GILFORD — Cynthia Makris summed up the philosophy behind Laconia Motorcycle Week in a welcoming news conference at Gunstock Mountain Resort on Thursday.
“When we say in Laconia, ‘We ride,’ we mean that from our ‘Live Free or Die’ Yankee attitude, our mutual love of the wind in our faces and the freedom of the open road. This is what has built the legacy of Laconia Motorcycle Week as the oldest rally in the world,” said Makris, whose family owns the Naswa Resort.
She said the Motorcycle Week rally, which is in its 95th year, is old but, “We are the youngest at heart and the hardiest of riders.”
The rally begins Saturday with a ride named for her late father, Peter Makris, who rode a motorcycle until the age of 82.
The Peter Makris Memorial Run raises money for charities, including $120,000 to date to Veterans Count, which helps veterans, active military and their families.
“My dad was a World War II Marine and he believed in giving back to his beloved community and supporting his fellow veterans,” said Makris, president of the Motorcycle Week Association.
New Hampshire State Police motorcycles lead the Makris Memorial Run.
State Police Major Matt Shapiro said many state troopers are motorcycle enthusiasts.
He used to work in the Field Operations section in State Police headquarters, where the walls are adorned with photographs showing uniformed troopers in action.
“But of all the pictures displayed, the one I was most proud of was a photograph of four members of the State Police Motorcycle Unit leading a seemingly endless sea of riders through a mountain landscape around a long sweeping curve in the road on a brilliant, sunny day,” Shapiro said.
In the foreground of the photo was Trooper First Class Jay LaPointe, who is the current commander of the State Police Motorcycle Unit.
“He was captured in that moment, looking directly in the camera with an incredibly satisfied smile. It always said to me, ‘Life is good.’
“I really think that photograph is indicative of the beauty of this state and the spirit of the open road that this rally embodies.”