Bikers ride in on heat wave for Atlantic Beach Bikefest
The pineapple drinks are out, the bikes are humming and barriers line Ocean Boulevard: It’s Memorial Day weekend, y’all.
Every year, thousands flock to the Grand Strand for the Atlantic Beach Bike Week, also known as Black Bike Week. While folks start to arrive all week long, as is traditional, Friday starts the real fun.
Before hitting the Boulevard, here is a roundup of news related to this bike week:
It’s going to be hot, like really hot for the rally.
In fact, the National Weather Service said it’s going to be “dangerously hot” in Myrtle Beach with highs reaching up to 97 degrees with few clouds to offer shade.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recommends avoiding hard work while out in the sun. Hopefully, you’re on vacation and doing work isn’t a concern.
And don’t forget, alcohol may be a liquid, but it does not hydrate you. So make sure you keep water around at all times, NOAA recommends.
The traffic loop
Yeah, the traffic loop is here to stay.
The NAACP sued again this year to keep the traffic loop from happening, but a judge sided with the City of Myrtle Beach. The city argues the loop helps with public safety, while the NAACP said it is discriminatory and ruins bike week for the folks who attend.
“This traffic pattern is fundamentally unjust, unfair, unconstitutional and unjustified,” said Anson Asaka, associate general counsel for the NAACP. “This is the one time of the year when the majority of people who come to this city are African American, and this is the one time of the year the city imposes a 23-mile traffic loop.”
One biker, Jermi Little, told The Sun News that while he hopes it doesn’t happen, crowding folks into a loop is going to cause emotions to stir and could possibly lead to violence. Both Myrtle Beach and the NAACP released a statement condeming Little’s comments, and reiterating they both want a safe weekend.
“We do not endorse that person’s comments or way of thinking,” Mickey James, president of the local NAACP chapter, said in the statement. “The remarks by that one individual do not reflect the position of the NAACP and should not characterized as a statement or comment by the NAACP.”
The Traffic Loop is 23 miles of fences, restricting how folks travel through the town. The loop will be used from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. If it rains, folks go to bed early or if the police decide otherwise, the loop may close down early. We’ll let you know if that happens.
During the event, Ocean Boulevard will be a one-way street, taking folks southbound.
This year bikers will also keep a eye out for traffic chutes around town.
Located in North Myrtle Beach on the northbound side of Highway 17 from 37th Avenue South to 27th Avenue South, the chute creates separate lanes for bikers and motorists. The bike lane is a fast track to Atlantic Beach, but you will not be able to exit. The motorist lane will allow you to travel normally on Highway 17.