The rising fuel price has another victim. Already we as bikers have problems filling up our modest fuel tank of our motorcycles. Obviously cars and SUVs really suffer, but you can feel the pinch on your bike as well. Fuel is now about 30% more than last year. So what happens is that we ride less.
Since we’re riding less and less, it severely impacts biker events. Take last week’s Daytona Beach Bike Week. This mega event attracts thousands and thousands of bikers from all over the USA, and even from abroad.
But first of all we’re still in a recession, so money is scarce, but you also need to get there. It’s okay if you live in Florida, or Georgia, or any state close by. But if you live in New York, or heaven forbid, California, the journey is just too expensive.
The shopkeepers, restaurants and hotels have been counting their revenue, and it doesn’t look good. Bikers who attend these kind of venues tend to spend money when they are there. Not only lodging and food, but also clothing, or often they buy discounted riding gear like motorcycle helmets, motorcycle leathers, leather chaps, etc. This year, revenue for shops has dropped 20 to 40%! Though hotel bookings are normal, maybe even a bit higher, this is because reservations were made well in advance. When the reservations were made, there wasn’t any real fuel crisis. And since the bikers had paid in advance, they went there anyway, but to save money, they didn’t spend any on souvenirs. Those that hadn’t booked a hotel or camping, just didn’t go. In fact, this year saw more Europeans thanks to a lower dollar.
The Daytona Speedway also saw a significant drop in visitors. According to the organizers, they had 20% less visitors. Fewer bikers, and those that did show up for Bike Week didn’t spend the money on the races.
Obviously events such as Bike Week will not disappear. They’ll continue, since it is a main event, and still brings in much needed money. They can always hope for next year. Or maybe the Biketoberfest.
In the mean time, the biggest yard stick will be Sturgis. Many Harley Davidson fans are so loyal to the event, they would probably mortgage their house before missing Sturgis. Let’s hope it’s only a small glitch, and next year things are back to normal.