Tag Archives: france

NEW CHAPTER and OLD BIKES

Story and Photos by ITN European Reporter Herve’ Rebollo

Salut à toi rider newyorkais,

Let me introduce the last brand new HOG Chapter in France, born some months ago “BRIE & GATINAIS Chapter” (Brie and Gatinais are two big French regions located in the South and East of Paris). It’s linked to the last dealership opened in the suburb of Paris one year ago, in the city of Melun (South East of Paris). If I’m not wrong we now have 56 HD dealerships in France in 2018 (I know, nothing to see with the USA, but don’t forget we’re only 68 million inhabitants).

They already are one hundred members in this chapter (which, as many HOG chapters around Paris, will soon reach two or three hundred hoggers …).

I was lucky enough being kindly invited by the deputy director (a good friend of mine) to attend one of their first week-end on the road last year at springtime. They had scheduled to visit one of the most famous private collection of classic bikes in Europe, owned by my great friend Jean-Luc Gaignard. I’ll write soon a post about this incredible biker (Unknown but so “famous” in the middle of collectors – he owns about 600 old motorcyles all in state of working – Even Brad Pitt took his helicopter to come to land in his field to meet him last summer).

I’m not really “Hog or MC minded” (I’m a lone rider) but it was a sympathetic invitation, the target was to meet an old friend of mine, crossing part of my marvelous country by tiny beautiful roads, the weather gave the promise to be sunny and I was sure to see amazing old bikes … so, let’s go!

During these two days, we have had great roads to the West of France, nice restaurants with amazing wines and saw rare antic motorcycles …

It permited our lil pack (5 bikes – it’s already too much for me) to ride 500 miles across Normandy and back home with marvelous memories after having done some nice meeting on the road.

Next time, I’ll be your road captain to take you to that incredible place where the time stopped in the late thirties and where you will see motorcycles you have certainly never seen before. Of course be prepared to get some weight, restaurants on the road are just a blast.

See ya soon on the road my friend (who knows?).

Hervé your French friend.

BIKER & PAINTER, a great French Artist

Story and Photos by ITN European Reporter Herve’ Rebollo

Salut à toi American rider,

Today, let me introduce a good friend of mine, a great French artist, my bro’ Dom’, aka NOIR MAT!

In my mind, my other painter friend Davis UHL and NOIR MAT are currently the two best motorcycle painters.

Dom whose pseudonym is NOIR MAT (you could literally translate it by “Black Mat”) is an hyper realist , self – taught painter. Born in 1965, Noir Mat started drawing at a young age, incited by his father who was a painter

Yes, it is his father who taught him very young the way of drawing and painting.

It is the acquisition of a Harley Davidson in 1994 which made him associate his passion of the art with that of the Kustom Kulture and triggered his artistic revolution.

He went from “Kustom Kulture” to studying aerosol paint. He started to paint on all kinds of vehicles and car parts. He then evolved and returned to painting on a canvas. He combines the pictorial technique that his father taught him with what he learned during his studies of aerosol paint.

His works are painted with acrylic resin on canvas or wood , with a quality of completion and encreased attention to detail which ends up persuading the observer that he is an integral part of the work which it is admiring.

His style is hyper-realistic, and shows the extreme attention that Noir Mat pays to the details in his work. Some of his canvases require several weeks of work. His purpose is to immerse the observer in the piece. Even if his favorite subject is still the famous Harley Davidson, the artist has managed to be versitile and does animal and urban representation as well as pin-up portraits.

The Artist makes us understand that one foresees reality that the mystery of the reality ; his purpose being to sublimate this reality .

His works reflects his passion , in particular the American Culture , but also of other topics which are dear to him the time of a glance, discover the NOIR MAT’s realistic world: https://www.noirmatart.com/

Dom’ (I call him by his given name, it’s more natural for me) is a real nice man. A biker, a great artist and a gentleman. Talking with him, having a beer or a ride is always a great lifetime.

As my lovely wife knows that I am a fan of BLACK MATT, she surprised me four years ago by offering me a picture of my Streetglide, signed NOIR MAT, for my birthday. I couldn’t believe it, I was so happy. If one day you come to my office, you will see it proudly hanging over my desk.

NOIR MAT showed his artwork for the first time to the USA in 2015 for the Sturgis bike week. He wasn’t present himself this year (only a dozen of his paintings where shown by his agent at the HD dealership of Rapid City). I was lucky enough to be the first Frenchie to see his artwork exposed in the USA this year.

In 2016, Dom’ attended the Sturgis rally and was present on his booth at the Black Hills Harley Davidson dealership of Rapid City. He was so happy being there, meeting so many people and especially Willy G and his idol: David Uhl. I clearly claim to be the guy who introduced Dom’ to my friend David in 2013 (David and Dom’ met a second time during the Daytona bike week 2018).

Dom’ is really an eclectic painter. He’s able to produce artworks about animals which are absolutely amazing.

As artist and great fan of the American culture and the USA Dom’ dreams to diffuse his artwork among American fans of custom bike / car culture. So do not hesitate to order him the artwork of your lifetime! (you have to know that the price is very reasonable).

Next time you will come to my home, we’ll take our motorcycle and come to have a beer with Dom’ / NOIR MAT. Thus, you will discover the French heartland, only by tiny roads: from Paris to Saint-Etienne the city where Dom’ is being living with his girlfriend, it will take us about 10 hours …

Waitin’ for you.

See ya soon on the road, who knows?

Hervé your French friend.

THE 2018 EUROPEAN BIKEWEEK

Story and Photos by ITN European Reporter Herve’ Rebollo

Salut à toi American rider,

Have you ever attended one of the most important European HOG rally: the European bike week in Faakersee?

It took place this year from Tuesday 04 September 2018 to Sunday 09 September. Continue reading THE 2018 EUROPEAN BIKEWEEK

RIDE IN FRANCE AND … EAT CAMEMBERT AND SHOOT THE TIGER!!

Story and Photos by ITN European Reporter Herve’ Rebollo

Bonjour à toi American Rider,

Some time ago, I called my road mate Philippe to suggest him a ride to Normandy. We took our bikes (a Street glide and a Slim) and we went to  …Utah Beach and on our way we made a (large) go-round to take some pictures of a … TIGER.2

Here’s some words about this ride.

TIGER

At the end of the Battle of Normandy, the little town (almost a village) of Vimoutiers  was used as a rally  point for all the retreating German units that had managed to escape from the Falaise Gap. Though most of these units were depleted, some tanks made their way to this point. Many were abandoned for some reasons, but most often due to a lack of fuel. On August 19 of 1944, one Panzer III, several Panzer IV and Tigers and even one Köenigstigerwere scattered around Vimoutiers. Panther_ArgentanOn Sunday, August 20th, the decisive stage of the Battle of Normandy is coming to an end. The Falaise pocket , where the German forces are surrounded, is on the point of being wiped out. On august 21st, five German tanks, which have succeeded in breaking out, take up position in the Guerquesalles area. One of them, Tiger Type E No. 231, heading for Vimoutiers, is immobilized shortly before entering the town ; it has probably run out of fuel. In a curve in the middle of the road, the Tiger had been abandoned by its crew. Just before moving by foot to the East, they tried to blow it up by setting explosives against both turret and engine, but to no avail. The explosion had poor or no effect. When liberating the town on Tuesday , august 22, Canadians from the Black Watch, 2nd Infantry Division, cleared the way by pushing it down in a ditch along the road. The tank laid there until October 1975, when a rescue operation got it out and set it as a monument. It’s said that another Tiger has been buried in a big hole of the road, by civilian engineers, about the same point. This tiger tank, of which only one more exists in France, was purchased by the town, restored and put on its present site. It has been under preservation order as a historical monument since 1975. Related to different books, this panzer belonged to Schweres Panzer-Abteilung 503 or II SS PanzerKorps. Actually, units that retreated from Falaise gap were so mixed and scattered that it’s a real challenge to identify precisely where came this tank from.

http://tank-photographs.s3-website-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/normandy-tiger-tank-vimoutiers-1944-ww2.html

CAMEMBERT CHEESE

The Vimoutiers Tiger tank is in the middle of Camembert Cheese Country. After you have looked at the Tiger set your Sat-Nav to the village of Camembert. Visit the Camembert Museum and see how this famous cheese is made then afterwards go to the shop on the other side of the road for free cheese tasting. For the tank enthusiasts you have to search for the Camembert Cheese label that has a Renault FT tank on the front that was stuck on Cheeses supplied to the French troops at the front in WW1. Camembert is an enchanting southern Normandy village as well as a very famous Normandy cheese. With its timber-frame farms built on lush green slopes, the village presents a wonderful image of typical Normandy countryside. Of course Camembert cheese takes centre stage for visitors to the place.7

Camembert is a commune in the Orne department in north-western France. It is the place where camembert cheese originated. Camembert has been called “The largest small village in France.” This is because the area of the commune itself is out of proportion to the center of the village which consists of the Cheese Museum (in the shape of a Camembert cheese), the Town Hall (Mairie), the Church of St Anne, the Ferme Président (a museum), Beamoncel (the house where Marie Harel, the creator of camembert cheese lived) and 3 other small houses. The rest of the commune is scattered over 10 km2 (2,500 acres).12

This Tiger is known as LE TIGRE DE VIMOUTIERS. The place is really appreciated by bikers who like to come here by little roads of Normandy to “shoot the Tiger” with their camera and have a good restaurant. From Paris, it’s about 3 hours on great charming roads (a 300km round trip ride, perfect for a sunny Saturday  /Sunday).      9

So, next time you’re in France, I’ll take you to Vimoutiers and Camembert.

We’ll eat the Tiger and shoot the Camembert, or more or less something like that … don’t worry, in any case it will be a blast!!!1113

See ya soon on the Norman roads …who knows?

Hervé, your French biker friend.