Carolina Beach pulls welcome mat for motorcycle enthusiasts - A Biker Magazine's Perspective

FROM CLUTCH & CHROME

A strange mix of badly hidden derisions and stereotype induced community fear has turned away motorcycle enthusiasts before they even had the chance to arrive at Carolina Beach in North Carolina.

Carolina Beach is located on the Atlantic Coast of Southeastern North Carolina, 15 miles from the historic city of Wilmington. It was in this picturesque town just last week where an idea was offered by local hotel and restaurant representative Danny Swinson to open the town’s scenic streets to bikers on their annual migration to Myrtle Beach for the indecisive but historic motorcycle rally.

On the surface, the idea seemed a good one. The town’s website states ‘Hospitality has long been a trademark of Carolina Beach’.

Although Swinson presented statistics of income, age and careers of people who owned motorcycles and even promised to invite only ‘honorable motorcycle clubs, such as those representing charities or groups of firefighters and police officers’ to Carolina Beach during what would be Bike Week in Myrtle Beach in May, local residents and politicians had already made up their minds.

There would be no invitation or organized event.

Of course using a standard of ‘honorable motorcycle clubs’ is nice way of saying that the everyday biker interested in visiting a motorcycle rally is by default ‘uninvited’ to Carolina Beach. Actually it’s not even a nice way, instead it essentially gives the person using the phrase and those who agree to its premise a social pass of making judgments based on stereotypes.

Regardless, officials in Carolina Beach are apparently walking along the same scenic path those in Myrtle Beach have already taken when it comes to attitudes over motorcycle enthusiasts.

But it appears at the heart of the problem is Carolina Beach’s own checkered past.

When the idea was first suggested Mayor Joel Macon recalled a time when Carolina Beach wasn’t the slice of small town heaven it is today.

“The only thing I remember is that we were basically considered a rough beach,” the mayor said. “A lot of fights, people being stabbed, just a lot of trouble, a lot of roughnecks.”

All this occurred, according to Mayor Macon, when bikers did visit Carolina Beach in large numbers in the past.

These memories are so prevalent it seems, the recent suggestion to capture the motorcycle dollars riding down to Myrtle Beach was enough to flood town council members with phone calls and e-mails from people upset about the request.

Interestingly, the motorcycle community is getting support from the most unlikely of places, with law enforcement officials trying to bring the hysterics more suited to an perfect-past era of ‘Donna Reed’ into perspective.

Former New Hanover County sheriff Sid Causey started his career as a Carolina Beach police officer and he has stated in his opinion, the beach’s former reputation wasn’t entirely because of the biker clubs.

And Earl Woodham, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agrees, saying most motorcycle clubs don't live up to their rough reputation.

“They go to the same places a family would go to have fun,” Woodham said.

Ironically, from listening to Carolina Beach town officials 'debate' the matter, they seem to want a motorcycle rally or event in town. During the discussion of why the council or residents didn’t want to invite bikers the Mayor described the town’s target audience, or their perfect tourist.

“We want people who are going to come down here and have fun, go out to eat, go to bars and have a drink and listen to music,” Macon said.

Based on the recent uproar, the Mayor should be careful of what he wishes for because it sounds suspiciously like a motorcycle event.

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As a local resident, and motorcycle rider of many many years, it's an unfortunate thing that all motorcycle riders get labeled. I must agree with the other comment about the trouble being started by the wanna Be's.As what happened in Myrtle Beach, Mayor Macon should think twice about his comments, because those that ride Motorcycles also have Families,and spend money out and about, and would "Come down and have fun, go out to eat, go to bars, and listen to music", however it's happened before in Many area's that once the Town wants to pick and choose there guest's, there guest's can pick and choose Another town to go and spend there money. That goes for us local folk as well. I happen to ride with the Fire Department Motorcycle Club and every weekend many many of us get together for a ride and go have breakfast out, than have lunch out somewhere else and sometimes dinner too. This happens with most that ride on the weekends, I certainly am going to spread the word to stay off and away from Carolina Beach,and all it's business establishments, and if the word get's around, A financial impact it will have on business's and Carolina Beach in general. I will make a point not to bring my family over the bridge anymore, Plenty of other beaches to go to. Have a nice summer Mayor Joel and town council members.

You, yourself acknowleges the delemma of having a "bike week" in a small coastal tourist town. Myrtle Beach didn't want to run anyone off, they just didn't want their entire community overwhelmed with loud, obnoxious and rude motorcyclists taking the city over for two weeks. Hell, go to Sturgis, Daytona or any of the other national meets that occur. You can call it what you want, but those are NOT family events, neither was the Myrtle Beach event. There are plenty of clowns, but no kiddie rides, puppet shows, popcorn vendors or carousels!

Carolina Beach has done an excellent job of revamping the boardwalk area and having many summer activities that are very family friendly and I attend the majority of them. If you want to act like a spoiled child by boycotting our beach and talking it down to others simply because you didn't get you way, then help yourself, it's only your loss. Perhaps if you whine loud enough and long enough, you can convince Wrightsville beach, Figure Eight Island or even Topsail to host your sacred event. Is there a reason you didn't go there first? I can't imagine why...

My educated guess is that you have a much better chance at winning the lottery that getting those welcoming arms open to you and your "cause". THEN, you can pissed at ALL of the beach communities because they don't want you there and won't have ANY beaches to to visit.

Heres the problem with you guys (if youre one of them, if not, this doesnt pertain to you), regardless of the affiliations you try to associate yourselves with to get a free pass to be self centered...Those obnoxious motorcycles you ride dont come from the factory LOUD like 99% of you guys make them.

There is NO need for the intrusive volume of the mufflers, unless said bikers didnt get enough attention from mommy or daddy and feel the need to let everyone know "I am here, on a bike, wanting to be the center of attention. LOOK AT ME!!"

Maybe the people of CB, much like me, detest the guttural motor sounds of the aforementioned, neglected children and dont want to have to hear it or be forced to make others hear it, especially at 3am. The "wannabes" that you guys speak of usually have common sense and know NOT to gun the throttle at all hours of the night because, now hold onto your hats for this...THERE ARE PEOPLE BESIDES YOURSELVES that live in the neighborhoods you so carelessly roll through. MOST regular bikers dont and could care less about what anyone else is bothered by.

You want it to change? QUIT modding the mufflers and gunning the throttle at all hours of the night, at stop lights, in parking lots, in bumper to bumper traffic etc...especially when there are children in the cars next to you.

You think its cool or OK? Then youre no different than these idiots blasting rap music at obnoxious levels out their car windows.

If what I described above is you & your friends, please, by all means, go somewhere else besides New Hanover County for your Summer enjoyment. There are enough narcissistic fools as it is with the frat boys, wanna be locals & tourists here at WB & CB.

...but likely the best for the town of CB. I've been riding Harleys since I was 15 years old and still ride a good ol' Shovel. From my years of experience, the real "outlaw" bikers like the HA's, Banditos, Mongels and Pagans generally don't cause trouble when they rally. It's "outlaw wannabes" that shed thier ties and slacks for a bandanna and faux greased jeans and leathers. They transform from their normal, everyday settings into rambling toughguys on a motersickle that want to toot their horn, constantly rap their throttles and do a burnout on their $30,000.00 iron horse. They go into a different world, trying to be somebody they aren't and wind up making total fools out of themselves, sorta like halloween. Like little kids act when the parents are away, they show their a$$ and get obnoxious.
I've been to Myrtle Beach and I've been around a lot of bikers. The aforementioned are the troublemakers and the toil of the town. I can't say I really blame Myrtle Beach for their attitude towards the event, or Carolina Beach either. It is the grown men that can't handle a couple of weeks of freedom as a chameleon that ruin it for all.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Well said.

“The only thing I remember is that we were basically considered a rough beach”.

Were?

You must not be from here or else youd remember what it was like in the 60s, 70s & 80s. Its a whole lot different now and not nearly the "rough neck" beach it was.

Maybe you ought to try and research the history of the area before acting like you know everything about this part of NC...or making asinine comments that show your lack of NHC history...as usual.

Enjoy your extended "stay" here in NHC.

I was here in the 70'and 80's and 90's and still am so take your history lesson elsewhere. Lived in NC 44 years, Wilm for 26. So who is asinine?

are the asinine on if youve lived here that long and dont recognize the transformation of CB since the 70s. Growing up as a kid spending evenings between CB & WB surfing, CB was a terrible place for children to be after dark, even up to the end of the 90s with all the seedy characters, bikers & all of the "adult" establishment patrons (40+ yr old bikers basically).

So your comment tells me youve just driven through CB, not actually spent time there, gone to the restaurants/stores etc and have formed your opinion based on your view as you pass by.

Anita hit it on the head. You arent "from" here and you just dont get how things are. 26 yrs is sure a long time to have been here and still be that ignorant about all the local topics you put your 2 cents in on. Maybe if youd put the bong down, go to places other than everywhere that accepts food stamps and can cash your unemployment checks (or SS checks), youd know how things really are.

Good Luck with that.

Having spent time in upscale beach towns I probably know a bit more than you think. Being that you probably couldn't afford the places I stay I will forgive your stupidity.

Feeling a might bit superior are we?

And " Anita " maybe you should do some research . Not all Motorcycle Clubs are " rough necks or gangsters ". A lot of Men an Women that ride Motorcycles are people that you deal with everyday and you just don't know they ride Motorcycles or belong to Clubs . So don't judge . These people spend a lot of Money when they go to Rallys , but forget that JUST RAISE TAXES .

....it's about peace, family tradition, enjoyment of the tranquility of the coastal environment. Believe me, there will be NO PROBLEMS with revenue from tourism at CB! We don't want our town torn apart, the restaurants ravaged and the boardwalk trashed by an inconsiderate, rude, loud crowd of "boys gone wild" on their motersickles. We don't need OR want your money, so take it elswhere.

Besides, Anita never even used the words "motorcycle" or "gangsters" in her post. She made a completely valid point, not like most that leave their notes here.

Just in case you are not from earth it's always about money,and this article is about motorcycles , so what else are we talking about? Also when they need to pump sand on the beach to save the houses how about you go over and pick up the tab . And the next time you go to a doctor ask him or her if they ride motorcycles , because you don,t want any trashy motorcycle rider working on you .

....follow my posts from the top Einstein and read the article if you want to know what we are "talking about". Beach renourishment comes from local taxes and private assessments, not tourism.

My doctor rides a 2005 FatBoy, I ride a '78 shovelhead and we happen to ride together quite often. I have never stated anything in my posts resembling "trashy motorcycle riders". I stated that the majority of "bikers" pull their chrome laden machines on trailers so the chrome and paint won't get dusty. The "bikers" that transform from a tie and sportcoat to a doo-rag and hand-rubbed greasy jeans...a halloween costume. These folks have no idea of the life of a biker. They act like little kids with their parents away, get obnoxious and can't stay off the throttle at a red light sitting still.

Myrtle Beach was only a different version of Mardi Gras...

Das isn't from here, not even from close to being from here and not even here for very long at that. Das just complains and whines about the area while boasting her disdain for God and "stinky little children". A pitiful soul that is empty, bitter and sour with spite for our beautiful area and its people.

I have been going to CB since I was 15, it was a dump then. I hung out there quite a bit in 2001 it was still a dump. Drive through there on a regular basis apart from the new stores and hotels it still isn't a very upscale place.

I am atheist whoopTdoo and I have NO idea were you got "stinky little children"...... I have NEVER said that you twit. I am not bitter nor sour but Thank you for your concern.