Cologne City rumbles into Harley-Heaven May 23rd-24th 2015
A WWW.MOTOGRAPHER.DE STORY –COPYRIGHT: HORST RÖSLER
Cathedral was the perfect location to host thousands of Harley-riders with entertainement, bike show and concerts on two days.
Every two years, again in 2016, Cologne is in the focus of the motorcycle world, when the INTERMOT is held at the huge trade fair which is situated on the eastern shore of the Rhine river. Legendary are the partys, held for press presentations by Harley-Davidson and organized by Harley-Davidson Cologne, located at Köln-Mühlheim, next to the „E-Werk“, a popular concert hall not just for Cologne, but for the entire area of the rhineland and the Ruhr area. The „rhinelanders“ – and in particular the inhabitants of Cologne – like to party: Which they prove every year during the local carnival (or „Fasching“) season that starts every year on November 11th,
11:11 am and lasts to ash wednesday, when at least the costumed fun is over. With such dedication to the cause, last years „111th“ birthday was just THE perfect date for Harley-Davidson Cologne to create a „one-off“ event that – you already guessed it – became so successful that it asked for continuation. Adding another date to the already packed German HD event calendar! TOP: Checking out the customized „Street“ and „Sportster“ models at the
„Custom Kings“ display.
„Watercooled“ class of the Bike Show
But quite obviously, counting the thousands of Harley-Davidson riders that crossed the Rhine river from Deutz to the City of Cologne and back over the bridge at Mülheim later in the parade, there is more than enough demand for a Harley-Davidson related event in the Rhineland. Visitors came from more than 200 km away, even the Netherlands – and Cologne
itself, a busy town with heritage dating back to roman times, is Germany‘s fith biggest city. With no trade fair in town for this particular weekend and the looming Harley-visitors of
which a lot enjoyed at least two nights of „German Gemuetlichkeit“ either on the eventsite or in the pubs of the „old town“ of Cologne, both the City of Cologne and the hotels were
Event impressions with HD Demo Rides at full throttle on both days and crowded parking lots along the eastern Rhine river promenade. Plenty of local custom shops used the opportunity to display their latest projects and reach out to new clients.
Live music was playing on both days and included several high class cover bands (shown: AC/BC in action), Jimmy Cornett plus local top bands that brought the „Cologne Touch“ to the event. Sensational headliner for the 2015 event: Michael Schenker Group! The hard rock legend rocked the event on saturday with his classic hits like „Doctor, Doctor“ and new material from his recent CD. Schenker was founding member of the „Scorpions“ thst also started 50 years (!) ago!
Happy to welcome this peaceful crowd that had left quite an impression in 2014, when the city was „under siege“ for several political protest manifestations and the feared „Harley hordes“ turned out to be both peaceful, self-serving and even entertaining! Consequently the second edition of the event saw a very relaxed police force that escorted the riders during the parade and then vanished almost completely. Thus the two day event kicked of with a thundering parade that signalled that the Harley‘s are back in town – and if you want to see them, you only had to walk over the Hohenzollern Railway bridge into park and concert halls of the „Tanzbrunnen“ (Dancing Fountain), built 1929/30 next to the old
„Best Radikal“ and „Best of Show“ winners presented at the Sunday afternoon trophy ceremony. Some 50+ bikes were exhibited that weekend and judged on Saturday afternoon. The Dubai „Biker Build Off“ winner also took top honours at Cologne for the radical approach!
location of the Cologne Trade Fair. The location has seen numerous events, concerts and celebrations, but the „Harley-Dome“ is on the way to become one of the biggest on this side of the Rhine river. Several locations were used for Custombike and Harley-related vendors, live music and an impressive exhibition that celebrated – so far the only of its kind in the world – the 50th Anniversary of Harley-Davidson‘s iconic „Electra-Glide“ with 21 stock FLH‘s of all ages. The bike show was held „on site“ around the Tanzbrunnen, with trophies being handed out on sunday, with „Middle East Biker Build Off winner“ Engelsschmiede again scoring „Best of Show“ honours for their handcrafted one-off radical custombike.
Fitting the 50th Anniversary of the 1965 introduced „Electra Glide“, the live music top act was legendary „Scorpions“ founding member Michael Schenker, celebrating also 50 years Heavy Metal with old and new hard rock blasting away the audience saturday night! With a great reception by the people of Cologne, a city that alway has a lot to offer for Harley-riders, there is little doubt that Harley-thunder will echo around the Cathedral of Cologne again in 2016. Only the date has yet to be set. This is one event also to be marked on the international calendar!
Text and Fotos: Horst Roesler, Motographer