Motorcycle enthusiasts gathered for the 5th annual Rice-O-Rama rally last weekend in the rolling hills of North Brookfield, Massachusetts. Whether they went to sell parts, show off custom designs, talk shop or take home something special, this was the place to be in New England if you like Japanese motorcycles. View Video
Tarps and trucks and trailers were spread out over the wide lawn surrounding a small homestead at the end of dirt forest road. Coveted used motorcycle parts and shiny new accessories lay out in the sun for the crowds to search over as they walked by in the afternoon. Earlier in the morning, it was a different story.
Enthusiasts rushed in early to get the best of what was available this year. “10-5 Rain or Shine” means that people arrived between eight and ten in the morning to set up, get the first peek and maybe the first dibs. “If you’re late, the good stuff is gone,” said Zev Fisher, 31, from Somerville, Massachusetts, who brought a truck to take home a bike.
On display under a sheltered staging area View video, all the best-in-show bikes were lined up like angled dominoes supported by each unique kick-stand and spaced apart just enough to view their engine design.
Shined, but not new, these bikes are cared for as prized possessions of attendees and regularly brought on trailers. The parking lot amassed even more variety, only these bikes were brought by their own two wheels.
“Different years, styles, makes, conditions… to everything in between. High-milers, low-milers, new old-stock stuff. It’s great,” said Jim Huston, 54, of West Hampton, Massachusetts while sitting on the back of his Ducati 900ss holding his laptop and a printed spreadsheet; checking in at work online. View Video
Many bike mechanics and designers came to show their latest crafted piece with the hope to sell. Conversations began between strangers about what they did, how they did it, what tools they used and where to source materials. For crafters this can be the big brainstorm event for the year.
The Baer family showed up from South Boston to exhibit Jess Baer’s 1972 CB350 Honda Scrambler View Video and in order to find side-covers for her bike. “I can’t believe how big it is [this year]. It’s like…” Jess paused as her brother Erik chimed in “It’s twice as big as last year, at least.” “… I would say even more, like triple the size,” finished Jess as they strapped down her bike to the trailer to head home with her Dad, Henry and family friend, Mark Briere.
For collectors or amateurs, this is the local spot in New England to see and test bikes before buying. Searching for a motorcycle online at sites like Craigslist and Ebay can be helpful but only half the game.
Tom Law introduced me to his custom Honda Café racer. “I put it on ebay just to see. I got 3900 views… and 100 views is good, ya know… 200 questions and 50 ‘awesome bike dude’ from people. I put it up for $8,000” with the original tank style but a custom tail and exhaust. At Rice-O-Rama this year he was pitching it for $7,200 but whispered that he’d bring the price down to $6,900 if someone had cash in hand.
Trophies were another take-home, awarded for the best in show. Competition categories for bikes included various engine sizes, track /dirt competition bikes, 2-stroke engines, oldest, highest mileage, Choppers View Video, Cruisers, Trikes and more. There was even a “Foreign” class that included the Indian; Americas first motorcycle manufacturer in 1901. Foreign you say? Lets not forget, this was a Japanese motorcycle rally.
Whether you wanted to talk shop, pick out parts or just have a good day of riding, Rice-O-Rama was a fun destination. Just like they say there at Rice-O-Rama, “Smack dab in the middle of the twisty-turney scenic countryside of central Massachusetts. Enjoy the ride.” View Video