Posts Tagged ‘rallies’

Myrtle Beach is NOT DEAD

January 19, 2009

It only smells like it within the city limits. We may have been a bit rash in declaring the area dead to the historic May rallies. If you’ve paid attention to the comments for our blog post here you might know that there are several options outside the MB city limits. The comments over at the Cyril Huze Blog show the same.

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In fact, Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson wants you all to know that the rest of Horry County (where MB is located) is wide open and welcoming to bikers. From Murrells Inlet to Little River, there are options, activities and places to hang out.

“Many tourists wrongly believe that Myrtle Beach is synonymous with the 60-mile-long ‘Grand Strand’ that is visited by more than 14 million tourists annually,” said Mike Shank, marketing director for Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson. “In reality, the City of Myrtle Beach is just a small town inside of Horry County. It only has 25,000 residents. To the north, south and west of Myrtle Beach is the much-larger Grand Strand community where there are many restaurants, bars, recreational facilities and accommodations. Horry County has more than 250,000 residents and they are preparing their businesses to welcome bikers.
“Unfortunately, information being sent out by Myrtle Beach and its Chamber of Commerce paints good, law-abiding motorcycle riders with the same broad brush as those who have broken laws in the past. In addition, their misinformation does not accurately portray the views of Horry County residents. The majority of people and businesses look forward to biker tourism and many rely on Bike Week to provide a significant portion of their yearly income.”

If you’re headed to South Carolina May 8-17 go to Myrtle Beach Harley’s Web site here or to this site about MB Bike Week here to get the skinny. The sites spell out the difference between Horry County and the city of Myrtle Beach and includes maps of alternative routes to avoid the city limits.

“We want bikers to know the facts so they can make an informed decision about visiting our area,” adds Shank. “Grand Strand businesses want your business. The City of Myrtle Beach has never played a significant role in either the spring or fall bike weeks and has made it clear for many years that it doesn’t want to play a role. They’ve raised taxes to eliminate biker tourism, but no other municipality in Horry County has done so. And the City of Myrtle Beach passed new ordinances designed to scare bikers away. No other local municipality or the county has done so. So we hope that bikers won’t be discouraged by this campaign of misinformation. We want you to come to Horry County and have a great time this May.”

You’ve got to love the biker spirit.

Myrtle Beach is Dead

January 13, 2009

To motorcycle rallies. It’s now official the city known for its May rallies that cater to all niches of the motorcycling world is shutting its doors and hanging up a c-l-o-s-e-d sign for big bike events.

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In the latest of a saga that began in May 2008 (here) when Myrtle Beach officials starting looking for a way to end the rallies following a shooting over the Memorial Day holiday rally. Since then there have been lawsuits and hearings (here) and a myriad stories coming out about the possible ban.

This month the city and the area Chamber of Commerce launched a Web site detailing a long list of new laws and regulations (check ’em out here) aimed at motorcyclists and the bikes they ride in on. Mayor John Rhodes writes in a letter posted on the site:

This was a difficult decision. Myrtle Beach welcomes visitors year-round, but the giant motorcycle rallies simply grew too large. Our staff, residents and businesses strained to keep up with these huge single-focus events. It may surprise you, but our economy is much healthier with a fully diversified visitor base, instead of a concentration on one or two extremely large events.

Please know that Myrtle Beach is not anti-biker or anti-motorcycle. We want folks to come on the vehicle of their choice and enjoy all of the things Myrtle Beach has to offer. We are ending the motorcycle-related rallies because they grew too big and lasted too long. The huge rallies even kept visitors away from Myrtle Beach, and that’s not good.

Over at the custom builder Cyril Huze’s blog — where Huze has been following the MB fiasco pretty closely — the comments have been pouring fast and furious, with the overwhelming consensus being Eff Myrtle Beach. Despite the city’s claims that it’s not anti-biker most of the comments I’ve read on various Internet forums and comment sections (where there’s nothing but facts) center on the idea that if the city is going to ban rallies, it might as well kiss goodbye to all motorcycle tourism year-round.

One reader on Huze’s blog, with the tag of “Florida Biker,” says:

Let Myrtle Beach have it their way. I can promise you, in a few short years we will be reading where the city now is “Re-Opening” the “Spring Bike Fest”. Well i can assure you they will be hard pressed to get anywhere near the turn out as in the past events. The city will be looking at the budget and see a decrease in sales tax income and wonder what happend [sic].

Another from a reader named HWGTHNG:

I said this before when Myrtle Beach talked about this. Let em suffer. Bikers have no need to beg for places that want our business. Chattanooga TN opened its doors to the biker community not once but twice hosting the State and the National HOG rallys. The “Choo Choo” city is located in the middle of all of this mess and can handle the size crowd this generates.

My main thing about questioning the logic of making a sweeping move like this is the repercussions for non-motorcycling businesses. Myrtle Beach is a beautiful place and I’m sure tourism will still thrive, but from what I know about towns that host large yearly events, the local businesses often rely on those annual crowds to make their yearly nut. For some tourist destinations, small mom-and-pop operations often run in the red for most of the year right up until the returning swarms get their cash registers ringing again.

And then there are the local motorcycle shops and related stores. I can only imagine the pain they’re going to feel from the lost business. Oh well, for those affected by such things in a very real way, remember that most city council members and mayors govern for four-year terms. Voting anyone?