When I sat down to write this column I did so with the goal of producing an upbeat and positive look ahead to this week’s 2012 fall motorcycle rally along the Grand Strand.
We are years removed from the tired, old back-and-forth bickering about whether or not bikers bring more revenue or trouble to the beach; whether the debate is motivated by money, politics, or discrimination; how many vendor permits should be allowed, for how long, and at what price? I had truly resigned myself to the fact that Myrtle Beach city officials succeeded in their efforts to tame the rallies and at the same time that the bikers had succeeded in keeping them alive.
I considered it a draw with no real winners or losers.
Ultimately, I don’t think most bikers give a rip whether Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes wants them in his city or not. The ones who want to come here still come to the area whenever they want; and, the South Carolina Supreme Court threw out the bulk of the ordinances the city created to chase bikers away, most notably the mandatory helmet law. Conversely, the city of Myrtle Beach has somehow managed to avoid collapse without the revenue those bikers have since chosen to spend outside the city limits, despite a boycott that bikers cautioned city officials would bring them to their knees.
The whole thing was a mess and I, like most of you I’m sure, am glad it is over. I figured I would simply approach my coverage of this year’s fall rally as if nothing had ever happened, but I don’t like what I am seeing through my rose-colored glasses. Instead of covering the rally as if nothing happen ED, it is looking like I will be covering the rally as if nothing is happen ING.
I usually start my coverage by putting the word out to area businesses that have an interest in the rallies, asking them to let me know of any special events they have lined up so I can share the most interesting stuff with you, my readers. For the first time ever I got nothing. Zero replies. Can there really be nothing interesting planned?
So I turned to the information superhighway for, well, information. Surely, with the rally at hand there would be events posted on the Web sites of area hot spots. I started at the Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson dealership site. There is no mention at all on the home page, but according to the event calendar the Hurricane Alley Fall Bike Rally takes place from Oct. 17. That’s it? But wait! There’s another link at the top that reads, “RALLIES” with a drop-down link titled more specifically “Fall – Hurricane Alley.” Now we’re talking. *CLICK* and sigh. The link leads to a blurry hurricane tracking map with a clever message promising updates in the future despite the countdown indicating “landfall” in 0 days. I guess we’re not going to find out much here.
Nobody does the rallies like the Beaver Bar(s). With two popular biker-friendly bars in Murrells Inlet you could make a case that the larger Beaver Bar at the County Line location has become rally central. Let’s take a look at their Web site at www.BeaverBar.net, shall we? (Make sure you use the extension .net and not .com, unless you are in the market for adult toys.) At least the rally is mentioned on the home page this time, but here it’s called “Horry County Fall Rally”, which strikes me as funny because the “County Line” in the name of the larger Beaver Bar location refers to the fact that the site was deliberately established just south of the county line in Georgetown County – not Horry County. The page does promise “Live Music, Wild & Crazy Entertainment, Vendors, Apparel, Free Bike Parking, and Food Concessions” at both locations, but that’s about it. Again, no details are listed. Again, sigh.
I had a little more luck at the MyrtleBeachBikeWeek.com site, which is sticking to the name “Myrtle Beach Bike Week Fall Rally” presumably because that is the name of the site. The site lists a few poker runs and some trailer parking information, but again no real activities to speak of. The most interesting thing at this site is that it listed two sets of dates for the event offering visitors the choice of: Oct 1-7 or Oct 3-7.
Much to my relief I was able to finally find some detailed event listings online. Jamin’ Leather provides a great, detailed Event Guide that includes not only its own events, but free listings for others as well. You can download the guide at www.mbEventGuide.com. And, to its credit, Suck Bang Blow made the effort to list a fall rally events schedule that you can find at www.SuckBangBlow.com.
Despite the lack of promotion being done by some of the area’s most influential biker-friendly businesses I know there will be plenty to do once we take to the roads. Temperatures are supposed to be hovering around 80 degrees and the extended forecast is calling for dry riding. I’m looking forward to joining the thousands of people who I’m sure will have a great time at the rally this weekend.