Tomorrow morning at 6 am I will be on my way to Daytona for the 18th edition of Daytona Biketoberfest. And during the 220 miles trip north to my destination I will probably think again of the year 1992, the 1st edition to which I participated. As the event objectives were, every following year we boosted tourism, brought new money to the city coffers and merchants, made it a shorter Daytona Bike Week and of course also made good business showing and selling our ware, bikes and shop tees.
Biketoberfest became the most profitable event for most of us. Less people than during Bike Week, but with a higher proportion of very serious buyers just before the winter custom building season. Beach Street was the main hub of traffic because the custom scene elite was based there on both sides of “Custom Alley”. The crescendo of activity must have been reached in 2003 or 2004. Then, slowly and then abruptly our US economy began to tread water. Nostalgia of the time when Daytona traffic was our only Biketoberfest concern to ride our bikes from photo shoots to bike shows to evening professional events and to late night parties…and back at the displays in the morning where being 1 hour late was a lot of lost new business…Times are changing. No they have already changed. My daily contacts with many industry players seem to confirm that the fall is slowing down, like an immense parachute has been opened above us with a new ground in sight. I hear about business picking up for some of us. It is also true for me, especially with orders coming from Europe… I don’t expect to observe any euphoria when I arrive in Daytona, but I will track any sign of recovery by spending time with all my friends of the industry. As much as I can, if I am not being betrayed by the Wi-Fi God, I will report “live” on what I hear and see. TTYT (talk to you tomorrow).