Welcome to Leesburg Bikefest

Leesburg Bikefest 2012

Leesburg Bikefest 2012 was a roaring success. The Binary Princess, our children, and I all had a great time today, as you will see from the photos below.

The ride to Bikefest was great. My youngest son, Christopher, rode with me while the rest of the family drove separately. The trip was about 45 miles from our house, with not a cloud in the sky and perfectly temperate weather. This was a definite contrast to Daytona Bike Week where we got soaked on the way over and were rained on for 3 days.

As Christopher and I were riding into Leesburg on SR-27, we saw a bike go down. A Harley Softail Heritage Classic with two women on it was trying to make a slow U-turn and they overbalanced and fell right into the path of oncoming traffic. A few other bikers rode by, not stopping to help.

It was a massively dangerous situation. SR-27 is a very busy road with a high volume of high-speed traffic. The ladies who had fallen were shaken up and couldn’t get the bike back up; it is a fairly heavy bike. The rider was bleeding heavily from the knee and the passenger was crying. Neither one of them were doing the right things to get themselves to safety after the spill. That’s where Christopher and I came in. I pulled up next to the fallen cycle immediately and blocked traffic. We helped the ladies pick up their bike and push it safely into the turn lane. Once I verified that the bike was fine (thank goodness they had highway bars) I escorted them into a parking lot where we could safely evaluate the them, and their bike.

They ended up being OK. Shaken up, but OK. Embarrassed, but alive to tell the tale. They thanked us and rode off. I hope they made it home safely. I was literally SHOCKED that no other biker pulled over to help. The solidarity of our two-wheeled brother/sisterhood took a major hit. What gives, fellow bikers? Why was I the only one to stop?

After that little adrenaline rush, we rode into Leesburg without incident. There were no trikes allowed on Main street. A lot of riders were angry at being turned away and having to miss the opportunity for the Main Street ride and be forced to park elsewhere. At Leesburg, bikes not only park on the right and left side of Main Street, but also on the center line. This makes for a very tight ride through Main Street and they’ve had problems with trikes being too wide and knocking over a row of bikes. While I can see why the trike riders would be annoyed, it’s a sound policy and I support it. I would not want my bike damaged because of a careless trike rider.

I personally think that Leesburg Bikefest is better than Daytona in many ways. While I have been to Daytona many, many times, this was only my second time at Leesburg. Daytona has been losing its luster for me, and many other bikers. While it’s obligatory to go to Daytona, I really enjoy the open setting of Leesburg, the many band locations, the easy ability to get out of the Main Street crowd at any time, and the laid back participants. It’s just a great venue. Next year I’m riding to Sturgis, so I’ll have another Fest for comparison.

Great ink on the Tattooed Lady

Great ink on the Tattooed Lady

I really liked the tattoo extravaganza. There were about a dozen tattoo artists set up and inking people in a nice air-conditioned building. I was wearing my Cast Iron Tattoo shirt and easily half a dozen people approached me to tell me how great Danny (owner) was and how much they loved Cast Iron. I was impressed. I went to Cast Iron when I got myself inked last. They did a great job; apparently they have a great reputation in Orlando.

Anyway, we all walked around for hours. Around dinner time, the kids decided to go home, and that left just me and the Binary Princess to wander the Fest. We ended up with a great view of Seven Mary Three when they came on at 9:30pm. The Binary Princess and I saw them play House of Blues a few years ago, when we had just started dating. It was important to us to see them again tonight – to remind ourselves of the romantic beginnings of our relationship. I have to say, they are an amazing group and they sounded great.

Our day ended after 7M3 went off stage after the encore. We bought a couple of long-sleeved t-shirts for extra warmth on the ride home, settled in, and enjoyed a nice ride home.

I can’t wait until next year.

Some interesting things we say at Leesburg this year:

  • A minor motorcycle accident
  • A Busa tearing out of a parking lot trying to impress and losing control of his bike, probably ruining his front end as he hit the curb at 30mph.
  • A preaching singer with a “Honk for Jesus” sign and a megaphone, serenading everyone who rode into Main Street
  • The Central Florida Precision Motorcycle Drill Team perform some amazing maneuvers on some heavy bikes.
  • A very, very drunk lady stumbling backwards so proficiently she looked like a professional backwards runner. She never fell, but she stumbled away into the night never to be seen again.
  • Some amazing bands, like Hypersona.
  • A crazy, spooky, clown doll that kinda freaked me out.
  • A lot of tattooed people and a very cool tattoo extravaganza.
  • A lot of poorly prepared people getting horrible sunburns.
  • Some amazing bikes.
Check out some of the pics we took (click for larger images):

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