The Geek at Bike Week

The Geek at Bike Week

This week Long Ride Shields will be visiting Daytona and accompanying the owner of the company is our new CFO..... AND HE IS A COMPLETE GEEK! Because he is a motorcycle NEWBIE we feel it is our responsibility to teach him what biker life is all about - what better opportunity than Daytona Bike Week to break him in 


I am not the ‘traditional’ motorcycle enthusiast – in fact,  the only ‘traditional’ mold I would fit is that of the accounting geek that sits behind the desk and crunches numbers all day. My interest in motorcycles is a newfound one. I am the Controller for the parent company of Long Ride Shields, so I tend to stay out of the marketing and product development as much as I can since I can offer very little valuable information. But recently, I received notification from the founder of Long Ride Shields that I would be traveling to Daytona, Florida to attend ‘Bike Week’. I am not sure WHY am I attending this event, but I have been delegated to attend. My sole purpose is – get this….RECON!!! I am to observe, learn, and report back to the eager minds at Long Ride Shields about products, people, and ways we can improve our offerings to be more consumer oriented and to up our level
of customer satisfaction. 

So being the ‘think ahead’ type of person I am, I decided to run to my computer and Google this event. NOT WHAT I EXPECTED! My first thoughts were of motorcycle lined streets with vendor tents and food stands with biker-types walking along looking at new stuff for their bikes. It does appear there are bikes along the sidewalks, food vendors, and such, but there were naked people everywhere! Well, not necessarily completely naked, but very scantily dressed girls serving food, mud wrestling, laying on the beach, posing on shiny custom bikes, etc. My next thought was that I am so NOT the right person for this task! That whole ‘geeky accountant’ stereotype is more accurate than I am willing to admit. I tried my best to weasel out of this insane idea, but no one would listen. My airline reservation Is confirmed. No turning back now!

Research seemed to be the next step, so I won’t bore you with the details of that effort, but as I dug into this whole ‘motorcycle’ thing, some very interesting things began to surface. Motorcycles have been a very big part of American history for many decades. The brand Harley Davidson is the fifth most recognized brand in the world only behind names like Mercedes-Benz and McDonalds. Motorcycles have served important roles in world wars, daily police operations, as the ultimate recreational toy, as delivery vehicles, and even trekked some of the most arduous roads around the world. There are colorful histories involving Indian and Victory motorcycles, yet today they are part of the same corporate family and American bikes are sold throughout the world and earn the respect and admiration of people everywhere.
I came across various notes about which roads to ride and provide the best experiences for bikers. I was quite pleased to learn that a road I have driven many times growing up in Western North Carolina is one of the American biker’s favorite – US 129 – more commonly known as the ‘Tail of the Dragon’. I found this road extremely fun in my Merkur xr4Ti! I have also driven the ‘Rim of The World’ and ‘Topanga Canyon’ courses in Southern California many times after moving there in 1989. More recently Highway 120 near Yosemite and the ‘Reno to Lake Tahoe’ loop have both been covered in the past few months. While I did not experience any of these on a two-wheeled vehicle, I did experience them, so I felt a moment of bonding with the biker crowd, if only in spirit. But as I read this information, I did begin to better understand why ordinary people buy a bike, and then see the world in a very different perspective – an extraordinary perspective at that!Driving down the road, feeling the power of your bike, seeing the world without the closed-in feeling a car offers its occupants – the freedom to experience all America has to offer with the wind in your face! OK, I admit, the concept is intriguing to me.

People travel to Daytona from all over the country to participate in Daytona Bike Week – my conclusion is that the rally itself is a huge gathering of like-minded bikers coming together to show off their bikes and to relax – but the real fun associated with Daytona Bike Week is the trip there and the trip home! Yeah, you might find some really cool stuff for your bike and see some old friends, do things you may or may not remember tomorrow, but it’s about the trip!  The ride on the highways and byways of America ultimately ending up in sunny Florida – I get it! I welcome this challenge and I will report back with what I have learned, so stay tuned! If for no other reason than to find the humor in a geeky guy’s perception of the world of bikers! Until then….