Daytona Bike Week Kicks Off Riding Season

Recently, two groups of Red River BMW Riders headed down to Daytona for the annual Bike Week hullaballoo in Daytona and environs, Fla.

Beau Andrews, Bruce Carrington and Dan Weber anchored one team that left via I-49 south while Don Glover and entourage traveled eastbound I-20. The two groups met up in Marianna, Fla., and traveled the rest of the way to Daytona together. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Bike Week is a great motorcycling gathering and has grown over the years to incorporate events from New Smyrna to Deland to Ormond Beach and beyond on Florida's central east coast.

Upon their arrival, Beau and Bruce went directly to the Daytona International Speedway which is always a happening place, filled with vendors, manufacturers and racing. They report all major manufacturers were there this year with the exception of BMW.

Perhaps saving money was a wise choice for BMW as universal reports put the crowds for Bike Week down significantly. Dan says it appears crowds were 50% off from previous years, Bruce guesstimates 25% or more. Local Florida media were also reporting slim pickings. This report came from a Daytona-area radio station, WDBO.
"Bike Week is back, but it's more like a whimper than a roar. Dave Hands owns the Ocean Court Motel in Daytona. He describes the streets as much more quiet at night, and his hotel too.
"With the economy and everything, I wasn't expecting a massive Bike Week crowd, and I think I'm pretty well right in saying this will be our worst Bike Week. I've been in business since 1987." Consumers are benefiting though. He's dropped all of his minimum stay requirements, and Hands says walk in traffic is looking for a giveaway, as much as 50 percent off on rooms. He won't do it, but the national chains are offering huge discounts to attract what's left of the crowd." Maybe this will turn out to be a good thing for cyclists, who have seen room rates skyrocket out of sight during Bike Week and Biketoberfest events. (Ed. note to businesses: Don't just ASSUME bikers will attend your events if you try to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.)

Despite the lower crowds or maybe because of it, Bruce Carrington reports this was his favorite Bike Week trip ever. Bruce and Beau stopped and shopped at all the major hotspots: Destination Daytona, Beach Street, BMW of Daytona and the speedway, but Bruce's favorite event was also probably one of the cheapest. $15 paid for a ticket that got him into the stands at the speedway to see Super Sport practice runs, which he describes as 'fast and awesome.'

In spite of the cold front which made early morning riding a challenge, the Red Riders group had a great time and came back with stories to tell, and Bruce returned with a personal best, logging more than 900 miles in the saddle in one day on his return from Daytona to Shreveport. He reports his energy started flagging in Mobile, Ala., which is a bit over the halfway mark, but took a serious dive in Jackson, Miss. Thank heavens for strong coffee. A Starbucks latte, extra caffeine, please, got him the final 218 miles to home.

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