SMALL CROWDS, BIG FUN
The famous beach drew fewer people to
the 63rd Annual event than it did in past years, but, for many, that
was a positive thing. It made getting around quicker; parking places
were easily found (even on Main and Beach streets),you could walk
down the side walks without hassle, vendors had more time to spend
with you, and you waited in shorter lines if there were any. For the
people attending, those are all positive things.
Businesses and vendors also noticed
fewer people, and those that I talked to said their business was
down. Even while they were telling me that, there was a steady
stream of customers. They were busy just not the long lines they
were use to.
Well, most places that is. There were
long lines to see Billy Lane, Indian Larry and some other well-
known builders. Admirers waited to talk to them and have them sign
Locals and regulars to the events were
heard making statements like "Biketoberfest was busier; Oh, it must
have been all the rain from last year; or the cold from the year
before." Some even went so far as to estimate the amount of
attendance to be 300,000-350,000——down from the 500,000 they
Actually the bikers were in Florida,
just not in Daytona Beach. Well, not there all at the same time,
There has been a growing trend for the
visitors to spend time in other parts of the state like Orlando,
Miami, and even Key West. All of whom claimed more visitors than
normal this year. These areas welcome the bikers and want their
business, and have been going after it for some time. It seems to be
Cocco Beach had enough bikers in the
area that the local newspaper had an article welcoming them and
asking motorists to be watchful for them while driving. There was
also a statement from the city saying how the motorcyclists added to
the economy, and how they were welcome. That was something I had not
seen before, but it is similar to what is being reported in other
An advantage of staying outside of
Daytona Beach is less money and less aggressive police enforcement.
Don’t get me wrong, there are places that are aggressive enforcement
areas all year long in Florida, but most do not just pull over every
fifth or seventh biker and find something.
There are plenty of parties,
restaurants and other forms of entertainment everywhere, and of
course you can ride into Daytona for a day or two, see the things
you want and party some, and then actually ride and see some of the
rest of the state.
The areas starting just outside Daytona
were trying hard to draw business, and seem to have been very
successful at doing it.
Those that opted to stay in the area
had plenty to do: Harley Show, Rat’s Hole, Ole Skool Chopper Show
just a few of the bike shows everywhere.
There were free concerts almost every
night, all the bars had bands, drinks and hearty parties.
On top of all that, the weather was in
the 70s and a couple of times the 8Os. No rain fell any where I was.
It was great riding weather
Of course, so were the cops. There was
the normal squad in front of the Iron Horse, and also on the south
end in front of the Club 44 who were reported giving out tickets at
a steady rate. As were the motorcycle cops sitting on the east end
of International Speedway Boulevard. As the riders crossed the new
bridge and tended to get on it a bit. . . the boys in blue were
waiting and pulling them over for speeding. Hey you play, you get
caught, you pay.
The local newspaper reported that the
police expected more arrests this year, including an increase in DUI
charges. Florida is pushing their you-drink-you-drive-you-lose
Now, there was also a goon squad that
was going around supposedly looking for stolen bikes, and snatched
one from a dude in New Smyrna Beach. He says they told him the
numbers looked suspicious so they took it to an impound in Daytona
Beach. They took the ignition out, cam cover off, cut two pushrods
to get the cam out— all to check out the numbers on the inside of
the case. The numbers matched. They took his bike on Thursday and he
didn’t get it back until Saturday, but not until he paid towing
charges. He then had to trailer it back to his house. As of this
article he has not got the bike back together, as he doesn’t have
the parts to fix it.
The bikers need to let Daytona Beach
know that they are tired of how they are being treated, and if they
continue to want their business they need to shape up. If not they
will start spending in one of the other areas that welcome them.