[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If someone handed me a script for the movie version of my trip to EUROBIKE 2016, I would never have believed such a sugary sweet story. But believe me, it is all true as I am about to tell you….
EUROBIKE 2016 is the first out of state rally we here at Motley Moto have covered. In fact it is the first event we’ve covered of any kind outside of the dealership, so the pressure was on to find some real stories worth reading. I admit the butterflies were fluttering in my stomach as I backed my humdrum 2003 stock BMW K1200LT into a spot alongside the 50 or so custom bikes lining one side of the street while looking at the 75 or so custom or modified bikes that lined the other side of the street. It was the pre-rally breakfast / group ride on Saturday the day before the main event. Over 100 beautiful bikes lined the city block with riders of all shapes and sizes walking back and forth, coffee cups in hand, lovingly taking in all the chrome and machine bits.
How was I going to approach these die-hards and find the one or two bikes that a large audience would be interested in? How was I going to gain the trust of these builders and customizers, so they would open up to a stranger about their most personal passion?
Was I going to get laughed right out of this place?
No sooner had I dismounted and removed my riding gear when out of nowhere the most beautiful BMW pulls in right beside me and starts backing in. This R80 was immaculate. Cafe racer lines that screamed style and class. You could almost sense every eye on the block following this bike as it made it’s entrance. As the rider dismounted, I pulled a card out of my pocket and introduced myself and asked if he would be around tomorrow for an interview. Very graciously the gentleman said “Yes. Yes, of course! I would be happy to help.”
But fate wasn’t done with me yet. As I walked back and forth taking pictures of various bikes, a bystander made an offhand comment as I was snapping a picture of this vintage sidecar setup.
Turns out he is the owner of said sidecar and the restaurant where the breakfast was held. Capital Club 16 is the place, and it turns out they have been holding the “Earles Fork Breakfast” as the unofficial pre-rally meetup for sometime. It is only this year that it became an official part of EUROBIKE. His story and the story of that great sidecar setup can be found here.
As the bikes roared out for the first of two planned morning group rides I thought, “Stories about two great riders and their bikes, in less than an hour!” Turns out this wasn’t going to be as hard as I thought. But the real story here was the Rally / Bike Show that was held the next day. But let’s backtrack a little for the whole ride report.
The original plan was to take two leisurely days riding down to Raleigh, NC and document the ride for an entry here in Motley Moto. Swing out west just enough to get caught up in the foothills of the Appalachians, maybe taking in a little of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Of course, as is the case when traveling long distances by motorcycle, the weather didn’t exactly feel like cooperating. Heavy, heavy, rains the day before leaving, and heavy rains forecast for the planned 1st day of travel had me weighing my options. It looked like I might have to actually ditch the bike and travel by car, heaven forbid. Sacrificing the leisurely pace and back-road itinerary, the decision was made to hightail it down I-95 in what looked like would be a scant 4 hour window of light to no rain from 7am-12pm on Friday. The decision was made more palatable by heading down from DC on MD RT 301 and crossing into Virginia over the Potomac River on RT 13. It wasn’t until just south of Richmond that I succumbed to the convenience of I-95. The weather held out, I only saw a few sprinkles on my trip. This was pretty much my own fault. As I took advantage of light, and more importantly, unsupervised traffic and made great time heading south on the back-roads, I watched the storm cell heading west to east as I headed northeast to south west. I knew I had two choices, go faster and try and beat it, or slow down and try to let it pass. The former might put flashing lights in my rear-view, while the latter just didn’t seem fun. Meanwhile the fuzzy radar blob and my little blue dot just kept their steady pace as I decided to do nothing except watch the beautiful countryside pass by. At one point the storm cell split in two and I actually thought it would pass just to the north and south of me, but, alas, I did see just enough of a downfall to make me decide to stop for lunch and let the storm roll through proper. As luck would have it, home spun country BBQ was yards away from the exit I chose and lunch turned out to be a win-win situation. Great food and the storm passed with me high and dry.
The rest of the trip was uneventful as I hopped onto the 4 lane sameness that is a blessing and plague to this country. Yes, I can get from Atlanta to New York City in one trip if I need to but it is going to feel exactly the same as if I go from Cleveland to New Orleans, or any other two spot randomly pulled from the map. Interstates, for me, are not what motorcycling is all about. However, with pulling into the City of Oaks, a nice feeling of weight lifting off my shoulders knowing I had a new town to explore and a ton of bikes to check out.
EUROBIKE Raleigh is in its seventh year and this year marked a return to the location it was first held, City Market in the downtown area of Raleigh. City Market turns out to be the perfect place for an event like this. Imagine a regular sized city block that has cobblestone streets breaking it up into five equal sections. Each section containing shops, restaurants and bars, all centered around a large indoor, and air conditioned, meeting space. These alleyways with their spiderweb of small little globe lights strung overhead created the perfect layout to split up the show bikes into separate groups. All the Italian bikes down this alley, all the Germans down here, Brit bikes line both sides of this section and let’s put the cafe racers down this section. Everything was accessible and easy to drift from one section to the next while staying coherent and logical. You knew what you were looking at and what to expect.
As discussed this is the first year the event spanned two days to include a breakfast, 2 group rides, and an evening meetup on Saturday the day before the main event. On Sunday the event started around 10am and the bikes were pouring in for the next two hours. There were bands, raffles, vendors, dealerships, MotoAmerica Racer Nickalus Schmitt, and a ton of good fun people. Oh yeah bikes…..there were bikes for miles.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column]
I asked Scot for an overview of Eurobike and his involvement in keeping the rally running.
MM- What have been the biggest hurdles?
Scot Dail – Finding enough volunteers with the free time and motivation to make it a success… we are mostly all professionals with full time careers and families. It takes a lot of work for 6 months to put the event together. There is also working through the red tape with the city. They require months of planning to close off the streets, and doing it doesn’t come cheap! Everyone who attends agrees that the atmosphere at Raleigh’s old City Market makes it worth the effort! Thanks to the help of our sponsors, supporters and hard working volunteers who have also see the vision, we’ve been able to grow the event every year.
The downtown merchants can also be a bit wary of motorcyclists. We are starting to sway them understanding that this breed is a bit different than what you see hanging around the local watering hole.
MM- What has been the biggest success?
Scot Dail –We’ve been able to earn almost $10,000.00 for local and motorcycle charities over the past few years. The amount we collect keeps going up every year. Also, it grows the local motorcycle sense of community. Following our event, there is always a renewed interest in planning rides and gatherings, new friendships are made, and new project builds are inspired! Alderson Niera’s BMW is a prime example – he built it with anticipation of bringing to the show, and his hard work paid off by winning both best in class and best of show.
MM- Who are the principle players and the supporters that have helped produce the event?
Scot Dail – Mark Seagondollar deserves recognition for the initial idea behind Eurobike. Many team members volunteered hours out of their free time to plan and execute the event. We owe a great deal to the major sponsors this year who helped us get the space through their donations of money and raffle prizes: Oxford Products, Bike Safe North Carolina, Devolve Moto, Virginia International Raceway, and many others. Do The Ton.com for inspiring us to hold an event to grow our local motorcycle community. Also our charity this year Biker Down, who is just building a local organization to help support injured riders in our area.
MM – Anything else you want to say to our readers?
Scot Dail – We want to encourage all the regional organizations of all brands to get involved! You are what makes the event a success! This event will be held again next year in April. We want all the clubs representing European and British brands to come on out. We’ll have a great ride on Saturday and the show on Sunday. ALL Euro bikes and café racers are welcome in the show area, regardless of condition. This is an inclusive event and it is all about building a better motorcycle community. Visit www.eurobikeraleigh.com for more info, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
This year EUROBIKE Raleigh benefited the non-profit out of Colorado started by Laurie Montoya called BIKER DOWN. Created in 2011 to provide services for motorcycle accident victims who have been injured in an accident while riding responsibly, BIKER DOWN’s headquarters is located in Denver, but they currently have chapters in Illinois, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and are looking to cover a nationwide membership. You can read our write up about BIKER DOWN here and visit their website BIKERDOWN.org.
I highly recommend Eurobike Raleigh to all bikers if you are on the East Coast and if your passion is European bikes, it is worth the trip from coast to coast. Top notch stuff here.
Oh yeah…that sugary sweet Hollywood ending? Alderson Neira and that R80 ended up BEST IN CLASS / CAFE RACER and BEST IN SHOW![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]