2014 Daytona Beach Bike Week
What started as a small party for bike enthusiasts during the 1937 inaugural Daytona 200 Motorcycle Race has now matured into one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world. With the onset of World War II, however, the Daytona 200 race was put on hold for a few years.
Daytona, with support from area merchants, decided to welcome riders back, despite the lack of racing. Their idea was to have everyone line their bikes along Main Street, visit local establishments, and stay at hotels for an unofficial party known as Bike Week. The idea found broad support, and now after 70 years Daytona Beach Bike Week is considered the definitive kickoff event for the motorcycle rally and events season on the East Coast.
Over the decades Daytona has seen tremendous growth, and the number of motorcycle enthusiasts coming to Bike Week has also dramatically increased. While many of the events still take place downtown on Main Street, many bikers prefer to stay outside the city these days and throw their own parties at large campgrounds. And while many of the original motorcycle men rode in on Harleys and Indians, today you’ll see more non-Harley Davidsons and plenty of women riders.
This year the world’s largest motorcycle event begins on March 7, and more than a half million bikers are expected to make the annual pilgrimage. They’ll be treated to 10 days of high-octane street festivals, motorcycle races, bike shows, concerts, and so much more.
If you’re coming down for the week, one mecca you won’t want to miss is Bruce Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona in Ormond Beach. Bruce has one of the largest Harley dealerships in the country, and his location is practically a festival in itself. With retail and specialty shops, full service restaurants and the infamous Saints & Sinners Bar, there’s always something to see and do or buy. And with The Ormond Beach Chamber Of Commerce’s Carnivale being held at the same location, you can revel to your heart’s content.
With all that takes place during Bike Week, two of the best bike shows you won’t want to miss are the Rats Hole Custom Bike Show and Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Old School Chopper Show. At these shows you’ll get to meet tons of custom bike builders and industry celebrities, listen to live music from top name acts, sign up for contests, and anything else you can imagine. The myriad bars in town also have lots of attractions including live music, biker contests, and more. Some favorites include the Broken Spoke Saloon, Dog Pound Saloon, The Cabbage Patch, Full Moon Saloon and Dirty Harry’s. Main Street, of course, is still the place to be to see the best vendors and concerts.
There’s no shortage of things to do during Bike Week; for the full scoop on events, visit the official website.