POSTCARDS FROM FLORIDA

Vintage bikes star at Dania Beach festival

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Vintage motorcycles in Dania Beach

Vintage bikes, such as this 1951 "Indian Rainbow Chief," will be the stars at the Dania Beach Vintage Mototcycle Show on Jan. 28. (Orlando Sentinel / January 19, 2006)

Confession time: I'm not much of a motorcycle fan.

Maybe it's because, when I was 12, I burned my ankle on the tailpipe of my cousin's cycle — and that was only a dirt bike. But the memory has been hard to shake.

Although you won't catch me riding one, I appreciate the romance of Marlon Brando roaring through some old town on his vintage Triumph in "The Wild Ones" movie. And one of my favorite folk songs ever is Richard Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," a tale of love, motorcycles, crime and death. Listening to that tale of woe isn't likely to make you want to hop on a chopper, either.

But I digress.

On Jan. 28, the Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show will celebrate the love of motorcycles (without the crime and death) at an event now in its sixth year in the beachside town south of Fort Lauderdale. The weather in January is dandy for riding, with temperatures hopefully not venturing into the sticky, summery realm of the high 80s and 90s.

More than 230 vintage motorcycles will be showcased in Frost Park (300 N.E. 2nd Street, Dania Beach), an array that includes European, Japanese, American and English models in classes ranging from competition, scooter, rat, bobber, chopper and café racer. This year's event also will feature a display of military bikes from all over the world.

In addition to the vintage bicycles under the trees, there will be riding shows by the Independent Motorcycle Skill Team next to the park on Fronton Boulevard, live music, food vendors and demonstrations of skateboarding skills in the new skateboard park. Another type of fun on wheels will be demonstrated by the Gold Coast Roller Derby Grrls, members of a roller derby squad that might reveal what happened to the "i" in their team name if you ask them nicely.

It's free admission for spectators, but there's a $15 fee to enter bikes that are at least 35 years old into the competition. For $35, visitors can reserve a space at a swap meet to sell motorcycles or parts. Visit daniabeachvintagebikesshow.com or call 1-305-924-4682 for more information.

Of course, Central Florida has its own motorcycle tradition: Bike Week in Daytona Beach is slated to start on March 9. Visit officialbikeweek.com for details.
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