MUSKEGON, Mich.-- Bike Time for the last last 8-years has been along Western Avenue in downtown Muskegon. This year the annual motorcycle rally moved to the old Great Lakes Downs Horse track site for the first time charging people an entry fee. Meanwhile, downtown businesses are holding their own free event at the former site not wanting to lose that added biker business, and their calling it Rebel Road. The question remains is there enough bikers to go around?
“Well there were rumors over the last year that the event was going to expand, and our biggest fear was the event was going to relocate,” said Ron Madison who played a big part in getting Rebel Road off the ground.
When residents, like Ron Madison, of Muskegon heard the 8-year tradition of Bike Time moved to the new location they were disappointed.
“Unfortunately after a period time of trying to negotiate to make sure it stayed down here we realized they were going to move. It left us a short window of opportunity to re-create the atmosphere and to keep the event alive,” said Madison
Madison put in the work to hold onto the tradition by applying for permits, calling vendors, and partners to make his vision stay alive.
“There were a lot of people who told us it just couldn’t be done. You know this is really something you should have a year and a year and a half to plan.”
Madison and others planned it in under six months, and found new partners that also didn’t want to see the wheels fall off the bike in their downtown event.
“The Child Abuse Council was approached after Bike Time had moved out to their new location so it left an opening and a perfect opportunity,” said Kyleen Gee of Child Abuse Council.
Now they don’t see a loss, rather an opportunity, and no hard feelings against Bike Time.
“Not ready to start bragging, but if this is any kind of a sign of what’s to come we got reason to be excited,” said Madison.
Tim Lipan of Bike Time doesn’t think they left the downtown Muskegon businesses high and dry.
“There is a downtown experience. The street is closed to bikers, and those folks are going to do great,” said Lipan..
Bike Time says they are enjoying their new location, because space was vital to their longevity as a festival.
“Expanding out here gives us not only room for more people but we can do bigger concerts, bring in a motor cross race, and three national shows,” said Lipan.
Bike Time says the bikers win in the end.
“People have a choice. I have to tell you bikers ride. They don’t go to one place and stay there for 12 hours. They are going to be downtown. They are going to be out here. They are going to be all around western Michigan.
Rebel Road says they saw more people Thursday than they have ever seen on a Thursday in the past 8 years. Rebel Road is free to walk around. Bike Time has some ticket options: A day pass will cost $20-$25 depending on what day, $40 for a weekend pass, and Sunday it’s free.