I am Six Zero – the last post here…

Posted in Uncategorized on February 9, 2017 by bleiglass

I must realise and apologise that my last ost was back in 2015, and now its 2017.


While I am proud of every visit and comment here on my ramblings of the last 8 Seasons, I will not update this site anymore, but publish under the new URL http://www.iamsixzero.com.

Here its first post: http://www.iamsixzero.com/single-post/2017/02/03/I-am-SixZero

Thank you very much for your company, I hope to meet you again on the new site.

The awesome experience of riding to a HOG European Rally

Posted in Uncategorized on July 1, 2015 by bleiglass

I visited many Rallies, and each experience can be segmented into 4 parts:

1 – the journey to the Rally location
2 – the Party at the Rally
3 – the Parade of Harleys
4 – the journey back home

Each episode has its own dynamics, creating evocative sentiments and long lasting memories. The good thing is, if one segment fails to impress, the others are even more memorable, and you can be sure the whole package is always something you never regret to have done, and you never forget.


Living in England, the ride to and from a Rally is often a long one, 3 – 5 days each leg, and after 2 weeks and 3-4,000 miles of scenic roads on your Harley-Davidson, you are already back home. What a adventure. Lugano Switzerland, Biograd Coatia, Cascais Portugal, St Tropez in France, Rome Italy and Puerto Sherry Spain, each with its unique routes, mountain passes and hot plains to cross, and you only knew it was all over when you suddenly entered again the Eurotunnel.


Without HOG’s annual invitation, I would not have visited these places, not tasted so many local food and not made so many new friends. Most of all, I would not have done 50,000 miles on my 110th Anniversary Road King (number 0113 from 1750) from 2013.


Without HOG’s annual invitation, I would not have listened and enjoyed so many bands and artists, travelling back in time with the stars of my youth.

StTrop-6438 JerezDSC_7701

You travel to Rallies with changing variety of friends, in large or small groups, with Chapter friends or others, new members and/or old personal friends.

Each new mixture contributes to the fact that visiting a HOG Rally is never boring, always a new experience, always making new friends or deepening existing friendships.


This is only possible because H.O.G. gives us a random destination we try to reach on our Harley-Davidson, with thousands of other friends from all over Europe. You meet groups early into the journey, or at the destination. You speak their language, or just raise your drink with a smile. Screw it, lets ride.


The spark did not ignite the fuel in Puerto Sherry

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27, 2015 by bleiglass

Going to the 24th European HOG Rally in Puerto Sherry was a 13 day 3,676 mile adventure with 4 friends. Down and up again through France and Spain, climbing 4 cols in the Pyrenees, the Picos de Europe in the North of Spain, visiting Oradour sur Glane, it was a trip people of my age can only remember when browsing through all the photos made during the fortnight.

Great roads, great company, good food and drinks, a really enjoyable holiday. But that will be another post on photo galleries.

More urgently, I want to add my views on the growing criticism of the HOG event in Puerto Sherry spreading in social media comments, from visitors and traders.

I had about 1,400 mile ride home where I could think of a title for this post. I visited many HD Rallies, Lugano 2010, Biograd 2011, St Tropez 2012, Cascais 2012, Rome 2013, St Tropez again in 2014, to mentions just the big ones, with SofER and Magic Bike a good 8 times.

I ended up with a very diplomatic title: “The spark did not ignite the fuel in Puerto Sherry”.

Thursday evening, Santana tribute band Tattwan playing at 21:20

Prime time Friday, Main Music Stage “Soul Mates” at 22:10

And so it was every evening. Good enjoyable bands, but no listeners, I had pity with the musicians, and it was worse on the smaller 2nd stage.

The awkward thing on Puerto Sherry was that on the one hand nearly nobody showed up on Ground Zero for the Rally, but great numbers of Harley’s showed up for the very well organised Parade on Saturday, thousands of Harley’s from all over Europe.

Thursday 18:45, outside lane for pre-paid ticket holders, inside 2 lanes for guests….

One reason among others must be the unnecessary entrance fee that had to be paid for the huge restricted area, with it 2 large live stages, traders village and custom bike show. OK, you pay for St Tropez too, and for Magic Bike, but you get something, a great atmosphere of party, food and drinks among unknown friends. But the spark did not ignite the fuel in Puerto Sherry, and riders stayed away.

One must understand, Puerto Sherry is not so much a town, its a posh marina at the outskirts of El Puerto de Santa María, and it is this marina’s car park HD owned for 4 days. Security was too tight, the only thing missing was barbed wire. No locals allowed, no bikes allowed inside, you had to park outside and walk yourself till you have blisters on your feet.

Very good first aid station

Being a marina, there are no need for hotels, Doh! Every “usual” guest comes in his yacht with its own beds, toilet, dining rooms and butlers. So there was no place for us to sleep, except 10-20 miles away in Jerez or Cadiz. OK, there was one local hotel, but this was block-booked by HD for its “Staff” and “Event Team”, you had to own a black T-Shirt with big white letters to get in. HD staff was everywhere, friendly and funny as always, and not very busy, they had a good time.


My strong advise: only hold Rallies where there are at least 2,000 customer hotel beds within 20 minutes walking distance (drunken) from the main music stage, which only then can become ground zero for thousands for the 3 nights. Otherwise the good bands will play again to a rather empty parking lot and 3 vans with a dozen of riot police standing outside not knowing why on earth they were send here to help the onsite Eulen security guards.


I like local food, but where was the food? To keep thousands of people interested, entertained, partying and happy for hours, they need good local food, drinks and seating.


All there was in the restricted zone where a dozen wobbly garden chairs near 2 stands selling stale Hot Dogs preheated 3 days ago. Not the environment to attract thousands, clearly the spark did not ignite the fuel here neither.


But not all is lost, we have St Tropez, Faaker See, SoFER (now at a new location), Magic Bike, Thunder and many more local rallies sponsored by HOG and HD, but I strongly hope the one and only annual “HOG European Rally” can quickly recover its reputation and status of being a huge party among friends, a third stale performance after Biograd and Puerto Sherry would be very bad.

The locals had to remain outside, we became the odd attraction in a cage…

In 2016 it should become again a invitation by HOG and Harley-Davidson to thank us loyal customers from their heart. Involve and invite the locals, they may well be the next new customer, and invest in those following you thousands of miles, by inviting traders at favourable conditions and bands of reputation. Do not try to squeeze the last cent out of it, sorry, but it was too obvious in Puerto Sherry.

Let the spark ignite the fuel again, I am sure they can manage that after a U-turn…


Harley 2015 model range evolution

Posted in Harley-Davidson, Uncategorized on August 29, 2014 by bleiglass

It is interesting to look into more detail in the model range evolution of Harley-Davidson. It seems there is a strong strategy behind this, with a clear differentiation between markets and models.

What happened in 2015? Lets forget about the return of the Road Glide, that was expected is is good news, but the real changes happen at the borders of the range: the small Streets and the 3 wheeler.


Europe does not get the Freewheeler in 2015. Will they ever? Hard to say, but the US is trike country, not Europe, and to promote their acceptance here, they are build and registered to be drivable (you drive them, don’t ride them) with a car license. To achieve this within the strict EU regulations, Harley-davidson had to disable the mean headlight, as “cars” are not allowed to have a central light. As usual, bureaucratic rules doe not contribute to the balance and beauty of anything, not even a trike.


The central piece is a distorting mirror of chrome, while the left and right passing lights are proper headlights.

Looking at the beautiful less bulky new Freewheeler, you quickly see the problem:


With its Fat Boy style front lights, there is no way to get a homologation in Europe to drive it with a car licence. It will be interesting to see how Harley-Davidson will solve this.

Now, is the model range 2015 the start of the death of the Sportster?


Maybe, though the so much loved Sportster 883R was already missing from the US range in 2014. But the Streets are clearly coming, and that is maybe good news. While their launch in Europe is gradual, first Street 750 only in continental Europe, then hopefully soon the UK), I fear the days of some Sportster models are counted. So get the best commuter Harley-Davidson now – the 883 Roadster may soon be gone…

The 883R was displayed at the Nashville dealers meeting, photo by Garry Knowles



71ºN – Nordkapp

Posted in Uncategorized on August 17, 2014 by bleiglass

I am so sorry, I really neglect this blog, but let me quickly report about my second BIG ride of the year 2014, the ride up to Nordkapp. The steep 1000 feet high cliff of North Cape is often (mistakenly) referred to as the northernmost point of Europe, located at 71°10′21″N 25°47′40″E, about 2,102.3 kilometres (1,306.3 mi) from the North Pole. In truth the neighbouring Knivskjellodden point, just to the west actually extends 1,457 metres (4,780 ft) farther to the north.

6 of us planned this 5,000 mile ride also as a challenge, by now raising over £6,000 for our charities. The challenge was the daily distance of ride, we like extremes, and the average was 436 miles over 11 days.  Here our cheat sheet of the ride:

nordkappblog1The photo galleries are split into 4 sections, as was the ride, 4 days getting to the Arctic Circle, 4 days above the arctic circle, and 4 days again south of the Arctic Circle getting home.

Part 1: Denmark and Sweden, with a visit to the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen

nordkappblog2Day 1 > Dunkerque (F), 113 miles, via (B) & (NL)
Day 2 > Handewitt (D), 669 miles
Day 3 > Nykoping (S), via Copenhagen (DK), 1,228 miles
Day 4 > Umea (S), 1,708 miles

See all photos here: http://hogsbackchapteruk.smugmug.com/2014/71ºN-Nordkapp-Part-1-3-6-Jul/

Part 2: was the northwards crossing of the Arctic Circle in Sweden, riding through and staying one night in Finland, and reaching Nordkapp after over 2,400 miles on Day 6. We had exceptional sunny weather all the way, except for 1 day when heavy fog hit Nordkapp, so our most important picture around the globe and the midnight sun in the background is a bit blurred.







Day 5 > Enontekio (FIN), 2,129 miles
Day 6 > Nordkapp (N), 2,421 milestone

See all photos here: http://hogsbackchapteruk.smugmug.com/2014/71ºN-Nordkapp-Part-2-7-8-Jul/

Part 3 & 4 were the most beautiful and scenic streches of the ride, down the coast of Norway.


Day 7 > Tromso (N), 2,831 miles
Day 8 > Rokland (N), 3,148 miles

See all photos here: http://hogsbackchapteruk.smugmug.com/2014/71ºN-Nordkapp-Part-3-9-10-Jul/

And once through the Artcic Circle southwards, one started to feel the approaching end of a truly epic ride.

Nordkapp 4a


Day 9 > Trondheim (N), 3,573 miles
Day 10 > Oslo (ferry), 3,887 miles
Day 11 > Ladbergen (D), 4,326 miles
Day 12 > back home, 4,802 miles

See all photos here: http://hogsbackchapteruk.smugmug.com/2014/71ºN-Nordkapp-Part-4-11-14/

I will soon post a more detailed report, written by the birthday kid Robin. Turning 60, riding to the Nordkapp was the most urgent thing to get off his Bucket List.

71ºN – Nordkapp