The great rally recon ride
Julia Ruznyaeva from the Yekaterinburg H.O.G.® Chapter in Russia travelled more than 6,000km in 20 days, on a mission to visit some major European events
Every year I plan my bike tours, one of which is always alone. This year I decided to devote a bike trip to three events: Prague Harley Days®, European Bike Week® at Faaker See and the Minsk H.O.G.® Rally. In between, I planned to ride some beautiful European roads and spiralling mountain highways, across parks and old towns.
Off to conquer
Well, off we go! I whizzed from
I decided to take a ride from
Next day I rode along the fabulous road from the Polish town of
Having stayed overnight at the border with the
The next day I attended Prague Harley Days®, where I met some of my fellow chapter members and some old friends. The huge expo centre near the city centre was set aside for the event, and everything was organised superbly! A food court, kiosks with commodities for bikes and riders, a concert venue, a boxing ring, an exhibition of old and custom Harley-Davidson® motorcycles and, finally, the most interesting thing for me – a presentation of the 2018 year bike models. The innovations left such a strong impression on me. I reviewed all the different models, touched them and had a seat on them, then gave a sigh and went to my favourite Sportster®.
The parade at the event was perhaps one of the best-organised in which I had ever participated. The parade’s route lay straight through the
After a fantastic time in
In the morning I returned to my solo route, and rushed off on Austrian roads towards
I crossed the border into
I stayed the night in a small hotel featuring a gorgeous view over a valley, before moving on the next day to conquer the mountain passes of
In high spirits following a meal break, I started off around the lake toward the Stelvio, the second-highest paved pass in the
Upon that I headed off to
First time in Faaker See
The 20th European Bike Week in Faaker See was the first time I had attended such a huge bike festival. I had never seen so many bikes in one place! All of them circled around the lake in a virtually continuous flow, and the roar of their motors permeated everything around. For the whole week, Faaker See becomes the complete biker scene: bars, cafes, several stages for bands and performers, bike exhibitions, bazaars with stalls selling bike outfits, spare parts, instruments and tools, bike services, a stand with new models of Harley-Davidson 2018, and so much more. There were surprise meetings with old friends, and new acquaintances made with bikers from different countries. Overall, it was an amazing atmosphere amid the beauty of the Alpine foothills.
The parade at European Bike Week was colossal – it took bikers two hours to line up into the eight-kilometre road train. There was all manner of crazy costumes: Native Americans, Vikings, witches, angels… even at Halloween I had never seen such a diversity of costumes! Several thousand bikers dashed with a roar around two lakes and through several towns. The road train was met and welcomed by crowds of people. That was way cool! We circled along the route for two and a half hours. Toward the end of the parade our chapter turned out to be right behind the police escorts, and our chapter banner was flaunted in front of the multi-thousand train of bikers.
At the close of European Bike Week I started moving toward
I whizzed through
Traditionally, the Minsk H.O.G. Rally has become a must-attend event of the biker season where a major part of our chapter meets up. Some bikers ride all the way from our home in Yekaterinburg, while others complete their tours in
The parade at the Minsk H.O.G. Rally contained 7,000 bikes ridden by bikers from 15 countries. The event is not intended solely for bikers, it’s a celebration for the whole city: rock music, a bike exhibition, competitions and, of course, test rides of various Harley-Davidson® models.
The Minsk H.O.G. Rally culminated with a grand club party attended by chapters from
Since setting off on my first solo journey two years ago I have learned that you must first overcome your fear of the unknown, as you will be alone with the road in a foreign country. Every minute you are almost overwhelmed with emotions from contemplating the nature of life; you begin to meditate, resulting in a mental state where your head is not overloaded with problems and you can truly enjoy your life in the ‘here and now’.