BY CLAUDIA TERRA
PICTURES AND VIDEOS: HOG AND LOH
HOG Abu Dhabi is run by motorcycle rider Gabrielle Bou Rached, a mission she took on this year. She’s been a biker since 2015, but she really loves what she does and runs with joy, making beautiful stories aboard her Harley: “I made the King of the Road and Iron Butt challenges in my first year of riding. The first challenge was to run 2500 KM in 36 hours of continuous piloting (reached in 33 hours.) This was the most difficult for me, because it required me to stay awake on the bike for 33 hours. A friend of mine, Jorge Muller, who currently is the secretary of our HOG Committee, completed the challenge with me. The first 18 hours were easy, but as we approached the hours of sunrise the next morning my body began to shut down. After a break, when the sun was up, I was proud to be the first female biker in the Middle East to complete this challenge. The second challenge, 2500 KM in 24 hours, was completed with 3 friends. It was more physically demanding than the first, because we needed to make more effort, run faster and take fewer breaks so we can finish within the required time, making us the first motorcyclists in the Middle East to complete this challenge “, recalls Gabrielle Bou Rached, Director of HOG.
Unlike most motorcyclists, she did not grow up with a passion for motorcycling, but in 2015 looking for challenges and adventure, she saw motorcycling, with a Harley Davidson, the perfect option: “I discovered motorcycling in 2015 while looking for a new challenge in my life. And I immediately became a total addict, and since then I’ve been in this universe of two wheels. My first bike, which I still own and drive, is a 1200XL Sportster. I made her a custom painting with my tattoo that I have on my shoulder. My first long trip (over 1000 km) was held after 5 months of becoming a motorcyclist. It was a trip from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, Oman, with about 40 motorcyclists from the United Arab Emirates. It was an amazing experience! It was the first time I experienced a totally different landscape in the United Arab Emirates. Before I became a motorcycle rider, I did not know any other motorcyclists, nor did I have a motorcyclist in the family. But soon after I became a motorcyclist, my husband also got his first bike, and a few months later, my seven-year-old son won a 50cc off road bike. In 2015 I was also immediately invited to the committee as a paramedic at the HOG.
But HOG Chapter Abu Dhabi came to life this year, with a new direction and new team, after two years, virtually shelved. On September 22 HOG Abu Dhabi was officially activated raising once again the enthusiasm of the entire motorcycling community of the Arab capital and region. A big event was organized for this celebration, where all motorcyclists and other groups were present: “The event started with a bit of socializing and a visit to the Harley-Davidson showroom, giving guests opportunities to get to know each other. Between the revelation of the new Harley-Davidson models, the committee was introduced and we presented our upcoming schedule of rides and events, “says Gabrielle, HOG Director.
More than 150 guests attended the event, including members of other groups, and HOG added another 50 new members to enhance the flag and passion for Harley Davidson: “After the new management team took over Harley-Davidson UAE, the general manager approached from the HOG MENA (Harley Davidson Headquarters in the Middle East and North Africa) office to rebuild the Abu Dhabi HOG, who contacted me and offered me the job, I gladly accepted because I had an incredible team willing to support me. I was very proud to have been selected, among all Abu Dhabi riders, as the person capable of accomplishing this task, “enthuses Gabrielle. And of course, the LOH also returned to activities, also reborn at that time under the command of Daisy Utt. She, until 2017, was a member of a motorcycle club, but this year she decided to stay only with HOG and is looking forward to the arrival of more members in the LOH
The vast majority of motorcyclists give 100% support to the new director, but there are still some who believe that direction of the HOG should be under male command. However, she sees no problem in this and considers that her biggest challenge in maintaining full HOG activities is the temperature in the country: “In general, the leaders and government of the United Arab Emirates are pioneers in supporting women in all sectors. I met a lot of female motorcyclists in the country and they never got anything other than the support of everyone. Only a minority still has prejudices when it comes to this. However, I believe the weather in the United Arab Emirates is a big challenge for any motorcyclist. Here the temperature in the summer exceeds 45-50° C, that yes is a great challenge! We will need adaption in driving times for just overnight with safe routes and destinations that keep the driving experience enjoyable, “explains Gabrielle.
The chapter board is comprised of Director: Gabrielle Bou Rached; Assistant Director: Hamdan Al Mansoori; Secretary: Jorge Muller; Treasurer: Sami and Head Road Capitan: Talal Ahmed.
Harley-Davidson arrived in Abu Dhabi in 1996, however, HOG’s activities were always unstable and the choice of the new director was greatly celebrated byall HOGs and many groups in the country and region. There is always a great union between all the bikers of all the flags: “Since the re-launch of our HOG, we have been impressed by the tremendous love and support of other clubs and groups. Mainly because the HOG itself is an open platform for all motorcyclists and moreover, and more importantly: the members of our committee are loved and respected by the entire motorcycling community, “explains Gabrielle. Over the years the HOG Abu Dhabi has become the heart and soul of those who love Harley, as well as bringing together bikers from all over the world in the capital of the Emirates.
Harley-Davidson is very much loved and respected throughout the region. HOG is always present at various events and is always invited by other groups. There are many motorcycle events in the United Arab Emirates: “We are invited to various events and tours organized by other groups. Throughout the season, we will also invite other clubs and groups to take part in our tours and our events. After all, what unites us is our shared passion, which must overcome any other differences. Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates generally host motorcycle events and motorcycle exhibitions every year and HOG Abu Dhabi will participate in all of them. In addition, we participate in the annual parade organized on the occasion of the National Day. Throughout the year, many parades are also organized to raise awareness about breast cancer and autism. We are proud to represent the colors and the HOG spirit in each one of them, “says Gabrielle.
HOG members from Abu Dhabi are always traveling to events such as Europen Bike Week that brings together bikers from many continents, including the illustrious presence of Bill Davidson, who usually participates in bikers parades and awards prizes of the traditional custom motorcycle contest: “In the last 2 years I have been organizing motorcycle trips around Europe with a group of friends, but this year we will extend the invitation to our HOG members. In 2017, we chose to stroll the Alps and the iconic Stelvio Pass in the Italian part of the mountains. Our tour continued through Switzerland and France, with a total of 2,500 km over 7 days. We always try to limit the driving distance so we can enjoy some tourism. The 2018 trip to Prague was designed around Harley’s 115th birthday. We took part in the three-day event before we toured the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany.
HOG Abu Dhabi also holds a very cool event, a family-style desert camping weekend, where bikers go 4×4 with their camping equipment, wives, children and friends for fun on the dunes 80 km from Abu Dhabi “In the event we have kid’s games, climbing dunes, barbecue, music, barbecue, dinner, soft drinks, breakfast,” explains Gabrielle. This year’s event was held late November, the desert temperature during the day of 28 degrees and the night low to 14 degrees. Open event, with prior registration for all motorcyclists.
She is just beginning the magic biker adventure, already has beautiful stories with her personalized 1200XL Sportster and friends, added to a list of dreams to accomplish: “I want to ride a motorcycle around the world, visit many countries and know the largest number of motorcyclists who can Brazil is a breathtaking country, and although I’ve never visited it, riding a motorcycle in this incredible nature is definitely on my wish list. I also think that every biker’s dream is to find a job where you do not do anything all day, except to ride a motorcycle and really get paid for it, “says Gabrielle.
This is truly a beautiful dream, as great as having a dream bike and millions of friends across the planet to ride, share adventures and beautiful stories in a unique language and style that unite all of us: the Motorcycle, which like any passion ever we can explain, but we feel and live it intensely with joy all the time.
Thanks to the HOG Chapter Abu Dhabi and especially to Gabrielle Bou Rached and Assaf and the LOH-Daisy Utt we wish all joys and success in this mission! Welcome to Brazil whenever you wish. Long and prosperous life to HOG and LOH in this new phase!
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