When most people think about Daytona Beach, Florida, they probably think about miles of beautiful beaches, high-rise condos overlooking the water, and yes, some of us probably think about all the pretty girls in their bikinis, too. And if you’re a sports fan, you probably think about the Daytona 500, one of the biggest events in racing. Diehard race fans might even tell you that stock car racing was born right here on the beach in Daytona.
But something else that a lot of people may not think about, and something that we didn’t think about until we moved to the area, is motorcycles.
Of course, anywhere in Florida is a great place to ride a motorcycle just about any time of year, and plenty of people do. But this time every year, thousands upon thousands of bikers come to Daytona Beach for the annual Bike Week. Everywhere we turn these days we are seeing motorcycles. Motorcycles on the highways, motorcycles at restaurants and bar parking lots, motorcycles on the back roads. And you hear even more of them than you see! One local news program said Bike Week draws as many as 500,000 people to the area, along with a fortune in money spent on hotels, food, entertainment, and gasoline to keep those bikes rolling.
Bike Week is not our only big motorcycle event. A smaller gathering called Biketoberfest happens in the Fall. The two combined are a great way for motorcyclists from all over the country to come to Florida and welcome the start of the motorcycle season and the end of it back wherever they are from.
Yesterday we had to go to DeLand, about 35 miles east of us, because I had an appointment with my pain management doctor. On the way, we passed the Volusia County Fairgrounds, which has been turned into a giant motorcycle swap meet, with vendors selling everything from motorcycle parts and accessories to riding gear, patches, and anything else that might tempt a biker to reach for his or her wallet. Yes indeed, there are a lot of women riding their own motorcycles in town right now!
As we passed the fairgrounds we did a double-take when we saw this huge wooden motorcycle, and we had to pull in to take some pictures of it. Called Burning Bike, this thing is 30 feet tall and 75 feet long and is a tradition at Bike Week.
People are encouraged to come out and have their pictures taken with the bike and write messages on it to friends have who have taken their last ride and gone on to that big motorcycle rally in the sky. The reason they call it Burning Bike is because this Friday, starting at 5 PM, the fairgrounds will have live music, a bikini contest, high wire acts, and other fun things that will culminate with the burning of the bike, hence its name. That’s right, they’re going to burn it up on Friday night, and all of those messages of love that people wrote on it will go up to wherever bikers go when they leave this world.
With everything that’s going on right now, I don’t know that we will make it out there for the big event, but we will wait and see. I can tell you one thing though, it’s going to be one heck of a fire!
Thought For The Day – Every once in a while I go outside and run the vacuum cleaner over the driveway just to make sure the neighbors continue to avoid me.