Evidently Old Man Winter wanted to enjoy the 77th annual Bike Week in Daytona Beach as well. I have to say it was chilly, upper 30s to lower 40s at night, upper 60s to lower 70s during the day, but we bikers had sun. A sweat jacket and a light coat and we were good to go.
After months of not riding, it really felt good to get on the bike and the thousands of bikers who attended with me was proof that this was the way may of us felt. Unfortunately it seemed that the crowd was a little sparse. Nor’easters in the northern region seemed to keep some of those folks away. But all in all, it’s Bike Week and it’s literally a week of music, bike shows, vendors and sites for all who attended to enjoy.
Bike Week festivities are not confined to Daytona Beach. You can find Bruce Rossmeyer’s Harley-Davidson Resort, the Iron Horse Saloon along with the Broken Spoke, Beaver Bar and Smileys, all in the same vicinity, in Ormond Beach, Sopotnick’s Cabbage Patch Bar in Samsula and Cacklebery’s Campground and the Last Resort in Port Orange. These are just a few. There are events taking place all over the area.
You have to pick up a Bike Week Pocket Guide or a Daytona Vendor and Event map that will give you information on scenic rides and also contains a calendar of events by day. There is also a Bike Week Welcome Center tent on Beach Street for any questions you may have.
How about those bike shows?
Now Bike Week is about motorcycles and builders come from far and wide, even from across the pond, to showcase their latest creations and hope to possibly walk away with a Bike Week trophy. I recommend you don’t miss the bike shows.
Master builder Dave Perewitz held a Paint Show on Beach Street and had some of the most outstanding bikes with some wicked paint schemes, many with metal flake that sparkled like crazy in the Daytona sun. Then there is the Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Old Skool Chopper Show that takes place at the tattoo parlor on US 1. This is my all-time favorite show because a good portion of the bikes that are in the show are home built. That’s the criteria for this show and you have to ride it in. The ingenuity and imagination of what some of these builders used for parts to build these bikes is just mind blowing. If you are into pro streets and customs, be sure to head to the Boardwalk show and the Rat’s Hole show. There are also a number of ride-in shows for the average Joes and their bikes.
Bike races at the speedway
What is Bike Week without bike races? After all bike races on the sand is what started the idea of Bike Week in the first place.
A whole series of races took place over the course of the week including the Monster Energy Supercross, the Ricky Carmichael Amateur Supercross, the FLY Racing ATV Supercross, the 77th annual Daytona 200 and the Daytona TT.
The races are really exciting to watch. I attended the Daytona TT and wasn’t disappointed. A dirt track is constructed near the grandstand at the Daytona International Speedway and both the TT race and the short track race performed.
Taking home the win in the TT race was Jared Mees of Sebastian, Florida, with JD Beach of Philpot, Kentucky, in second and Henry Wiles of Winn, Michigan, in third. Dan Bromley of Warrington, Pennsylvania, took the win at the AFT Singles.
There was plenty of action and you almost hate to see them crash, which a few did. But the races were well attended by spectators and it was just awesome sitting in the grandstand of one of the most famous race tracks in the country.
Oh, and I do not recommend taking a lap on the speedway with your bike. It’s just way too steep. Those who tried, just ended up toppling over on their bikes. Not a good idea.
Taking a break from the bike scene
Now if you want to get away from the commotion of Main Street for a day, head to Ponce Inlet, ride the Loop or do what I did, visit Blue Spring Park in Orange City to see the manatees. It’s only an hour’s ride from Daytona. There are trails to walk on and you can even rent a canoe or kayak.
Swap meets are also in abundance. The Volusia County Fairgrounds in Deland held one in conjunction with their flea market. This is also where you can watch the Burning Bike Event. A huge wooden bike is erected and then burned the last day of Bike Week. Bikers just know how to have fun, don’t they?
Summing it all up
No matter how many times I procrastinate about going to Bike Week, my urge to ride, to be by the ocean and enjoy the palm trees and Florida sun, always wins out. A chance to get away from the cold and snow helps a lot, too. But just like any bike rally, they seem to be changing from year to year. It just seemed to me that the Harley generation that attends the annual event is getting smaller and smaller and so are the celebrity bike builders. And the younger sport bike generation is just not interested in what Bike Week offers. They’d rather ride during Spring Break. Sad in a way. But so too, those who experienced the very early days of Bike Week are somewhat disappointed by how commercialized it has become. Times do change.
But heck, despite all of it, Bike Week is fun and how much fun you have is entirely up to you. If you haven’t yet experienced it, add it to your bucket list.
For more information on Bike Week and Biketoberfest, which takes place every October, go to officialbikeweek.com.
Go to recordonline.com/myride for a photo gallery and video from the 77th annual Daytona Beach Bike week.
Next Monday: “Over the Hill Gang” breakfast