The DeLand Bike Rally just may be Daytona Bike Week’s best-kept secret. The one-day event in the historic city of DeLand (founded in 1876 and home to Stetson University, Florida’s oldest private college) typically attracts upwards of 30,000 people. With that many attendees, I guess calling the rally a “secret” might be a stretch, but the one-day biker event, held the first Saturday of Daytona Bike Week, is definitely a kinder, gentler cousin to the much larger Daytona rally.
“Kinder and gentler” shouldn’t be misconstrued as any less a good time, however. In contrast to the sometime-raucous crowds of Daytona’s Main Street, DeLand’s vibe is noticeably calmer. A six-block area of the town’s main street – North Woodland Blvd., or U.S. Route 17 – is shut down to all but motorcycles, which park along the sides and down the center of the street, Sturgis-style, and spill over onto surrounding side streets as well.
The area is designated the Downtown DeLand Historic District, and is lined with a number of historic nineteenth-century brick buildings and filled with lots of restaurants, cafes, galleries, and shops. It’s pretty freakin’ idyllic, if you ask me, although I may be a little prejudiced as I live within walking distance of downtown. Naturally, though, I rode to this year’s event. Check out the photo gallery below.