MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF)- As bikers prepare for the return of Cruisin' the Coast Bike Rally in the Grand Strand next week, businesses in the area are already waiting on riders to come to town. After last spring's lackluster turnout due to the Myrtle Beach helmet law, many hope the repeal of the law will bring back the bikers.
"The response we've gotten and what people are reading on the Internet is a pretty good indicator that people will come back in force," said John Arrants of Eagle Riders. The rental company on Highway 501 rents motorcycles to visitors in the Grand Strand. The anticipated crowds for this year's rally have caused them to order more bikes.
"We got a bunch of new bikes coming in," Arrants said. "We got bikes coming in from Orlando and other Eagle Rider locations, so we'll be able to fill all the requests we need."
But there have been rumors that many bikers, as a form of silent protest against there ever having been a helmet law in the first place, may stay away from the city of Myrtle Beach itself, and focus instead on outlying areas.
"It's not a one year fix," said Gary Fridley, a biker outside Pop's Place on Kings Highway. "There may be some crowds in the city, but it could be bigger on the south end or the north end. I would like to see them come back, though."
Even if some of the bikers stay out of the city limits, that won't keep some enthusiasts from cruising the streets during the festival.
"I'll be out there every night," Arrant said. "Just riding like I do; I'm going to be out there to show my support."