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HANSA-WEEKEND, LÜBECK, GERMANY

I decided to take advantage of the great weather this weekend, and took the short ride from Denmark to the Hanseatic town of Lübeck, in northern Germany, to check out the annual Hansa-Weekend motorbike event. This was the 3rd time Lübeck hosted this event, after a great start in 2009, and over 200,000 visitors and 15,000 motorbikers in 2010, they expected around 20,000 motorbikes this year, from all over northern Europe and Scandinavia.

The trip down to the ferryport of Rødby in the south of Denmark was warm and sunny,  with the usual elation as we passed over Farø Broen from Sjælland to Falster, where you drop from 130 to 90 kmph, and the forest on both sides of the motorway just falls away, allowing the view of the bay area to explode across the windshield, in an uplifting display of Scandinavian beauty, fired up by the early morning sun shearing through the clouds... and not a car on the road.... nice trip!

Made the ferry just as the first lane of bikes got the green light, so we rolled straight on, and up to the front, lined up for a fast exit when we hit the beaches in Germany. We met some Danes on their way from Copenhagen to Hamburg, to get the AUTOZUG down to Trieste, for a 3-week tour of Italy. Off the ferry again, and made headway down into Germany, and surprisingly, we didn’t hit the usual wall of water, so there are good chances we'll make Lübeck for an early lunch, still dry on the outside.

We've been to Lübeck a few times before, but this was the first time for Hansa-Weekend. The location for an event of this size could not be better, situated in the heart of the old warehouse district, along the banks of the River Trave, just 100 meters across the river from the old town of Lübeck. The first thing you notice, apart from the 19,999 other motorbikes, were the practical parking arrangements, and quick access from the bikeparking area to the event itself.  

Musically, the event was well-equipped, with two large stages, one at each end of the main thoroughfare. The live bands were belting out a solid mix of rock, country, blues, 50's, 60's and some other indescernable genre, that I couldn't really identify.

The main Biergarten was situated around halfway between the two stages, with smaller bars and food merchants, scattered randomly along both sides of the main drag. In between these, were a series of trader stalls, selling everything from clothing, merchandise, helmets, jewelry, accessories, equipment, animal tails, hands from rats, heads from birds, and other useful artifacts. After having purchased more then you should have, and eaten too much, and had too many beers, you could also get yourself a tattoo or two, as well as maybe some piercings in dark places, all in broad daylight.

Running paralell to the main strip, was a large warehouse or exhibition hall, which contained everything from bars and food merchants, to custom bike builders, yet another music stage, and some custom painters and artists. The work of motorbike artist Michael Knepper (www.michaelknepper.de) was on display also, as well as the artist himself.

A range of custom builders we represented in various locations around the dockland site, with names like Habermann Performance, famous for their unconventional symbiotic relationship between design technique and perfect handling, being one of the more prominent candidates. Customizer Anatol Egbuna was also present, specialising in individual parts for custom bikes, made of high quality materials. As well as manufacturing specific custom parts, he also builds bikes, and won first prize for his Sportster at Hamburg Harley Days in 2010.

No self-respecting Biker Event would be complete with the obligatory Custom builder competition, and this year's event covered the genres of Streetfighter, Harley Custom, Racing, Metric, Radical, Classic, Sportster and Three-Wheeler, with prizes for Best Paint Job and Best Show Bike.

As evening rolled in over Lübeck, the smell of grills and food permeated the air, and the atmosphere intensified, as the beer flowed freely, and music became louder. At the height of it, Motorcycle Stuntrider Rainer Schwarz, known as one of the best stuntriders in Europe, demonstrated his astonishing new Pyro-Show, burning off another couple of Dunlop rear-tyres, adding to the 150  tyres that he melts in over 40 events around Europe, each season.

As night settled, the entire area came alive to the sound of 20,000 motorbikes leaving the docklands in all directions, to find their way back home, providing a spectacular ending to a nice trip to Lübeck. See you there next year?

www.hanse-weekend-luebeck.de


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