here for,” she said. “People have been getting together here for years and years. You make friends.”

For more information about the Yankee Chapter of the AMCA, go to www.yankeechapter.org. There are many AMCA-sponsored events taking place nationwide throughout the year. For more information about the Antique Motorcycle Club of America, go to http://www.antiquemotorcycle.org/.


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