Hua Hin Bike Week
Part 1 - The Big Ride From Hua Hin to Rama 6
Part 2 - The Hua Hin Festival
Bikers Arrive in Hua Hin
All throughout the 4th December droves and long lines of bikers roared up the highway into fair Hua Hin. We’d just arrived ourselves too and got some pictures of the action.
The Tropicana boys! Ready and looking dressed for Bermuda Beach!
Note the cheeky numberplate. We’d like to say they’ve road-blasted all the way from the ends of Thailand and braved the police checkpoints with that thing. But more likely is a short blast from Cha-am where there’s no police to worry about ;)
The site of the big Hua Hin Bike Week festival is at 48 rai Canal Road in Hua Hin. This is the usual venue spot. For the rest of the year it’s a bleak and blasted patch of sun-baked land, but now, on the day prior to the big festival it was taking form.
We rode on in, checking it out. No problem riding in, just follow the police car and in you go!
Metal gantry’s and stages were set. Marques and stalls were established and being stocked up. The grizzled Tropicana boys were there taking in the scene too. This would be unrecognisable in one day’s time, the exposed and in-the-middle-of-nowhere Karaoke’s would join on seamlessly to the site and look like it was part of the show...
Talking with the vendors and dealers was cool was they’d have time to chat as it was quiet and not busy like the next day would be.
The Big Ride Out
Early doors I’d hit the spot and found a small army of bikers pulled up in a petrol station. It was the Asian Nomads with some other gangs. A meaner faction of the biking fraternity but one which might be worth following to see what they were up to.
I snuck in and buzzed up into a corner of the petrol station. They’d greeted some other biker clan then refuelled and rode off. I breezed up into the tail section of the convoy. Annoying some grizzled ones who weren’t quick enough to join the traffic and was away.
They were heading towards Cha-am and in the right direction, but for some inexplicable reason they road on past the army barracks and headed on into Cha-am. Not wanting to go there when the gathering scene was going to be at Rama 6 barracks I did a U-turn and headed on back to HHAD HQ to gather a crew of us to head on down to the barracks...
It was nearly 2 in the afternoon and no-one was sure of the exact time for the big gathering. Word on the net was 1400 – 1600. We found it after a few false moves. There’s about two or three big military complexes prior to Rama 6 barracks but luckily we made it there without any major detours or wrong turns...
Inside it was a grand and open place, Thailand being such a wide open place compared to cooped up Euro-land the long stretches of road invited risky blasts and long screamin’ antics (see video.
We arrived, it was a mighty parade ground, with a helicopter from the Vietnam War era sitting in wait. It's calling was no longer for military purpose, but for the Thai police to fly around in.
Ridin’ past it was an array of machinery and biking prowess that I’d never seen in such numbers. Displayed and laid out like a biking army, ready to go to war and fight road battles up and down the land. Despite this appearance there was a carefully regimented way to the spectacle. Shining and gleaming chrome that blazed and shone like a reflector dish. The painted plastic and sculpted fairings of the fast-mover sportsbike factions in contrast to the flagship chopper cruisers.
Some might acclaim the fast-mover sportsbikers to be the kings of the road, yet do these kings of the road have mighty spikes and sharp metalwork ever present keeping the rider on-edge while riding?
Each section of bikes was made to form a letter which, from the air, would spell out birthday greeting to HM the King of Thailand.
Despite doing some loops and ride-past moves for video footage I rejoined and was shown to my position. It was no simple matter of parking within a designated marked out box. Three thais were there to position, jockey and jostle my bike down to millimetre accuracy! Forward a bit, back a bit, straighten the tyre perfectly! OK!
The Thais gave it the mark of approval and that was it ready to take its rightful place in the biking legions ranks.
Mean machines on parade!
Here even the meekest of the bikes are given a space.
The Big Picture!
Leaving only our helmets with the bikes we noticed that the biker army was moving away to our left.
A show or gathering we thought at first, but once we joined them we knew it was now our turn to form some letters!
We all moved up and hustled into another area away from the bikes with lines marked out. Finding a spot we watched the thai organisers for the next move. At first we expected the huey helicopter to take to the air and buzz around but instead the big fire-engine was deployed and up went its ladder!
As you can see the camera man going up has a weighty beast to record the scene. Once up there the camera men shout out commands, turn this way, turn that way! Lords of the Camera they are now. High above and spelling out the ways. All they needed was a wand to weave!
‘Hold hands together’ they called down to us.
This wasn’t really the macho way, it’s the group-way thai style.
But the heat is pounding down and really hitting those who aren’t protected hard. Buksida was in such haste to leave for the Big Picture event he hadn’t even got his boots or hat on! With boozy hang-overs amplifying head poundage we waited...
One thai dude even stuck his helmet on to ward off the heat hardcore style!
Glad I had my hat, shades and neck shroud on I found the heat durable, but only just!
After what seemed like an age more thai words came down from above. The camera lords now affirmed that we’d just done the rehearsal and we’d be summoned later on for the real thing. It was 1400 hrs and I realised the time frame would run till about 1600 hrs. It would be a waiting game again, we needed 50 or so more riders with bikes to make up the final letters...
We scurried across the parade ground into the nearby shady trees. Some water was on sale which staved off thirst, but no food! I knew bringing electrolyte in my pack would come in handy and made full use of it.
At least the kites were flying though!
After that everyone found a space in the shady trees and settled down the rest to arrive. Sitting, lying and chillin’ it was a different scene to just getting it done and away again.
I got my head down for a few minutes and soon more lines of bikers were roaring in from the distance and assembling. We grabbed some footage at the spectacle and witnessed one of the strangest and wildest of things. From in the midst of the biking convoy was a trike, not just any trike, but a Mighty Trike! Big enough to probably smash in a small car and the attitude to go with it!
Any trike that can pull of those moves gets OTRTs mark of approval. Little did I know how much this trike would interweave into things later!
After they parked up it was followed by another big convoy of bikers. This time it wasn’t just a diverse section of biker gangs but a solid mass of riders of one-mindset.
All rode powerful, newer bikes than the trend in general. I zoomed in, took off some pictures and had a closer look.
It’s the Mega Fortune boys and they are look new to the biking scene!
Once their jackets were off the yellow colours came a-shining along with a cool attitude of right-wing nationalist groove.
They could probably form the vanguard for occupying a few airports and battling some red-shirts with their fervour and inner-fire.
Indeed after making this quirky assumption out came a massive thai flag and another royal flag deployed on the parade ground.
Proud and bold these thais, ready to show their support and allegiance to the nation in a wave of nationalist fervour.
A way of times gone by or showing the way forward and what needs to be done? Who can tell!?
Friendly folk though...
After the buzz died down waiting for the last thirty or so bikes was a drag. The chirpy Thai commentator who drones out syrupy songs and shrill notes occasionally twitters the need to have a calm heart, we now wait for xx amount of bikers every ten minutes or so.
Finally it’s time for the big picture. First the whirly bird roars into action!
Then comes the dust cloud that sweeps over the biker horde like a dervish, after it’s settled and eyeballs are washed out with water we assume the positions again. Each time the Huey Chopper flies past we give it a wave.
After what seems like dozens of waves the Mega Fortune Crew gather up the yellow royal flag and the police take up the national flag of Thailand. With the MF folks leading they run around the parade ground, behind them, the thai police with some volunteers run behind them shouting ‘hup – hup – hup’ in-step and like little clock-work soldiers. It’s quite some to behold. Like a laissez-faire symbolic ceremony of sorts.
The pictures are taken and the film is shot.
Now it’s time to disperse and make our way to where the main Festival takes place.
The Huey helicopter lands and then takes off again. No doubt not wanting risk bikers having to dodge rotor blades as we departed.
We hung around as the bikers started to pull away...
To this day I don’t know how these mighty chopper bikes are practical or a good choice.
Those diddy wheels on the front make slow-ride steering nearly impossible! They look showy and the exhibitionists bike of choice...
Fish Riders in fetching blue...
Nice old school CBR. Note the bungeed helmet...
Hayabusa! This year there were lots of these bikes, notice this owner must really mother his machine, look at the wood pieces under the kickstand!
Interesting numberplates, possibly indian?
These bikers are either travelling through from afar, or are imported from overseas and being ‘visa run’ to a neighbouring country every few months...
With the chirpy thai speakers words breezing about how not to go fast leaving the barracks we wondered how many would resist the urge to power blast away on the ride-out! :D
Sure enough a few did!
The Hua Hin Bike Week Festival
Had time for a quick shower courtesy of HHAD HQ then it was time to ride out and enter the Festival grounds proper.
For me this is when Hua Hin Bike Week really begins. Everything else is just a big prelude.
The bands were jammin’ and tuning equipment and we found a nice spot for our bikes. Nearby, was Mikes Bintaburgers doing a steady trade. Next to him was a competitor though! A German frankfurter maestro grim of face and determined up usurp Mike, it didn’t look like it would happen this night though!
This Ducati Monster is seriously beyond artefact.
It’s even got fairing armour on it!
An eccentric expat I was introduced to earlier appears next to me. His camera clicks more than mine does and he’s giving me a running monologue...
‘It’s a sculpture, the Italians they make this like art!’ He exclaims!
Indeed it’s certainly a stand-out machine; the tank bag alone is a massive thing. A shame it has no canopy shield, but a nice machine with definite potential I think to myself and move on to the next one....
This year the merchants in Hua Hin and elsewhere really got their act together, the biker gear and accessories were comprehensive. Jackets, pants, gloves, helmets, face masks/hoods and videos were plentiful. The prices they were asking weren’t crazy either.
Speaking of videos, they had some videos of the Swedish Ghost Rider being played.
Never one to miss on the opportunity we shot some video, for reviewing purposes (see video)
Several bikes were for sale. Don’t know if they were green book material but an old-ragged and bold Yamaha Fazer was up for grabs for 70,000 baht with 48k kms on the clock. Don’t recall seeing a plate on that one.
A newer Ducati monster was there too but they wanted silly money of about 300,000 baht. No dice on both counts from us.
Night starts to fall and the biker boys keep on rollin’ in.
A big wigwam was set up for Thais to dress up as native Americans. Some cute thai girls got in on the action and roamed about looking like squaws!
These two road hogs seem to be weighing up coming in or hanging around outside...
Some factional clashes, young and old vying for supremacy...
This dog didn’t like me taking pictures!
To the victor go the trophy’s. Prizes for best bikes and tattoo’s.
I missed a few cool sequences for candid camera action, the lack of light means that my usual camera’s zoom lens benefits are minimal and by the time I get close the sequence is lots unfortunately. One group of bikers were led by a mad-max type wearing a full plastic / rubber? Faceshield. Some considered it very gimp-like, but we wouldn’t call him that to his face! But at the entrance there was some action. It was quite funny; when you got to the entrance and paid your 100 baht you got 2 flyers and a ticket tag. The trouble is trying to hold onto it is a real juggling act. Bikers would be throttle and braking with half a hand grabbing onto it and the flyers, others would have them clenched between teeth, hanging on for grim death!
For us the bikes are about adventuring and experiencing the ride, dressing them up isn’t our thing.
Having said that a lot of effort was put in by those who vibe to that scene. The choppers really put on a finer display this year than last year.
The ultimate minimalist chopper. It’s got an exposed drive chain, no guard there so watch out you don’t rip chunks out of your leg when ridin’
It’s got a bare metal, solid steel seat! No comfy ass ridin’ for this biker.
It’s not even got a rear mud guard or back rest for the back tyre. You’d better not lean too far back or your ass is gonna be arguin’ with the tyre!
Harley Davidson’s dominate the biker scene at Hua Hin Biker Week. There were plenty of the Electraglide models to marvel at.
Green wheel of light
Curley wurly forks
Who needs bricks and mortar with this goldwing and sidecar?
Cowboy dude; A minibike, for a minidude!
It’s the dinky and classic bikes!
Get your kids learnin’ the ropes early and often...
You can’t deny these Ducati’s are a sight to behold...
You know it makes sense.
Mind where you put your hand, that scorpion’s tail is razor sharp!
I’d be wearin’ full armour around that thing while ridin’!
Big Guns Exhaust. Note the covert numberplate! Take that speed camera
Gettin’ busy now...
Old school CBR 1100...
This cruisers exhaust was really something. If you got whacked by it’d probably take your legs off like Boudicca’s chariot spikes!
And the band played on...
They were playing a few lame numbers at the start but then a few Carabao covers were belted out; including Buksida’s favourite, Taksin the Great! This raised the mood and got the crowd going!
Then things really got going when this gravel voiced dude got singin’ a song about the festival.
Hayabusa! You may lead the biker world one day.
This year there were about 8 Busa’s compared to last year showing of about 2.
This old sugar daddy grooved about like a madman! He put on quite a show, giving everyone a buzz with his granddad moves.
Jumpin’ mask steel girl boppin’ like a bunny!
Tattoo time, the contest got underway. We don’t know who won it as tattoos aren’t our thing, but they put on quite a display. The thai girl doing the announcing was a giant at 6ft tall!
A real knock-out blonde farang girl stole the show, but not the prize for her effort...
If there was one gripe about the festival was the lack of beer variety. No tiger, no singha and no spirits. Just the chang beer cans. There were towers of the stuff being brought out to the tables, indeed they made a veritable beer engine for the guzzling!
Funky stylin’ on this Suzuki
They are quite something these Buells, kinda like a sportsbike-made-tourin’ mobile...
The stage announcer proclaimed this Hua Hin Biker Festival to be in its 5 th year.
We thought it’d been going longer than that, unless they mean it’s been from when the Vampires have been running it? Who knows?
This year the Thai police didn’t put in much of a visible presence. In fact we only saw one walking around briefly, before disappearing!
This cute little singer had the voice of a bird and sung her way into the crowd’s mindset...
Handy numberplate on this Harley!
Walkin’ past the Mighty Trike when this pretty damsel, seeing me taking pictures scurried across to it and struck a pose! Thanks babe! Then she started putting the squeeze on and giving it the jezebel moves. She wasn't bad looking, but really wasn't my type. I took a swerve and kept on shootin' pics.
Olden times Army Bike
There was no sign of Doctor BMX and his two go-go girls this year. In fact a fair few bikers were leaving early, on the prowl for some ‘action’ elsewhere perhaps!
Just before we left there was an impromptu ‘show’ on the main stage with a bold and busty farang girl...
And on that note, it was time to leave the festival for another year!
Getting to Hua Hin Bike Week
Hua Hin Bike week festival is normally held each year at the same spot, a large patch of wasteground located on the canal road. Once you get on the canal road there are a series of signs that the bikers will post in the previous days leading the way to the event. Follow the yellow signs and you'll soon find the venue then.
Being about 200 km from Bangkok means about 3 to 5 hours drive time, an airport operates flights out of the city but this is usually on an infrequent basis. Minibus' run regular shuttles to Hua Hin from Victory Monument and back to Bangkok from Hua Hin city center.
Alternatively, if you are like most bikers and us, you can just ride your bike all the way here!