Whether they all leave in one piece is another question. There's nothing quite like Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Fla., where riders show up in droves -- about half a million come every year -- and there’s more polished chrome on display than at a hubcap factory. It isn't an understatement to say it is the most bodacious display of (mostly) Harley-Davidson riding madness on Earth other than Sturgis in South Dakota, with which it competes for biggest-rally honors.
Most of the motorcycle makers have a grassroots presence at the beachside agglomeration of motorcycle racing, concerts, parties, and street festivals. While the event is extremely cruiser-friendly, most of the races at Daytona International Speedway involve import performance and dirt bikes, and Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Suzuki all have tents, bike displays and exhibits.
Paul James, Harley-Davidson director of North America customer experience, said the maker is hosting rides, demos and activities with a big display near the Intersection of Midway Avenue and Richard Petty Boulevard at the Speedway from March 8 to March 15. The company and the Harley Owners Group (HOG) will be running events just about every day.
Harley will have an H-D mobile event app. Another much smaller cruiser brand, Indian Motorcycle, will also run events there.
Bike Week has been a fixture in Daytona since 1937 -- the inaugural running of the Daytona 200. The 10-day festival, which now pretty much encompasses all of Volusia County and brings in around half a million visitors from around the country and world, has Budweiser (which will run parades each day with its Clydesdale horses), Hilton, GEICO, Harley, and Ram truck as major sponsors. Honda is lead sponsor of the Daytona Super Cross Race.
There's also coleslaw wrestling, which gives some sense of the general zeitgeist there.