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      Locals say Bikefest causing traffic problems, but nothing like past years

      Bikefest traffic may be the biggest concern for locals over Memorial Day weekend.

      But is it as big a problem today as it was years ago?

      Helen Baldasarre has lived in North Myrtle Beach, next door to Bikefest, for 43 years.

      She well remembers those Memorial Day weekends when it took her three hours to travel a few miles.

      In her mind, Bikefest has changed a lot since then.

      "I go out and drive in it now!" Baldasarre laughs.

      Baldasarre says maybe the crowds are smaller, or the participants more mature.

      But Bikefest doesn't bother her much anymore, as long as she can get to the supermarket.

      "That's the big hassle, is maybe buying your food, but just stock up a couple days early and that's it," she said.

      It's much the same for Connie Keeter, who's owned Tropical Nursery for 30 years.

      She says today's Bikefest is totally different.

      "I mean, it used to be pretty crazy, people everywhere, but nowadays, it's really not that big of a deal," said Keeter.

      She says the city of North Myrtle Beach seems to be handling Bikefest better, the bikers seem to be spread out more than they used to be , and newer roads, like Robert Edge Parkway, help locals avoid the traffic congestion.

      "Anyone who's a local around here knows how to get around without having to be inconvenienced because of certain areas."

      These days, Keeter's biggest Bikefest complaint is the city blocking off her street.

      "Maybe a couple years ago we needed those kinds of controls, but now, I really don't think it's necessary," said Keeter. "I think it hurts our business."

      Keeter says she has seen a few things during Bikefest that were "extreme", like inappropriate clothing and loud music.

      But that was a few years ago. As for traffic, she says it's not much worse than it would be on any other busy summer weekend.