Harley Day Breda tour 2021

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September 2nd, 2021

The other day I joined up with some friends - as I call it - the Harley Dag Breda tour ride. About 150 bikers on (mostly) Harley's who formed an elongated string of roaring bikes through West Brabant and the Belgian border. Average speed somewhere between 60 and 70 kilometers per hour so you can enjoy some of the surroundings. In addition, highways were avoided and we rode mostly on provincial roads and B-roads, so much faster was not allowed, and could not be done. In my experience, there are two types of motorcyclists: bikers and those annoying road racers.

Bikers are the men with beards - most of them, because there were also plenty of beautiful women with a big twin cylinder between their legs and a saddle under their ass - who like to tour. The annoying road racers are mostly on Japanese yamazukis, they prefer to go through the curves as flat as possible and to tear over the road as fast as possible. I don't want to generalize but if you feel offended, just listen to Steve Hughes. By the way, there are also Harleys that can go as fast as possible and are even faster than a Yamazuki, witness the movie of Hildo that beats a Yamazuki three times. With thanks to Hildo for the expression Yamazuki because I had not made that up myself.

But back to what it was all about, the Harley Day Breda. This day used to be a big (and mostly free) annual event that was held in August in downtown Breda since 1989. Where previously good arrangements could always be made with the mayor and other parties involved, this changed at a certain point due to various events elsewhere in our country (or even neighboring countries). I suspect that these events were the reasons why the then mayor no longer wanted to cooperate in granting a permit.

The first event was the beach riots in Hoek van Holland in August 2009 during the Sunset Grooves dance festival, in which one person died. In 2010, another major drama took place, the so-called tunnel drama in Duisburg, where 21 people were killed in the scuffle. And then, of course, all the ghost stories in the media about the impending Biker Wars, which would result in casualties on such a scale that even the Taliban would think, "Christ, we're still in level kindergarten." By the way, I meant Allah of course, although Christ also appears in the Koran so in itself they could very well think that there in Afghanistan.

Anyway, attempts in later years to revive the Harley Day Breda have always ended in nothing. Eventually, this more or less created the Harley Day Breda tour, which is on the third Sunday in August. Great to see that there is still some spontaneity meeting a lot of bikers  and riding together. Although, spontaneity? Something is definitely being organized, even if it is not by some formal foundation that is responsible for it. But what can't be done formally, has to be done informally, a few years ago, a number of bikers decided to put their heads together to organise the trip; the Border Bikers Breda was a fact. 

And so this year on the 15th of August around 11.30 pm we arrived with our group (12 bikes). The shopping mall boulevard at the Kruisvoort in Breda was already quite full with long rows of motorcycles on both sides of the parking lot. Uncle cop came by to see what was going on and after a short explanation that we were going to tour towards Belgium that day, they left. I immediately had a feeling of, "Damn, it can be done this way too?". Instead of a whole platoon checking if everyone's papers and bikes are in order. Of course they are, bikers are not criminals, are they?

After a brief explanation about speed and overtaking like a madman and sticking as much as possible to the maximum speedlimit, we left around noon for the lunch spot, which turned out to be Baarle Nassau  about an hour and a half's drive. Once arrived, we enjoyed a sandwich (whether we brought it with us or not) and some drinks and caught up with those we already knew and made some new friends. Then we left for another drive of about an hour to arrive at our destination  Sound Dog (in Breda again, of course) where "The Rockband Petra Hessing" was preparing for a nice piece of music. The satays were cooking nicely.

What struck me about that day? That a lot of motorcyclists came together for a good time, to ride together and just to have a lot of fun. That the Border Bikers Breda guided this perfectly; they made sure everything went smoothly during the entire ride, so that all the other traffic was hardly bothered by that trunk of 150 motorcycles moving along the roads in West Brabant and Belgium. People stood along the side waving, taking pictures or filming the procession and judging by the faces everyone thought it was great to see. So not everyone who rides a motorcycle and wears a vest is a criminal, just as not all priests are pedophiles or all politicians lie when they laugh.

Although with those last two groups I do have my reservations!

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