My thoughts on Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach

By now everyone knows the story. The government and the people of Myrtle Beach have spoken. There will be no more sponsorship of bike weeks from the city of Myrtle Beach.

I have heard people lamenting this decision; these people of course do not live in or near Myrtle Beach, but instead, are vendors or participators of the yearly event. I know, I’ve heard all the reasons why people who don’t live in the area give for the “plus” or “bonus” that comes from hosting such large events, but from my experience, I stand along side the people of Myrtle Beach, and applaud the balls it took to wean themselves from the fast money teat.

Now, I’ve never been to Myrtle Beach, but I did live less than 75 miles south of Daytona for many….many years. I started going to Daytona for spring bike week in 1978. I stayed at the Cabbage Patch Campground, back when it actually was a cabbage patch. I stayed at the ABATE campground during its infancy. I actually met Big Daddy Roth (I met him back in the early ‘60’s), and I can actually remember a time when you could walk down Main Street without having to weave through the spectators like you were a lava flow making its slow but sure way to the sea…I can remember when I didn’t have to park the bike in order to get around downtown, I could actually ride without fear of major engine damage due to overheating. I remember when the Boot Hill was still nothing but a hole in the wall, and I remember getting drunk and stumbling across the street to the cemetery…just to wander around and be alone. It’s not like that now there, and I’ll bet the fine people of Myrtle Beach have just as many fond memories of their town… how it was before the circus set up their tents…and invited all their rude, drunk, disrespectful friends to town.

Forgive me if you think I’m calling you rude and disrespectful. I imagine that you, just like me, are in general a very fine citizen of your town, your county, your state, and your country. But if you have ever come to Myrtle Beach and rode your bike into town and rapped your pipes at a red light or stop sign, then your were disrespectful. If you ever flashed your tits while riding on the back of your man’s bike…then perhaps the citizens would think that as being disrespectful. If you ever drove through a residential neighborhood late at night, looking for your rental house….with perhaps four of your closest buddies behind you…then it could be construed that you are being disrespectful. If you ever cut somebody off at a light…and chalked it up to being a tourist and not knowing where you were going, then you were being disrespectful.

As for the amount of money events such as these Bike Weeks attract to the area, frankly speaking…sometime money isn’t worth what the community loses or gives up. Let’s think about this for a moment. A community hosting such a large event, eventually loses it’s “small town” feel. It loses it’s friendly attractiveness, not because of any one particular reason, but for a myriad of reasons. But let’s just choose a few for the moment. It’s hard to be friendly to people who come to town for a week, and demand so much from the city and it’s citizens. It’s really hard to feel friendly towards people who think nothing of keeping you up all night with buzz of their machines…cruising the streets 24/7. Clogging the roadways turning getting to work from an affair that should take 15 minutes into an hour of inconvenience and rudeness. Often times finding parking for your everyday activities is out of the question. Why? Because people are now charging 5.00 to 10.00 dollars for parking spaces that are normally free when the circus isn’t in town.

Sometimes, people in these communities start to realize that when such large masses of humanity converges on their towns…no matter how good the community has gotten at serving the masses…they discover the money isn’t worth what they lose with the small town feeling of hospitality they take such great pride in. They see quite a bit of damage to the city once the bikers leave town. Litter, graffiti, and just plain filth left by people with an indifferent attitude. It’s not their town, they are paying for the citizens to put up with their “privileged” attitudes. Quite frankly, I think Myrtle Beach has tried to work with the multitudes of bikers who come each year…but once you grow from an event that attracts hundreds…or even a few thousand, to an event that attracts nearly a half million people in a weeks time…you have to decide what your willing to give up, and what you aren’t.

So you see, it takes balls to be a city that has enjoyed the biker bucks for so long…to stand back and say…”ENOUGH….WE’VE HAD ENOUGH!” We don’t like what we have become. It’s not you…it’s not that your bikers…it’s just that we have lost our identity…we have lost the sense of our community, and we just want it back. We want our streets, we want our beaches, we want our self respect back!”

Good for you Myrtle Beach. Good for you.

9 comments on “My thoughts on Myrtle Beach”

  1. I agree 1000% with your take on this Chessie, but a conversation I had about a year ago with a resident of Myrtle Beach clued me in on the fact that the city was going to stop the sponsored bike weeks, but there was a hidden and unspeakable reason for it. It seems that most citizens were opposed to the Memorial Day bike week(otherwise known as Black Bike Week), and this opposition is what formed the undercurrent behind the move to shut down BOTH bike weeks. The city could in no way shut down Black Bike Week without any major repercussions. So, both weeks were shut down. Maybe it was the right thing to do, and maybe the resident I talked to was all wet, but I do know that I have been to Myrtle Beach when nothing special was going on and it was a madhouse then.For my money……Atlantic Beach North Carolina is busy enough for me.Ride On!

  2. Port Aransas,TX encouraged college students to party at South Padre and started promoting a family oriented spring break in Port A. Its worked out.Living in a tourist area, I sympathize with MB residents, but I believe the local helmet law sets a dangerous precedent.I didn’t know that Black Bike Week was in Myrtle Beach, or that it had been closed down, but whenever you have the NAACP involved its time to for white folks to hide their wallets.

  3. I hate to see bike events shut down. How do you fix the problem? Move the bike events to the middle of the forest away from everyone or limit the number of participants. Ether way it takes away from the true roots of these events. Hard call but, great article.

  4. Brian, no… the cities who want to host these events will. That’s all. There are enough of them out there, willing to submit to the demands of the public…(for the time being,)in order to grab the biker dollar. I sure as hell don’t want half a million people in the forests and the empty spaces of my state…shittin like bears in the wood…and trashing my lovely and beautiful mountains. No…stay in the cities…there are enough of them out there looking to revitalize their economies…with biker bail outs.

  5. It’s too bad we have had to come to this, back in the day there was freedom, today it’s you can’t do this, and you can’t do that. I wonder sometimes when I’m in the wind and the music of the road is curing my depression, some day this will all come to an end, or has it already ended? ride safe.. Electra Glide In Blue

  6. Myrtle Beach lost its identity, but not to Bike Week. We lost our identity to the developers who want to turn this blue collar vacation town into a real estate gold mine resort for the rich. Its the developers and the people who bought into the fake image of Myrtle Beach that are now protesting one of our most culturally and economically significant events. This is just one incident in a string of many where our landmarks and traditions have been torn down and taken away because they weren’t wholesome enough for the disneyland image these investors are trying to create. By engaging in this culturecide they are furthering the destruction of our small business economy and widening the divide between the haves and have nots. The end of Myrtle Beach bike week is a story of corporate greed, not a community uprising to protect its roots and identity. If the true voice of the Myrtle Beach locals spoke we would be throwing out the fat cats, not the bikers.

  7. 68flh, if what Bonnie says is true, (and I have not doubt that it is,) then it behooves us as individuals to stop behaving as individuals when it comes to protecting what we love. Believe me when I tell you, I love nothing more than riding on my own. I can, I have ridden thousands of miles by myself…and never felt lonely. But we can’t fight the problems that confront us single handed. Seems to me, that as Bonnie said, if the people of Myrtle Beach collectively became activists…instead of reacting as individuals, voices would have been heard. It’s the same for us…I don’t know about you FLH…but I’m a lone rider. I have rode C.A. by myself in the early ’90’s. I have ridden across the USA, so many times, always by myself…that the only route I haven’t traveled east to west on my bike is I-90. So you can guess that I’m really good at being alone…but when it comes to fighting for the things we want, love and need…we suck at becoming a collective. That needs to be changed.We don’t watch out, we could find ourselves in a future world like Orwell’s. Orwell is a biker of the future, whose motorcycle was encased in Plexiglas…never to be ridden on the road again…and it was put there by our government, who listened more to insurance companies than to it’s citizens. (A book written by Keith Ball, and I see how what he predicted is starting to happen.)

  8. I have mixed feelings on this, but I also see your point of view, and you wrote it well.Since a bunch of my brothers and sisters from Blackstone Valley HOG and I were planning on going to Myrtle, I can’t say I’m really happy about them putting the kibosh on the rally. Since it was to be my first time going, that makes it even worse. I guess I won’t get to find out what I missed. I don’t like other people changing my plans either, but that’s another story.You are right in pointing out there’s another side to it. Nobody wants anyone peeing on their front lawn or shitting in their backyard, no matter who it is. Then again, if we all become anti-fun Nazis and start banning everything, then where’s everyone going to go??I don’t think the folks who live in D.C. are really thrilled about the upcoming remake of Charles and Diana’s wedding that’s about to take place in their backyards when the “Annoited One” assumes the throne, er ah, I mean the Presidency. So what do we do, cancel it for the benefit of the city and swear the President in out in the Nevada desert flats so nobody will be inconvenienced?This reminds me of the nonsense people who live near the airport raise when building a new runway is proposed. “We don’t want more noise!” they cry. Ummmm…you live next to an airport! You also have the option of MOVING! Doh!This is also like the porno book and vid store. NOBODY wants it in their town, or near their house, but it’s amazing how many of those same people will go and shop there. In my experience, the biggest anti-porn advocates are the ones with the Superman and Wonder Woman outfits in their closet, along with a box of toys that look like they date back to the Spanish Inquisition.Of course, the bottom line here is the majority rules, and like it or not, that’s how things are run in this country. If the folks in Myrtle Beach don’t want visitors anymore, then that’s their choice and I respect it. All I can say is, “Be careful what you wish for – you may get it.” Saying the money doesn’t make it worth it is nice and idealistic. But, in this economy, they NEED that money. When businesses start closing up, strip malls get boarded up, property values drop like stones even more than they already have…you watch. They’ll all be sitting in the local breakfast joint talking about how good things were when the bikes came to town.At least it’ll be nice and quiet so they can hear each other.

  9. Joker, You do make valid points. I mean let’s face it, Daytona tried something similar…half hearted…but all the same, and yes…they ate some crow, and printed up some street banners telling us how sorry they were. So perhaps Myrtle Beach will too. But I have my big doubts on it. I could be very mistaken, but I am sure there were plenty of council meetings where the subject of discontinuing the rallies was discussed in great detail. The people who supported the ban on motorcycle rallies inside the city of Myrtle Beach were better organized than those who wanted to keep the rallies. Because of better organization, the people who wanted the rallies to end won. That’s all there is to it. One side got organized well, the other side didn’t get it together fast enough or with enough passion to get the their supporters excited or to change the minds of the detractors. They lost. This is still a nation ruled by democracy, and in this issue…the side who won was the side who was able to get the people and the issues on their side…quickly and vocally. It’s too late for the biker advocates to cry foul. They had their chance to get it together and change the outcome of this decision. This is nothing like the idiot who buys a house close to the airport…because nothing about the Bike Rallies of Myrtle Beach denoted a permanency in residence. It is and always has been up to the whims of the community as to if the Rallies continue from contract to contract…or from year to year. Like it or not, we as bikers must realize…that not everyone wants our money. And if we and the people who support themselves off of us wish to continue to feed from the biker teat, they have to organize…and be ready to stop the nay sayers of the Rallies they love. Of course this is only my take on the whole thing…nothing much more…nothing less, and nothing that hasn’t been reiterated by many before me.

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