Motorcycle: Live Ride - Rallies: Daytona Cycle Week
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 14:26:18 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
Rallies: Daytona Cycle Week
Outside the Rat's Hole custom shop. Main Street reverberates to the rumble of big-bore Vs on open pipes. Heavy-looking bikers in wraparound shades stand beergut-to-beergut, shoulder-to-tattooed-shoulder on every inch of sidewalk. It's March and almost 200,000 bikers have Daytona Beach under siege.
Like Sturgis, this is a week-long party. For the most part, the siege is friendly. As the barmaid at La Playa Hotel put it, "Bike Week's the best because they're all really nice. You don't see manners like this any other time. Wannanother beer?"
• BADASS BIKERS?
Like Sturgis, Daytona's Cycle Week is one of those mammoth events that didn't begin as a celebration of all that is Harley-Davidson but somehow became one. Cycle Week takes place each year during March's Spring Break in the Florida coastal city of Daytona Beach. Its focal point is ostensibly the races at nearby Daytona International Speedway, a spectacular banked oval which also hosts the famous Daytona Nascar races. It's yet another of those Harley enigmas that, as the factory's twins' interest in the races has declined, its profile in Cycle Week as a whole has risen dramatically. Milwaukee's official XR750 road racer last competed there in 1973 (although the VR1000 has competed in recent years) and hasn't had a win since Cal Rayborn's in 1969, but this hasn't spoiled the party one bit. Quite the reverse — not having to ride the few miles out to the Speedway seems to leave more time for downtown fun. Daytona has become pure festival.
Sturgis, a small town, is understandably overwhelmed by bikes. Daytona Beach is big, yet the effect is much the same. The scene centres on the junction of Atlantic and Main Street, where bikes and bodies are crammed sidewalk to sidewalk. Harley-Davidson — wise to the public relations coup Daytona has handed them - takes over the city's Hilton Hotel to strut its corporate stuff and show the latest models. However most Daytona life goes on in the street, in the bars, on the beach and in nearby campgrounds.
Cycle Week has custom shows and impromptu drag races. During the day, bikes cruise along Daytona's beaches. There's official racing at the local quarter-mile dirt track and the main event at the International Speedway. There are swap meets in which enthusiasts sell or search for bike parts, notably at the Volusia County Fairgrounds.
Mainly it's lots of partyin', posin' and cruisin', and if you can't wait 12 months for your next Daytona fix, you can show up at the HOG "Biketoberfest" in October.
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