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Close to 750,000 bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts are expected to converge on the small coastal town of Daytona Beach, Florida, for the 64th annual Bike Week celebration. This year promises to be bigger and badder than ever, and those attending will get a full dose of motorcycle celebration, racing, and good clean debauchery from March. For bikers and motorcycle fans, there is no single event that is as big as Bike Week.
The first Daytona celebration started way back in 1937 when a few motorcycle racers decided to compete on the beaches of Daytona. Since that time the event has morphed from a sporting festival to an outright party that features cruisers, sportbikes, and everything in between.
Of course, racing still takes place and the world-renowned Daytona 200 kicks off the AMA Superbike season each year where riders will navigate the famous banked oval at more than 180 miles an hour, an unimaginable feat for those riders who first raced the beaches of Daytona some 67 years ago. In addition, the AMA Supercross and AMA Flat Track series will make their annual appearance at Daytona International Speedway and Municipal Stadium, respectively.
If organized racing isn't your thing, there are plenty of underground street races taking place where money is exchanged and pink slips are wagered to see who has the quickest machine, whether street-legal or not.
Bike Week's roots may lie in competition, but it has since morphed into a week-long party that takes on a life of its own, and the heart of the party is on Main Street. For seven straight days the quarter-mile strip of pavement hosts hundreds of thousands of spectators and almost as many motorcycles. If you ride at Daytona, you will almost certainly take several passes on Main Street where the sidewalks are jam packed with inebriated spectators who watch the multitude of bikes slowly creep down the world famous street. You can quench your thirst at one of many bars on Main Street.
Main Street is certainly the place to be when the sun goes down, but when the sun eventually comes back up it gives everyone a chance to expand their horizons and work off the hangover by taking part in numerous activities. One of the most popular things to do is go for a ride to enjoy Florida's natural beauty. The most famous route is The Loop, a 23-mile stretch which takes riders down John Anderson drive along the Halifax river.
Once you've completed the mandatory historic ride, take in one of several different custom shows that take place throughout the weekend. The Rat's Hole custom bike show is an annual fan favorite and every year the biggest names in the custom business unleash new models in Daytona.
Looking for a new bike? Almost every major manufacturer has a massive tent set up outside of Daytona International Speedway where motorcycle enthusiasts can view every model in the 2005 lineups. If you're more interested in riding than looking you can take a demo ride on most models; simply sign up and have your endorsement ready.
Harley-Davidson lovers can experience the entire week through a black and orange hue. The Milwaukee-based company has a list of events running from March 7-13. The epicenter of the H-D experience takes place at the indoor show, where The Motor Company will have demo rides for both H-D and Buell, as well as a traveling museum and other assorted H-D activities.
As much as we'd like to give you the whole list of activities, it's almost impossible to give you the heads up on everything that takes place in Daytona during Bike Week. Rest assured there is something for everyone. If you're headed to Bike Week, look for the MCUSA team, and if you're stuck at home, experience Bike Week through our eyes as we bring you complete coverage of the greatest week of the year.