In its eighth installment in the spring of 2004, Arizona Bike Week found itself in what looks to be a long-time home not far from the old location, just a few miles to the southeast in Scottsdale, Arizona. This year's event was held on the grounds of Rawhide, an old-time western town reminiscent of what things might have looked like about 125 years ago in this area of the Southwest.
Each year tens of thousands of Harley enthusiasts flock to the greater Phoenix area to be part of the Bike Week extravaganza. Known best for its mild winters and hot summers, this part of the country draws riders in the springtime like a magnet attracts iron. Without a doubt, this rally is one of the ones folks attend for the riding. The mountains, which surround the city, make for some beautiful riding possibilities. One of the rides sponsored by Holiday Inn left out of Cyclefest's Handlebar Saloon -- the name given to vendor portion of Bike Week -- on a 140-mile journey and an overnight stay in Tombstone, Arizona.
While Cyclefest seems to be a hub of activity during the 10-day event, there are numerous rides, parties, plenty of nightlife, racing, and other activities spread out in a roughly 20-mile radius. Besides the AHDRA event that took place the first weekend of the rally, the high point of Arizona Bike Week was, without a doubt, the Biker Build-Off filmed for the Discovery Channel. This particular series of shows was used to showcase the talents of top-notch bike builders Joe Martin of Martin Bros. and Matt Hotch of HotMatch Custom Cycles.
With the building of the bikes and riding complete, the motorcycles were put on display in the Handlebar Saloon where the Cyclefest crowd stuffed the ballot boxes with their votes as to who's bike should come out on top. And the winner is -- drum roll please -- sorry, but to find out the outcome you will have to check it out on TV -- see www.discovery.com for times.
While the weather the first five or six days of the event was about as nice as anyone could wish for, the following couple of days were punctuated by a storm that dropped 2 inches of rain in less than 48 hours. For those of you not familiar with that part of the country, that's just too much rain for the desert to soak up. The result was quite a bit of flooding. Fortunately for all those in attendance, things cleared up pretty quickly and made for record-setting attendance numbers the final Saturday and Sunday of the event.
Since Cyclefest was held on a piece of property that sees many western-style events, the organizers figured why not mix in some old riding with the new? This was accomplished by adding a biker division to the scheduled Professional Bull Riders event of April 3-4. The crowd was treated to everyday bike riders lowering themselves on to the backs of some pretty mean-looking bulls, trying to hold on as long as possible, making some rather interesting visuals. The two winners (one on Saturday and one on Sunday) of the biker division were presented with 2004 Biker Bull Riding Champion belt buckles.
As in years past, the Handlebar Saloon played host to multiple activities, such as pool competitions, the Tough Man and Tough Woman contests, and some top-rate musical entertainment with the likes of Molly Hatchet, The Little River Band, as well as a few local favorites.
To get in on the fun for next year's event, plan on getting you and your motorcycle to the Southern Arizona area between April 1-10. For more information, check out www.azbikeweek.com.