American Heat Motorcyle Weekend brings thousands of riders into the valley

The gathering is centered on Palm Canyon Drive between Tahquitz Canyon Way and Ramon Road

American Heat Motorcyle Weekend brings thousands of riders to the valley


"We like coming into a town and taking it over," said American Heat emcee Trey Valentine.

Downtown Palm Springs is taken over this weekend by motorcycle enthusiasts from around the country.

"It provides a different lifestyle that maybe some people aren't used to.  It will probably dispel a lot of myths about bikers that you didn't know before," Valentine said.

Bikers say the biggest misconception is that they're all gritty, rough-and-tumble vigilantes. 

"Some of us are just family guys that like to get out and enjoy the journey of a motorcycle ride," Valentine said.

"Most motorcyclists are everyday people like you and me.  They're doctors, lawyers, construction workers.   They're just going on the weekends to have a good time and ride," said Ari Levenbaum, V.P of Marketing and Operations at Law Tigers, one of the event sponsors. 

Another stereotype: that women only ride on the back of motorcycles.

"I decided to get off the back and get on the front.  A hundred percent better, just because then I can do it, when I want to go ride I can ride," said Billena Willis, who rode her motorcycle in from San Diego.

The event is expected to draw more than 10,000 visitors, which could provide a big boost to the local economy.

"The restaurants, the servers will see a big increase in tips.  We know that we're loud and we don't mind paying for it," Valentine said.

And with more visitors expected this year than ever before comes an increase in police presence, aimed at making the event more family-friendly.

"We bring in allied agencies to assist us with the crowds and any problems that could arise, but we're not anticipating any issues this year," said Lt. Mike Kovaleff of the Palm Springs Police Department.

The event is located on Palm Canyon Drive between Tahquitz Canyon Way and Ramon Road.

The weekend will include stunt shows, races, live music and retail vendors, and part of the proceeds will benefit local charities, according to the event's website.

Palm Canyon will be closed from Ramon to Tahquitz Canyon from 5:30 Friday morning until 11 p.m. Sunday.

American Heat's hours of operation are today from noon to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For information, go to www.roadshowsreno.com.

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