Schedules have been set and you can mark them on your calendar: Daytona, March 9-18; Laconia, June 9-17; and Sturgis August 6-12. Myrtle Beach has its dates set for through 2014. Other rallies juggle their dates until the calendar is full – actually overflowing—with events taking place everywhere snow isn’t on the ground.
Vendors, musicians, bar girls, motorcycle manufacturers offering demo rides, and a host of support personnel also establish their itineraries far in advance of events. All of these materials and supplies have to be packed, moved, and setup as these commercial nomads move from one venue to another. Attendees move from one rally to another within the framework of time they set aside months in advance.
Daytona Bike Week has been forced to move the 2012 event back a week due to NASCAR changing their dates for the Daytona 500. Of course, this pushes Bike Week into the beginning of Spring Break (Mar. 10-31) and potentially causing headaches as too many people seek a limited number rooms and available services. How much of a domino effect this will create remains to be seen, but a similar thing happened in 2008 with Laconia and it threw everyone’s carefully orchestrated schedules into disarray. You can’t be in two places at once.
New promoters are trying to squeeze into an already full calendar of events. Last year three new rallies were launched in Canada alone: Great Canadian Bike Rally (July 12-15) in Merritt, BC; Kickstands Down in K-town (July 17-24) in Kingston, ON; and Canada Bike Week (Sept. 2-5) outside Montreal in St-Pie, QC. Encouraged by Atlanticade’s (July 6-10) success they had high expectations, but as someone once said, timing is everything.
Is there enough to go around? How much of a domino effect is created when a major rally changes its dates? These—and many other questions—will be answered only when the dust settles and money is counted after the 2012 rally season.