Discovering Daytona Bike Week

The 2023 REVER events schedule kicked off with Daytona Bike Week. We paired up with the J&P Cycles and Revzilla trucks to help transport our tent setup and provide a space to meet with people face-to-face.

Working together makes it easy for Riders Plus Members to take advantage of discounts and cashback with RevZilla, Cycle Gear, and J&P Cycles, and get the REVER rundown with me and Bjorn to unlock the full potential of their REVER Pro account.

REVER Tent at Daytona Bike Week. Photo: Kyle Nagel

Having never been to Daytona Bike Week, there was a lot to take in. According to the website, Bike Week centers around the Daytona 200 motorcycle race and a variety of motorcycle racing events and shows at the Daytona International Speedway as well as activities throughout the greater Daytona area.

The races certainly helped draw the crowds and provide several opportunities to talk to folks about REVER. We even got to meet a racing legend, Tony Nicosia. He was alone when he approached our booth to chat about the Indian Chief parked next to the REVER tent. Totally unaware, we thought he was just a sweet old guy who wanted to talk about bikes and since neither of us really knew much about the bobber, we didn’t have much to contribute to the conversation, but Tony was happy to just talk about his life and racing career. Bewildered, we asked his name and looked him up after our conversation and the man is indeed a legend. 

We enjoyed meeting the racing fans of Daytona, especially those who participated in our Brag for Swag promotion. If you plan to attend any event REVER is at this year, record your ride and swing by our booth to Brag For Swag! 

On the first Sunday of Bike Week, we held a meet and greet at our booth with Jess - Her Two Wheels. This drummed up a line of people waiting to talk about how she inspired them to get out and ride. Her fans were delighted and they graciously listened to us talk about REVER while they waited to shake hands, get a picture with Jess.  

Jess - HerTwoWheels meeting and greeting fans. Photo: Bjorn Bredeson

Throughout our week in Daytona, I was determined to find out what brings people to DBW in such masses year after year, but it was difficult to experience Bike Week while working as a vendor. Besides going to Supercross on Saturday night, we pretty much spent any time outside of our booth prepping for the next day and getting to bed early. The other reality, I later discovered, is that there isn’t a central location for Bike Week festivities and there is a lot going on outside the speedway. 

We made the call after a slow start to the week to see if we could set up our tent at the J&P Cycles Daytona Superstore in Destination Daytona. The retail manager, John Crotts, welcomed us kindly. Knowing John is a good thing in Daytona. Not only does he seem to know everyone, but he’s very personable and happy to make connections with people. We met him somewhat serendipitously at a concert on Wednesday night at the famous Broken Spoke where an iconic rock cover band called Hairball was playing all week. 

Rock cover band, Hairball, playing a Kiss song at the Broken Spoke. Photo: Kyle Nagel

Almost immediately after setting up the tent Thursday morning, John made a series of introductions for us with the other vendors. We had some great conversations that may prove to be valuable partnerships. We were also invited to the J&P Cycles morning stand-up meeting where John again introduced us to the hard-working staff of the busy superstore. 

We continued our mission to experience Bike Week by reaching out to Ace Cafe in Orlando to ask if we could set up our tent at their weekly Thursday Bike Night. They agreed and we arrived shortly before the crowds swarmed the parking lot. The type of bikes and trikes that filled the parking lot were as diverse as the riders who congregated. It truly didn’t seem to matter what you ride as much as it mattered that you ride.

Bikes packed the parking lot for Orlando Bike Night at Ace Cafe. Photo: Bjorn Bredeson

Anthony Silvotti, Revzilla’s Digital Marketing Specialist, arrived with a group of about 20 riders including Blockhead Moto and Jess - Her Two Wheels. We shared a meal and traded stories. I’m always amazed by who you meet on a motorcycle and the conversation always seems easy since you have a commonality in the love of bikes. 

On the last day in Daytona, there was still one thing I hadn’t done which I felt was the most important part of experiencing Daytona Bike Week. That thing was to ride a freakin' motorcycle and see what the peninsula had to offer. So I hopped on Ridershare and found a beautiful Indian Scout Bobber to rent. I helped set up our tent for the last time and then left the booth in Bjorn’s very capable hands (thanks, buddy). It’s a rough gig testing routes we’ve uploaded into communities, but someone’s gotta do it. I picked the Coastal Loop from the J&P Cycles Daytona Superstore Community and invited Anthony along for the ride. This gave me an opportunity to show him how to use REVER. We cruised along the coast all the way up to St. Augustine and parked near the Colonial Quarter. We enjoyed some fish and chips at Meehan’s Irish Pub & Seafood House and answered a few emails before taking a quick stroll around the historic grounds. Feeling guilty for leaving Bjorn alone at the tent, we got back on the route and headed for the inland backroads to round out our ride. It rained briefly a couple of times on the way back, but as we pulled up to the booth, the clouds really opened up and started pouring. We made it under the tent just in the nick of time. 

Key REVER placement by Anthony Silvotti along the Coastal Loop. Photo: Kyle Nagel

After packing everything up on the Comoto trucks for the next event, it was time for our last hurrah. The work was done and we would fly out early the next morning, but not before enjoying some fresh seafood and gator bites at the Ocean Deck. At some point, it was noted that I had not been to Main St. yet and after we paid our bill, that’s exactly where we went. What I saw was more like spring break but with a lot of bikes parked on the street. The people-watching did not disappoint. It had been a long eight days and I was pretty tired, but I was also feeling a bit froggy so I told Anthony and Bjorn that I could be just as easily convinced to get a tattoo or go back to our Pineapples and Sprinkles Airbnb and go to sleep. I’ll let you guess what happened next. 

Anthony Silvotti commemorating DBW by getting ink done. Photo: Kyle Nagel

The whole experience was like a fugue state, but as I tried to recall the bits and pieces on my flight home, the answer to my question started to become more clear. What draws people to Daytona Bike Week? The races at Daytona International Speedway bring people from around the world, and when paired with vendors there is a large crowd for locals to show off their custom cruisers and trikes, if you're into that sort of thing. But what about the droves of bikers that tour far and wide to the Sunshine State? It wasn't until we went to the Hairball concert at the Broken Spoke that I realized how many people were there for nostalgia. Perhaps they wanted to recapture a time in the past when riding a Harley to drink beer, listen to rock and roll, and gawk at scantily clad women was the epitome of freedom. But of course, that doesn't explain the crowd at the Orlando Bike Night. No, for them riding is about community. And nothing builds community better than going for a ride and having a place to chill and catch up afterward. So whether it's racing, reminiscing, or regrouping, getting together is what Daytona Bike Week is about. And considering the last couple of years have made it hard to gather, this year, brother, the gathering was good.

"You don't stop riding when you get old, you get old when you stop riding."
― Anonymous

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