Let's Ride! It's Daytona Beach Bike Week!

Let's Ride! It's Daytona Beach Bike Week!

Published Mar 3, 2022 by Rick Cundiff

It’s Bike Week! Well, technically not until tomorrow (March 4). But don’t tell that to all the folks on motorcycles roaring through our fair city on their way to Daytona Beach an hour away.

The annual celebration of two-wheeled (or sometimes three-wheeled these days) horsepower is rolling into its 81st year in 2022. It’s a spectacle worth experiencing.

My wife and I are big fans, even though neither of us ride. We try to get to Daytona at least one of the two weekends of the festival that takes over the city.

Yeah, we know, we don’t exactly make the scene in our staid little 4-door CUV. The bikers undoubtedly call us “cagers.” But like them, we celebrate the unbridled spirit of the week.

It’s a straight shot across Florida State Road 40 from our Ocala abode to Daytona Beach. On the first Saturday of March, the routine traffic is augmented by the roar of bikes – and riders – of all shapes and sizes.

Once you get to the streets of the city, it’s total sensory overload time. Disney has nothing on Bike Week. You get steel and chrome. You get custom choppers with forks so long you wonder how they can turn.

Some folks keep the chrome polished so bright you can see yourself in it from two lanes away. Others go for the patina of old machinery, every scratch and grit a badge of honor for a survivor machine.

Then there are the sounds. The throaty growl of the old-style cruisers, potato-potato-potato. The angry bee BZZZZZZ! of the Japanese sports machines. The refined purr of the European models from Germany and Italy. So many of them with loud pipes that you need ear protection to stand on the sidewalk.

Of course, you can’t forget the people. A sea of black leather on every street corner, along with plenty of denim – or not much denim at all. Long hair for both men and women, some folks wearing helmets, some not. Many, many well-inked folks everywhere.

It adds up to an addictive experience, even for old-fashioned “citizens” (non-riders) like us.

One such trip was particularly memorable. A few years ago, we took our dog, a sweet little Papillon, with us when we went to Bike Week. She got into it, too. Snickerdoodle wasn’t a barker, but you could just tell she was a free spirit. She got a leather Harley cap and a bandanna of her own that trip.

We drove a black Jetta at that point, so we at least had the color scheme down. Somehow we ended up in a slow-moving parade of bikes. The constant revving of the Harleys, the buzz of the Hondas, the sights, the smells, all made for a one of a kind street scene.

So when in Rome… I shifted into neutral for a second, and revved the German car’s little Mexican-built engine.

VRROOM went the Harleys. BZZZZ went the Hondas. *brrrm* went the Jetta.

No one on the sidewalk heard it. No one around us heard it. Probably my wife didn’t even hear it.

Ah, but Snickerdoodle and I heard it. More than that, we felt it. We knew, she and I – and that was enough. We were true rebels, albeit ones without a clue.