Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Harley-Davidson HOG Rally in Biograd, Croatia

I am a little behind in my blogging, so the HOG event written about here actually took place last weekend.

Having arrived in Biograd in Croatia, Ian and myself found the apartments we had rented (sat nav is a great thing in a foreign country) and went to explore the rally site. This was a free rally set right on the waterfront in the tourist town and it proved to be a tremendous location, with everything within walking distance. This proved to be an huge benefit, with the trader area, two stages, expos, restaurants, bars and exhibits all strung along the sea front. The roads were all closed to all vehicles except motorbikes with ample parking for all. Brilliant!

The only slight drawback was in Biograd, there was just one petrol station which had long lines every time we went passed it. This was however a small price to pay.

Some general shots of the rally....















































































































































































































































































































The only thing not being held in Biograd itself was the custom bike show, which was about 20 miles away in the bigger city of Zadar. It was very difficult to find and as a consequence, not very well attended. Some shots from the ride to get there....






































Nearby was what looked like roman ruins and a cool church with an impressive tower....






























The Leading Ladies in Zadar....


























Some of the bikes at the custom bike show....





























































And the bike awarded best in show was from Slovenia....


















On one of the days in Croatia, we jumped on a ferry and took a 20 minute ride to one of the many island just offshore. We rode the length of the island before taking a different ferry back to the mainland....
















































































































Back near the rally site, I spotted this graffiti. I have no idea what it says, but someone reading this might know....




















Finally a few pictures from the Saturday night festivities. My local H-D dealer in London, Warrs, held a party for the Chelsea and Fulham Chapter members that had ridden all the way to Croatia....











































































































































Overall, the rally was a tremendous success, with many people saying it was one of the best they had ever been to. Initially I had wondered whether Croatia would be a good location and I was wrong – it was a great place for a H-D rally. There were so many riders from all over Europe attending including the more eastern European countries and this was a great chance to see how the east lives, especially in the motorcycle community.

Knowing that I had to be in Spain in just two days time, there wasn’t time to ride the Leading Ladies back to London, so I used a company called We Move Bikes to ship my bike back for me. They take all of the H-D demonstrator bikes to all of the Europeans festivals and rallies and also ship customer bikes. If you are short of time or just simply don’t want to ride in both directions to a far-flung rally, they are very good. The Leading Ladies will therefore be delivered back to my home after I return from Spain.

The annual European HOG Rally is proving to be extremely successful and enjoyable. One of the first things I did when I arrived back home in London was to book a hotel for next year’s rally, in Cascais in Portugal.

10 comments:

bobskoot said...

Gary:

we are a little envious of these stunning locations and good weather.

you are truly, a lucky person to be able to ride to so many places. we can only follow along through your photos, or perhaps we can dream . . . (one day)

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Charlie6 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie6 said...

Gary, looks like you guys had a blast....

I'm not a rally type of rider, preferring to ride alone most of the time....I'm just bent that way. : )

Liked the pictures of the custom motorcycles...some really nice creations there....did you happen to notice if they get ridden much if at all?

dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Geoff James said...

What a great setting and beautiful bikes Gary! I've been following your journey to get there - what a great adventure!

mq01 said...

great show and location, just gorgeous! funny, it looks/feels very much like Cabo...

ahhhh what i would do for sun warmth and roads right now...

ENJOY! we are living vicariously through your posts gary! great stuff!

Gary France said...

Bob – If you ever want good weather, just go to the same places as me when I am there on a bike! I am not normally lucky, but in respect of the weather when I go on my bike trips, I certainly am. I realise how fortunate I am to be able to travel so widely and to be able to do that on a bike. I took some tough decisions in my career, stuck to what I was good at, worked hard, in places I sometimes didn’t like, but did what was necessary to get the job done. That all paid off eventually when I was able to retire early and make up for all those years when I couldn’t do those sorts of things.

Charlie6 / Dom – Yes, we had a great time. I like rallies if I am with other people I know or I meet them there. Riding alone is good, but so is riding with others, sometimes. You used the right word when you referred to some of those custom bikes as “creations”. Some are just that and while they are fabulous engineering, I suspect some are not ridden much at all.

Geoff – Getting there was as much fun as being there. I am glad the rally was in Croatia, as I had never been there before and it gave to the chance to learn about and visit a country I probably wouldn’t have gone to otherwise.

mq01 – The warmth was fantastic. Both the warmth of the weather and the Croatian people.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Gary:

I am astounded by the following Haley Davidson has in Europe, and Eastern Europe as well. The custom bikes, especially the one from Slovenia, was the equal to anything I've seen roll out of California. I am just amazed at the proliferatio of the chrome and leather crowd.

The graffiti you saw on the wall translates thus: "I am a real women, in search of a real man, on a BMW K75."

I found it all rather touching.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep
Twisted Roads

irondad said...

All I can say is that I have to get out more. My long distance riding seems to pale compared to yours!

SonjaM said...

I haven't had the chance to visit Croatia just yet, but it looks like a lovely country with some impressive intact medieval architecture. Thank you for sharing. Thanks to you I definitely need to return to Europe some time to do some extensive traveling.

Gary France said...

Jack – The H-D following in Europe isn’t nearly as strong as it is in the USA. Most riders go for sports bike, but there are so many riders in Europe, even with the relatively small percentage of H-D owners, that still adds up to a heck of a lot of Harleys. I knew someone would do the translation for me – LOL.

irondad – I am lucky that I have the time to do so many long distance trips. They are great fun!

Sonja – I think I may have found one of the few, rare bits of really old architecture. I didn’t see too many other examples.