byTheresa Vanderwilt & Gideon W. Jenkins, II
What do you get when you combine coleslaw wrestling, black leather chaps and thousands of motorcycles? That’s right, it’s Daytona’s annual bike week, one of the wildest parties in the world. Those of you who have been fortunate enough to experience bike week know exactly what I’m talking about.
Since 1937 millions of people have journeyed to Daytona to enjoy what was then just a race on the beach to what has now become the biggest bike rally in the world. Hundreds and thousands of people return annually to forget that they work nine to five and to remember that they rule the road.
Bike week is a festival that spans three counties and ten days, during which there’s something for everyone. There’s racing and rocking, from the bike bash to the Cabbage Patch, where the earlier mentioned coleslaw wrestling takes place. Yes, that is actually an annual event and one of my personal favorites. The two most common events however, include “bike-watching” and more importantly “bike-flaunting.” These bikes are their babies; people work hard for them and are there to show them off.
Walk out of any bar on Daytona’s Main St. and you will be surrounded by a sea of chrome. For miles and miles the streets are lined with every type of bike you can imagine. There are Harleys and Hondas, dirt bikes and street bikes, green bikes, black bikes, the list goes on and on. With simply the turn of your head you will spot bike tags from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Texas, even Ontario, Canada.
So how do all these bikes arrive in Daytona from hundreds of miles away? That’s where the toyhaulers come in. Those bad boys were everywhere. I even spoke with a couple who had been coming to bike week for thirteen years, this being their first trip with a toyhauler. They explained that in previous years they would drive their camper with the trailer hauling the bikes on the back. But once they positioned their camper in the campgrounds it was trapped. So if it rained, which it often does in Florida, and they couldn’t take the bikes out, they were stuck. This year, however, they drove their truck pulling their toyhauler. They had the advantage of taking the toys when they wanted and driving their truck when they needed. Toyhauler to the rescue!
Over the years bike week has changed, just as many things do. Although the locals used to dub bike week “the invasion,” they now welcome it and all of the financial gains it brings to the community. Just as the perception of bike week has changed so has the means of getting there. I expect that the toyhauler’s popularity will expand and go on to become a permanent part of bike week tradition. As for those of you who have not been to bike week, start planning because it’s less than a year until the biggest bike rally in the world.