During the May holidays in 2010, I was visiting Utah with my family, the Zion National Park. Apart from motorhomes, we saw many groups of motorcyclists. That’s what brought me and my son the idea to tour across America soon. Back in the Netherlands we searched on the internet what would be the best way to hire a motorcycle in the USA. We stumbled upon EagleRider. To our great surprise, the franchise of EagleRider was situated in the Netherlands, in Enschede. So during the Christmas holidays, when there was a lot of snow, we went to EagleRider in Enschede to let us inform about the endless possibilities when traveling to America and renting a motorcycle. We were given a very friendly welcome from André Hoffstedde and Anne Tattersall. During this conversation, we quickly learned that EagleRider Holland is a great motorcycle rental company and that it’s possible to have a training day to get that Harley-feeling. At the motorcycle fair in Utrecht, we had another conversation and we made an appointment to follow a Harley-training day in April.

Good Friday

We chose for Good Friday 22 April, and that day me and my son went to Enschede from Zwolle, on our own motorcycles. We were told in advance that the training day would start at 9.00am, and would end around 4.00pm. So just before 9.00am we arrived at EagleRider in Enschede. We were given a very friendly welcome with tea and coffee. Because in America we wanted to ride on Harley-Davidson® Road Kings, two brand new Road Kings were waiting for us. They were picked up at the dealer in Amserfoort the day before, especially for us. One of them had nearly driven 15 miles. We felt really honoured. First, they gave us some instructions on using and controling this type of motorcycle. It’s a very modern motorcycle with many technical gadgets. With professional instructors we learned all about the motorcycle and master the instructions quite quickly. Around 11.00am we were allowed to get on the motorcycles. You are the boss of a more than 660 pound heavy machine with more than 1600 cc cylinder capacity. That has its own feeling and sound. In the beginning you really have to get used to it, but after one mile I already knew: that’s going to be an amazing tour across America. The motorcycle has a very low centre of gravity. It is a great bike.

Two instructors, traffic pylons and the Twente route

Together with two instructors, André and Harry, we drove over beautiful side roads past the University of Twente, to the Arke stadium. A race course was laid out on the parking lot, using orange plastic traffic pylons. Autoslalom, brake tests and emergency stops. We did almost everything we ever learned at special activities training. André and Harry showed us the opportunities of riding a Harley and the best ways to control the bike. After an hour, they had enough faith in our driving skills, so we went for a drive in the rural areas of Twente, between Hengelo and Enschede. At half past twelve, we were back at EagleRider in Enschede, to enjoy a delicious prepared lunch. During the lunch, Anne Tattersal informed us about the traffic rules in America. We were only with the two of us, so a laptop worked fine for us. When there are bigger groups of people, they use the projector. After the lunch, André guided us through the area of Twente. We drove through the area, bordered by Enschede, Hengelo, Almelo, Tubbergen, Ootmarsum, Denekamp and Losser. At country estate Singraven, we stopped for a short break. Tip from André: “Always drink sufficiently while driving, because without knowing, you lose many fluids. Especially when it’s hot outside. Stick to the rule: when the motorcycle is thirsty, the motorcyclist should drink something as well”. During the trip, André did not avoid the gravel roads. Because a Harley is great on those roads as well. At 4.00pm, we were back in Enschede and over a few glasses of soft drinks, we reviewed our day. It was a very educative day, more than we expected. Our conclusion: if the motorcycles in America are just as good as the ones here, we are going to cover many, many miles. At 4.30pm we drove back to Zwolle. André gave us a warm goodbye, Harry and Anne were already picking up new motorcycles somewhere for another trip.