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Bike Week

Brief history of Daytona Beach’s Bike Week

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A history of beer, bikes, cole slaw and ‘rowdyism’

by C. A. Bridges from www.news-journalonline.com

Bike Week, now marking its 81st year, may not be your grandfather’s — or even your great-grandfather’s — bike rally. A gathering for motorcycle race fans, a drunken party, a biker brawl or a family vacation destination, Bike Week has been a lot of things over the years.

It’s our Mardi Gras, our Fantasy Fest, our Carnival. It’s a portable, 10-day street party of motorcycles and biker lifestyle.

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Laconia Motorcycle Week starts strong

By General Posts

by Michael Mortensen from https://www.concordmonitor.com

With the cloud of COVID largely lifted, motorcyclists returned in droves over the weekend to mark the start of Laconia Motorcycle Week.

Weirs Beach, the traditional epicenter of the event, was bustling by mid-morning Saturday.

“I think it’s going to be a banner week,” predicted Mayor Andrew Hosmer, who did walkabouts in The Weirs with City Manager Scott Myers on Saturday and Sunday.

Public safety officials reported the kick-off to the event, which wraps up this coming weekend, was largely trouble-free.

“There were large crowds, but very few police events,” Police Chief Matt Canfield said during a news conference Monday morning at the Naswa Resort.

Hosmer agreed that things have been going smoothly.

“It’s a good atmosphere,” he said during a telephone interview Monday.

The weather – with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 70s, coupled with low humidity – helped bring out the crowds.

Motorcyclists began pouring into the area on Saturday. Parking spaces on Lakeside Avenue in Weirs Beach, which during the nine-day event are for motorcycles only, were mostly taken by mid-morning Saturday.

Bikers strolled up and down the street browsing and buying from vendors who were hawking all sorts of biker paraphernalia, as well as from local nonprofits like the Laconia Kiwanis Club, whose members were selling cold bottled water and soda.

Members of the National Guard were stationed at a tent next to Rally Headquarters on the boardwalk offering COVID vaccinations. About three dozen people were vaccinated over the weekend, according to Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association. The clinic will continue for the rest of the week.

“The state is trying to get out to events like this (to set up vaccination clinics), ” Laconia Fire Chief Kirk Beattie explained.

The fire chief told the news conference that his department handled six motorcycle-related accidents over the weekend, including crashes on Roller Coaster Road, and on Weirs Boulevard. Some involved serious injuries, he said, but none of the injuries were life-threatening.

A traffic accident shortly after midnight Saturday at the intersection of Endicott Street North (Route 3) and Watson Road resulted in one person being arrested for DWI, according to the Laconia Police Department activity log.

Police investigated 17 accidents, of which seven resulted in injuries, Canfield said. Four people were arrested for simple assault, including two for assaulting an officer, the chief said. All told, police handled 341 service calls citywide over the weekend, Canfield said.

Beattie said firefighters/EMTs responded to 31 calls Saturday, 2½ times the 13-call average of a typical Saturday. On Sunday, the volume of calls was about that for a normal Sunday during the summer, he said.

Canfield said officers reported few problems in and around The Weirs.

“We were busier downtown,” he said.

In a departure from past years, police presence in The Weirs is being handled largely by Laconia officers. State Police and officers from other agencies are largely handling traffic enforcement in surrounding communities, he explained.

Motorcycle Week features a number of special events, kicking off with the Peter Makris Memorial Run on Saturday which attracted 250 riders, including about 40 members of the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club. The turnout was one of the largest ever for the event, which began 15 years ago, The ride helps raise money for various veterans charities, the Belknap House homeless shelter and the Laconia Fire Department’s water rescue lifesaving fund. Last year’s run was limited to just 100 riders because of COVID.

With rain in the forecast for Monday, the Mae West Memorial Ride to benefit local animal shelters was postponed until Thursday

Tropical Tattoo Willie’s Chopper Time 2021

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Tropical Tattoo Old School Bike Show at Daytona Bike Week
by Rogue

A classic Chopper show I try not to miss when in Daytona for Bike Week. Willie puts it together at his Tropical Tattoo, and it looks like lots of other people felt the same way about the Bike Week show.

The place was packed with motorcycles and people.

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Preparing for Biketoberfest

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by Jarleene Almenas from https://www.ormondbeachobserver.com

Preparing for Biketoberfest: Destination Daytona is confident in its itinerant vending plans

The 150-acre property is one of the largest venues in Volusia County.

Come Biketoberfest, Destination Daytona in Ormond Beach believes it can host itinerant vendors and outdoor events in a way that adheres to COVID-19 safety measures.

In its permit application to the city, Dean Pepe, general counsel for Destination Daytona, stated that motorcycle rally events “are critical to the survival of our businesses here at Destination Daytona, our hundreds of employees and also to our entire community.” Some of the measures Destination Daytona will implement include one-way lanes inside stores, spacing outdoor tables apart to promote social distancing and requiring all vendors to wear masks. Bikers frequenting businesses inside the 150-acre event venue will also be asked to wear masks indoors.

“We’ve developed our own message, which is ‘Protect and respect our city, mask up and distance,'” Pepe said. “That’s going to be our message to everybody that comes here.”

When the City Commission in mid-August decided to hold off until September on making a decision to allow event permits for the motorcycle rally, Pepe said they were disappointed, but that they understood the reasoning.

“There was an understanding there that these people were trying to make a good decision,” Pepe said. “The thought of not having it with our normal setup would’ve been disappointing, but we would’ve had to roll with it and come up with an alternate plan.”

They also knew that if the commission reached a decision on Sept. 9, they had time to gather vendors and make preparations for Biketoberfest, even if they had to scramble a bit, Pepe said.

“We were very, very excited and pleased to hear that the city staff and representatives helped this decision,” said Shelly Rossmeyer Pepe, general manager at Bruce Rossmeyer’s Harley-Davidson in Destination Daytona.

‘We want to do right by the community’

Itinerant vendor revenue is one of the largest components for the year at Destination Daytona, said Pepe, which is why it’s important to hold these events twice a year for Bike Week and Biketoberfest, respectively.

While Pepe acknowledged that COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, he also expressed that “livelihoods are important too.” In addition to their own staff, another 30 people or so will be hired to help with the event. In previous years, that number has been higher, but due to the pandemic, Destination Daytona is not expecting the typical large crowds.

What they are anticipating is an increase of vendors, as the city of Daytona Beach has opted against issuing permits. Destination Daytona is also not planning any large concerts to keep crowds manageable, Pepe said.

Rossmeyer Pepe said they’ve traditionally been a daytime venue anyways, as most vendors wrap up in the early evening. Daytime traffic may go up a bit because of the lack of outdoor events in Daytona Beach, but she expects their nighttime traffic will not. She said it’s important for them to “do right” by both the community and the visitors.

“We’re going to do everything to try to maintain a very positive reputation, so they’ll come back,” she said. “We feel good and confident that our customers and our visitors are going to respect the situation we’re all in.”

If the situation was like it was in March, Pepe said perhaps Destination Daytona may not have had enough information to be able to hold events safely, as he is confident they are able to do now.

As a business, they need to be open, he said.

“You have to at some point,” Pepe said. “We can’t not operate our businesses forever hoping that this goes away completely.”

NH officials remind Laconia Motorcycle Week attendees of COVID-19 safety rules

By General Posts

by Jean Mackin from https://www.wmur.com

In 2020 style, Laconia Motorcycle Week is taking a major detour this year — scaled down with no vendor tents or big scheduled events .

The state will post signs and even do flyovers featuring the rules of the road in New Hampshire.

“We want to remind folks that might be coming from out state to review our travel provisions, our quarantine protocols, and recommendations that we have within the state,” Gov. Chris Sununu said Friday. “Remind them that we do encourage folks to wear masks whenever they cannot social distance. If they are going to be at any large scheduled gathering, there actually is a mask requirement for those over 100.”

State health officials say they’re working with businesses to try to cut down on potential spread.

“In a large event like that, especially if it’s outdoor … and there’s hundreds of people, regardless of whether you’re wearing a mask or not there’s that risk of transmission is there,” said Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette.

If someone tests positive, contact tracing could be difficult.

“It would be hard to do full contact tracing if they attended a large events at Bike Week, so I would say that a public notification is likely unless it was a very isolated incident,” Shibinette said.

And if a someone tests positive after leaving the state, New Hampshire officials would be notified.

Bike Week 2020

By General Posts

A Case of “Corona”, Tits, Ass, and Speed Not Necessarily In That Order OHh, yeah, and motorsickles … lotsa motorsickles
Photos and text by DMAC

79th Daytona Beach Bike Week got It’s humble beginning way back in 1937 and started as the Daytona 200 – a motorcycle race that was actually a 3.2 mile course including beach and roadway. Picture that – high banking on sand – in view of the Atlantic Ocean – musta been a sight – especially with all that iron – newer to them then. Now, all vintage iron to us.

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Sons of Speed Wild Vintage Races – Bike Week 2020

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20th Century Board Track Racing
By Rogue with Photos By MISLED

Sons of Speed vintage bike races created by Billy Lane of Choppers Inc, were inspired by motorcycle racing in the early 20th- century board-track racing. At the time they were the largest spectator sport in the country.

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Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle LiveWire creating buzz at Daytona Bike Week

By General Posts

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire’s cool factor seems undeniable among Daytona Bike Week testers, but if you have to buy cool it comes at a $30,000 price.

This is one Harley-Davidson you won’t likely see around town during Bike Week. At least not yet.

And it’s one you definitely won’t hear.

Harley’s new LiveWire, just now winding its way into the market, is a mystery to many, as well as a culture shock — “A Harley without the rhythmic thumping?”

This thing sounds more like a sewing machine.

But so far, if first impressions mean anything, the LiveWire is also a hit. Test rides at Harley’s demo station — outside Daytona International Speedway — are producing one group after another of impressed bikers who, briefly, unsaddled from their traditional Hogs for a proverbial ride into the future.

“As I was riding it, I was thinking this might be my next bike,” says 71-year-old James Lamoureux, a longtime biker from St. Johns County. “Harley, they took a long time, but they did a great job. This thing is cool.”

The cool factor seems undeniable, based on the overwhelmingly positive reviews from testers. But if you have to buy cool, it comes at a price. The LiveWire sells for about $30,000, roughly $10,000 more than you’d pay for a traditional Harley Softail at Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson.

“It’s very impressive. Everything about it,” says D.J. Richter, part of a group of Indiana visitors who tested the LiveWires as a group.

But at $30,000?

“Thirty?” Richter replied. “It’s not that impressive.”

But the LiveWire, five years in the making after its 2014 conceptual introduction, wasn’t designed to flood the market. At that price, it has no chance to help Harley attract the much younger demographic the manufacturer — and industry as a whole — needs in order to remain viable as the avid motorcyclist population grows grayer each year. Entry level, gas-powered Harleys, after all, are available for well under $10,000.

It’s apparently all part of the marketing strategy.

“Just like the electric car market, Harley released the best of the best,” says Shelly Rossmeyer Pepe, Daytona Harley’s general manager. “In this case, Harley said they would come out with their ‘halo’ bike, the best of the best, then bring out less expensive models, different models without certain components or luxury items.”

DeLand rider Glen Abbott, who writes travel pieces for Harley-Davidson’s H.O.G. Magazine, couldn’t wait for future options. He attended last year’s national dealer show at Harley’s headquarters in Milwaukee. He went through the demo process, which includes becoming familiar with the LiveWire’s instant throttle on a stationary LiveWire atop a dyno, followed by a street ride.

“I have two other Harleys. Had no intention of buying an electric bike, but I took it for a demo ride and just fell in love with it,” Abbott says.

The LiveWire has a range of about 150 miles, so Abbott mostly rides it around DeLand or as far as New Smyrna Beach. Plugging it in to a standard home outlet will recharge the LiveWire overnight. Fast, DC-powered charging is available at Harley dealerships and takes just an hour.

Any concerns about dealing with an electric motors’ charging needs seem to disappear once you ride the LiveWire.

“I started riding Harleys in the early-’90s,” says Abbott, a 62-year-old Rhode Island native. “This is so different than anything you’ll ever ride. It has instant power. You don’t shift. You have 100% of your power right from the get-go. It’s smooth and quiet. I like big loud Harleys too, but this is different.”

Sitting outside the New Smyrna Beach Harley dealership, where he helps with hospitality during Bike Week, Abbott says he occasionally gets some good-natured teasing from friends and fellow Harley riders. He also reads some negative online reactions to the LiveWire from older, traditional Harley riders. But in personal encounters, all is well.

“I think everybody appreciates it,” he says. “No, it’s not for everybody, but I haven’t encountered any negative sentiment.”

Back at the Speedway, Harley employee Meghan Zettelmeier ushers testing riders onto the dyno LiveWire for an explainer on the clutch-free throttle system. From there, it’s on to the test ride.

“It seems like everyone that gets off of it has a big smile on their face,” Zettelmeier says. “We have some people who come in doubting it a little bit, but the second they get off they have a huge smile.”

Sherry Butler, part of D.J. Richter’s Indiana group, was among the smiling reviewers.

“Very fun, very peppy, and so easy to control,” she says.

The one universal issue, among all those testing the LiveWire, isn’t necessarily a bad issue to riders like Butler.

“I kept feeling like I was reaching for the clutch that isn’t there,” she says. “And that’s not a bad thing.”

A few I-95 exits north of the Speedway, Daytona Harley-Davidson has sold four of the LiveWires since December. Until Harley begins mass-producing lower-cost electric motorcycles, Rossmeyer Pepe doesn’t expect to flood the local market with the debut product. But beginning in April, the dealership will begin a summerlong promotional effort to bring people in for a look and, if licensed to ride a motorcycle, a test drive.

“I’m proud to say that Harley really outdid themselves when they created this machine,” she says. “The quality of the machine is unbelievable. The performance, the cool factor, they definitely nailed it.

“Will you see people changing from what they’re currently riding? I don’t see people coming in to trade from their current motorcycles to a LiveWire, I see people adding a LiveWire.”

People like Abbott, whose DeLand garage took on a third motorcycle when he recently added his electric Harley. He sees the LiveWire, and any electric product currently in the pipeline, as a needed attempt to keep Harley-Davidson viable into future generations.

“The big challenge they’re facing is an aging demographic,” he says. “They’re trying to appeal to younger riders. Obviously, if they don’t appeal to new markets and new demographics, they’re gonna die off.

“I think it’s short-sighted for people to feel Harley can only build internal combustion engines forever.”