The most fun I’ve ever had in Daytona. That’s how I’d surmise Day 1 of Daytona Bike Week. By that statement you’d think that I’d either have scored in one of Daytona’s many strip clubs or perhaps better, found $1000 on the side of the road. While both those things aren’t exactly bad, I had an even better experience after a day on two Orange County Choppers.
After a late night/early morning flight into Orlando we made our way towards Daytona and inside the raceway’s vendor area outside of Turn 4. There, the folks over at OCC handed over the keys to two of its everyday man rides—a classic bobber named the Greenie
and its raked-out Original
. And it was cold… Like 43 degrees on the dash of our rental car. Yet for some reason in Daytona on Orange County Chopper’s it’s still not that cold.
We took off and headed towards Main Street just a few miles northeast of the speedway. And it was pretty packed. Established businesses along with pop-up vendors did their best to score some dollars from thousands of extra motorcycle enthusiasts in the area. We continued north right through the city and toward the boonies, I still don’t know exactly where.
As we were motored down Daytona’s famous AIA, I gestured to a dude on an old school “SRAD” Suzuki GSX-R to do a wheelie. And a wheelie he did, right over backwards. Bobbing and weaving a 100-plus inch wheelbase chopper to avoid his crashed bike in the middle of the road is just as sketchy as you’d think, fortunately the dude was okay, so we dusted him off and went about our way.
The highlight of our first day in Daytona was being able to ride around on OCC's Greenie bobber.
e veered back west towards the site of the New Daytona Bike Week in Ormond Beach, Florida. We pulled at the vendor area also affectionately known as the Battle Ax. And no it’s not some red neck-like dungeon, it’s just one of the many vendor areas adjacent to the massively huge (even for Californian-standards) retail setups the likes of Bruce Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona. And that’s when it really started: The oohs and the aahs in regards to one of the coolest bikes to hit Florida’s streets, OCC’s Greenie. Where did you get that? How much does it cost? How does it ride? Do you like it? This is the kind of questions we answered all day. Surprisingly, we also fielded a lot of questions about GoPro’s new Wide Angle Camera
that we had rigged on the bikes. I guess everyone’s embracing the digital age.
From there we hit some of the local “entertainment” areas of Bike Week known as the Broken Spoke, Similey’s and Iron Horse Saloon as well as a new one, called the Kick Start Saloon. Three of the four our completely outside, which makes the vibe feel similar to an old high school party only everyone is thirty years older and they all ride loud motorcycles. While the Bobber we were on received the most interest from the folks over at The Broken Spoke, over at the Iron Horse is where the heaviest amount of bikers were at, people were more into the super raunchy, yet totally hilarious dude singing away onstage.
The view aboard OCC's Greenie at the Iron Horse Saloon.
Despite temperatures remaining brisk for much of the day, the afternoon’s bright sun kept us warm and you didn’t really notice many complaining about the unseasonably cool temperature. As we headed back towards the speedway to drop-off are awesome OCC rides, traffic increased significantly from earlier in the morning proving that despite my initial apprehensions, of a dismal Bike Week turnout, people are still making it out.
So that’s it from Day 1 at Daytona. Up next is an adventure on Kawasaki Ninja sportbikes as well as some racing action from inside the speedway. And if you’re still thinking of coming down, there is actually some lodging availability still left coming into this weekend. So check it out and watch out for the fuzz on the way in.
For more on the coverage of Daytona Bike Week, check out Motorcycle USA's 2009 Daytona Bike Week Page.