The DeLand Bike Rally: Spectacle, Consumer Identity, Consumer Experience

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In early March, 2015, I checked out the Bike Rally in downtown DeLand (one of the kick-off events for Bike Week, most of which takes place closer to the coast in Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach). The rally transforms downtown and reorients local businesses. It’s a spectacle, a community event, a celebration of subculture, a family event (to an extent–the DeLand rally is way more tame than its coastal counterparts). It’s also a consumer events. Biker gear connotes biker identity. Gear shows brand identity. And gear is for sale.

Local shops cater to these guests. Signs welcome bikers at incongruous businesses like “Grrs-n-Prrs”, a pet boutique (though given that some bikers do travel with pets, this appeal might make some sense). Food and beer, biker accessories and event t-shirts are for sale. So are patches to sew on the backs of jackets, themselves both products and badges of identity–actual or ironic.

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