American Biker ‘bash’ lured riders and revelers to check out new cycles, compete in bike show

Hundreds of cycle enthusiasts and their wheels turned out for the Spring Bash and Bike Show at American Biker last year (Photo provided).

By JIM PARKER The Post and Courier

Greater Charleston had its Heritage, then lost it.

The Heritage motorcycle rally in the mid 2000s yearly attracted hundreds of bikers, custom motorcycle manufacturers, cycle historians and visitors to the Exchange Club Fairgrounds.

But the Ladson event couldn’t sustain its momentum and quietly ended after a few years.

Left with a void, people like Marc Kimball sought to fill it. At least a partial answer has been the free admission Spring Bash and Bike Show at American Biker.

The local retailer, likewise in Ladson, organized the first bash in 2009. It includes two days of festivities as hundreds of bikers consume food and drinks, enjoy entertainment and take in a bike show.

This year’s fest was noon to 7 p.m. May 4 and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. May 5.

“It came about as a result of basically the lack of any motorcycle events in Charleston anymore,” said Kimball, general sales manager. “We wanted to get something going that would be an annual event.”

American Biker is located at 679 Treeland Drive off the Interstate 26 frontage road heading north from College Park Road.

A perennial highlight has been the bikini bike wash, where girls in tiny swimsuits soap up and hose down attendees’ motorcycles. “That’s always a very popular thing,” he said.

There’s also a swap meet, where cyclists can trade parts with vendors and each other.

Not long after the last Heritage show, the American Biker crew started planning its own fest.

The first show went off famously. “It was very successful,” Kimball says. “The parking lot was full of people. I figured we had 1,500 (showgoers). We have continued to do it.”

While there hasn’t been much change in the show’s formula, attendance has surged. “It’s grown every year,” he said. About 3,000 bikers and other participants took part last year.

Victory Motorcycles’ official truck, carrying its new lineup of models, appeared this year. Attendees could take the cycles for test rides as long as they have a driver’s license with valid motorcycle endorsement and are at least 18-years-old.

There were also 30-40 motorcycle vendors as well as food booths and non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverage spots spread around the lot.

The May 5 bike show was a sidelight. About 15 to 20 participants have typically signed up, Kimball said. Classes included antique-classic; bagger, which are bikes with saddle bags and other accessories; sport; custom; metric, which are foreign bikes including Japanese; and best of show.

American Biker sells new Triumph and Polaris-made Victory Motorcycles and Big Dog and Sucker Punch Sally’s custom bikes; used cycles including Harley-Davidson; and Polaris all-terrain vehicles. The store also has a service and parts shop open six days a week.

Of the bash, Kimball said, “We thought it would be a cool thing. We have so much room here.”

For more, call 843-641-0258, visit www.americanbiker.biz or look up the American Biker page on Facebook.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.