We joined Harley-Davidson's 115th year celebrations in Prague and here's what went down


We joined Harley-Davidson’s 115th year celebrations in Prague and here’s what went down

The city came to a standstill

By Rochelle Pinto  October 23rd, 2018

It’s 20 minutes into the ride, cold rain piercing our faces as the ramparts of Prague give way to the rolling greens of the European countryside, when my riding partner, Vijay Thomas, asks if I really want to see what the Road Glide can do. I say yes, and before my brain has time to catch up, 115 years of Harley- Davidson engineering propels us forward like a bat out of hell. The roar of the engine is rivalled only by the death metal concert in my heart. But man, do I feel alive.

PAGUE 7 JULY

A biker makes her way through Prague

It’s this combination of mechanical ingenuity and raw, primal energy that has attracted millions to the cult of Harley-Davidson. And some of its most vocal advocates have descended on Prague to participate in the brand’s milestone celebration. You hear them before you see them—that inescapable low rumble that keeps heads turning.

PRAGUE 6 JULY

I’m especially pleased to see that this isn’t an oestrogen-free zone—there are fully kitted-out women everywhere, and most, if not all, are proud owners themselves. Iranian Maral Yazarloo’s bucket list involved riding across seven continents; she’s finished off strong, and is now awaiting the birth of her first child. We even spot a few custom-designed tricycles at the Holešovice Exhibition Grounds, the epicentre of the two-day celebration, ensuring another generation will grow up idolising the revolutionary brand even while it navigates the difficult questions of carbon footprint and sustainable energy.

But for now, all our attention is focused on the parade. The city has come to a standstill as over 10,000 bikes gather at the meeting point. A group from Germany is dressed like members of the rock band KISS. There’s Davy Crockett, complete with a raccoon hat, and even Santa Claus. Karen Davidson, one of the two remaining members of the historic family to work with the brand arrives, sending the crowds into a selfie frenzy.

group of germany

A group from Germany dressed like members of KISS

The sound of engines revving signals the kick-off. It’s Americana at its shiny best, and the locals who have lined the streets grinning and waving at us are lapping it up. One truth becomes clear—the hog is the king of the concrete jungle.