Wheels & Waves: The Best Motorcycle Event in the World?

Reader Contribution by Jared Zaugg
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Perhaps the easiest analogy for Wheels & Waves in Biarritz, France, is to call it Sturgis for the custom bike hipster. Yet that comparison isn’t quite right. Sturgis is a mostly older crowd; Wheels & Waves is a mostly younger crowd. Sturgis is mostly Harley-Davidson; Wheels & Waves is most anything else. Sturgis is mostly stock bikes; Wheels & Waves is mostly custom bikes. Sturgis is mostly black chaps and leather fringe; Wheels & Waves is mostly raw denim and waxed cotton. Sturgis has beautiful mountains and prairie; Wheels & Waves has beautiful mountains and beach.

Wheels & Waves is definitely inspired and influenced by American culture, especially SoCal culture — that unique mash-up of hot rod, biker, surfer and skater styles. But it’s American culture translated by Europeans. So while both events are an annual opportunity for like-minded enthusiasts to reunite, talk bikes, listen to live music, cruise the streets, drag race, see bike-related exhibits, check-out their favorite custom builders, visit brand booths, buy T-shirts, take day rides into the surrounding countryside and generally party, Wheels & Waves exemplifies the simple joie de vivre the Europeans have mastered so well. Instead of a super-sized circus, it’s a more personal, less commercial celebration.

Motorcycle Classics Magazine
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