My trip from Eastern, Pennsylvania to Worcester, Massachusetts for the fourth annual New Tradition Motorcycle Show started off without a hitch but ended with a bang. Literally.
New England winters are no joke. They can be brutally cold and it snows a lot. These conditions usually lead to a few months of hibernation, for both man and machine.
Fortunately, for all of those North-Easterners fighting off the mid-winter blues, a few years ago, Joe Weiss and Jay Roche from the New Tradition Company together with John Repetto of The Eazy Company decided to throw the first New Tradition Motorcycle Show. Now in the fourth year, the show is a welcome dose of motorcycles and friends during a time of year when everyone is spending more time in their garages than on their bikes.
The show proves that people do love their motorcycles, friends and good times. While it is a small show, the quality of the bikes on display and the size of the crowd rivals many other larger shows. Even with snow in the forecast, again for this year, the show drew bikes and spectators from all over the Northeast. Greasy Dozen builder Brandon Long brought his KZ750 down from New Hampshire while fellow Greasy Dozen builders Frank Caruti and Jerry Merola brought their Shovelhead all the way up from South Jersey.
I left Pennsylvania at 9 am on Saturday. With Otter LaRouche and Paul Sarduy along for the ride, the four and a half hour trip couldn't have gone smoother. Although, with no snow yet on the roads that morning, I would say the drive went as expected.
We arrived a few hours early and found the New Tradition Company Coffee Shop at 5 Harris Court. Easily the coolest moto-infused coffee shop in the Northeast. (Are there even any others?) The coffee shop is on the first floor of the old industrial building that also houses the Heartland Barbershop, Eastern Border skate shop, a woodworking shop, the Eazy Company and the show space upstairs.
The crew at the New Tradition Company let us cut through the coffee shop and head upstairs to the show space early so we could shoot the bikes while they were still being shuffled into place. This was great as it let me shoot without the crowds that would show up and fill the space in a few more hours from then.
After shooting the bikes for a while and catching up with some friends, we were starting to get pretty hungry. Someone recommended we try a nearby Mexican restaurant, so we drove a few miles down the road to get an early dinner. We sat in the restaurant eating some killer burritos and nervously staring out the windows as the forecasted snow finally began to fall.
After stuffing our faces, we headed back to the show, where people were already filing in, kicking the snow off their boots and seeking warmth.
As the snow accumulated outside, we spent the next three hours inside, further admiring the bikes, catching up with old friends and making plenty of new ones.
I've been to this show before and it's always been worth the nine hours of driving I've had to do in a single day. (Maybe I should consider making a weekend out of it, though...) If you are anywhere even remotely near Worcester, I highly recommend checking out next year's show. You'll be sitting at home, probably bored and probably fighting off those mid-winter blues. The New Tradition Show will give you hope! You should go check it out.
However, as I pondered above, I would recommend staying the night. Especially if it's going to snow.
We left the show sometime around 7:00 pm. The local roads hadn't yet been plowed and unfortunately, neither had any of the highways between Massachusetts and New Jersey. We slipped along at 35 mph for far too many hours before finally finding mostly clear roads in New Jersey.
Once again cruising at highway speeds, at 12:30 am on Sunday, I couldn't avoid striking a skid assembly that broke off of a state snowplow.
The skid from the plow jammed under the car and sent us careening off the road. As smoke poured out from under the hood, we got out of the car and quickly realized that our night was far from over. The oil pan was practically ripped off the car and the subframe took a blow that left it bent and broken.
After dealing with the State Police, a towing company and an issue with the towing company not being able to drive the three of us to Pennsylvania; we eventually found a ride and finally made it back to my house sometime after 4 am on Sunday.
What a show, what a trip. I can't wait for the next one!
And next year, snow or no snow, I think I will just plan on staying the night.
Photos + Story by Chris Lacour