2011 MEP Ride

MEP Ride 2011 PosterMAG Ireland took part in the 2011 MEP Ride on May 5th from Brussels to Circuit Zolder, a famous racetrack in Flanders.

What is the MEP Ride?

The Ride of the Members of the European Parliament is an informal social event gathering motorcyclists and their elected representatives, as well as members of other European Union institutions. The event gives Members of the European Parliament an opportunity to experience the pleasure of motorcycling, and get in touch with the mode of transportation and passion of millions of Europeans.

Ride Report 2011

The weather in Brussels was just perfect in the morning of May 5 when the first motorcycles were delivered. Little by little the forecourt of the European Parliament was dominated by Monster, Fat Bob & Co. – traditionally the manufacturers represented by the Motorcycle Industry in Europe (ACEM) support FEMA with motorcycles for the MEP Ride. While temperatures kept rising so did the number of motorcyclist filling the area. From the UK, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, from all over Europe representatives of FEMA’s member organisations arrived in Brussels. The biscuit was taken by the delegation of SMOTO which came all the way down from Finland on hard tail choppers with extremely looong forks. When finally the police and 16 Road Captains of MAG Belgium arrived every square metre in front of the Parliament was covered with motorcycles, helmets, and people wearing leather boots.

Many important personalities
Around noon the first VIPs arrived – MEP’s Wim van de Camp, on his Yamaha R1, and Bernd Lange, on his BMW R1200R. Both the Dutchman and the German acted as patrons of the Ride. Another patron, MEP Toine Manders, unfortunately had to cancel his participation at the last minute but was worthily represented by his Assistant Kim Boogte who happily took receipt of a Repsol Honda Fireblade for the Ride. Like Bernd Lange, the British MEP Emma McClarkin joined the ride as a pillion aboard an R1200R.
Of course, many other prominent representatives of the EU Parliament, Commission and of the Permanent National Representations joined the Ride, not to forget to mention Brendan Nelson, Ambassador of Australia, who seemed to be very pleased with his choice of a Harley Davidson XR1200. Even participants not holding an A-licence were able to join the in & ride themselves since three wheelers like the Piaggio MP3 and CanAm Spyders from BRP were provided.

Off to new pastures
In the presence of many onlookers and covered by various cameramen and photographers more than 100 motorcycles departed from the European Parliament and were expertly guided through the verdant landscape of Flanders. For the first time the ride did not return to its initial point but made instead for Circuit Zolder where the entire group completed two laps. The fourth MEP Ride patron, the Belgian MEP (Flemish constituency) Frieda Brepoels welcomed the riders in Circuit Zolder where the MEP Ride inaugurated Clean Week 2020, Europe’s groundbreaking green mobility event. Therefore, apart from testing motorcycles from BMW to Yamaha, the participants were also offered the opportunity to test a huge variety of electric motorcycles, mopeds and scooters.

Getting in touch with electricity
Emma McClarkin cut a brilliant figure on an electric scooter while her colleague Wim van de Camp from the Netherlands, followed by two heads of unit of the European Commission, took advantage and entered the race track on an electric motorcycle. On a cross track former Motocross World Champion Joël Smets gave an impressive demonstration of how to handle the Quantya, an electric off-road motorcycle . Again it was Mr. van de Camp who took the initiative. The racing enthusiast jumped on a Quantya to go off-road as well. The announcement of the eBike of the Year marked the final highlight of the day. The decision had been taken the same day in Zolder by a jury comprised of the elite of Europe’s motorcycle journalists. During dinner the race track was opened once more for an honour lap on one of the winning eBikes: Zero S (eMotorcycles), QVR VR Cross (eOff-road), Vectrix VX2 (eScooter -25 km/h), Govecs Go! 2.4 (eScooter -45 km/h) and Vectrix VX1 (eScooter +45 km/h). Weather conditions were still perfect by then, only the light had turned slightly red.

FEMA is a consumer’s association and the organisation of the MEP Ride would be impossible without the support of others.
The FEMA Secretariat wants to give credit to:
The contribution of Harley Davidson (long term FEMA supporter) and IBM;
The manpower of many volunteers, especially MAG Belgium, BVDM, DMC, MAG Ireland and Biker Union;
The support of the MEP Ride patrons Frieda Brepoels, Bernd Lange, Toine Manders and Wim van de Camp, especially Mr. Lange’s Assistant Johannes Laepple and Toine Manders Assistant Kim Boogte;
The Federal Belgian Police for once again leading the MEP Ride;
Our Partners Circuit Zolder and ETRA;
The motorcycle manufacturers: BMW, BRP, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio (including Moto Guzzi and Vespa), Suzuki and Yamaha.
The Quantya Evo 1 – Track is a high-performance, fun electric dirt bike designed for off-road use capable of powering up hills, through streams, wheelies and donuts. Ideal for young or old this is a bike that will accelerate from 0-42 in 1.9 seconds but beware it can flip you off in less than a second and at least one board member of MAG Ireland has felt the pain of a broken rib from one!

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