Myrtle Beach Bike Rallies

For some unsuspecting Myrtle Beach tourists, Bikefest crowds a surprise


Many people who live in or around the Grand Strand know Memorial Day weekend is always a high-traffic time. Some visiting families, however, had no idea about the bikes and barricades before booking their vacation.

The rain didn’t dampen some visiting families from strolling along Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach on Saturday afternoon, but several said the congested traffic was a surprise.

"I’ve been down for the Harley Spring rally and didn’t see any barricades, so this surprised me," said Diane Harding, of Winston-Salem, N.C.

Myrtle Beach officials started setting up road blockades Thursday to prevent heavy congestion on side roads and private neighborhoods. Thousands of tourists are in town for the Atlantic Beach Bikefest, which draws a huge crowd to the Grand Strand every year.

If I had known, I would have probably booked a different weekend.

Brent Demery, tourist from Arkansas

The blockades make getting around the city much more difficult for Harding, but she said as long as she stays on the Boardwalk everything’s just fine.

"And so far, everyone here has been nice," Said Doug Comer, also of Winston-Salem. "Despite all these misconceptions, everyone has been great."

Saturday’s rain cleared some crowds from downtown Myrtle Beach, but Brent Demery and his two daughters braved the storm to check out the beach. Demery said he had no idea about Bikefest before planning his vacation, but the crowd wasn’t as large as he expected.

We really enjoy the Boardwalk, so as long as we stay here it’s fine.

Doug Comer, visitor from North Carolina

Especially during a holiday weekend, he added.

"As a vacation spot, I thought it would be much busier," Demery said.

Despite road blockades, Demery said he didn’t have much trouble getting into the city. His only complaint was the loud exhaust from bikes, which can go late into the night.

Both Demery and Harding said that, if they had known about the traffic, they probably would have chosen a different weekend to vacation in Myrtle Beach.

"It’s just a lot of people and a lot of barricades," Harding said.

Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts, vendors, fans and more cruised into Atlantic Beach on Friday to kick off the annual Bikefest. The three-day event runs through Memorial Day.

Claire Byun: 843-626-0381, @Claire_TSN

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