Daytona Black Bike Week 2021

  • Published on:  3/17/2021
  • Black Bike Week 2021 | Bethune Cookman University | Bike Week 2021 | Daytona Beach

    Unofficial Black Bike Week in Daytona Beach. Daytona Beach has a very interesting history. My grandfather told me back when he was young, the discrimination's in Daytona Beach was very clear and evident. Black Vendors had a hard time selling products and getting a spot on Main Street beach side, so to help their community and make some money on the other side of the tracks, Black Bike Week was set up near one of the most known HBCUs in Florida, Bethune Cookman University.

    "The necessity for separation was created by segregation during Daytona Bike Week’s dark past. Black Bike Week — on Second Avenue (since renamed Dr. Mary Mcleod Bethune Blvd) — has grown to be the laid-back alternative to the crazy world of Cole-slaw Wrestling, high prices, machismo at the silicone-enhanced version of the event.

    Visitors to the annual Daytona Beach Bike Week celebration have taken home many, many traffic citations as souvenirs. But the story of biker legend Tommy Asberry during the Daytona Bike Week of 1971 has to be among the most memorable of them all.

    “I was ticketed for parking my Harley-Davidson Electra Glide in among all the Hondas and Triumphs on Main Street,” said Asberry. “The police told me I couldn’t be parking a bike there, leaking oil like that, so I had to move along.”
    Of course, oil-seeping Harleys are as much a part of the Daytona scene as overpriced beer and cheap T-shirts you’ll never wear. Asberry’s problem wasn’t the color of the 40-weight dripping from his crankcases — it was the color of his skin.

    And like tens of thousands of other black motorcyclists who showed up for — but were eventually turned away from — Bike Week during the rally’s early years, Asberry eventually found a more hospitable place to park his motorcycle. The social conditions that contributed to bogus traffic tickets and parking citations for black riders may have changed or transformed a bit during the last five decades, but Daytona’s Second Avenue (Dr. Mary Mcleod Bethune Blvd), a three-block collection of Baptist churches, hair salons, and bars, continues to thrive.

    Ever since the Second Avenue scene emerged out of bitterness and necessity in 1949 it continues to grow in popularity. It is this spirit of resilience that keeps Black Bike Week together, as it attracts an international mix of riders who, like the founders, come looking for a more family-oriented alternative to the raucous, corporate-sponsored mayhem of Daytona’s Main Street."

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