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Old&PROUD, Pre-84 Meeting, Calafell, Spain

There’s weekends, and there’s WEEKENDS. This one was the latter. The Old & Proud weekend, the not-so-secret-anymore insider’s tip for the owners of Milwaukee tractors to have laid down their first rubber before 1984 is one such weekend, brought to you courtesy of Panheads Spain, Shovelheads Spain and the Valencia Chopper Crew.

And this is how Old & Proud works: take the right exit from the coastal highway, watch out for the “Welcome Old & Proud” banner, find the right forest track through the mountains until you see the sign “La Cantera Biker Bar”. A few more yards of rumbling through the foliage and there the welcome committee is lounging on an old sofa, guiding anything pre-Evo to the left into the old quarry. All others, car or bike, are politely detoured to the parking lot.

Pick up your welcome goodies,

set up your tent, and drift into a mellow Friday evening. Do a little Friday night shopping in one of the many stalls. Tthe Chopper Syndicate from Belgium is here, or the Zombie Chopper Run. Or go get that long overdue tattoo, or a fresh t-shirt, or some jewelry for the old lady. Loads of twin-cylindered riders from Spain, France, Italy and Germany, most of them on pre ’84 rides are rolling in to Old & Proud. That’s what it says too on the limited edition bottling of the Valencia based “Birra&Blues” microbrewery, who brought a truckload of the liquid stuff to the party. While you weren’t looking, “Willy and the poor boys” did their sound check, and before you know, “The midnight Special” by CCR is thumping from the big ole speakers, people start crowding on the dance floor and the evening is underway, before “The Picturebooks” blow the dancers into another orbit. Good thing the bar isn’t far away to refresh the exhausted revellers.

As is customary after such exertions,

the following morning sees quite a few brain-misfires among the slowly waking party-goers. But the Spanish sun, and the savvy discussions of the parked, historically significant two-cylindered, internal combustion engine propelled motor cycles work together to rewire the fried brains, helped along by the delicious traditional Spanish paella that has been cooked up between the Pans, Knuckles, Flatties and Shovels.

In order to give the Spanish public a chance to appreciate these milestones of American metalworking, a cross country ride completes the afternoon, while “The King of Kickstart” wants to be found out in preparation for this evening’s set of bands: “Durango 14” and “Dead Bronco” blow out the tent walls and bring the dancers to the limits of their body control. In the much needed breaks trophies are given away, for example for the longest ride to the party, which goes to Dieter (from Germany?), who spent 1.700 kilometers in the saddle. The rest of the evening is ¡pura vida!

After a shortish boiling-off-the-residual-alcohol phase on Sunday, the 500 guests with their 150 pre 84-bikes redistribute all over Europe again, and you can hear their tail pipes’ echoes in the quarry for a long time: “¡Gracias, Panheads Spain, Shovelheads Spain, Valencia Chopper Crew, thanks, weather and hasta la vista, autopista!”