7-12-13HARLEY-rally-cover2By Eva Potter

For the first time in many years, the HOG Rally returns to Western New York this weekend.

Over 1,200 motorcycles — Harley-Davidson, to be precise — are expected to roll into Ellicottville for the July 11–13 event taking place at Holiday Valley.

Harley Owners Group (HOG) represents an diverse group of Harley-Davidson owners, who all have one thing in common — their love of taking to the open road on their bikes. The weekend will offer plenty of that along with a welcome dinner and opening ceremony, motorcycle vendors, the Bubba Blackwell Stunt Show, live music, dancing, golf, a motorcycle light show, as well as a winery and brewery tour.

There will be several scenic rides throughout Cattaraugus County to some special local destinations, highlighted by the first all-female ride, “Leave the Men Behind,” led by the ride coordinator Bev Sherman.

Once you’ve ridden the scenic byways of Cattaraugus County, it won’t take long for you to start planning your next visit back to Ellicottville.

“There are a lot of really unique opportunities to ride in this area if you’ve never been. Ellicottville has established itself as a destination that people want to be at. They have something for everybody and are very welcoming to the biker community,” said Tim McKeever, marketing manager at Gowanda Harley-Davidson, the host dealership of this year’s HOG Rally.

To make your planning easy, the county’s tourism department has assembled some of the best ride routes in the area. For a free ride map, call 1-800-331-0543 or go to www.enchantedmountains.com to download a map.

Here are some highlights you won’t want to miss:

Green Ride (25 miles): Take a ride through Amish country and step back in time as you ride amid the horse-drawn buggies of this Old Order society. Be sure to slow down and put your camera away — the Amish don’t believe in being photographed. As you ride the undulating roads of the western part of the county, make a few stops to pick up some homemade baked goods and Amish crafts.

Pink Ride (77 miles): This heritage ride takes you from Zoar Valley to Allegany State Park and offers a taste of the area’s natural, historical and cultural heritage. Stop in Ellicottville for a great lunch. Then continue to the park and ride the scenic loop — it’s gorgeous in the fall!

Blue Ride (42 miles): Head for the wide open blue highways on the eastern edge of the county and explore this north-south route leading you through Franklinville to Cuba to the Seneca Nation Oil Spring Territory, site of first oil spring ever recorded on the North American continent.

Yellow Ride (45 miles): This ride, dotted with interesting villages and friendly folks, will take you through the heart of the Enchanted Mountains with plenty of pit stops and places to eat. As you cruise through Randolph, Little Valley, Ellicottville, Ashford, Machias and Delevan, you’ll discover beautiful vistas, great roads, interesting attractions and unique shopping.

Brown Ride (45 miles): Peaceful lakes, curving country roads and rolling mountains offer a relaxing escape from everyday worries. This lightly traveled highway offers plenty of opportunities for a relaxing lunch or a bit of shopping in the Village of Randolph.

Red Ride (53 miles): Nicknamed the “Town and Country Ride,” this route along the southeastern part of the county is a real treat with stunning elevations, picturesque villages and the world’s largest exposure of quart conglomerate at Rock City Park — a must see.

“We have one of the most beautiful areas to ride in in all of Western New York. We have some of the best roads, believe it or not, and some of the best scenery and locations,” commented McKeever. “There’s a reason why so many people in the summertime will come out to this area and vacation, and many people ride their bikes to this area.”

McKeever said Gowanda Harley-Davidson sponsors Iron Maidens—Women’s Only Riding Group the last Tuesday of every month. All experienced female riders are welcome. On July 27, the Dunlop Riders hit the dealership, and on Aug. 10 they host the Kustom Kruise-In V, their annual classic car and bike show. Visit www.gowandaharley.com for details.

Holiday Valley will be teaming with Harley lovers this weekend. If you own a HOG, come celebrate the 25th anniversary of the NYS H.O.G. Rally, the 30th anniversary of the founding of the National H.O.G. Association and the 110th  year since the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle hit the road.

For more information, call (845) 657-8394 or visit www.nystatehogrally.com. Registration will be available on-site.