Daytona Bike Week 2013

Article By: Chris Callen Photos

By: Darren McKeag, Magoo & Chris

Originally Published In The June 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

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It never ceases to amaze me how many people hang their hopes for a good riding season on how Daytona was. Even more peculiar are those who believe that there is nothing to do and no reason to go to Daytona at all. For us, it has become the perfect way to start the year. Taking the good and the bad, this is the first big official kick-off of each riding season. We squirrel away our days, save up our time and can’t wait to get to the sunny beaches of Daytona. So after a laid back 2012, the magazine decided to take a more active role in the bike week promotions, and there was plenty to do. The trip was the first on the list and since my band, Big House Pete, would be playing for the first time during the event, I would forgo the typical travel down out of the mountains on the bike and instead drive the gig rig. My companions for the 1500 mile crusher would be Paul, the lead singer/guitarist, and Ozzy, our tour manager and spiritual advisor. Being on the road with a band, and man, I had finally done everything I ever wanted to do as a teenage boy. In any event, that was the feeling for most of the week. Curt and his sister Kim had made us a deal on sharing their space, so when Sam the drummer and Mark the rhythm guitar player got to town we’d have somewhere to stay. Almost a dozen people sleeping in a two room condo, but it didn’t matter, we were on tour and playing the big stage at The Broken Spoke and Willie’s Chopper Show.

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Editor’s Choice Awards

Before I could enjoy the time as a musician at bike week, there was plenty of magazine work to do. The first event of the week on our schedule would be the very first Editor’s Choice bike show held on Tuesday at The Spoke. We were hoping this thing would come off without a hitch. If you aren’t already aware of the event, it was a collaboration of 15 national custom motorcycle magazines that came together for a one day show. On the first Tuesday of bike week you could come out and get your bike in front of all the national editors, meet the staff, and each magazine would pick one winner that would receive a trophy and a full feature in their publication. It was amazing to think that all these good people from the gears of the motorcycle industry could manage not only to get together, but to work seamlessly like a well oiled machine. I want to personally thank each of them for their support.

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The day of the show was a major bummer, or so we thought. At first, the weather report did not look good. When registration opened, it was gloomy and raining off and on; we all wondered if the inaugural event would be a wash. Yet still the bikes kept pulling in– incredible bikes–everything from baggers to bobbers. By the end of registration we had nearly 70 bikes and not a dog in the bunch. Not too bad considering that the rain never really let up. Our magazine ended up with a killer bike from the day. It came from Steelborn Choppers and can be seen on the cover of this very issue. There was no question about it being our pick and we’re proud to have it here for our readers. Of course none of this would have been possible without The Spoke’s own Heather Walker who headed up all the organization behind our fifteen crazy publications. She helped close the deal for our lead sponsor, Twisted Tea, as well as the product sponsors like S&S and Biker’s Choice. They all gave some killer prizes! Heather and the staff made sure the editors had a nice lunch in the hospitality tent (good idea to feed our road weary asses), and her and Robert did everything they could to make this a great day for all of us, and we thank them.

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Like I said, the whole thing went pretty smooth and everyone all picked a bike for their respective publications. One at a time, we went on stage and handed out awards. It was a big day for the industry. It was the first time we all came together and showed what is possible from print media. After all, most of these magazines and their staff have been the trusted keepers of information since the beginning of the culture. What we have planned from here is to do a similar show in Sturgis, giving everyone another chance to meet all the magazine folks, and hopefully the rain stays away this time. We know for sure it will be at The Broken Spoke again, so stay tuned to your favorite magazine for more details.

Chopin’ Block / Cycle Source Ride

Next up was the collaboration between Cycle Source and the Chopin’ Block builders. This would be a ride taking the Daytona Loop which happened on Wednesday and was gonna be hectic ‘cause it was the same night as the Cycle Source party. This was also when my band was playing their first gig. For my part, that meant we’d have to keep a tight schedule and race around a little bit to get it all in. It didn’t help that my lazy ass hadn’t even changed the plugs on the Panhead all winter. Bobby Seeger flew in with my newly repaired gas tank from when my bike fell over in the van leaving Brooklyn a few months back. The morning of the ride saw me, and everyone I could persuade, scrambling like mad to make The Ticket road worthy and then get it running. About a hundred kicks later (hell yes I promise to be a better bike owner after that), The Ticket fired up and about 50 of us pulled out of The Spoke to cruise the park roads. One of the greatest things about the Daytona Loop is the Fairchild Oak Trees that lean all the way over the road and are one of the oldest oaks in Florida. There are parts that they provide so much shade that it literally drops ten degrees or better. Since it was gonna be a tight day for time, I had to split about halfway through the ride so I could help get the band set up for the night’s events.

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Again I can’t say enough about The Broken Spoke and their hospitality. They had pizza and beer for our VIP guests; they booked Jasmine Cain as the headliner and even hired us as well as The Shiners–our own Rob Keller’s band to open the night. All three bands had custom guitars made that were given away by random picks at the end of the night. The Shiners’ and Big House Pete’s guitars were hand painted by Steel City Choppers own Steve Peffer. To tell you the truth, we all wanted to keep them once we saw how badass they were! I want to give a special thanks to Pianos and Stuff, our music store in Pittsburgh, which hooked us up on that deal. It was so good to play live music again after taking 7 years off, but Rob is writing another article in this month’s magazine about that so I won’t go on about it.

Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Choppertime

Thursday is the standard day to clear the whole schedule and just plan on being at Willie’s from start to finish. This show continues to set records and blow minds; 2013 did nothing to stop that streak. Since Darren and Roadside had been on an adventure for a few weeks and were already in town, they had the place on lock. Me and the boys from Big House Pete were also playing there and rolled in a little bit late so it was a full-on hustle. This was the first bike week that I was working so many different jobs- -sound man now included! We got the gig thanks to Willie and Roadside, and we had a blast! I couldn’t believe I was actually playing music to that crowd; it rocked! The Horse mag was on the scene doing some cool ass documentary stuff for the Smoke Out this year. We’ll be reporting more about that in upcoming issues as well. As crazy as the day was, it seemed to be over in a flash and we were all sitting around wondering what happened. Good thing Darren, Rob and John got a bunch of pictures so we could get back and figure it all out! Yep, it was a hell of a good time again! Thanks Willie!

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Chopin’ Block / Cycle Source Bike Show

Friday came and the gloves were off. All our responsibilities had been met so other than tooling around on the Panhead, getting some riding in, and shooting video for our own Grease & Gears, I was free from the plan. This gave me some time to just get out and dig the scene, and I did just that. No matter who comes up with reasons to hate Daytona, it’s still a town that gets overrun by bikes twice a year. How bitchin’ is that? I took a trip down to the beach with Bobby Seeger, and Marla and Timo from Kopteri magazine shot The Ticket for their publication. After that, we headed to Main Street. I spent some time with my buddy Doug at Sick Boy, who is a perfect meter for any rally. This cat sees and hears all so when I need to know what the deal is, that’s my in. The end of the day did see one more promotion: The Chopin’ Block / Cycle Source Bike Show at The Broken Spoke. Sick Boy had some great shirts made up special for the occasion and the guys from Chopin’ Block put on a killer show. I won’t even lie and say that the magazine really had any part in making that thing as badass as it was, ‘cause it was all these guys. I want to give thanks to Gary Mauer and Ron Harris for all the hard work they put in to make the magazine and the other builders on the lot look so good.

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The rest of the weekend was spent taking pictures of bikes, shooting funny ass video with Bobby and racing around on the Panhead. The best was one late night on Main Street. Bobby was doing interviews and this Asian kid gets in the face of some cops. Of course the kid’s drunk and hits one of the cops, and man, it was on! But don’t let me ruin it for you ‘cause you can see that stuff on our YouTube channel. It was another great bike week and hard to come home from again. Oh well, maybe I can use the time between now and the next rally to practice good maintenance habits and get a tune-up done on the Pan … I should be ashamed!

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