Even on the final day of Bike Week 2005, Main Street is packed with bikers.
So far, the 2005 version of Bike Week has been somewhat of a bore. The debauchery that usually makes for so much entertainment has been all but non-existent and the fact of the matter is I didn't ever feel like the crowds at any of the events I attended were any bigger than last year's.
Reports in the local paper seem to back our assessment based on some non-official factors like hotel vacancies and other theories swirling in the local press. If you have ever attended a Bike Week you might recall that during the ten-day event, getting a hotel is more difficult than getting a spot in the VIP room at Razzles, but this year that was not the case.
According to a number of reports, almost every motel along A1A had a vacancy sign lit up on Saturday afternoon, something rarely seen in years past. The tried and true way of judging the attendance of Bike Week by local business owners is the vacancy status of the Sun Viking Lodge – if it's full, Bike Week is off the hook; if not, its gonna be slim pickens. The lodge was never full throughout the week.
After three trips to Main Street, including both Friday and Saturday night and again on Sunday afternoon, the experience has proven to be lacking the flair from Bike Weeks past. Leading the charge in the bore brigade is a decided lack of nudity by party goers on the strip and exhibitions of speed on the part of bikers on Main street. Sure, both are illegal and I would never condone such behavior. I personally watched a few babes get arrested for it in 2004, but I only witnessed one old-time biker babe bare herself in public, compared to dozens just last year alone. Then again there were three sportbike riders hauled off for reasons unknown during our three-hour tour of Main. That's not to say these things didn't happen elsewhere (like the exposing of breasts at Gillys Pup 44 during the Girl's Gone Wild model search), and I will be the first to confess I had a hard time being at the right place at the right time during this particular trip.
Although I didn't really mind it, there was a load of apologizing on the part of people who inadvertently ran into me on the mean streets of Daytona this time around. That phenomenon in itself made me wonder if the attendees were not becoming more politically correct than in Bike Weeks gone by. Many of the bartenders and bouncers we talked to said that without a doubt there was less 'trouble' than in years past and that the crowd seemed to be much more likely to obey the house rules this time around.
According to police reports the tell-tale signs of violence and crime and reported bike thefts (which was at 14 prior to the weekend) was down from nearly 80 at this same time last year. Rider deaths were up to seven as of Sunday.
Guys like this seem to have it all - a bad-ass custom chopper a fine looking partner on the back and a perfect hairdo. That's what Bike Week is all about these days.
On the flip side of all this complaining is the fact that Bike Week has become a more organized and well behaved event than in years past. While that's good news for law enforcement, bouncers, attendees with family and your insurance adjuster, it doesn't always make for an entertaining story.
Don't despair, though. I finally had a run-in with some veteran bikers on the patio deck of one particular bar while we were trying to get some different angles for our photos of the bikers riding down Main street. I guess the a--hole attitude still resides in some of Enzyte's best customers.
Anyway, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. For those of you that were unable to attend you can live vicariously through the lens of the MotorcycleUSA camera for the fifth year in a row. Check out the photo gallery for some of the livelier side of Bike Week 2005 – and make sure to check back throughout the upcoming months for feature articles on some of the hottest custom bike manufacturers in America.