Note: This is the first in a series of posts leading up to Myrtle Beach Bike Week 2014. For more info on everything related to this year’s spring rallies, please check out our Bike Week page.
While many locals schedule vacations around bike week and some visitors plan their vacations to avoid the increased traffic and noise, there are just as many non-bikers who choose to embrace the Myrtle Beach bike rallies and enjoy the excitement this annual event brings.
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If you’ve never been in Myrtle Beach during bike week and want to see what it’s all about there are plenty of places where you can get a taste of the festivities.
A visit to places like Barefoot Landing or Myrtle Beach Mall on the north side offers access to vendors, while a bit further south you’ll find places like Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson and Jamin’ Leather in Myrtle Beach which are full of colorful bikes — and colorful people — without the craziness of the biker bars.
If you’re not in a hurry, a drive down U.S. 17 through Surfside Beach and Garden City and onto U.S. 17 Business in Murrells Inlet will give you a feel for the crowds and sights of the rally without having to breathe in burnt rubber from the burnout pits.
But if you really want to get the full Bike Week experience, bellying up to one of the many biker bars near Myrtle Beach is the best way to go.
Though names like Suck Bang Blow, The Beaver Bar, The Rat Hole and Spokes & Bones Saloon might sound intimidating to a non-biker, these biker bars aren’t all Hell’s Angels, topless girls and bar brawls like some outsiders may think.
In general the crowds at these hotspots are a mix of both bikers and non-bikers of all ages and folks from all walks of life just looking to have a good time.
Of course, these places are meant for adults, so it’s always a possibility you’ll see some NSFW sights or run across some “Rebel Without a Cause” types looking to raise a little hell, but in our experience the bikers who visit Myrtle Beach are a friendly, fun-loving crowd that are very accepting of anyone who’s willing to put aside their own inhibitions and enjoy the spectacle of the event.
How to look like a biker
While there’s certainly no requirement to look or act a certain way while attending bike week, if you do want to go all out and get in the spirit of the event, here’s a few quick tips on playing the part of biker for a day:
1. You can’t go wrong with black, leather and denim.
If you happen to have a leather or denim jacket hanging in your closet somewhere, now’s the time to dig it out.
Own a black t-shirt? Perfect. And why not wear your worst blue jeans? The older, the better and bonus points if there’s a hole in the knee or behind.
Vendors always end up with back stock of gear from previous years’ events. If you want to look like you’ve been here before, what better than a “Myrtle Beach Bike Week 2009” shirt?
Consider ripping off the sleeves for an even more convincing look.
3. Lose the flip-flops.
They’re a dead giveaway that you’re a tourist and not part of the biker scene. Instead, consider boots or a worn pair of sneakers.
If you can pull it off, girls, a strappy pair of high-heeled sandals actually works this weekend. The babes on the back of the bikes are usually dressed in hot outfits, so cute clothes with sandals are cool.
4. Consider sporting a temporary tattoo.
If you don’t already have one, why not sport a tattoo to blend in with all the inked up bikers you’re hanging with? You’re likely not going to fool anyone, but it’s fun and there’s plenty of vendor who sell them.
Who knows, some barbed wire around the bicep, a rose or a bald eagle with an American flag, may be just the thing to put your look over the top.
If you do choose to try one, make sure you avoid exposing it to rain or spilled beer as it most certainly will run.
5. Do your best to blend in.
With thousands of bikes sitting around, no one knows which one is — or isn’t — yours, so why not act like you just pulled up on your Harley?
Wear a pair of sunglasses on your head, as if you’ve just hopped off a motorcycle. Even better, sport a do-rag on your head and slide your shades up over it.
Don’t be shy, hoot and holler for the band or during the biker contests. Live it up and enjoy your bike week experience.
How to talk like a biker
Don’t know your throttle from your tailpipe? It’s best that you brush up on the lingo before you go. Here’s a quick guide to a few “biker speak” terms you might hear during Bike Week :
• Ape hangers: “Easy Rider” fans will likely remember these motorcycles in the movie, which feature handlebars positioned above the shoulder, giving the rider the appearance of hanging like an ape from a tree.
• Brain bucket: Slang term for a helmet. You may earn some bonus points if you gripe about how the City of Myrtle Beach started requiring riders to wear them a few years back — a decision which was overturned by the S.C. Supreme Court in 2010.
• Crotch rocket: A word used to describe high-performance sportsbikes. Though you may see a few during the spring bike rallies, these are much more common during Atlantic Beach Bikefest and the Black Bike Week festivities.
• Death grip: Slang term for how a first-time rider grabs the handle bars.
• Hog: Traditional nickname for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle
• Mad Max: A circular burnout made by spinning the rear tire and then rotating the bike 360 degrees with the locked front wheel as the axis
• One-Percenters: Though the connotation has changed in reflection of the Occupy movement a few years ago, traditionally this has been affiliated with those who consider themselves outlaws or troublemakers, often sporting patches declaring themselves One-Percenters.
• Poker run: Bikers taking part in an organized event that has them travel on a course, making stops along the way and picking up playing cards. At the end of the event, the biker with the best poker hand wins.
• Road rash: A wipeout that scrapes off some skin, leaving marks on a biker’s body
• Stitching a line: Getting through a traffic jam quickly and safely. You’ll often see bikes traveling down the center line between stopped cars in traffic during bike week.
• Steering aids: Ruts in the road formed by heavy trucks that try to steer your bike for you
• Twisting the wick: This means speeding up, revving your engine or rolling on the throttle of a bike.
• Yard shark: Slang term for dogs that come out of nowhere and try to bite your tires while riding.
• Zorst: Slang term for the exhaust system on a car or a set of motorcycle exhaust pipes.
Sources: About.com, The Motorcycle Bikers Dictionary by www.totalmotorcycle.com, Elaine Gaston, The Sun News