Mike Tindall and Jimmy Cowan attend Harley-Davidson 110th celebration in Rome

Mike Tindall and Jimmy Cowan attend Harley-Davidson 110th celebration in Rome

Rome, Italy proved to be the place to go for Harley-Davidson owners and fans across the world when they converged on the Roman City and districts for a four-day party (13-16th June, 2013) to mark the European leg of the company’s 110th Anniversary global celebrations.

An estimated 100,000 Harley-Davidson fans gathered in and around Rome to attend one of the biggest events ever hosted by the American company in Europe. A series of unique Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary activities took place across multiple sites in Rome for fans to experience.

The key highlights of the event saw thousands of fans take part in a police guided motorcycle parade from Ostia to the Eternal City. The route took in some of the most iconic sections of Rome, passing by the 2000-year-old Coliseum and a one-of-a-kind Harley-Davidson custom bike show on the Foro Italico grounds (home of the Stadio Olimpico) with a range of Harley-Davidson models on display.

Situated at the coastal Port of Ostia, the impressive Harley Village was the base for music and entertainment with demo and guided rides, Jumpstart, H-D Experience exhibits, merchandise vendors and more. Two beachside stages hosted exclusive live performances from dozens of bands including Adam Ant, Bonnie Tyler, and Mike and the Mechanics.

Perhaps the most famous person in Rome, Pope Francis, was also visited by crowds of Harley-Davidson fans when they attended the traditional Sunday mass at the Vatican on Sunday. Pope Francis then gave a special blessing of thousands of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and riders. A fanfare of V-Twin engines echoed through Rome when Pope Francis was driven amongst the crowds of excited Harley-Davidson fans.

Nearly but not quite in the same league of popularity as Pope Francis, former international rugby players Mike Tindall (England 75 caps) and New Zealand’s Jimmy Cowan (All Blacks 51 Caps) – both now playing for the UK’s Gloucester Rugby club – also attended the Rome 110th Anniversary celebrations. Riding Harley-Davidson Softail® Breakout® models, Tindall and Cowan joined thousands of fellow Harley fans for the historic riding parade to Rome and also attended the Harley Village night time events, culminating in the Vatican mass.

“What a brilliant four days,” said Tindall on the final day “and what a superb location to hold such a prestigious event. I’d never have believed so many motorcyclists could gather in one place if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. But it’s not just all Harley-Davidson owners – the amount of local families and friends attending the Harley Village is a joy to see.

“I was lucky to take part in the bike parade riding to and through Rome and everywhere there were mums and dads and their children waving at the riders. It was that impressive even the police on duty were taking pictures and videos on their mobile phones. I can only compare it to the London Marathon in terms of being a spectacle.”

Mike Tindall and Jimmy Cowan attend Harley-Davidson 110th celebration in Rome Jimmy Cowan was also enthusiastic about the Rome celebrations: “I’m blown away. I’ve seen and been in crowds before but never anything like this. There’s every category of bike rider here celebrating with Harley-Davidson and everyone is enjoying the event.

“I also got to see the Pope during the bike blessing – how many people can say they have seen and waved at the pope? I’m pretty sure only Harley-Davidson could pull off such a massive biking event. I’m truly honoured to be a small part of a large and one-off celebration like this.”

Commenting on the four day event, Steven Colling, Marketing Manger, Harley-Davidson UK & Ireland said: “We love to give our customers once-in-a-lifetime experiences and the Rome 110th Anniversary celebration was certainly one of them. Harley-Davidson and the Rome and Vatican authorities worked together to ensure every Harley-Davidson rider, passenger and fan had a good time with minimal disruption to the enthusiastic people of Rome. The Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary is a historic milestone for the company and for so many people to support this in one part of Europe was truly an eye-opener.”

Next up is the culminating Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary celebration in the company’s birthplace and hometown of Milwaukee during the last weekend in August. For more information on the Milwaukee event and all the 110th Anniversary celebrations, please visit www.harley-davidson.com/110

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