Sunday, March 18, 2012

Harleys in Colombia? Si!

All around the central square and on many of the side streets, there were
bikes and there were Bikes... Harley Davidson to be precise. About 200
one of the organizers estimated, but I didn't count and it looked like more.
And in Venezuela and Brazil and... now Barichara. It was a sort of “Bike Day” instead of a whole week, but well over 200 Harley Davidson motorcycles of all vintages and styles, from all over Colombia and other places, came roaring into this normally quiet village in north-central Colombia, 5000 feet up in the Andes mountains. Staged from their gathering spot in San Gil, (the extreme sports capital of Colombia) apparently a large number of bikers enjoyed a lunch out in the country before arriving at the central square about 2:30 p.m.
Yesterday I heard four of them arriving as those throaty pipe sounds reverberated off the stone streets and rammed earth walls. I had to go out and see, of course, and sure enough the riders were just getting off as a crowd gathered to take pictures and ask questions. One young boy was clearly eager to get much closer, but his father held him back and if I was a betting woman, I am sure that 25 years from now he will have found a way to realize his dream to be really close.
There was a huge speaker system playing Colombian music as the “vroom-vroom” and rumbling, chest-vibrating motors assembled all around the park, making an interesting kind of modern rhythm. I managed to grab a photo of what I thought was the HD Motors team from Colombia posing, although I later learned one of the guys in the shot was from Venezuela. And apparently not ALL the big bikes were HDs as I spotted several hefty BMWs, Hondas and Yamahas.
A fellow from Bogota spoke English very well and told me he had been to the U.S. and had ridden a Harley thousands of miles, exploring much of the country. He said, “There is no better way to experience a country than by riding through it on a motorcycle, seeing and hearing and smelling the land around you.” I partially agree as a former 'biker', but now instead of 1200 horses, I would be quite happy on just one.
This looks like a vintage Harley with a sidecar. But I was
also looking at the flag... it does say FLORIDA on it!
This visit to Barichara is just one of several events that Harley Davidson of Colombia organizes and while some folks might complain about the noise, I found it entertaining for the short time they were all here and I am sure some of the shopkeepers were glad for the business.
So all you Harley riders in the U.S., it’s time to experience 129 turns in 25 kilometers (that’s coming from San Gil to Barichara) or come and see some other parts of this amazing country of Colombia by bike, and I’ll bet Harley Davidson in the U.S. can help you make that happen through their contacts in Colombia.

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