Cowboys & Engines - GoldWing Owners' Club UK

A cacophony of easy-listening heralds the arrival of another clutch of GoldWings. Matt Monroe grates against Geoff Love in a syrupy rolling sound-off as the GoldWing Owners' Club UK rolls pleasantly into the Banham Leisure Park in Norfolk. Hey, it's a Win

A motorcycle rally is traditionally an opportunity for people to give motorcycling a bad name. A large number of people here are doing their level best to give motorcycling a good name. GoldWing people are, on the whole, a gentle crew who enjoy few things more than a brew of tea.

Other visitors to this large and well-tended campsite are cordially invited (via sandwich boards) to come and see the GoldWings. And they do, so benign, unthreatening and other-worldly are the Wings and their people.

"This is one of the best Wing Dings of the year," Dinger Graham Wade tells us. He goes on to explain the various strata and relative status of the many and varied worldwide Wing events, like 'Treffens' (from the German 'meeting of friends'). He then reveals how the spirit of internationalism stops at the English Channel, for him at least. "Not being rude," he advises, "But I have never, and will never, go to a French one."

The Norfolk gig is popular: around 350 people and a friendlier bunch you couldn't hope to meet; either quite old or very young. This whole Wing trip is largely for folks who like a social but still have a bit too much energy and independence for a bus-bound Saga holiday.

"The thing is it's a family club," says (actual) bus driver Dusty from Folkestone. "There's no pissheads. I've been there and done all that. I don't want to stand in the same clothes all weekend. We've got showers and we've brought the grandson along this weekend."

He hasn't quite got a walk-in shower attachment zipped to his capacious tent, but what looks convincingly like a luxury fitted-kitchen lurks behind the two-ply nylon sheeting of his mobile home. "It's the sheer easiness of going by Wing," he continues. "You can take a King-size blow-up bed, a generator and a fridge with you." Literally, he means. This lot really like to camp it up.

"I bought a new Bonnie once way back - bloody awful it was. Then a Virago, then I did the BMW thing, but once I got a 1200 Wing I never looked back." Except to reverse a substantial trailer of course. Dusty and his mate George from Manchester fairly rack up the miles. The Luxemburg Treffen, via Switzerland, for starters, George has even done Route 66 (Chicago to LA).

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