Born to be wild
European Bike Week's 14th outing continued to establish itself as Harley-Davidson's legendary 'wild' event
In true Harley-Davidson style, the Austrian region of Carinthia rumbled for five days and nights as more than 100,000 visitors descended on Faak am See for the grand finale to the European motorcycle event season.
European Bike Week continues to set the benchmark for Harley-Davidson events, with a Harley Village occupying more than 40,000 square metres of lakeside terrain, adorned with bars and stages, as well as dealers and traders from across Europe.
During the day, visitors shopped until they dropped, taking time out to relax in the Harley-Davidson Hospitality Bar and neighbouring beer tents as well as visit the Expo area for their chance to have their photo taken on a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle against a backdrop of their choice. (If you did, don't forget to visit me-on-a-harley.com to download your photo!) Experts were on hand to explain the features of the new 2012 model range and invite visitors to experience the Fit Shop to try a new Harley for size!
Among the food stalls wafting appetising smells of Chinese noodles, Hog roast and freshly cooked donuts, can be heard the buzzing of tattooists' needles and live bands from the nearby bars.
More than 24 bands made their way to the Harley Village alone to entertain the crowds during the week, playing across the main stage, Choppers bar and Hot Dot cafe, boasting a variety of styles of music - British rockers Uriah Heap and U2 tribute act, Achtung Babies from Italy stole the show on Saturday night, with electro-string quartet Tetra Electra, Katy Shotter, Elvis tribute act and rock covers bands The Jones Gang and the Affray mixing sets between the main stage and the Choppers Bar, there was plenty of choice for all musical tastes.
Friday's custom bike show at the Customiser Area at the Harley Village saw a display of more than 120 beautifully customised and restored motorcycles, all competing for the amazing prize of a trip to compete at the World Championships in Sturgis in 2012. The area oozed 'custom' with some of Europe's biggest custom outfits in attendance, including Germany's Thunderbike, Rick's Motorcycles, OCC and West Coast Choppers.
Of the 75,000 bikes that rode around the lake during the week, more than 25,000 took part in the parade under the scorching sunshine that blessed the entire event.
Elsewhere around the lake, Harley-Davidson's 48-strong demo fleet took to the surrounding roads more than 1,500 times (thanks to a new slick iPad registration process), showing off the features of the new 2012 model range.
The 'Buy a pin win a bike' contest was won by Walter Plaikner from Italy who trains the Italian Olympic Luge team and was gold medalist himself in 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics! He will take delivery of the Harley-Davidson Blackline during October!
The atmosphere during European Bike Week is indescribable, and one that all Harley-Davidson enthusiasts should experience - and the ride to get there isn't bad either! Make sure you're part of the 15th European Bike Week in 2012, 4-9 September!
Check out hogeuropegallery.com for all the photos and videos from the event - check out the new event set-up video and see how Harley-Davidson transforms the area for one week every year!