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AMCA Meet, Raalte, NL

AMCA Meet, Raalte, NL

Welcome to history on two wheels - and we don’t exclusively mean the historic machines that gathered for the weekend in the Dutch greenery, between The Salland Hotel and the American Motorcycle Museum in Raalte, The Netherlands. This year’s meeting’s motto was "Military Bikes", an unhappy historic coincidence. The meeting itself however was more like "Peace, Joy and Internal Combustion", as always, when the Antique Motorcycle Club of America calls for their European Meeting. One of the regulars there is Paul Jung, our man for the really old Milwaukee clunkers. He’s also the guy behind "The Cyclery". This weekend he had the honour to serve as one of the AMCA judges*. Here’s his take on the weekend:

"The place was military green

as far as the eye could see. There were really special bikes such as the 1914 Douglas, the 1942 ELC Harley-Davidson, or the 1959 Vespa scooter with integrated rocket launcher. Also of course many non-military bikes, mainly of American heritage, as is usual at an AMCA meeting.Visitors (among them the club’s pres from the USA) and bikes from 22 countries had gathered under a blazing blue sky, the temperatures were most habitable, and by noon time the beer started flowing freely to quench the thirst of the many who exerted themselves talking bikes, past meetings and the upcoming judgment.

Indeed there was much to talk about, because in Raalte the bikes aren’t the same every time. Every year there are new barn finds being brought back from the dead, and if you thought, that was it, there can’t be any more great bikes out there, here they are: how about this gem: a 1936 Knuckle with its original paint, that had been imported to Hamburg at a time when it wasn’t possible – a story we can hopefully relate in more detail in the future. Or how about the unrestored 1915 Eagle (USA), on display by a lucky Swede, a phantastic bike. The list goes on.

If you finally had seen enough bikes,

you could dive into the swap meet made up of 40 vendors offering mainly American parts. Which is a distinct advantage, when you’re on the lookout for American parts :) Anyway, on Friday already many visitors left with treasure in their arms and backpacks.

Pleasant vibes went along nicely with the great weather, and participants and visitors alike gently drifted from busy days into relaxed evenings, with bands playing in the restaurant. Raalte is hard to beat. See you there next year!”

* The Judging, high point of every AMCA Meet: The well-founded judges aren’t likely to overlook the smallest detail, even a not-quite-period-correct washer can lead to a lost point, which really hurts. Most of the entries are prepared to imaculate conditions though. Perfection starts at 95 (from possible 100) points, resale values soar or drop accordingly.

Pics courtesy of Sverre Gerber, Fiskis Ekman, Paul Jung