Even if you aren’t Florida bound, the 75th anniversary of this particular rally indicates a rich motorcycle history making it certainly fun to read and learn about. With this in mind, Clutch and Chrome presents five things every rider should know about the rally, whether they’re attending or not.
1. Yes, it has been around that many years
Like many historic motorcycle rallies, Daytona Bike Week, which has also been called Daytona Beach Bike Week, started as a celebration of motorcycle racing. In this case, the rally began with the Daytona 200 race on January 24, 1937.
For those keeping track, this first race was a 3.2 miles beach and pavement course and won by Ed Kretz who rode Indian motorcycle enjoying an average speed of 73.34 mph. The race course ran approximately one and a half miles north on the beach, through a 1/4 mile turn where the sand was banked and then onto the paved, public roadway portion for the trip south. Coming back on the final turn, another high sand bank awaited riders as they raced on the hard sands of the beach.
Not surprisingly, starting times for these events were dictated by the local tide tables.
Although the race itself was cancelled due to World War 2 from 1942 to 1947 the rallies continued, if not in an unofficial capacity for some of those years, ever since.
2. When we say official, we mean official
An event of the scale of Daytona Bike Week recognizes its tops sponsors with a coveted official status leading to a laundry list of products deemed the ones to go to by event organizers.
If a rider were to take this list as a how-to in attending the 75th Annual Daytona Bike Week they would arrive on a Harley-Davidson (Official Motorcycle) which would use Amsoil oil (Official Oil), be insured by GEICO (Official Insurance Company) and listen to the event’s official radio station, HOG 95.7 FM (Official Radio Station) while in town. Said bikers would stay at Hilton Daytona Beach Ocean Front hotel (Official Hotel), drink Budweiser beer (Official Beer), in moderation of course, and if a little saddle sore jump in their Ram truck (Official Truck).
Last, but certainly not least if they were to get in any legal binds, turn to Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys. No, they aren’t the official attorneys of the event, but the official sponsor of the official calendar of events.
Poking around the official Daytona Bike Week website, we’ve found that commemorative t-shirts are so yesterday. While we’re not sure its official in anyway, Commemorative Firearms have created Daytona Bike Week 75th annual rally limited edition rifle and pistol. Plated in 24K gold and engraved on a fully-functional Marlin 336 .30-30 Lever Action Rifle and Rossi Ranch Hand .45 Pistol, these are the ‘icons that Bike Week is known for’.
3. Daytona Bike Week isn’t just Daytona
Most of the pictures seen from Daytona Bike Week focus on motorcycles rumbling down Main Street with a multitude of bikes parked either side, but there’s so much more.
Between the famous bars and exhibits along Main Street there’s plenty to do and see in the historic part of Daytona Beach, but bikers need to lay down some miles to experience everything the rally has to offer.
About ten miles south of downtown Daytona is New Smyrna Beach where rally favorites such as Pub44 and Sopotnick's Cabbage Patch Bar can be found.
Heading about the same distance north and bikers will find Daytona Harley-Davidson, conveniently located off I-95 in Ormond Beach. This may be better known as Destination Daytona which enjoys its own kick-off parties, parking lots full of vendors and a complex that needs to be seen to be believed.
Finally, many of the motorcycle manufacturers set up shop at Daytona’s speedway located just over three miles from Main Street. Not only is everything to do with the races found here, so are the demo rides and all the biker stuff that makes a motorcycle rally worth attending.
4. It’s about riding
As we mentioned, Daytona Bike Week requires bikers to actually ride if they want to see everything the event offers. As with the best road trips, at some point rally-goers may just want to head out with no particular place to go.
Daytona Beach is located on the East Coast of Florida in the Northern part of the state leading to nice, rural countryside to ride through. Aside from whatever road a biker can find themselves cruising, a well-known and much written about route takes riders north of Daytona Beach and around Halifax River. Known as the Loop, this leisurely ride gives riders a feel for Florida's natural beauty and range. Some highlights to the ride are Ormond Park and the Fairchild Oak tree, one of Florida's oldest living Oaks.
5. Just a nice part of the world
One would imagine locals would quickly grow frustrated with 500,000 bikers, clogging up local roads and creating what seems like a permanent rumble of motorcycle engines. Far from it.
In all the years attending Daytona Bike Week, we’ve never had anything less than pleasant encounters with the people who call Daytona home. Whether in the stores, restaurants or just asking for direction, people have been polite and generous with their time.
Drivers seem very aware of the various motorcycles giving room as is needed and as they are with their time, also generous with sharing the road. In fact, two-wheeled accidents usually come about when biker meets biker or worse, they’re riding under the influence.