I recently got back from a trip to Daytona Beach, Florida, for the 72nd Annual Daytona Beach Bike Week. I had been to Bike Week several times before, but this was my first time rubbing tattooed elbows with the hard-core V-twin crowd. After spending a few days a couple of thousand miles from my home, I forget how different and diverse this great country of ours can be. Daytona seemed to be a Spring Break for adults, as people who are harbored up for the winter months tend to get a little “buck wild” once the pressures of kids, mortgages, and daily life stresses are left behind for a little fun in the sun.
After my first revisit down Main Street, the bars were filled elbow to ankles with people getting their “drink on” and living like it was the last day on Earth. There were several women working the crowd and behind the bars that left me searching for my iPhone to send out a stern email, similar to the ones I receive regarding the lack of clothing and copious amounts of flesh.
The roar of twin cylinders rumbled 24 hours a day. No matter where you were in the area, there was a two-wheeler parked or riding alongside you. We sometimes take that for granted, but aside from other large rallies, this type of group love and appreciation for the American V-twin is only found in places like this anywhere in the world. Thanks to the good folks over at Victory Motorcycles, I was able to be part of the scene atop a new Victory Judge, and not just witness the madness from behind the wheel of a bottom-of-the-line rental car. Cruising with my fellow brothers was an awesome experience, as from behind bars we are all just riders sharing the road and a wave.
The strictly enforced 35-40–mph speed limits do put a cap on the excitement of the riding, but all for good reason. I couldn’t image the chaos that would ensue from hundreds of thousands of bikers all going balls-to-the-wall through city streets. Besides, there are more than enough open roads just outside of the city to make up the First-Second-Third gear shuffle that makes up most of the riding in town. It’s only that ride back to the over-priced, over-parked, and under-secured hotel, back through the chaos, I regretted each day.
I was able to also spend some time with the good folks over at Big Bear Choppers and ride one of their new FXR-inspired builds. Forget what you though you knew about BBC, the Titanium bikes are lean, mean, and have the best components from all genres of motorcycling. My only regret was having a small “test area” to rip and roar around on the prototype model. Luckily, there will be a full test coming soon.
After spending a few days on the “other coast” I was definitely glad to get back to my own. Now that I’m back, I look forward to watching many of the trends being set out here travel across the country and get improved upon with that middle-of-America ingenuity and history. I truly believe that Hot Bike and the bikes we feature (and most importantly YOU build), are the trendsetters for their individual genres. Change is always good, but after leaving Daytona, I’ve learned to appreciate a little more of the time needed to embraces those changes. As long as the feedback continues to flow in from both sides, I know we are all doing something right. HB
“No matter where you were in the area, there was a two-wheeler parked or riding alongside you.”