Saturday August 9, 2003
A quarter of a million Harley-Davidson riders from around the globe are expected to converge on the Milwaukee, Wisconsin from August 28-31 for the motorcycling icon's final celebration of its centenary year.
The Harley-Davidson phenomenon has spawned the production of over 3.7 million motorcycles worldwide in the 100 years since the Davidson brothers -William, Walter and Arthur and Williams S Harley - crafted their original machine by hand in the family's Milwaukee "shed".
The four day biking festival will celebrate the life and times of the legendary American "King of the Road" - from its humble beginnings to its service in both world wars and its rise to cult status amongst motorcycle disciples across the world.
The centenary of the brand has been the focus of a year-long worldwide Open Road Tour celebration which included a weekend festival in Sydney mid-March and similar extravaganzas in ten locations around the world including Hamburg, Atlanta, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Toronto, Dallas, Mexico City, Tokyo and Barcelona.
More than 1000 Australian Harley devotees will join the US celebrations and almost half are reportedly shipping their motorcycles to the northern hemisphere with them.
The 100th Anniversary Ride Home will see Harley enthusiasts ride on one of four routes across the US before arriving in the Milwaukee home of Harley-Davidson.
Beginning on August 17, "The Ride Home" aims to share the passion of motorcycling whilst raising over $5million for Muscular Dystrophy with the four routes passing through 26 cities that will also be staging festivities.
"The Harley-Davidson Milwaukee celebration is without doubt one of the biggest motoring celebrations ever staged in terms of participants," said Harley-Davidson Australia managing director, John Shingleton.
"The city will be an awesome sight with around 250,000 Harley Davidson motorcycles cruising the streets. The throaty vibe those machines deliver will set the place throbbing."
Devotees will be treated to demos and stunt rides, plant tours, live entertainment on ten stages.
Milwaukee's Art Museum will also host a never before seen exhibition of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company demonstrating the various stages of the motorcycle design process. The display will feature the most famous Harley-Davidson products, their initial sketches, clay models and mock-ups.
The final celebrations will encompass a formal parade of over 10,000 bikes through the streets of Milwaukee on August 30th and "The Party" on Sunday, August 31st.