Daytona Beach, FL — Thousands of bikers rumbled into Daytona today (Friday 3/4/11) for the official start of Daytona Bike Week, the traditional kickoff of the spring motorcycle riding season. Bike Week actually lasts 10 days (through Sunday 3/13), and attracts upwards of half a million visitors to this seaside community. 2011 marks the rally’s  70th anniversary — it originated in 1937 (the event was suspended during WWII due to fuel rationing) on the white sands of Daytona Beach, as an adjunct to the Daytona 200 motorcycle races. Over subsequent decades, the event grew into one of largest motorcycle rallies in the world.

There’s something for everyone at Bike Week — demo rides and displays at the Speedway, vendors and food on Beach Street and Main Street, colorful bikes and characters everywhere you look.  You’ll see every type of motorcycle imaginable — Harleys, “crotch rockets,” scooters, customs — and all types of riders.

The rally’s traditional epicenter revolves around Main Street — it’s considered obligatory to make at least one pass down the street on your bike (known as the “Main Street Crawl”), to “see and be seen,” as it were, a veritable fiesta of horsepower, leather and testosterone. The sidewalks are jammed with bikers and people-watchers and echo with the sounds of loud exhaust pipes competing with rock music blaring from the streetside bars.

In recent years, Bike Week-related events have spread throughout surrounding metropolitan areas; DeLand holds a bike rally on Saturday (http://www.delandbikerally.com/), and Orlando Harley Davidson and Seminole Harley-Davidson hold daily events as well.

I’ll be attending DeLand Bike Rally as well as events in Daytona throughout Bike Week; stay tuned for highlights!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Daytona Bike Week official website: http://www.officialbikeweek.com/

Can't believe the DMV approved this one!

About Glen Abbott
Glen Abbott is a New Orleans-based travel writer & photographer. He specializes in writing about motorcycle touring and travel, and his work appears regularly in Harley-Davidson's HOG magazine, American Iron, and other publications.

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10 Comments
  1. Laurel

    March 6, 2011

    I love the license plates. Hope you have a wonderful time, can’t wait to hear all about it.
    Laurel recently posted..First Impressions of a Carnival Parade in Germany

    • Travelin' Gringo

      March 6, 2011

      It’s always fun looking at the different personalized plates — I’m amazed by what some people come up with, and what they get away with!

  2. inka

    March 6, 2011

    That brings back such fond memories. Daytona was the first time I had ever seen such an array of bikes and I couldn#t get enough of watching the torch parade on the beach.
    inka recently posted..The flight of the angel- a Venice carnival highlight

  3. The NVR Guys

    March 5, 2011

    Do you have a custom plate? I was going to come up with a clever one for Kent and I, but I just ate a burrito and am in a food coma – totally un-witty right now.
    The NVR Guys recently posted..Lessons on Passion and Fanaticism from Travel and Oprah

    • Travelin' Gringo

      March 6, 2011

      Of course! My plate reads “GR1NGO” (GRINGO was taken, but I substituted the “1″ for the “I” and you can’t really tell the difference).

  4. Michael Figueiredo

    March 4, 2011

    That looks like fun! I’m sure the sunny Florida weather makes it perfect for riding.
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday- New Orleans- Louisiana

  5. Jeremy B

    March 4, 2011

    When I lived near Myrtle Beach, I remember bike week down there. Man lots of traffic the beach boulevard was loud!
    Jeremy B recently posted..Win a 20 gift card with the Budget Travel Adventures photo logo contest!

    • Travelin' Gringo

      March 6, 2011

      I guess Myrtle Beach has really tried to discourage their bike week in recent years, guess the locals didn’t like it!

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