Indian Riders
Header image



Motocycle Club
Indian Motocycles - you can't wear them out                                  Indian Motocycles - built to last
International Indian Rally - Germany 2005


1497 miles. 9 countries in 16 days - 7 Indians, 4 Harleys, 1 Triumph and Mr Leenes’ discrete little van.  Sounds like fun.  

This trip was birthed at the Christmas get-together in Liverpool .  Big John’s idea of riding to Speyer with a group sounded great, although I would have agreed to anything after that much JD.  The follow up plans were emailed to me in Spain over the New Year and a hasty boat (sorry Ship) crossing was booked – VIA NEWCASTLE.  It was not until after the booking that I realised how far Newcastle was from Canterbury (375 miles if the M25 is working properly).  Oh well, leave a day early and explore Newcastle , somewhere I have never been before.  

Saturday July 23rd.  Loaded my 741 and Pete’s Harley into the transit and set off for Newcastle .  The usual hold ups and closures on the M25 resulted in a quick change of route and a 6 hour drive, straight to Big John’s front door.  Good start.  A tour of the local coastal areas by John was followed by a meal out, Newcastle style – LOUD, and then off to bed.  Mine was the top bunk in the grandkids room, sharing with numerous cuddly toys, Pete’s was a 3ft airbed & combined sleeping bag on the floor.  

Sunday 24th July.  A grand tour of Newcastle town and a very rare treat – the harbour was full of Tall ships over for the imminent races.  The boat (sorry SHIP) for Ijmuiden was due to leave at 6pm .  Jess, Tim & Jo arrive with trailer and 3 bikes just in the nick of time to unload, load up the bikes, get dressed and set off for the docks to meet up with Ted on his Harley.   A last minute hiccup meant that the other three bikes & riders would follow on later and meet up with us in Germany . So 7 bikes and 7 riders board the SHIP for the overnight crossing to Holland .  

Monday 25th July.  Up early, get dressed, breakfast then up on deck to check out the weather.  A bit dodgy, might be rain but hey, we are on holiday now and decide to leave the waterproofs off.  Mistake!  Leaving the boat with the bikes fully loaded, we spend half an hour trying to get everyone back in convoy.  Jess decides to do a bit of stunt riding down a cycle path to the amusement of the locals and we set off across Holland to meet up with Tony Leenes, Hennie and Sipca at the old border crossing near Beek, stopping along the way to don the old waterproofs when the rain started in earnest.   

By the time we meet up with the Dutch party, the sun is out again and the waterproofs come off.  We are now joined by another two Indians and the breakdown van (Thanks Tony).  Tony kindly carried most of our gear, which made the riding much more enjoyable.  Our first breakdown occurred here, Ted’s Harley decided to break the last strand of wire on his battery earth lead, but in true Harley fashion a spare one appeared from the panniers and after much Indian/Harley banter we set off again.  Direction


More rain, out with the waterproofs, rain stops, off with the waterproofs and into Germany .  Oops, missed our turning to Wermelskirchen and end up in Cologne around 5pm , Indians getting hot, clutches getting hot and out comes the GPS (well done John).  By the time we get going, heading out of Cologne , the rain has started again and not wanting to loose anyone we don’t stop to don the waterproofs (big mistake).  One hour later we arrive at Detlef’s house, a German club member, absolutely soaked.  In true German fashion we were treated to loads of beer, a bbq cooked by the man himself whilst huddling round the bbq and fire drying out our leathers etc.  By the end of the evening the parasols were draped with gloves, socks and scarves and boots were drying in a ring at the base.  

Tuesday 26th July.  Scrabble into damp leathers and stagger out of the tent.  Good job I have dry boots and socks – Wrong.  Here is a tip, don’t leave your boots outside the tent (even in the porch) slugs get into everything.  Two squashed slugs later, I limp across the garden with one wet sock and one wet boot.   

The excessive rain of the previous day led to the usual drying and starting ritual for the bikes, water emptied from air filters, damp start to the dizzys, oil top-ups (Christ, don’t think I brought enough if that was only one days riding).  We are joined today by Detlef on his Chief and side car and two other German club members on Indians (12 bikes and THE VAN).  Detlef has offered to lead us today; he knows a short cut through the country twisty lanes through the mountains.  Would have been good on a dry day, but wet leaf sap on hairpin bends made for some interesting rear wheel movement! 

Our destination is to Westerwald Museum in Steinbach, where we arrive, taking no chances today, in full waterproof gear.  Every fuel stop (petrol for the bikes, food for Jess) meant we could unzip the waterproofs and let out the condensation of drying leathers underneath.  The arrival of all these old bikes in the sleepy town of Steinbach caused a stir.  Surprised locals turning down their hearing aids, then producing their cameras for a photo shoot.  The museum was a strange mixture of bikes, mainly BMW, and 50’s/60’s household items and antiques.  The owner seemed pleased to see us and we had trouble getting Jess away from the tea & cakes that were laid on.  

We set off again, the weather getting warmer all the way.  Destination our campsite just outside Koblenz , set on the convergence of the Mosel & Rhein rivers.  The campsite was packed, the sun was shining and we were led in convoy through all the caravans and tents, through a gate at the rear of the site and out onto what appeared to be the local common.  We pitched our tents whilst being watched by the residents whose gardens backed onto the common. At least the bikes were safe, the Alsatians in the closest house barked at anything that moved and the owner promised to keep an eye on them whilst we went off to find the local eating house for dinner (much to Jess’ excitement)  

Wednesday 27th July.  Breakfast cooked by Big John, courtesy of Tony & Hennie, then pack up the tents again for another days riding.  Detlef is leading us again, being local (well, more local than us anyway).  The sun is out and getting hotter as we travel the last leg of the journey to our goal.  Speyer .  Our journey took us down the side of the Rhein river, with large castles nestling in the hills opposite and through many small villages.  By the time we get to Speyer , the sun is so hot, the condensation is the other side of our leathers. 

There was a bit of conjestion at the site gates due to electric barriers.  Detlef had to stop as the side car would not go through, just as he took his ticket and went to pull away, I zipped down the side of him.  Well the barrier must have thought a car had moved and came down, just missing my head.  Detlef didn’t even make it off the start line and had to begin the process all over again.  IT WEREN’T MY FAULT, HONEST!  

Thursday 28th – Sunday 31st.  What can I say?  The site was excellent, being situated within a large museum complex on an old airfield.  We decided to go posh here and booked a room in the hotel for 4 nights, hot showers, clean toilets and maid service. Great!  It didn’t take us long to find the bar/restaurant just outside the complex, situated on the light aircraft runway.  Quite amusing to chill out and watch the flying lessons, or should I say landing & take off lessons.

We had time to explore the nearby town of Speyer, find all the best ice cream parlours and watch the rest of the rally goers arrive from across Europe and even further.  

Here are the statistics:

Total of registered Indians: 198

Chief: 125 - Scout (incl. 741B): 58 - Four: 7 - other Indian models: 8)

Total of registered non-Indians: 65  


"Long distance": Kent & Maud Iverbring, Sweden , 2064 kilometers on 1947

Chief w. sidecar

"Best Indian Four": Peter Rohrer, Switzerland , 1930 Four

"Best Indian Twin": Lard Baardsgaard , Norway , 1936 Chief

"Best Indian with sidecar": Valentin Frey , Switzerland

"Best paint job": Anita Dray, UK , 741

"Best Indian brake": Willi Matt , Austria

"Oldest Indian bike": Michael Kuffner, Germany , 1919 Powerplus

"Oldest Indian rider": Mike de Bidaph, GB

"Female rider": Carolina van Ijsseldijk , Netherlands

"Stunt rider": Henny Kroeze, Netherlands , wall of death Scout on stage

"Bad luck": Ralf Hampel , Germany

"Electrical devil": Thomas Hell, Germany

"Special Laughing Indian trophy": Don Doody, Canada  

Monday 1st August.  We all gather at the rally site air hanger for the group photo shoot.  We seem to have picked up a few more travellers for the next leg of the journey.  Jim Parker from Australia on a borrowed Chief & sidecar, another Aussy,  Phil, on a modern bike and another German on an older Chief & sidecar.  Total 17 bikes.  We met up with Detlef again to lead us out of Germany and on into France .  Destination Mulhouse .   

The trip out of Speyer took us along motorways for most of Germany and then onto smaller country roads, nearly deserted, passing through small sleepy towns where we struggled to see anyone moving.  At one point, whilst trying to get closer to the river, we ended up in the middle of a cornfield with the tarmac road disappearing into rough unmade tracks, the German had gotten lost.  Us girls, and Tony, decided to turn around, but out with the GPS again and a quick right turn on a dirt track and we were back onto the main road (I must get one of those handy gadgets).   

We arrived in Mulhouse town, found the circus but not the campsite, out with the GPS again and we were there, only to find our camping area was already populated with Claude & Roly in their camper, Robin & Linda in the Winnie and Bill & Lorraine with tent, double airbed and kitchen sink.  Dinner at the campsite café rather surprised the owners; we filled all the seating and proceeded to order food on mass.  Jim Parker was treated to Jess’ party trick of the beer tray and water, unfortunately some of the campers and the site owners were also so interested they were in the line of fire at the wrong time.  At least the French had a good sense of humour and did not mind getting too wet.

Well,  the rally has been and gone but here are some of our memories.  Photographs kindly supplied by Mark Alexander, Stuart Alexander, Eddie Baines, Bill & Lorraine Herbert & Fred Dufrene
Germ001.jpg (148953 bytes) Germ002.jpg (71528 bytes) Germ003.jpg (110452 bytes) Germ004.jpg (111943 bytes) Germ005.jpg (84032 bytes)
Germ006.jpg (70017 bytes) Germ007.jpg (97195 bytes) Germ008.jpg (115160 bytes) Germ009.jpg (133141 bytes) Germ010.jpg (140627 bytes)
Germ021.jpg (105355 bytes) Germ012.jpg (75989 bytes) Germ013.jpg (101592 bytes) Germ014.jpg (95877 bytes) Germ015.jpg (118536 bytes)
Germ030.jpg (112350 bytes) Germ50.jpg (105354 bytes) Germ020.jpg (98599 bytes) Germ019.jpg (74871 bytes) Germ011.jpg (70741 bytes)
Germ018.jpg (65843 bytes) Germ022.jpg (119628 bytes) Germ023.jpg (136813 bytes) Germ024.jpg (106956 bytes) Germ025.jpg (88645 bytes)
Germ028.jpg (112304 bytes) Germ017.jpg (99506 bytes) Germ027.jpg (95019 bytes) Germ029.jpg (98271 bytes) Germ016.jpg (122010 bytes)
Germ026.jpg (107623 bytes) Germ031.jpg (94649 bytes) Germ032.jpg (70303 bytes) Germ033.jpg (80399 bytes) Germ034.jpg (111298 bytes)
Germ035.jpg (83750 bytes) Germ036.jpg (40566 bytes) Germ037.jpg (154536 bytes) Germ038.jpg (137675 bytes) Germ039.jpg (101087 bytes)
Germ040.jpg (87270 bytes) Germ041.jpg (53400 bytes) Germ042.jpg (118980 bytes) Germ043.jpg (59698 bytes) Germ044.jpg (103470 bytes)
Germ045.jpg (101357 bytes) Germ046.jpg (89916 bytes) Germ047.jpg (84103 bytes) Germ048.jpg (95255 bytes) Germ049.jpg (96586 bytes)

Tuesday 2nd August.  We were to stay in Mulhouse for one day and visit the Bugatti museum.  Good job too, the weather had turned and it did not stop raining all day.  Being hardened bikers, we all decided to take the bus, or buses.  Roly did her usual wheeling and dealing and managed to get us all onto the park & ride for nothing, even though we had not ridden!!

Earlier that morning we lost one of our gang.  The German (sorry I did not catch his name) with the older Chief & sidecar had a problem at his business and had to leave for Berlin , by 8am he was packed up and gone.  Whilst on the bus, arriving into the town centre of Mulhouse we were very surprised to see the same German, complete with Chief & sidecar, still trying to find his way out of the town.  It was only midday .  We all waved and made some friendly signs of encouragement as we sped away in the opposite direction.

The Bugatti museum was huge and full of Bugatti’s, in fact there were so many you actually got bored by the time you had managed to complete the circuit, Mulhouse on the other hand was undergoing extensive road works and was not so picturesque.

That night, shivering and struggling to sleep, I had another visitor.  No tips this time, apart from full body search when entering your tent.  Yes, you guessed it, another slug.  This time in my hair.  YUCK!!!!  Needless to say it was ejected from the tent like a missile, along with one dirty sock.  

Wednesday 3rd August.  Up early and pack up again and set off on the next leg of the journey.  Here we parted company with Jim Parker, Detlef and the two Phils.  Instead we were being led by Claude in his camper & trailer and tail ended by Tony’s van and Robin’s winni.  We headed out of Mulhouse and into the mountains on our way to Toul near Nancy .  The roads were great, smooth, dry and with wide sweeping bends and lovely picturesque villages with breathtaking views.   

We made good mileage this day and decided to go further than our intended stop.  We managed to loose Claude about midway through the day, then Robin at the end of the day.  We meandered through small French villages, threading our way to an eluded to campsite, which we found by chance in the early evening after negotiating a very steep dirt track.  The campsite opened out onto the Mosel river and camping was a grassy area with a view.  At this point, I do not know where we were.  This happens when you act like a sheep and just follow the leader.  It had become a bit of a joke now as to what country were we in, let along what town.  Anyway, we managed to get thrown out of the only restaurant for miles (hungry bikers not being their usual clientele) and rushed back to the campsite café for last orders.  Very nice it was too and a damn site cheaper..So there.  

Thursday 4th August.  Having missed out one camp stop the day before and being in the middle of the next, the plan was to ride through today to get to Jack’s Place in Simpelveld, in the Ardenne district of Belgium.  We managed to travel through France, then hit Luxembourg (a quick fuel & JD stop here), then into Belgium, Luxembourg again and finally back into Belgium where we spent about an hour going both ways up every street in Simpelveld looking for Jack’s place.  Tony Leenes was leading us at this point in his discrete little van, which must have caused a few chuckles as U-turns on foot clutch Indians that are getting hotter & hotter can be interesting to say the least.   

When we finally get to Jack’s place it is shut.  Another ride around the streets to get into the back entrance.  Jack is away on holiday but one of his guys has heard about the bikes terrorising the local residents and has come to open up.  We enter Jack’s place by way of a concrete gulley, which reminded us all of Jess’ acrobatics way back in Ijmuiden .  Slowly does it.  

We managed to clock up nearly 300 miles this day.  There were a few maintenance jobs being done by various people and within an hour the site looked like the local bike scrap yard with bits off all over the place.  Here I had to beg some more oil.  Well more than a bit.  THANKS TONY.  

We managed to cheer up one local; the local pizza house got a rather large delivery order.  Not his usual request, but worth his trip out.  The evening was spent chilling out in Jack’s clubhouse, decked out with bits of old bikes on the walls and ceilings.  

Friday 5th August.  This day would see us travelling through Belgium and into Holland , where we would part company with Tony, Hennie and Sipca.  We all had to load our gear onto our bikes for the last couple of days, which took some strapping down.  Tony got the job of leading us, mostly on A roads and took us to Yesterdays shop/museum in Nederwert, Holland .  They were shut, but a quick phone call and they opened specially for us, provided coffee and biscuits (which pleased Jess) and let us wander through the workshop and shop.  

Here we parted company with Jo & Tim, albeit temporarily.  The day got a bit worse and it was out with the waterproofs again.  We left Tony, Hennie & Sipca around mid afternoon at a fuel stop and continued on with John practising his map reading skills again.  It was now raining big time and the motorways we ended up on were gridlocked so we spent the next few hours getting wetter, whilst weaving through traffic with the bikes fully loaded.  Time was getting on and we had not found another campsite for the night, a quick discussion and we decided to head off at the next town and get a hotel for our last night.  We found one which let us in and proceeded to run the hotel out of hot water, with long showers and leave puddles all over the hotel rooms with our gear drip drying.

Jo & Tim managed to find us again here and we splashed out with a final slap up meal in the hotel restaurant.  Here Ted & Ray discovered they both liked red wine and that Ray suddenly found a hidden talent, he could mimic Tony Leenes’ “Saddle up” war cry.  (or was it “throttle up” – we never did decide).  

Saturday 6th August.  The weather had cleared up a bit and we had plenty of time to make our way back to Ijmuiden to catch the late afternoon boat (Sorry SHIP).  We took the scenic route via the seaside, were we stopped at Zandevort for kipperling and chips.  A lazy ride back to the port with an hour to kill before loading so we decide to go for a drink at a nearby bar.  Just as we arrive the heavens open and we dash inside.  This last soaking left Pete’s Harley misfiring and backfiring all the way to the SHIP and during loading (impressive in a metal hull).  He even managed to snap the side stand on my Indian whilst strapping it down – well at least it was near the end of the trip.

The journey back was very boisterous.  The entertainment was good and the ship was packed with Northern lads & lasses coming back from a weekend in Amsterdam .  Jess & John managed to bag a table in the main bar, just opposite the dancing girls dressing room and they only moved once to get dinner.  Jess even managed not to upset the stewards by calling their ship a BOAT!  

Sunday 7th August.  We arrive back into Newcastle , what a lovely entrance up the Tyne .  Here we all meet up after unloading to say our goodbyes;  

A big THANK YOU to John for all his hard work organising the trip;

The non-Indian riders had their eyes opened (is it roadworthy? should it smoke that much?);

We all learnt that when travelling behind you had to watch out for flying luggage (numerouse water bottles, Jazza’s waterproofs and Sipca’s gloves);

John finally owned up to Jazza that his Triumph had not been doing 80 mpg during the trip – John had a fuel leak and was having to drain his fuel every night, which he secretly placed in Jazza’s Triumph.  Jazza had managed to tell everyone he met how well it was doing, even some of his friends he met at the docks in Ijmuiden .  Did he fell a plonker afterwards?  I think so.  

That done, we loaded the bikes back onto or into trailers and vans and set off for home.  For Pete and me it was another 6.5 hour trip down country, which was more tiring than riding the bikes all day.  By Sunday evening we were knackered, but by Monday morning I wanted to do it all again!! 

Well, maybe next year in Sweden ?

Anita Dray              

Back Button           


Indian Motocycles - you can't wear them out                                  Indian Motocycles - built to last  
Disclaimer:  Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, neither the Indian Riders Motorcycle Club, it's officials or any individual shall in any way be liable for loss, injury or damage resulting directly or indirectly from reliance of such information.  The inclusion of adverts  does not mean  that the advertisers are in any way endorsed by Indian Riders Motorcycle Club or it's officials.  Any disputes or claims must be taken up with the advertiser.