It all started on January 24th, 1937, when Ed Kretz wrung out his Indian on the hard sand beach winning the first ever Daytona 200, or 'Handlebar Derby," as it is know by most locals. It was official, Daytona was a two-wheeled town and what's now known as Bike Week was born. Each year popularity grew for the races, and soon, as non-race related activities flourished, crowds became more and more rough-edged. The invasion, as it came to be called, became so rowdy that after the 1986 event a special task force was formed in cooperation with the city and chamber of commerce to manage the gathering.
Some things have not changed. Daytona's Bike Week is now a ten-day festival and is known as "the worlds largest motorcycle gathering." It also continues to attract crowds from all over the globe... as well as corporate sponsors, including the likes of Budweiser and Harley-Davidson. With this event aging along with it's patrons though, will Daytona hang on to it's bad-boy, bar-banging reputation?
Take a look at this years events schedule. It reveals a discount prescription card and a section dedicated to the event's "Executive Riders," who apparently "shed the confinements of day-to-day business and evolve into a completely different self." Whatever that means. Only time will tell what the next phase of Daytona Bike week will be. We certainly hope it includes a little bit of the spirit Mr. Kretz and others in the early days displayed, hanging it all out atop two wheels on a beach in Florida.
[Source: Official Bike Week]