Myrtle Beach – News, Events & Travel Guide –

Upcoming Dates

The Backstory

Since 1940, Myrtle Beach has hosted a motorcycle rally by the name of Harley-Davidson Week. It’s also called the Spring Rally by locals or the spring Carolina Harley-Davidson Dealer’s Association (CHDDA) Rally for people who have the time to say such a long name.

People say the rallies in Myrtle Beach are riding events, so you won’t find a better place or a better bunch to cruise the streets with, but there are lots of other things going on too. The crowd in Myrtle Beach loves bike shows and drag racing as much as any other Bike Week cities.

The drag races are never-ending. The beer is ever-flowing, and the bikes are loud as hell. So, if you love to watch or throw down a friendly wager on a good race, you need to make plans to be in Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach’s Bike Weeks are for bikers, racers, riders, and all other types of motorcycle enthusiasts to haul ass to Carolina even if only to ride and enjoy the coastline, meet up with old friends and make some new ones while they’re at it.

Harley Week used to draw an estimated 275,000 visitors each year, but that has decreased to less than 100,000 as the city of Myrtle Beach has imposed many unfavorable regulations on Bike Week visitors. But Myrtle Beach is also home to another Bike Week — one of the top three largest motorcycle rallies in the United States — Black Bike Week. At its best, Black Bike week expects about 375,000 visitors, and visitor counts have even scratched 500,000 people in recent years!

These two rallies run back-to-back traditionally, and some have charged city government and local businesses of racial discrimination for the different treatment towards the Black rally. They cited all the different traffic rules and different levels of policing over the treatment of Harley Week.

Shifting Gears

The shift began in the early 2000s. Black Bike Week was outgrowing the Harley Week. In 2002 Black Bike Week had nearly 400,000 visitors, versus around 200,000 for Harley-Davidson Week of that same year. This ratio remains fairly accurate today, but both have taken massive hits in attendance since the city of Myrtle Beach imposed unfavorable regulations in what is commonly seen as an attempt to turn away bikers and motorcycle traffic.

The most recent numbers show an attendance of less than 100,000 in Myrtle Beach for Harley Week for the first time in decades, with many riders opting to visit and stay in Murrells Inlet instead. Murrells has become the central hub for all Harley Week events ever since they embraced those turned away by Myrtle Beach.

The Atlantic Beach Bikefest (Black Bike Week) has also watched its Myrtle Beach numbers decline in the past three years since the traffic plan was imposed. Many feel that it’s racially motivated and will no longer attend in protest, while others just don’t want to come because they don’t enjoy it and can’t freely ride about the area as they desire. Of the 300,000+ that do still attend, many of them are staying further north toward Atlantic Beach instead of Myrtle Beach.