The Wheels and Waves Festival. Most of you have probably heard of it and I’m quite sure some of you have already traveled to Biarritz, on the most south-western point of France, to take part in this gathering. Set up by the Southsiders MC, the Wheels and Waves has quickly (2017 is only the sixth edition) become one of the most important custom motorcycle festivals in Europe. But overseas, the French festival has attracted attention as well so one could see popular figures like Roland Sands, Ola Stenegard, Thor Drake or Go Takamine at this year’s edition. But what to expect if you decide to travel to the Spanish border to take part in this famous event?
Well, first of all, quite a distance for many of us. You can’t travel much further than Biarritz if you travel in France and that’s why you can see a lot of bikes on trailers or in vans when you approach the region.
With the event officially starting on Wednesday and continuing until Sunday, one can see (and mainly hear) plenty of customized bikes in and around Biarritz the preceding days. Finally, from Wednesday on, all hell breaks loose and the cozy little beach town is invaded by motorcycles of every make and style. Now, if this makes old black & white images from Hollister pop up in your mind, rest assured; the Wheels and Waves is the most relaxed and straightforward event you can think of. Here, you can observe the bearded hipster having a laugh and a good time with the die-hard customizer or the dentist.
The same goes for the variety of bikes; no matter what kind of bike you’re on, everything and everyone is welcome. This makes for an astonishing diversity of motorcycles, with the most interesting ones not necessarily on the grounds of the event but often on the parking lots and adjoining streets.
The main village of the event is located a short distance outside the city center of Biarritz and although the Big Wigs of the Market like BMW, Harley-Davidson, Triumph and others are present, the place keeps its homely atmosphere. And finally, due to the event’s location just beside Milady beach with its surfers, some kind of holiday feeling kicks in.
Besides that, the Southsiders MC is setting up a bunch of very entertaining side events like the El Rollo Flat Track races near San Sebastian, surf competitions, bike and photo exhibitions, the famous Punks Peak sprint races as well as a big ride out for everyone on Sunday. There should be something here for everyone.
All told, the Wheels and Waves can be seen as a prime example of today’s neo-custom motorcycle scene where no one cares who you are or what you ride, as long AS you ride and have a good time. All of it located in a beautiful setting, near a nice town riddled with cozy bars, good restaurants and friendly people. What more can you ask for?
Everyone fond of exceptional motorcycles and a laid-back atmosphere should mark their calendars (14th -18th of June) for this year. You can convince your better half by telling her/him you’re going to spend some time in a posh, French seaside town. That should work. And if, by a fortunate coincidence, hundreds of customized motorcycles invade this posh, French seaside town at the time you’re staying there, make sure to put on your most surprised and innocent face. You still have plenty of time to rehearse in front of the bathroom mirror but be assured; the Wheels and Waves Festival is worth a little acting.
Here's the Wheels & Waves WEBSITE