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Hagerstown's inaugural Bike Week was roaring success

July 21, 2011

We congratulate everyone who helped organize, and participated in, the first Hagerstown Bike Week, which culminated Sunday.

It probably doesn’t need to be stated anymore that these are not your father’s bikers — they are still fun-loving, but are older, wealthier and (with apologies to their reputation) less Cain-raising than the movie stereotypes of yore.

Today, bikers are better known for their charities than their chains.

And, instead of passing ordinances preventing them from entering city limits, towns are encouraging them to see the local sights and have a good time, all to the benefit of local businesses and local residents who might take the opportunity to make a new friend or two.

“The (Williamsport government has) seen how effective it is at getting revenue for businesses in the town, so they’re totally on board with it,” said Jeff Davis, general manager of the Williamsport Harley-Davidson.

Williamsport’s fourth Bike Nite was held in conjunction with Hagerstown’s Bike Week, which sprouted from several bike shows that have been annual attractions at Cancun Cantina on Dual Highway. And as long as the riders stay safe and the merriment remains under control, these events are most welcome.

Cantina co-owner Jennifer Miller said she expected Bike Week would attract 8,000 people the first year, and that it is likely to grow in future years. Whatever the final numbers, it was a great accomplishment and it comes at a time when it’s most needed.

As local manufacturing jobs have dried up and county government has found little to take their place, tourism is going to become a greater player in our local economy.

We believe Washington County “shows well,” as they say in the real estate business, and that some of the bikers who were first-time visitors over the weekend might at some point return with their families for a closer look at our attractions.

And we thank people such as Miller, Davis and all the Bike Week organizers for making it happen. It’s been good for the bikers, good for business and good for the community, and we look forward to Bike Week 2012.

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