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WHEELS AND WAVES 2015

Join us on a 1600 km journey all the way through France to Biarritz, the place that hosted an event called Wheels and Waves.

Our wheels were a well cared for Citroen D Super from 1969. It was a feast and a privilege to ride it. We got a lot of thumbs up on the way. It is a floating carpet and a waterbed in one. It has reclining and even sleeping chairs! With 1900 cc’s and pretty old technology it wasn’t fast but it guzzled 1 liter in every 8 kilometres anyway. But what are you gonna do? Whine about it? No, of course not. If you wanna be cheap, go in your stupid whatever.

It was the sixth edition of the event. It started with ten guys and girls from the Southsiders gang from Toulouse. A bunch of French folks that like old motorbikes, like to work on ‘m, hang out in Biarritz, hang ten in sea and drive the winding roads, and maybe have a competition in pairs on a dangerous mountain road.

 Last year everybody got wind of it, and this year from all corners, but mostly French, gearheads came rushing towards Biarritz. 10.000 in all.

 So the poor little ville was swamped with motorcycles. Obviously not everybody came in stylish Citroens. Every second somewhere a bike was kicked into action. VROOM! Or someone thumped by to wherever he or she went.

It was wonderfully organised. Me and my journalist girlfriend were promised ‘media-passes’. Anik was the one we had to find. After several waiting lines and confused faces, a trip criss-cross Biarritz, which in our DS was a feast and a privilege, we ended up at an exhibition in The Gallery, just in time for the opening of the event. It was a great industrial space with all the wonderful and noble things a twenty-first century man or woman dreams of. Handmade bikes, handcast sculptures of Jeff Decker, his hand to be shaken, carefully collected ‘cuts’ of old and mostly bygone motorcycle gangs, put into displays by DC-shoes (eh..?), drawings, paintings, photographs, all types of wonderfully outfitted boys and girls and an open bar!

Even Shinya Kimura showed up. His creations Mighty B and project Menudo were present. I was impressed. Also to meet the man who shook my world almost a decade ago. (Has it been that long?) I turned into a blabbering fool, but managed to shake his hand. 

Now I could go home and live the remainder of my life in peace.

 But no, first we had to go to this Punks Peak Race. The hint at Pike’s Peak Race taken. A small stretch of road (400m) on a mountain called Jaizkibel, with a nasty bend, where they planned to hold races in pairs, as in earlier editions. Jaizkibel is beautiful. It rises up from the ocean to start the Pyrenees.

 The crowd was huge so we had to stand in lines to get beers and food. We left the food for what is was, as you do.

 The atmosphere was great. No wannabe types around. All great guys and girls who know that getting a bike built takes time, patience and humility. Not everybody can be the next Kimura. And it doesn’t matter, because we’re having a great time, and we’re proud of our creations anyway, or should be. So we lay in the grass with all those wonderful people and cows and horses, looking down the slope into the ocean.

 The race was to start in 45 minutes. Being ‘media’ we took position on the other side of the track. Me with my camera in position, trying to recreate a famous photo. BAM, all at once the first couple came speeding by. Twang! Fast! Balls of steel! Did I mention I intended to race next year? But these guys were really serious! There were all types of bikes. An old Harley that did surprisingly well. A Moto Guzzi dragster, sleak and well crafted. A mindbogglingly powerful Norton Commando from an original Southsider. But nobody could beat the Beamer. A seriously souped up BMW, beautiful and very fast.

 After the race we drank cider and ate tapas in Hondarribia and saw Fast and Loud in Spanish or Basque with the sound turned off, as you do. Having seen the episode multiple times I could dub the dialogue for my fellow fan. At night we walked the compound at Cite a l’ocean, after slobbering over great bikes, we headed home. But not after stopping by at L’Eguille near La Rochelle, eating fresh huitres and drinking cold white wine, and getting lost and no space to sleep on Ile de Re, where finally a group of 2CV enthusiasts gave us a spot for our tent and a lot of home-brew spirits with all disastrous effects for the next day.

 We drove into our town Amsterdam reborn. Wheels and Waves, see you next year!!

 

Photo Kimura by Sébastien Nunes

 

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