Cotton T-shirts and Motorcycle Rallies
My first motorcycle rally was Daytona Beach Oktoberfest 1997. My father-in-law was an avid Harley rider it had been for many years at that point. I just got my first bike. It was just a little 1979 Honda GX 500. It was my introduction motorcycles and I absolutely love that bike. It was old but it ran like a clock it had so many little interesting features. I wasn’t a huge fan of the sideways mounted motor with the heads sticking out but it made it easier replace the spark plugs. I was a big fan of the 70’s style banana seat/sissy bar that it had on it. Kind of hilarious looking and 70s stylish at the same time.
I hauled my bike on trailer To Daytona Beach from my apartment in Gainesville Florida. As I mentioned I had not been riding for that long at this point and riding a 500 from Gainesville to Daytona Beach did not seem like a great idea. I’ll never forget when I first started getting close to Daytona Beach and I saw the mass of life bikes going up and down the road it really blew me away. I just wanted to pull my truck over and get that bike unloaded as fast as possible and join the crowd. To this day I still feel that same level of excitement the first day of a motorcycle rally.
Daytona Was So Different Back Then
Back in 1997 Destination Daytona was not on the map yet so 90% of the action was off Main Street, at the local Harley Davidson dealership and up at the Daytona speedway. I never imagined seeing so many motorcycles and so many riders in one area as I did that. All of the hotspots were filled to the brim with bikers of all ages and the roads going to and from hotspots were line with bikes as if it was a motorcycle parade.
Because I was new to riding I did not have much riding gear or riding apparel. I had a great time checking out the hundreds of vendors and all of their unique items such as motorcycle jewelry, Motorcycle patches, motorcycle buttons, and of course motorcycle t-shirts. Naturally the big hit were the Daytona beach Biketoberfest T-shirts which came in a variety of designs. Some were better than others, but one thing that disappointed me bitch 90% of the souvenir motorcycle rally t-shirts had in common what is the fact that they were all made of 100% cotton. Not ring-spun cotton where the cotton fibers are stretched and spun so that the T-shirt is light, soft and somewhat formfitting. They were regular 100% cotton T-shirt that are pretty cheap to make but tend to be rough to the touch because of the open fibers in the cotton T-shirt making process. I also find these types of shirts somewhat heavy and uncomfortable during summer riding season.
Those Rough, Cotton T-Shirts
At 1997 Biketoberfest do not remember a single vendor that sold motorcycle rally T-shirts or any type of rider apparel that was made out of any type of soft to the touch material such as ring-spun cotton or cotton blends. I remember thinking, “I can’t believe these souvenir vendors have not gotten on board with offering higher quality T-shirts that people would enjoy wearing all of the time”.
Times have changed at motorcycle rallies these days and it is a lot easier to find rally T-shirts made of cotton blends and ring-spun cotton. That is a welcome change but unfortunately these shirts often come at a premium. Where the average rally T-shirt made of 100% cotton typically cost anywhere from $19.99 up to $25, a premium cotton blend shirt will sometimes cost you upwards of $35-$45 at motorcycle rallies. So, though they are now offering these premium T-shirts, they are often priced out of a lot of riders budgets. This is one of the many reasons why our Sturgis T-shirts have been such a big hit with bikers as all of them are priced under $30. That includes both and front and back prints.
Biketoberfest is Special
Anyways, back to Biketoberfest 1997, that was really the only disappointment in a otherwise amazing weekend. We had decided to camp at one of the local camping hotspots and that was nonstop entertainment every night. It really was a great way to meet people and get a real feel of the true biker atmosphere. The rallies can take on a tourist and corporate feel at times so getting out to places like the campgrounds and the off the beaten path bars and restaurants can really give you an insight and feel for the real motorcycle/biker lifestyle.
I’ll always look back on my first rally with great fondness. The excitement in the brotherhood that I felt that weekend spring boarded me into a life of enjoying and appreciating motorcycles and the culture around them. I have attended many motorcycle rally since. Some are definitely better than others. There are still many that I would like to attend one of these days. I’ve been to a bunch of bike Biktoberfests, a bunch of Daytona Bike Weeks, I’ve been to Myrtle Beach Bike Week, as well as Panama City Bike Week. But so far without a doubt the best event I have ever been to is Sturgis Bike Week. It’s unlike any of the other rallies mainly because of the amazing rides in the unique places to see. I do however recommend going out to a Daytona Beach Biketoberfest If you have never attended one. The Weather is great, the food is really good and there are some great bars and entertainment. It’s definitely worth the trip. But if you are looking for a soft high-quality motorcycle t-shirt for the rally then you might want to buy one on our Wayward Moto store first.