PHOENIX, ARIZ.—If you’re anything like the THUNDER PRESS crew and love riding into the saguaro-silhouetted sunsets of the Arizona deserts, then you should be aware of the changes that are headed to this state’s signature event, Arizona Bike Week, held each spring.
Arizona Bike Week has suffered a bit of an identity crises in the past, and this year it’s slated to undergo a significant expansion as dealerships branch out to form their own event, promising a new incarnation that is sure to benefit the party animal in all of us, provided we do our homework first.
A rocking 10 days of fun in the sun has spread out to include a major concert near Tucson, biker activities planned in three different locations, a new event to include day rides across the valley, and a few unscripted surprises that can only be described as “epic.” Before you roll out to party down in the Valley of the Sun, it would be advisable to do some research and see what’s going on lest you arrive unprepared and end up missing some of the wild times the various promoters have on tap.
First off, the Valley Harley-Davidson dealers are inviting riders out to the Wild Horse Pass & Casino for the Phoenix Bikefest April 4–6. As an inaugural event, the dealers are pulling out the stops with free entertainment, fun and festivities for an intensive customer-focused three-day event. That’s right: free! There will be rides, vendors, food and concerts. The casino is offering killer deals on accommodations as well as onsite camping, and Arizona’s first “ride-through” bar will be a major attraction as riders hang out to watch the parade of bikes arriving at the facility in Chandler. The big five Harley-Davidson dealers in the valley—Buddy Stubbs, Arrowhead, Chandler, Chester’s and Superstition—will join RideNow Powersports and Barry Caraway of Cyclerides.com in welcoming riders out to a huge venue where riders can party, play, gamble and snooze without ever leaving the property. But if riding is what you crave, some scenic charity rides will be going on, too. The Wild Horse Pass & Casino in Chandler is about 30 miles south of Scottsdale. For a list of activities and schedules, check the website often since things are subject to change (www.phoenixbikefest.com).
Meanwhile, out on the other end of the valley, the Cave Creek experience has ramped up the fun and frivolity, as well. The Cave Creek Rally will offer more of everything in abundance: vendors, entertainment, parking and partying accompanied by live music. Bikers can bounce the boulevard between the world-famous and wildly popular Hideaway Grill and the Cave Creek Tap Haus from March 28–April 7 and never run out of smiles. Cave Creek is about 20 miles north of Scottsdale. (www.cavecreektaphaus.com, www.hideaway-usa.com)
Of course, you can still go to the Arizona Bike Week’s official website to get information regarding the happenings at WestWorld in Scottsdale. The Cyclefest has undergone a transformation and things will not be laid out as they were in prior years so you might want to scope out the site map and schedule in advance. Camping is available, and standard events like the Miss ABW contest, the HEROS award and daily concerts will still be going on along with all the other activities designed to keep bikers busy. Members of the SOA cast are scheduled to lead a pack ride to WestWorld and ZZ Top will headline on Saturday night (www.azbikeweek.com/index.htm).
The Doobie Brothers will be playing at a casino near Tucson on Friday night, April 4, at a venue that’s about 150 miles from Scottsdale. Tickets are available at www.ddcaz.com/index.php/sahuarita/entertainment.
We made a few calls to discuss the restructuring of the sandbox and members from all camps had a few words to share, such as Mark Bradshaw, owner of the Hideaway Grill in Cave Creek. Known as the original party animal, Mark tells us the 2014 rally will be a total blast in CC. “This is going to be the biggest year ever! We have rides every day, vendors, free concerts and one huge, nonstop party.”
Jack Stubbs from Buddy Stubbs H-D assured us the Phoenix Bikefest was organized with riders in mind. “We just want folks to come out and enjoy themselves without going broke. The Wild Horse Pass is a huge venue with plenty of room to grow so we will really never run out of room there. We want to be able to offer a complete experience for people to come out and shop reputable vendors, check out the bikes and have a good time. Besides the H-D products, we’ll have Indian as well as the major metrics set up there, too. We promoters have listened to customers for years about what they’d like to see in an event. We have concerts planned, great sponsors and I think we’ve put together a quality event.”
The ABW camp is also optimistic about the options offered riders for this year’s Bike Week. “We really hope to clear up any misconceptions with what is going on,” Lisa Cyr from Arizona Bike Week told us. “There is no ‘us against them;’ this has to do with Harley-Davidson territories and who’s assigned to what zip code. Our event falls in the Scottsdale dealership zip code so the other dealerships are invited to participate in the rides, but they just cannot set up at WestWorld. This wasn’t our decision; it’s about H-D and there is no animosity. We get along with everyone. The other venue for Phoenix Bikefest is in neutral territory so they can all participate there. We just want riders to get to come out and have a great time no matter where they go. We have the best concert line up we have ever had and we did away with the Cyclefest tent since we outgrew it a long time ago. We will have Sturgis-style concerts under the stars so I think riders will really enjoy the changes.”
As for the schedule of events at Scottsdale H-D, we can only suggest that you check their website for information since attempts to contact them went unanswered and, as of this writing, there are no details posted on the site.