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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 their purchases.

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 normally claim.

Actually the bikers were in Florida, just not in Daytona Beach. Well, not there all at the same time, anyway.

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 paying off.

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 areas.

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 campaign.

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.






This article is from Biker Number 226 March 2005 an Easyriders magazine.

Photography by Rogue.




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