2007 Daytona Bike Week
The Best Bike Week
By: Dan Bartels, Jake Knoerr, Photography by Dan Bartels, Jake Knoerr
The change is upon us. At this year's Daytona Bike Week we witnessed a most profound change in the assemblage of bike riders cruising up and down the streets and across the bridges of the home of the world's most famous beach. What for years Harley-Davidson and custom bikes dominated has now given way to an ever-growing bunch of sportbike and metric cruiser-mounted riders. It's not like these riders just dropped out of the sky onto the sun-kissed asphalt of Daytona Beach, Florida. They have been here in numbers for many years, but now they are way more visible. Another trend is the number of vacancy signs in the many hotels and motels lining the main drag on the beach side, more than in previous years. Also in evidence along the same stretch of Atlantic Boulevard are empty lots where the somewhat affordable motels of the past have been razed to make way for the high-rise condos, designed to eliminate any view of the Atlantic Ocean from more than 10 yards inland. But what the hell, we didn't go there for the water; we went for the bikes, and there were plenty of them in all shapes and sizes.
To draw some kind of weird parallel, Daytona is becoming or at least heading in the direction of what Sturgis has become: Spread out. Even though Florida is not known for its riding splendor through the hills or vast open spaces, it does possess some spectacular roads, with overhanging trees that are laced heavily with Spanish Moss and a great profusion of lush green plant life, along with streams, coves, and inlets that call you to stop and savor the relaxed setting. Now, the surrounding towns to Daytona are enjoying some financial benefit from their close approximation to the famous beach. Towns like Deltona host a one-day event in the center of town at the beginning of Bike Week, and later in the week the streets surrounding Stetson University are alive with the sounds and smells of vintage motorcycles while the local motels and restaurants are reaping the rewards of new customers. Just a short ride south of Daytona is Kennedy Space Center and the towns that don't sport the highly inflated prices of their northern neighbors. One such town is Vero Beach, home of spring training camp for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In fact, this area is heavy with spring training camps.
More important is the Florida sunshine, and shine it did all week long. Those riders who came south wanting to feel the warm sun on their faces as they dusted the winter's cobwebs from their bikes were well rewarded. Temperatures for the week stayed in the mid to upper 70s and hit the low 80s on a few occasions.
By Dan Bartels, Jake Knoerr
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