Photos by Michele Ciussi
Udine, Italy—One of my most memorable Savage Roads adventures of my 15 years in Europe is when I rode from Floro, Norway, about halfway up the country, smokin’ all the way south down through Denmark, Germany, Austria and on to northern Italy. My band had a two-night show to perform at the biggest bike event in the country, Biker Fest International in Udine, hosted by Moreno, the publisher of Bikers Life magazine, a friend for many years since we met at Daytona Bike Week where I played a private party. This is the top bike event in all of Italy, and for many years, I had been a guest of the rally in 2003, the year I signed my recording deal with SONY Europe.
The ride was long but amazing with skies clear. I have done this run south to my house in Spain many times over the years but this time we took a special route. I went through the fjords from Flora down south to Kristiansand where the ferries took us south to Denmark. I love all the windmills in the northern Danish countryside and the whole scene makes for good scoot. Once in Germany, I rode southeast to Berlin where I stayed with the president of the HDC Berlin for the night. We went to their clubhouse later where they had arranged a band and surprise greeting party just for me. What a night!
In the morning, under sunny skies, I rode my cherry Fat Boy south into the Czech Republic as a diversion from the Autobahn and the German-style no-speed-limit routine. I had the week ahead to ride to Italy so took my time to see some of the country. I always wanted to see the beautiful city of Prague so I spent the night there. It really is an amazing old city. Just watch out for the potholes in the streets; they can swallow up your ride and a biker my size!
I woke up the next morning fresh and ready after a good long sleep, post-Berlin late-night fun.
The next part of the trip was amazing, riding south to Munich where I spent the night with film director Hannah Munson and a night out at the Garage, a rock club in Munich that features the best American bands touring Europe. It was not a late night but a great one as she was working on a film about southern rock and I had many stories to share with her. It is also a beautiful old Bavarian city with many great rides including the Black Forest where my father’s family comes from. That will be another installment of Savage Roads.
I got up early the next morning and rode up into the Austrian mountains. I have ridden the Rockies, the Appalachians and the Cascades many times and they are all gorgeous rides but this was, to say the least, spectacular. Riding through the Austrian and Italian Alps should be on every biker’s bucket list. The highways are well kept and the speed limits high or unlimited if you so choose. On my Fat Boy the throttle was close to wide open through these gorgeous mountains.
After a long day riding through the Austrian and then the Italian Alps I arrived in Udine and after a quick phone call to Moreno found my way to Osoppo and the Biker Fest event grounds. After a quick check-in at our hotel we went straight to a sound check on their huge stage. We would headline that night and then open for the British legends “Sweet” as Saturday night’s support act.
The Biker Fest event hosts the only Italian stage of the AMD World Championship and the final stage of the Italian Motorcycle Championships every year, and Saturday morning saw an amazing show. Stunt riding was out of this world with bikes flying through the air spinning round and round all weekend long. The European version of the Wall of Death comes from Russia and blows people’s minds with their gravity-defying skills. The Custom Paint Show was out of this world, colorful with great designs and all painters finished the competition by painting a helmet. Way cool
The weekend featured an American car competition as well as pin-up girl and off-road competitions. Bikers come from all over Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Spain and more countries around the world. I met quite a few American riders stationed there at U.S. Armed Forces bases. I enjoyed myself entirely too much and we did a kickass show both nights. I packed my bags and headed off to Portugal! But that’s another story as well.
I highly recommend Bikers Fest International to any U.S. or Canadian rider, and to ride across Europe is not as difficult as it sounds; it is very small compared to our North American highways. Hell, you can fit most of Europe in Washington State! Until next month, my bike-ridin’ family. Adios and keep on rollin’. See you in Mexico while I film my next episode of The Savage Roads biker adventure series and take a trip to the International Motorcycle Week in Mazatlan, the biggest bike event in Mexico.