Beach Bound

Steve Lita American Iron Magazine Editor

Steve Lita, American Iron Magazine Editor

Daytona may turn into a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket opportunity

As you read this we are all planning our yearly migration to the warmer climate of central Florida and packing our bikes for Daytona Bike Week. But, as I write this, before I came to the office this morning, I had to clear an inch of snow from my car before I could head to work today. Slight delay in print schedule timing aside, I am definitely looking forward to Daytona Bike Week this year. Maybe more so than in years past.
So far, it’s been a rough winter for many around the country, including those in the South who usually don’t have an offseason. For me, last year’s Daytona was a whirlwind tour of engine build stories, press launches, and then, finally, a return to the engine builder for dyno runs on the engine we built for a Milwaukee-Eight How-To story. So that didn’t leave much time for me to do the normal Daytona duties of shooting pictures and looking for custom bikes for the pages of American Iron Magazine.
However, this year it’s shaping up to be a very different Daytona Bike Week. First, I have aspirations (or delusional thoughts) of riding down on our 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Heritage factory loaner bike. Check out page 76 to see the heated grips we just added. I have plenty of heated gear, and hopefully I can shed those toasty liners once I hit the “warmer” states like the Carolinas and Georgia. I remember seeing off a couple of staffers a few years ago for their trip to Daytona Bike week, snow beginning to fall as they roared out of our parking lot
I’ll be staying at a different venue than I have in the past, and barring any press launch invitations, I’ll be able to immerse myself in the lifestyle of everyone else in attendance. Oh, and record it for a future issue of this mag. But you never know, with Harley’s promise of 50 new bikes in five years (or 100 bikes in 10 years, as the story is sometimes told), I wouldn’t be surprised to see a fleet of factory media test bikes rolling around central Florida in packs. What’ll it be this year? Another new Softail? The much-anticipated Sportster makeover? Or perhaps a different entry-level midsize bike that’ll draw the next generation into riding. Looking forward to finding out.
Of course, the Sons of Speed races at New Smyrna Speedway will be on my docket, as will a trip to Orlando to see the new ACE Café restaurant. I look forward to some early morning breakfast rides (to beat the crowds) and some late-night steak-n-cheese subs at Famous Philly’s Beef & Beer (I’ll skip the beer, I’m riding, thanks).
I’ll be attending the bike shows around town and seeking out some never-before published built-to-the-hilt customs for American Iron Mag. Not only that, but I’ll also be scouring the parking lots of said events for well-done, home-built bikes to feature in our sister publication American Iron Garage. We’re looking for home-built bikes, low-buck builds, finished or not. The key words for Garage are do-it-yourself. The paint doesn’t need to be pretty—heck, it doesn’t even need to have paint on it. But if it was built by hand, without high dollar tools and shows some of the owner’s personality, I’ll be looking for it.
I plan to print up some business cards that I can leave on bikes I want to shoot for the mag, should the owner not be available (standing near the bike). So, Daytona may turn into a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket opportunity for some folks. Be sure to check your bike for strange little white pieces of paper tucked into the seat strap or under the gauges. I promise to not scratch your bike. And before you toss said paper in the trash thinking it’s another discount coupon for a bikini bike wash, check to see if it’s from one of the staffers of American Iron, and you might get to see your bike on these pages. I know, not quite as exciting as Willy Wonka’s winning ticket, but cool nonetheless.