OCEAN CITY – “This year we ride,” is the theme that aptly sums up the driving force behind the new Delmarva Bike Week itinerary, with the traditional anchor location at Ocean Downs out and six different locations across Delmarva in for the 2008 motorcycle event.
Delmarva Bike Week, typically the banner event for the fall season in the resort, will be held from Sept. 11-14 this year, but with a unique twist.
Delmarva Bike Week started in 2001 and was held in Whaleyville for two years before moving to Ocean Downs, where it has been held for the past five years. However traffic issues related to Route 589 as well as the aim to allow bikers with more opportunity to ride, prompted the decision to spread the event out across Delmarva, providing various stopping points.
Delmarva Bike Week organizers announced the locations this week, which will include stops in Ocean City, Seaford and a major gathering in Salisbury.
‘‘Riders will not be bottled up in just one location as before,’’ said Delmarva Bike Week’s Bruce Bennett. ‘‘This will be an even better opportunity to not only enjoy Ocean City, but travel to Wicomico County and then up to Harley-Davidson of Seaford and get a taste of the heart of Delmarva.”
Harley Davidson of Seaford and Ocean City will serve as the headquarters for the week, with the rest of the event centered around six other locations, chosen partly on their long-time support of Delmarva Bike Week.
Locally, Bike Week activities will be held at Seacrets and the Francis Scott Key. The largest county event will take place at the end of Sunset Avenue in West Ocean City, home to Sunset Grille, Teasers and Sunset Marina.
The largest location will be in Salisbury, at Winter Place Park, where events such as Pork in the Park are held.
‘‘It really is the best of both worlds: the resort beaches and great scenic riding,” said Bennett.
While Bike Week will consist of anchor locations, riders will stop intermittently throughout town as usual, staying at hotels, dining out, and visiting a variety of the local bars and retail stores.
Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant-Association Executive Director Susan Jones commented on the new set-up this week, predicting business as usual for Bike Week this September.
“I think it will be okay. Certainly bikers like to ride so this will give them a chance to move around more,” said Jones.
Jones added that an increase in motorcycle travels throughout the area could benefit local businesses.
“There might be some businesses that will be seeing more business, whereas before they were all concentrated at Ocean Downs,” she said.
Bike Week has grown significantly over the past seven years, starting out with 20,000 visitors and growing as large as 150,000 visitors in some years.
While gas prices and the economy have been anticipated as major factors in tourist travel this year, Jones predicts it will not have much of an affect on the bike week crowd, who generally plan all year for Delmarva Bike Week.
“We should hopefully still see the same amount of people this year. Time will tell though,” she said.