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Posts Tagged ‘Bike Week’

For more than a year I’ve commented ranted about the various motorcycle rallies and the city council fiascos.

Many concerned city governments do their best to dissuade motorcycle rallies altogether using a series of tactics designed to run off motorcycle tourism.  By raising vendor and booth fee’s or trying to rein things in with stricter vendor rules or outright banning activity.  And if that doesn’t work they’ll pull the “P” card…exorbitant costs for policing the event to protect against the villain that doesn’t exist.

There have been boycotts by motorcycle enthusiasts, public forums, petitions, protests, organizations formed, news reports, and lawsuits filed (Myrtle Beach for example) so, I backed off on beating this dead horse which had begun to dominate my posts. I won’t say motorcyclists lost because we are still riding when, where, and how we want to, but some of the cities got their wish and several rallies were cancelled or downsized to the point where riders washed their hands of the whole thing.

Well, frankly I’m over it and looking forward to Laughlin River Run 2010.  If all goes well I will be saddling up in April.  I’ve attended this rally in various forms nine of the last 10 years.

Our posse is like most Laughlin River Run visitors in most cities that host motorcycle events. We don’t belong to a club or motorcycle gang. We don’t ride recklessly because we want to make it home in one piece. We aren’t going to walk out on our check or assault your families. Hotel furniture remains unbroken!  Several in the posse own a family business. And most all have worked their way up the ladder and been in management at a number of white collar companies.  All are family men and just looking to get away from the work-a-day world for a few days. We’ll spend money on lodging, we’ll go to restaurants, we’ll shop the vendors, we’ll have a few laughs, smoke a cigar or two and then we’ll go home. We’re the same people that cities work to get our tourist dollars, but have tried just as hard to run off as “villains.”

I read an article in, the Feb. 10 edition of The Sun News who reported that “For the first time in many years, hospitality revenue didn’t grow in Myrtle Beach in 2009, leaving the city with a larger-than-normal financial gap to overcome to balance its budget.” I told you so, Myrtle Beach.  But in reality we could [insert any city name USA here!] rather than Myrtle Beach.

Call my crazy, but here’s a novel idea for the Pacific Northwest Chambers of Commerce…in your city’s Chamber of Commerce embrace the, well… commerce, generated by the motorcycle rallies and maybe even play a key role in promoting them.  Yes, there will be times when city officials will have to deal with some complaints of congestion and noise. Instead of pulling the plug on tourist dollars hold the elected officials, heads of law enforcement, and Chamber of Commerce feet to the fire and ask them to do their jobs and address the issues.

Almost a year ago there was a CNN article where Kevin Kilian (Sr. VP of Daytona Beach/Halifax Area Chamber of Commerce) stated that their spring (Bike Week) and fall (Biketoberfest) motorcycle rallies generate $650 million dollars a year.

Could the same be true here the northwest?

Photo courtesy of Random House and Chip and Dan Heath.

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Today is Harley-Davidson Women’s Day at the Ocean Center in Daytona. The Women’s Day Ride arrives at the Ocean Center from various points across the U.S.  On arrival, Karen Davidson (great grand daughter of the founder) will introduce the six winners of the Get Down to Daytona contest. 

Interested in what is going on at Daytona?  Here is a cool link to the Rider Ramblings.  Harley is hosting the site and you can post a photo/story or upload a video.  There are stories from a guy in a RV, unaware that it was bike week to people who met over a refreshment and got engaged.  Go figure. Check it out.

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I was in Daytona Beach back in ’03 for the NASCAR Daytona 500.  I had a temperature controlled seat view from a press booth, but having arrived from the cold and rainy Northwest I enjoyed the outdoor seats with ocean air while watching Michael Waltrip win the race — it was shortened to 109 laps that year due to rain.

On that trip I visited Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley Dealer, but I’ve never attended Bike Week.  The event brings in a half-million bikers around the world and this year looks like Harley is “all-in” at the Ocean Center Arena.  The show is March 1-9th.  Harley corp. plans a solid online presence this year.  They’ll have daily blogs, photos, and video updates from the adventure all week with Biker Billy (of “Cooks w/ Fire” fame), Beau Pacheco and Jessica Craker doing the YouTube thing.

Hey Harley corp., if you ever want another “motley” crew member to do event correspondence I’m willing to fly there on my own dime, but can’t justify the expense for this “hobby-blog” gig! You listening Willy?  But then again why should you do anything because Harley already gets this free blog press?!

Okay enough whining, but between the Ford Truck displays, traveling museum, Custom Cycle Show and Florida festival music I’d say they are firing on both cylinders.  Not to mention the “Hot Buns” contest, the boozy and floozy bar tour and the famous “Cabbage Patch“.  A guy would really need to work at scheduling time just to ride!

The official Harley activities guide is here in PDF (1.5MB).

Bike Week seems to favor East Coast residents/riders… unless you’re into the fly-n-drive program or have a lot of free time.  If you go to the event I’d like to hear about your adventures.

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