After the Christmas holidays here in the Sunshine State riders start looking forward to all the events related to Bike Week, which usually start around the end of February. Even though by that time, our winter is pretty well behind us, I’ve spent some cold, rainy days in Daytona. Every now and then, someone sitting on some board in Volusia County decides to give us a little break and schedule it even later in the year. And so it was this year when our annual pilgrimage started on March 9 and ran through the 18th. There were a wide variety of pre-Bike Week offerings, as if any of us need an incentive to ride on a sunny day when the road is calling. The Chrome Angels of Central Florida got an early jump on March 4 when they christened their new clubhouse with some help from Reverend Al Paquette, who started things off with a message. An afternoon of fun, friendship and food followed and completed the christening. Future plans include rides starting at the clubhouse so check the website often at www.ChromeAngelsCentralFlorida.com for updates… The 4th annual Sam Swope Ride to benefit the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital took place the following Sunday on March 11, but unfortunately this time the weather wasn’t very favorable. The escorted ride started at the Bahia Shrine Temple in Maitland and ended at Seminole Harley. The $30 registration included breakfast before the ride, an event T-shirt and lunch at the end. The highlight of the event was a raffle drawing with a 2012 H-D Softail being awarded. There were many other prizes given away as well, such as mini-vacations and gift certificates. There were only 500 tickets sold for the bike raffle and 15 numbers pulled, but at $100 each the bike was well paid for. The annual event was for a good cause as all the proceeds from the event were donated to the Shriner’s Hospitals—and we all know what wonderful things they do for kids… The day before this big run, there was a Bike Week Kick-off Party down the road in Lake Mary at the Tilted Kilt Restaurant hosted by the Fire & Iron MC of Seminole County. Reverend Al was again in attendance to bless the bikes and offer a good word of wisdom. There were prizes awarded for the best ladies’ and men’s kilts and special happy hour prizes all afternoon… That same weekend a little quieter display of Bike Week flavor was on exhibit at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Eustis. The International Vintage Motorcycle Show hosted a stroll back in time with bikes at least 30 years old and acres of replacement parts and memorabilia… East of Eustis, the 9th annual Deland Bike Rally was scheduled to liven up this scenic little town. Unfortunately, while the morning rain abated slightly to give us a little sunshine at mid-day, by the latter part of the afternoon the torrential downpours had cleared the streets and left vendors and party-goers heading for shelter. The busiest places were those serving adult beverages and offering a strong roof. The bike show and several of the bands that were slated to appear had to be canceled. One of my favorite local bands, JeNDeR, was on the courthouse stage early before the liquid sunshine appeared, so at least there was some good entertainment for a couple hours… The Journey Riders of Journey Church in Apopka skipped the crowds and mayhem of Bike Week and on Saturday, March 17, took a leisurely 100-mile ride through Orange and Lake Counties. They’re a great bunch of riders and enjoy hitting the road, as well as fellowship and food. But these folks start out early—so early I’d have to camp out at the church the night before to make it on time. Information about the group is available at the church’s website, www.journeychristian.com, or on Facebook under groups as the “Journey Riders”… Another ride proposed to whet our appetites for Bike Week was the 2nd annual Bike Week Poker Run hosted by the Warlocks. Registration was at Sharky’s Bar in Lockhart and then off we went through Lake County, riding in a huge circle before ending up at the clubhouse about two miles down from Sharky’s. It was such a beautiful spring day, my riding partner and I were late getting back because we made an unplanned stop of our own for lunch and then lingered a little too long at another one of the planned stops. It really didn’t matter in the big scheme of things, since I never have much luck at the poker thing anyway. It wasn’t as well attended as last year but there was still a good turnout and everyone had a good time… I close this month in memory of Dannis “Wolf” Bish, a member of the Nam Knights. Wolf lost his life on Saturday, March 10, when a young woman in a cage decided to turn into the pack of riders that Wolf and his wife were part of. Wolf died as a result of her stupidity and his wife and another member suffered serious injuries. I didn’t know Wolf very well, but that doesn’t matter. It’s still another senseless death of a biker caused by someone who didn’t see, nor care, that another person had the right to be on that same road on a bike. Here in our area, riders are being injured and killed way too often. Every morning I turn on the news and hold my breath when I hear a comment about an accident involving a motorcycle. When will it stop? We need to make these drivers aware and hold them accountable to stiffer penalties. We will try again on May 20 when the annual Do You See Me Now ride hosted by C.O.B.B. leaves several locations heading northeast on I-4 to bring attention to the matter. Till next time… God bless and take care of each other.