We were a part of it!
We went to one of the most iconic old school and chopper gatherings in the world, and ended up with an invitation to take part in the competition for free.
A small matter for our Mechanic Tim. The float can be released and the journey can continue, and by the way, we call these bumps ‘drempel’. The Netherlands are on our doorstep, and that’s what we call these traffic obstacles. We are on the way to Punta Bagna. We could be up in the mountains by now, but on this first weekend in July it is supposed to be raining cats and dogs, if not snowing. Until then, we prefer to stay down here.
Take some time out to watch our On Tour Movie and join us as we ride through idyllic countryside, over lonely mountain roads and on the chopper run on competition day
A first ride out
Four bikers, five bikes
We still talk about Punta Bagna, but what we really mean is Courchevel. It was in Punta Bagna, near the Italian border, that this legendary meeting of old-school custom freaks began. Then it moved to Courchevel, in the morning shadow of Mont Blanc. Courchevel is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the French Alps. But only winter sports, which is why the French mountaineers are so happy if someone comes in the summer. So happy, in fact, that they forget to take down the Christmas decorations. Why should they? They’ll need them next winter.
We built the “Glatzzomobil” for our photographer Michael “Glatzzo” Rauscher. It could have taken part in the Clubstyle contest, but we drove without scoring
We built the Emperor for the Battle of the Kings custom competition. At the time, it received special recognition from Harley-Davidson’s chief designer
An advantage for us. Even for the “Punta Bagna” biker meeting, there are still places to stay in Courchevel. So why not go and get some inspiration for our own custom bikes?
Or maybe we can bring back some inspiration for others. We, that is Andreas Bergerforth (the boss of Thunderbike), Kim Bergerforth (the boss’s daughter, social media Thunderbike), Tim van der Meijs (Mechanic of Thunderbike) and Michael “Glatzzo” Rauscher (photographer Thunderbike).
Our bikes are the “Kaiser” (Evo Sportster), the “35th Anniversary” (Panhead Chopper in rigid frame), the “Glamour” (Shovel Chopper in swingarm frame), the “Glatzzomobil” (Low Rider ST-Custom) and an Evolution Fat Boy, the personal bike of our young master.
There is a lot of technology, a lot of ideas and a lot of money on five times two wheels. So we are not ashamed to admit that we transported them to the meeting in two buses. But what does “to the meeting” mean? The weather forecast for this meeting in the mountains is as black as ever. So we prefer to do our very private rides at the foot of the mountains or on the side where the weather is nicer.
On the right for orientation. From left to right: Tim, Kim and Andreas. Glatzzo is taking pictures, so his Glatzzomobil is unoccupied at the moment
The Contest Day
The holiday apartment in Courchevel was easy to book and we are actually quite private here. But the French organisers are happy about us, and probably even happier about our bikes. Their warmth is reflected in a very special exception: We are allowed to take part in the chopper run on Saturday, the day of the competition. Without scoring, as free participants, so to speak. The Chopper Run is compulsory for anyone who wants to take part in the Bikeshow.
The end of the helicopter run is an impressive parade over an airfield up there. James Bond could have taken off or landed here. But this time we are the protagonists. Even though we didn’t take part in the bike classification, which was brought forward due to the unpredictable weather. It was an unforgettable day.
The evening is over quickly. It is therefore advisable to eat during the day and perhaps save a few appetizers for the evening. This Courchevel is so sleepy that even on this weekend, you let down the shutters already around 21:00. But it could also have been due to the pouring rain that drives everyone into their feathers early.
One last ride out
One last ride on the final day. The winners of the bike show were supposed to be honoured on Sunday, but that was brought forward. So we take one last look at the weather app and choose a mountain side with nicer weather for our ride, somewhere around Beaufort. It’s worth it and we flatlanders from Hamminkeln learn once again how beautiful the mountains can be when the weather is right. Of course, you have to have the right bikes. We have them and we will use them again. A professional customiser lives to sell his work, but “Emperor”, “Glamour”, “Glatzzomobil” and “35th Anniversary” are personal bikes and that’s how they’ll stay. We will put them back in our busses after this last ride.
Punta Bagna is still an insider’s tip. We shouldn’t praise it too much, or soon it won’t be. So let’s talk about the return trip on Monday, the sad return trip that nobody likes to talk about. Dullly we reel off the miles and roll into a rainy summer like we haven’t had in a long time. As if the weather had descended from the mountains. So better not go to this Punta Bagna. Let the old school custom bikes stay among themselves, so that the biotope remains for us as long as possible!