Motorcycle fans converge
by Katherine Poole
photograph courtesy Ray Price Harley Davidson
Raleigh is going whole hog for the 13th annual Ray Price Capital City Bikefest. For three days, downtown revs up for the region’s largest motorcycle rally and celebration of bikes, bikers and the camaraderie that binds them. Sponsored by Ray Price Harley Davidson, Bikefest is the culmination of the Price family’s 30 year dedication to motorsports. Late patriarch and Johnston County native Ray Price is a bonafide legend of motorcycle drag racing. He was inducted to the American Motorcycle Association Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame, and remained active with his nationally recognized racing team right up until his death in 2015. His widow, Jean Price, continues his legacy of showmanship by overseeing all the fest’s details.
Bikefest welcomes gearheads and newbies of all ages – events are free and family-friendly. Highlights include the expo bike show in the Raleigh Convention Center with trophies and bragging rights awarded for best in show, people’s choice, and best paint job. Fayetteville Street amps up Friday night for the Parade of Lights, a ride showcasing the flashiest in motorcycle lighting. And when it is time to break from bikes, visitors can stroll the Rumble in Raleigh vintage car show, make a mark at Tatoofest, or just enjoy live music from one of three stages.
New to Bikefest this year is the Wall of Death, a thrilling, live-action stunt show featuring a professional motorcycle daredevil performing gravity-defying tricks along the vertical wall of a 30-foot-diameter wooden cylinder. And if that inspires the need to put the pedal to the metal, give the Mechanical Motorcycle a go. It’s like the bull, but it’s a hog. Bikefest also goes full-throttle when it comes to giving back. All proceeds and donations go to the U.S. Veterans Corps (USVC) and the United Service Organizations (USO).
Ride or ride-along, but if you venture downtown, take ear plugs.