In 2006 Lorna and I took our grand-daughter to do the Disney World bit in Orlando. Whilst there we drove up to Daytona to see what bike week was all about having read about it and seen it on TV.
When we realised just how big it was we decided we would make a trip on our own as its not the ideal place for a child. Feb 27th 2008 saw us booked into the Hilton Hotel on Atlantic Drive, Daytona. Bike week did not start officially until the 29th but we wanted to see what it was like before and after.
Daytona main street is the street where the bikes drive up and down for 18hrs a day, but on the 27th of Feb it was deserted many shops preparing for the coming week and only a few bikes around.
We had a quick walk up and down and then drove out of Daytona for dinner. During the 28th things starting warming up and the town started to come to life. Many Americans take the bikes in trailers or pick up trucks, when you see the weather forecast on the TV you realise why, whilst we were on the world famous beach in Daytona New York had snow and weather was horrendous. Lots of places in America were under snow so riding the bikes was impossible. When we walked the 5 minutes from the hotel to Main Street on the 29th the change was incredible. All the shops, trade stands and pubs were open, there were hundreds, if not thousands, of bikes lining Main Street and the pavements were full of people.
Buy a GOLDWING here
Yes it had started and yes we were at Daytona for Bike Week. There are many events taking place during bike week that are away from the town, at the Daytona Speedway are the likes of Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki etc etc and this is where the bike builders are showing off their incredible bikes, trikes and choppers. Around the area are many shows and traders with shows and trade stands, many bars and shops, one of them is called Destination Daytona. This is the biggest Harley dealership in the world and we visited it and the many traders and dealers that are on this one huge site.
During our 10 day stay in Daytona we visited many of the sites around the area and believe me we saw some sights during our stay, every size bike you can imagine in every style you can imagine, I could write for hours about what to see in Daytona, about the bikes, about the trikes, about some of the strange looking bikes and the strange looking bikers but without being there you cannot appreciate it.
Of course there are the Harleys and the choppers and lots of Goldwings of every description. There is a company that make trikes and outfits and they had on show a Goldwing with four wheels, not everybody's cup of tea but I thought it looked fantastic and would say its the best quad I have ever seen.
I did a test ride on a Harley, there is something about a Harley and it was a nice bike but not for me, I did see a sticker on the back of a pick up truck that read, I ride too long, too far and to fast for a Harley, that's why I rode a wing.
I did get to meet Vinnie from the TV series American Chopper who has now started up on his own with Cody (ex AC) he seemed a nice guy and was very chatty.
I consider myself very lucky to have a wife who is into bikes as much as I am and is almost as happy as me to wander around looking at bikes all day. If you can do it I would recommend bike week to anybody interested in motorcycling of any description, it is the biggest bike rally in the world with an estimated 700,000 bikes attending it over 9 or 10 days. Love the Americans or hate them they know how to put on a show.
You need to be patient when trying to walk up Main Street because of the sheer number of people. I must say when you consider the amount of beer drank that week, and believe me they drink, we did not see one bit of trouble or hear one raised voice during our stay.
So go for it and enjoy it, if you can, stay in Daytona and feel the atmosphere, go to www.officialbikeweek.com and have a browse.
Now we have done that we are looking at Sturgiss in South Dakota, that's where the second biggest bike rally is. So could be our next trip to America in 2009.
Hope to see you on the road sometime, ride safe, Steve and Lorna.
More photo's here.