Commentary

printed 11/20/2020

There are a couple of ways to look at the possibility of a two-week OC BikeFest next fall, one would be the positive way, while the other … that would be positive as well.

Although some complaints from the citizenry about an extra weekend of noise are to be expected, that is the only downside we can see to approving the proposal pitched this week by show Marketing Director Chase Micheal to the Ocean City Tourism Commission.

As City Councilman John Gehrig said during the meeting, the second weekend for OC BikeFest would occur when the uninvited and unwanted tuner car rally normally takes place, possibly preventing it from happening.

As anyone who has experienced both bike week and that so-called pop-up rally will attest, it’s an easy choice between the two: the somewhat noisy one, or the incredibly, out-of-control noisy and dangerous one.

It’s true, as commission member Stephanie Meehan pointed out, that the generally despised tuner car crowd could simply shift to another weekend, thus bringing no real relief to residents.

But that’s where the other way of looking at a bike week double-feature comes in, especially in 2021. Simply put, restaurants, hotels and other interests tied to the tourism industry in Ocean City desperately need the money after being all but run out of business this year by the covid-19 pandemic.

Considering the restrictions on gatherings, bans on interstate travel by neighboring states, and extreme unemployment that ate up the disposable income of thousands of potential visitors, it’s a wonder that most Ocean City businesses survived at all.

Adding one more week of BikeFest won’t change all that, but it will be a help to the many operations that will still be climbing out of the big financial hole left over from 2020.

So, yes, there would be some extra noise, but there also would be some extra room reservations, extra dinner reservations and extra incidental spending. Add that to the possibility of crowding out the car pop-up rally, and this proposal looks like a winner.

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