Bikeweek Ritual: Murrells Inlet community offer roadside greetings to bikers
Murrells Inlet resident Arthur Weygant recalled a time when he would hop on his motorcycle and drive on the open highway. Now, the senior sets up a lawn chair every year along Highway 17 Business and watches as thousands of motorcycles roll into town for Myrtle Beach Bike Week.
“It’s like music to me,” Weygant told The Sun News. “You see so many different kinds of bikes and a lot of people wave to you and they’re friendly.”
While Weygant sat outside for nearly two hours waving to bikers, he wasn’t the only one. Over a dozen residents from a nearby retirement development, Jensen Communities, parked their golf carts stocked with snacks and drinks along the highway to enjoy the sights and sounds.
While Tom Walker can see the motorcycles from his house, he said sitting along the highway gives him a better view of each bike, calling the different sizes and colors of each bike fascinating. His wife, Tara, however said she loves the noise.
“We just moved here, but we always ended up being here during bike week,” Tara Howell said. “People are so happy. It’s so much fun.”
Similar to the Walkers, other onlookers shared their experiences traveling to Myrtle Beach during bike week to either participate with their custom bikes or join in on the many festivities held during the week-long bike fest in Murrells Inlet.
Terri and James Howell spent 14 years vacationing to Myrtle Beach for bike week before moving to the area from Ohio. While they traded their motorcycle in for a new golf cart, they have a deeper appreciation for the array of bikes whizzing by as they wave and cheer them on.
“Now we don’t ride bike week, we watch bike week,” Terri Howell said. “We watch them go by and wave and be friendly with them.”
Both said there’s a misconception when it comes to bikers, explaining that the noise and appearance can often give people the wrong impression, but stressed the bikers who spend time in Myrtle Beach are nice people with fascinating lives.
“People look at what they look like, they look at their tattoos and they automatically think they’re bad,” Howell said. “A lot of people don’t like it, but these people here will give you the shirt off their back faster than someone who lives in a $5 million home.”
Donna Venette said she used to vacation in Myrtle Beach with her late husband during bike week and watched spectators enjoying the scene as if a parade was going on hoping to one day be doing that herself.
“I used to watch people sitting out here and I’d say ‘someday I want to be doing that’ and I never thought that I’d be living here,” Venette said. “This is the closest I’ll ever come to being a biker chick.”