Thursday, December 10, 2009

Daytona Bike Week Must See: Sopotnick’s Cabbage Patch

This begins a series of the things you must see when you go to Bike Week in Daytona.

Sopotnick’s Cabbage Patch is a little bar west of New Smyrna beach on 549 County Road 415. This is just a tiny tavern with a few regulars and the occasional out of town biker for 50 weeks a year. During Bikeweek and Biketoberfest it’s a different story. The place is packed with bikers, most who arrive to see the hugely popular coleslaw wrestling match. They wrestle on Wednesday and Saturday.

This is on the grounds of a former cabbage farm, hence the name. Before the big contest they grind up heads of cabbage on a large mound covered with a plastic tarp. Then add some vegetable oil and let the fun begin. The girls tumble and toss each other around until one is pinned. After each match, the girls (all covered with cabbage) go to the garden hose to be sprayed off. Sometimes this is the best part! The winner of the tournament gets $500.

There are campgrounds across the road, if you want to spend the whole week here. The grounds are loaded with vendors serving food of all kinds. There are plenty of bars to get a cold beer and waitresses move around the crowd hawking jello shooters.

It is not a place to take the kids. Women tend to lose their clothes at the cabbage patch for some reason.

Even if you are in the area during one of the 50 non-bikeweeks, it is worth a stop for a cold beer and a look around.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Future of Motorcycling: Thoughts about Harley Davidson

Now that Harley Davidson has shut down its Buell brand and sold off MV Agusta, it can focus on its core business. Buell made high performance sportbikes to appeal to younger riders, but the brand only sold 135,000 bikes since it was started by Erik Buell in 1983. In 2008 Harley bought MV Agusta to increase company penetration in Europe, but then turned around and sold the Italian motorcycle company this fall.
I would say Harley was hoping these bikes would appeal to a new generation of riders, as the buyers of Harley Davidsons have an average age of 47. Harley had hoped that the V-rod would appeal to younger buyers, but it has not been the best seller among the under 40 crowd. Those crazy kids all gravitate to the Japanese crotch rockets, and then go out and ride them like “King Kiyo”. Sadly most do not have half the riding skill of the British Superbike champion. Will those that survive someday gravitate to the more docile V-Twins of their fathers? If they do, will the move to Harley or will they choose the Japanese counterpart made by the same company as their sport bike?

The average Harley rider, being over 45, grew up in a household that probably had American automobiles, and has always believed Americans should buy American products. The under 40 crowd has mostly rejected the “buy American” mantra. They choose to drive Hondas, Toyotas and Mitsubishis. Those that ride motorcycles choose to ride Hondas, Kawasakis, Yamahas, and Suzukis. They don’t feel compelled to buy any product just because it is American made. I see this daily in the attitudes of my 20-something family members and their peers.
I think many who are 27 today and riding sport bikes will be riding when they are 47 though for most it won’t be a sport bike. Will it be a Harley or a Japanese cruiser?
So what is an American motorcycle company to do? Harley has to find a way to appeal to this demographic. Otherwise, Harley might find itself in the same situation the American Automakers are in today.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Upcoming Motorcycle Shows in 2010

This time of year when we can’t ride as much it is fun to spend the weekends looking at new bikes, show bikes from builders, accessories and apparel. Here as some dates for shows within driving distance of Baltimore and Washington. There is not a lot of information published on the web for these shows, but I have included the links that will help you find them

January 9-10 Somerset, NJ

January 15-17 International Motorcycle Show, Washington DC

January 16-17 Pittsburgh, PA

January 23-24 Easyriders Vtwin Bike Motorcycle Show, Charlotte, NC

February 12-14 Timonium, MD

February 20-21 Chantilly, VA

March 20-21 Richmond, VA

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Ideas for the BMW Rider


If there is a BMW motorcycle rider in your life, here are a few ideas for under the Christmas tree. Of course you can always go to your local BMW dealer for genuine parts and accessories. This post offers a few alternatives for online shopping if you can’t get to a dealer.

Flugelnus – This website offers a limited BMW parts and aftermarket accessories such as Hepco Becker luggage. They are a husband/wife team who have a lifetime of riding experience. Being a small business they will give you personal service and answer all your questions. So if you are Christmas shopping for the biker in your life, but you are not sure about what to buy, you can talk to them directly by calling 510-701-1348 or emailing

BMW MOTORRAD USA – This is the official site with all the riding gear and accessories from BMW. They have a very nicely laid out website where you can search for apparel or accessories. Gift certificates are available if you just don’t know what your BMW rider really wants or needs.

BestRest Products – Their slogan is “Hard Parts for Hard Rides.” This site specializes in parts for endurance riding in rugged conditions. They offer back rests, cargo rests, skid plates at lots of other parts to ruggedize your BMW. They offer accessories for the R1200GS, R1100/1150GS, F800GS, and R1200RT.

Touratech-USA – This site offers rugged parts for Motorcycle Adventure Travel. Here you will find everything from GPS navigation, to luggage to rugged suspension parts.

Streetline-USA – This site offers accessories for BMW road and street bikes. It is part of Touratech. They offer body and fairing accessories, lights, luggage, exhausts and much more.