Whether it’s Bike Week in the spring or Biketoberfest in the fall, cruising down Main Street Daytona Beach is always a popular event.
Sunny weather brought out motorcyclists by the thousands to Biketoberfest 2012.
Bikers looking to take advantage of the pleasures of Daytona Beach without the overwhelming crowds of spring’s Bike Week converged on Florida’s popular beach destination last week for the 20th annual Biketoberfest. And with good reason. While riding days are dwindling and most riders are prepping their bikes for winter, sunny skies and ideal riding weather over the weekend greeted an estimated 100,000 motorcyclists who turned out to help celebrate this year’s event. The event has grown tremendously from its humble beginnings in 1992 when it was known as “The Daytona Fall Tour,” a modest motorcycling festival which attracted around 5000 visitors. Started by the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau as a way to help stimulate the area during a slow economic period, the event has grown into one of the premier fall motorcycle events and gives the area an approximate $200 million shot in the arm stated current president of Daytona’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Jeff Hentz.
According to a report on The Daytona Beach News-Journal, the big story coming out of Biketoberfest this year is the deisre of some merchants to extend Biketoberfest to 10 days, the same length as the spring rally. This proposition would require approval by the Daytona Beach City Commission and the Halifax Area Advertising Authority board, but the Biketoberfest Development Committee will wait until next year before seeking an extension. Biketoberfest has been extended to 10 days before according to the report, once in 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks and once in 2004 following a string of four hurricanes in two months – Charley, Ivan, Frances, and Jeanne. The extended events were nominally successful as it was able to keep people in the area a little longer than usual but the decisions to extend the rallies were last-minute and failed to attract a large number of extra visitors.
Regardless of what the future holds, the 20th anniversary provided an opportunity for people to see and ride some of the newest 2013 motorcycles around as Harley-Davidson, BMW, Victory, Yamaha and Suzuki all conducted demo rides at various locations around town. Music also played a big part in bringing bikers out, from Quiet Riot rockin’ out at the No Name Saloon to Saliva tearing it up at the Broken
Vendors row at Destination Daytona is always packed with some of the premier motorcycle aftermarket companies.
J&P Cycles has its permanent ‘superstore’ set up at Destination Daytona, providing just about anything you could possibly need for your cruiser motorcycle.
The bike show at Willie’s Tropical Tattoo always attracts a crowd.
Spoke. Bruce Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona, a popular destination for bikers regardless of what time of the year it is, had fans show up some 4000 strong for the free concert Saturday night featuring rocker Lita Ford.
The vendors set up at Destination Daytona make it a hit with fans also. J&P Cycles has its permanent 15,000 sq, ft. superstore at the location and deals like free shipping on parts ordered at Biketoberfest and free installation on products like Memphis Shades Windshields or Mustang Seats kept the staff hustling to meet customers’ demands.
“During the event we create a massive outdoor experience where riders can talk with factory reps and see products in action from a wide range of vendors. J&P Cycles also offers installation of anything we sell during the rally – this allows someone to ride out of our lot with everything installed and working on their bike,” said J&P Cycles Brand & Marketing Supervisor, Scott Abing.
J&P also posted a funny blog about their 2012 Biketoberfest experience where a “mild-mannered county beat reporter” from The Daytona Beach News-Journal was sent over to J&P for some biker duds to transform the reporter into somebody who could easily assimilate into the scene on Main Street. Kuryakyn set up shop at Bruce Rossmeyers’ Harley-Davidson as well as the Daytona International Speedway, peddling hot products like the Alley Cat performance air cleaner. A Kuryakyn Facebook post stated “The Kuryakyn crew is working late bringing chrome to the people at Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach, FL.”
Though Biketoberfest doesn’t quite have the full-blown motorcycle racing schedule as Bike Week doesn’t mean significant events weren’t going down at Daytona International Speedway. On the contrary, the first TTXGP World Final was held at the venerable raceway with Team Icon Brammo etching its name into the records as the first to win a major electric motorcycle race there. Rider Steve Atlas, the North American TTXGP Champion, jumped out to an early lead and never looked back on his way to the wire-to-wire victory.
Racing of another kind also took center stage at Biketoberfest 2012. This time it was the tightly contested race for president 2012 as GOP presidential and vice-presidential nominees Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan held a political rally Friday night at the Bandshell. Didn’t hear if either candidate made their appearance by riding in on a Harley-Davidson, but if they were hoping to sway voters attending the rally in their favor, it might have been a smart ploy.
Biketoberfest 2012 may be in the books, but questions about the possible extension of the fall motorcycle rally to 10 days next year remain, so we’ll keep you abreast of circumstances as they unveil.