Myrtle Beach Bike Rallies

Here's how the traffic loop can cause problems for motorcycles

Time-lapse shows Ocean Boulevard action from dusk to dark

Watch this time lapse video that shows the action on Ocean Boulevard from dusk till nightfall.
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Watch this time lapse video that shows the action on Ocean Boulevard from dusk till nightfall.

Although the 23-mile traffic loop is intended to help control traffic and ease congestion during Bikefest, it can complicate things when it comes to keeping the bikes running properly.

A lot of the bikes you see during Bikefest, aka "Black Bike week," are sport bikes which have engines that are air cooled, according to Greg Lillich, a service writer at Redline Powersports in Myrtle Beach. When an engine is air cooled, it means that air streams along the cylinder and engine, taking heat away from the engine.

"Most of the sport bikes are air cooled," Lillich said. "But if the bike is not moving, there's no airflow."

And when there's no airflow, the bike can overheat when it sits still, Lillich added.

Dozens of bikes lined up at Redline Powersports in Myrtle Beach, May 26, 2018. - Michaela Broyles

In fact, when the air ventilation stalls — like when the bike doesn't move fast enough — the engine's oil starts heating up and if it gets too hot, it loses lubrication which is essential in keeping the bike running.

In the past, bikers have reported being stuck for hours in bumper to bumper traffic inside the loop, which was first implemented in 2015.

"Because you’re stuck in one lane of traffic and a lot of times, if your bike isn’t set up for your fan to run all the time, it’ll run hot," said John Jennings, a West Virginia resident visiting Myrtle Beach for Bikefest. "And that’s one big thing people don’t like coming here for."

But this year, traffic in the loop hasn't been as congested. On Friday, the first night the loop was enacted, it ended up getting suspended within two hours due to light traffic.

The loop will resume Saturday and Sunday night from 10 p.m until 2 a.m., unless weather conditions or another night of light traffic suspends it again.

Michaela Broyles, 843-626-0281, @MichaelaBroyles