Bruce Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona, billed as the “World’s Largest Harley-Davidson Dealer,” is a Daytona Bike Week institution. If you don’t believe me, try to get there this weekend without having to sit in a traffic jam for about an hour trying to get close to the place. On Tuesday, its showroom floors were already flooded with fans, from prospective buyers of new motorcycles to others who wanted to score an official Daytona Harley-Davidson t-shirt direct from the source.
But there was plenty happening outside the doors of Bruce Rossmeyer’s empire as well. At the Klock Werks booth, we met up with motorcycle lifestyle author Edward Winterhalder, a former Bandidos club member who now makes his living by the pen instead of the sword. Winterhalder draws upon his experiences to paint a more realistic picture of what club life is like contrary to the sensationalized accounts depicted on TV. He has penned six books and will have a seventh coming out this summer. Winterhalder strives to capture the moments of motorcycling history he has lived through for future generations. He calls his most recent book, “Biker
Skin and ink are a common theme at Bike Week in Daytona Beach. Thankfully, it’s much warmer weather than last year.
Chicz of North America,” one of his most important bodies of work.
“Somebody needed to tell their stories,” he said.
The somebodies he refers to are the incredible, inspiring women in the book, like the spark plug known as Gloria Struck or the spirited lady rider called “Spitfire.” We met Struck, a Motor Maid, in Daytona last year when the 85-year-old woman shared with us her story of digging out of the snow on her driveway so she could make her annual pilgrimage to Daytona Beach on her Harley-Davidson. “Spitfire,” whose real name is Vicki Sanfelipo, has a story just as inspirational. Sanfelipo got her introduction to motorcycling as a passenger on the bike of a guy she was dating. When the relationship didn’t pan out, she realized she missed the motorcycle more than the ex-boyfriend. So she bought herself a ’79 Sportster and shared with us how her first ride was up a set of stairs. When she cracked open the throttle, the bike took off, she fixated her stare on the stairs, then accidently gave the bike some throttle instead of pulling in the brake. She somehow ended up on top of the stairs looking down at the bike. It took her a month to get back on her Sporty, but after she did, she logged about 20,000 miles the first year she owned it.
“Spitfire” also wrote and founded a program called “A Crash Course for the Motorcyclist.” The program aims to “reduce injuries and fatalities to motorcyclists by learning what to do at the scene of a motorcycle crash until
You see some of the wildest custom motorcycles at Bike Week! (B) Even Elvis showed up for the party this year.
professional help arrives.” She drew upon her experiences as a motorcyclist and an RN to research and write her program that teaches “Accident Scene Management and Bystander Assistance Programs.” Emergency assistance for a people who have suffered a motorcycle accident requires a different protocol than other vehicular accidents, and “Spitfire’s” program addresses those issues. What she teaches has been turned into a full-day instructional class and there are 140 instructors who teach her methods. She told us “A Crash Course for the Motorcyclist” is going international and will soon be taught in Australia. “Spitfire” and Gloria are just two of the remarkable women featured in Winterhalder’s latest book and both were at the Klock Werks booth signing copies for fans.
Brian Klock was busy holding down the Klock Werks fort but shared the news that his wife Laura and his two daughters, Erica and Karlee, want to be the first mother-daughter- daughter trio in Bonneville Land Speed Racing history to break the 200 mph barrier. He said they are going to attempt this unprecedented record onboard BMW’s formidable sportbike, the S1000RR. You might say racing is in the Klock family’s blood, as the trio already has the distinction of holding land speed records at the Salt Flats. Laura has established herself as the fastest woman on a bagger while the daughters both broke the 150-mph barrier on a Harley Dyna converted into a full-blown race bike this past year. Brian said that it’s been crazy busy during Bike Week already even though the rally generally doesn’t really pick up until this weekend. One of his hottest products right now is his Billboard Flare Windshield. He’s tested the shield in wind tunnels and has the “hips” on the side and the “flip” at the top positioned perfectly to provide a cocoon for riders against windblast. The Billboard also produces a healthy 15 pounds of down force to counteract the 30 pounds of lift on the front end. It’s pre-drilled to install using the stock windshield mounting hardware with fitments for just about all Harleys.
The GEICO bike was built by Paul Teutul, Jr. and has an infrared sensor next to the headlight that detects heat from objects in the bike’s path.
The first two motorcycles created by Paul Teutul, Jr. were also on display at Destination Daytona. We ran across the first one at the GEICO Insurance booth while the Anti-Venom bike is on display at J&P Cycles. Since leaving OCC, Junior has formed his own company, Paul Jr. Designs, and is seeking to establish a name for himself beyond Orange County Choppers. The bikes he had on display were theme bikes in the same vein as ones he built before, but the GEICO bike had one feature we’d never seen on a motorcycle before. Next to the motorcycle’s headlight sits an infrared sensor similar to ones used by the military that picks up heat patterns. The bike has a screen mounted in the top of the tank that displays the infrared picture. This would be particularly helpful at night under low visibility as it would detect the heat of an animal in the road. The custom motorcycle also had a rear fender shaped into the tail of the GEICO lizard to go along with a lizard-skin paint job. The GEICO rep that was present at its unveiling said “It completely blew our minds when he brought it to us.”
Another cool stand to check out at Destination Daytona is the State of Florida Department of Highway Safety booth. Not only were they promoting the wearing of safety gear with their “Full Gear/Fool’s Gear – Don’t Hit the Road Without It” campaign, but they are also conducting a Florida Rider Training Program which allows riders to take a virtual ride on a motorcycle. The simulation includes all of the controls of a real motorcycle and tests how riders react to potential problems with an emphasis on looking as far forward as possible when riding. The steering on the simulator is a little sensitive but the premises of the test are beneficial.
Rat bikes and wrenching.The Limpnickie Lot is set up at the StoneEdge Skate Park and offers an alternative to standard rally fare.
We ran across motorcycle lifestyle artist David Uhl who was set-up just outside the entrance to Bruce Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona. Many of his most memorable paintings were on display along with signed pen and ink prints. David and his Uhl Studios partner, Danial James, have teamed together to transfer Uhl’s talents to t-shirts. Together they create the original concepts and artwork for the t-shirts based on Uhl’s sketches. Not everybody can afford to buy an Uhl original, but if you’re a fan of his work, you can at least sport one of the stylish tee’s from his new line of Uhl Works Apparel.
There’s so much going on at Destination Daytona, it’d be easy to spend all day there. Top-notch aftermarket suppliers like Fat Baggers Inc. and Renegade Wheels were busy displaying their wares, Destination Daytona’s got the biggest mobile BBQ around and libations were flowing at the Saints & Sinners bar. There was some serious horsepower on display in the form of special guests, the Budweiser Clydesdales. TV doesn’t do these horses justice. Stand next to one and see how insignificant you suddenly feel. The Bud Clydesdales were just another part of the sideshow known as Destination Daytona, our first stop of Daytona Bike Week 2011.