How Real Bikers Do Daytona Bike Week 2024

An inside look at how real motorcycle riders do Daytona Bike Week.

Jay Wright (37W) and Byron Bartley (74) go head-to-head in turn 1 on their Harley-Davidson brakeless flatheads in the Sons of Speed vintage races at New Smyrna Speedway, Florida.Michael Lichter

Last time photographer Michael Lichter checked in with Motorcyclist, he was covering Sturgis. But Daytona is a different beast, and this year he decided to do it a little differently. He’s been going to Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Florida, since 1982. But this year, it was less about covering everything and more about enjoying everything. Michael explains.

“I had a different slant on Bike Week this year. Daytona has changed over the 40-plus years I’ve been attending so it was time to experience it and report on it in a new way. Certainly, the party on Main Street isn’t what it used to be, and so, up the road, Ormond Beach picked up the slack. Then the vendors on Beach Street were kicked out and moved over to the track. My response was to dodge Main Street until the very last day, never went shopping, and didn’t get to any of the races at the speedway.

“Instead of trying to cover everything, I did what everyone else does—put one foot in front of the other and see what happens. A full day at the brakeless Sons of Speed banked-track antique racing was the best place to start and learn what everyone would be up to and where they’d be heading. Bike shows were high on the list, with Hairball’s opening night at the Broken Spoke, Warren Lane’s True Grit, Willie’s Chopper Time, Shovelhead night at The Other Place, Detroit’s D.A.M. show at Black Bike Week, and lots more. Some of the most fun was had at the garage meet-ups where people put heads and hands together to keep bikes running, and at house parties that happened everywhere. Anyone can go with an open mind and no big plans and have the best time of all.”

Enjoy the photos.

Ebay Jake celebrates his win with a side-saddle victory lap around the New Smyrna Speedway on his brakeless Harley-Davidson Flathead after the Sons of Speed vintage races.Michael Lichter
Lord love a turbo. Shadd Reed on his flathead racer fitted with a turbo and set up more like a chopper after racing in the Sons of Speed vintage races at New Smyrna Speedway.Michael Lichter
Shop nights rule. The scene at JoJo (of Giuseppe’s Steel City Pizza) Mialki’s house during Daytona Bike Week.Michael Lichter
Hairball, the ’80s tribute hair band, rocked the stage to a packed audience at the Broken Saloon during Daytona Bike Week.Michael Lichter
Even Floridians need a campfire sometimes. Chill atmosphere around the campfire at the Broken Spoke Saloon during Daytona Bike Week.Michael Lichter
That coffin tank, though. Bill Stevens on his 1939 Ironhead Sportster chopper after winning an award in Cycle Source magazine’s ride-in show at the Broken Spoke Saloon during Daytona Bike Week.Michael Lichter
Adventure is nothing without a story. The weekly Shovelhead Coalition bike night at The Other Place brings out the storytelling.Michael Lichter
Spectator, meet spectacle. Willie’s Tropical Tattoo’s annual Chopper Time ride-in bike show in Ormond Beach.Michael Lichter
Without rock, nothing would roll. Scene outside the Iron Horse Saloon.Michael Lichter
Some work so that others may party. Mechanic Kaleb Fletcher working on a clutch at the Cycle Solutions activation at Daytona Harley-Davidson.Michael Lichter
Main Street packed with bikes and closed to cars. Because, Bike Week.Michael Lichter
Some dogs have all the luck. Making a fashion statement while riding down Daytona Beach’s Main Street.Michael Lichter
Plus 20 cool points for the Prince shirt. Riders on Daytona Beach’s Main Street.Michael Lichter
Memories are made of this. Black Bike Week revelers gather in style on Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard.Michael Lichter