WHAT could have become a brawl over turf between rival bikers' clubs visiting Port Alfred last Saturday just ended in some good-natured banter.
Unlike their forebears, today's bikers are mostly a gentlemanly, even philanthropic lot.
EASY RIDERS: Pierre and Godelieve Nijs, originally from Belgium but now living in Cape Town, were among the Honda Wing Riders visiting Port Alfred last weekend. Pierre said he averages about 22 000km a year on his bike Picture: JON HOUZET
Wing Riders is a club for owners of Honda Wing motorcycles, shiny mechanical beasts rarely seen in our parts.
As one of the stops in their weekend itinerary, the 23 Wing Riders reserved space at Guido's and part of the parking lot was cordoned off for them ahead of their arrival.
But a comedy of errors ensued when another, larger group of bikers on BMW touring bikes arrived at Guido's before the Honda bikers and took over the spot reserved for them.
The group of about 35 BMW bikers were partying merrily in the upstairs bar and on the deck when the Wing Riders arrived and found themselves short of parking.
It had all the makings of World War II, only this time it was the Germans vs the Japanese outside an Italian restaurant.
"This space was meant for us," said local organiser Leon de Waal, surveying the rows of robust German machines.
But the BMW bikers weren't going anywhere in a hurry and stared at the newcomers in amusement. "They need tassels on their handlebars so you can tell they're moving," shouted one BMW biker from the deck.
A few friendly insults were traded about each other's makes, but war was averted. Both groups shared the space until they went their separate ways.
One of the BMW owners, Ian van der Merwe from Rivonia, said about 500 BMW bikers had gathered in Grahamstown for the BMW Bike Fest last weekend and spread out on various routes through Makana and Ndlambe.