One thing I like to do when not throwing myself down the front of big wet things is to ride my very loverly 650 Dakar over big mountainy things (although lately it’s been off the road with no time to sort it out). So I’ve been to a fair few bike meets in my life and know a number of life long bikers.
I went to the bike show at Gois yesterday. A beautiful ancient town in the centre of Portugal that once a year gets inundated with tens of thousands of bikers. They set up a vast campsite and turn the town centre into a large festival area – with markets, cafes, bars and a live stage. What are the chances of any country town council in the UK allowing such a thing to happen in their town centre….?
Well the reason is the inherent difference between UK bikers and Portuguese bikers…..
First up – personal hygiene. Your average bikers beard has half a fried chicken and the remnants of 23 years of hard drinking nestled within its bushy outline. Portuguese bikers are clean shaven – and if there is any facial hair it’s well groomed and beautifully conditioned. As for clothes – well the average Portuguese biker could comfortably appear in a Daz commercial with whites whiter than white can be – leather waistcoats that look like they’ve just been ironed, bandanas to match and jeans that you could play snooker on. Very strange….
Then of course there is the behaviour – biting heads off chickens, vomiting into your own helmet and passing out in skips is just not on the agenda over here. I didn’t see a single wet T-shirt competition and the drag racing on the town bridge has been scrubbed off the diary.
So all in all a pretty tame affair. Which in many ways is obviously an extremely good thing but there’s something exciting about running into bunch of bikers knowing that there may be just a little bit of trouble along the way….
I didn’t surf today. I did make a start on my bike though…