If 2020’s Daytona Bike Week was a bit of a disappointment, the event’s 80th celebration this past week more than made up for it. While it still hasn’t fully returned to its original pre-COVID glory, the event was much more similar to what it had been in previous years than I think a lot of us were expecting to see, especially anyone who attended last year’s event. Even the lightning storms during the opening weekend couldn’t get our spirits down. The motorcycle community came out in full force to celebrate like only bikers can.
Jasmine Cain, one of the musicians who performed at Bike Week this year, put it best in a check list she posted to Twitter:
Everyone’s check list may not look exactly like Jasmine Cain’s, but I’d be surprised if anyone left Daytona this past week without crossing off every item on their Bike Week check list. Whether your list included watching a wet t-shirt contest, attending the burning bike ceremony at the end of the week, or winning one of the dozens of motorcycle competitions held throughout, Bike Week came back in full force this year to deliver on everything we’ve come to love and expect.
Some, like the famous Naked Cowboy (Robert Burck) even got to cross “get arrested” off their Daytona Bike Week check list, whether they wanted to or not. If you haven’t already heard, the police arrested him on March 6th for panhandling. Thankfully, he got out and was back walking around and serenading the people of Daytona City for the rest of Bike Week.
We know things can get rowdy when we all get together, but even though DBW is one massive, week-long motorcycle party, that’s not all it is. One of the biggest misconceptions of events like Daytona Bike Week in the press is that folks like us are being selfish by wanting things to go back to normal so we can enjoy ourselves and go back to living our lives. The thing they always fail to mention is that Bike Week is more than just an excuse for bikers to get together and party, it also does a lot of good for the community. Usually the event brings in almost $75 million tourist dollars, most of which goes to local businesses like Dirty Harry’s and the Iron Horse Saloon, who rely on the profits they earn from these events for almost ONE THIRD of their annual revenue. Attending events like Bike Week isn’t just a selfish desire to go out and party, it’s a desire to help the communities that we all love so much survive and, hopefully, start thriving again.
And besides, if anyone didn’t feel safe coming out, they could always just stay home. Nobody was forced to come. Those of us who were there wanted to be there and didn’t mind the risk involved. We chose the health of our community, its businesses, and the employees who work there to put food on the table over our individual health and the chance of catching COVID. That’s a choice I know many in this community would make every single time.
But whether you attended, wanted to attend but couldn’t, or could attend but chose not to, if you ride on 2-wheels you’re always welcome. We’re hoping that things completely go back to normal next year so that we can all enjoy Daytona’s 81st annual Bike Week without having to worry about a thing!