BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
Hundreds of thousands of bikers and the million dollars they will spend are being welcomed to the Daytona Beach area during this year’s annual Bike Week, which continues through March 16.
Motorcycle enthusiasts will find plenty to keep busy with as the festival spans Flagler and Volusia counties. Bikers will take part in free motorcycle demos, bike shows, bike races, fashion shows, bikini contests and plenty of good eating.
The philanthropic rider can also contribute to charity through bike rides such as the 2014 Bike Week Ruff Ride & Poker Run sponsored by the Humane Society.
Though the events are plentiful, many have no formal advertising. The Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event, has taken on the duty of compiling as much information as possible on the chamber website to keep bikers informed.
Get your popcorn
The heart of activities catering specifically to Black bikers in Daytona occur on Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard, known as MMB and formerly Second Avenue.
Oils, perfumes and sprays are a crowd favorite and Daniel Robertson of Scents By Alameen brought dozens of them. His fragrances range from sweet and flowery to sensual, manly and musky. Other vendors are supplying cocoa butter, shea butter and other hair and body oils. Paintings, pocketbooks, earrings, sunglasses and phone chargers, bootleg DVD and CDs also can be found on the Avenue. Biker gear, patches and pins also are for sale.
Hungry? Choices range from vegetarian dishes, tropical slushees, Caribbean options, turkey legs, wings, shrimp and barbecue.
Gilbert Bells is on his 28th visit to Daytona’s Bike Week and is visiting from New Jersey.
“Pretty much everything is the same as it’s always been, but I still enjoy myself,” he commented.
Greater officer presence?
Iron Mike with the Kentucky Gun Slingers and a biker who goes by the name Truck Driver with the Stake Holders were on the Avenue Tuesday evening and spoke with the Daytona Times.
The pair has been coming to the event for over a decade.
“I don’t really want to say what I want to say ‘on the record’, but I will,” Truck Driver said. “I just think for a prime example, on the Black side of town they got the F.B.I. wagon (the Daytona Beach Police Department Mobile Response Unit) over there with all the blue lights flashing over here.’’
He added that you don’t see that on the “other side of town, over there with the White folks. You don’t see it at the Boothill Saloon, you don’t see that over at Froggy’s.”
Iron Mike wasn’t in complete agreement with the statement, saying that there was a larger officer presence on the beach side where the majority of bikers convene.
“But the main thing over here is that you get to get away from it. That’s why we come on this side.”
“But you don’t see it as big,” Driver interrupted. “The first time the law is called over here, they are going to shut it down; that’s why we police ourselves.”
The Daytona Beach Police Department did not respond to a request for comment on police measures taking place.
“We just want everyone to come out and have a good time, be safe and enjoy themselves,” said Demarco Sledge, another motorcycle enthusiast.
A fashion show by Evelyn’s Creations 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. March 14 at the staging area on MMB.
A Southern Soul Blues Fest will be held March 15 from 2 p.m.- 9 p.m. at Daisy Stocking Park, 550 Third Ave., featuring a swimsuit contest, bike show and dance off.
A Buffalo Soldier Tribute will be held March 15 at 6 p.m. at the Second Avenue Plaza, 560 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd. It’s tribute to fallen bikers in the past year.
The Safari Lounge will host events March 13-16 including, Ms. Remy presents Welcome to My City: Bike Week Concert Thursday night, under the tent outside the Safari Lounge; Grown Folks Friday for bikers 30 and up. Saturday is the Soulful night both indoor and outside. Sunday is a family and fun day with a jump house for the kids. Free food, games and entertainment start at 3 p.m. The Safari Lounge is located at 223 South Martin Luther King Blvd. More information: 386-295-6629.
The 73rd Daytona 200 by Honda: kicks off the 2014 Geico Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season with a 200-mile battle at the Daytona International Speedway.
The third appearance of the Budweiser Clydesdale Parade is scheduled for 3 p.m. (weather permitting) on March 15. The route starts at A1A and Oakridge Blvd, proceeds south to Main Street, west on Peninsula and finishes back at Oakridge. The Clydesdales will be at their stables at Destination Daytona.
Find more Bike Week information at www.daytonachamber.com.