Ymse MC, not what we expected!

Trip Start Feb 02, 2010
Trip End Feb 02, 2011

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Flag of Norway  , Sør-Trøndelag,
Sunday, July 18, 2010

We were just about to leave Oppdal when a very loud bike pulled into the car park behind us. Felix was smiling and admiring the bike, it was a beautiful custom Harley Davidson. We were literally reversing out when I saw one of the riders coming over to us. She invited us to join them at their motorbike club meeting for the weekend. Felix and I were pleasantly surprised by this random invitation to something we had very little idea about. We stuttered and stammered for a moment deciding what to do. Why not we thought. We agreed to wait while they - Camilla and Jens - picked up something round the corner, then we would follow them home to pick up some camping gear, then follow them to where the meeting was. Little did they know what an innocent, kindhearted invitation was going to get them into. 

As we were following them home, all seemed to be going so well. We were marvelling at the situation, at little nervous about what a motorbike club meeting would entail but feeling very lucky and privileged to have been invited out of the blue like that. But as a dirty stinking Ural would have it, something had to spoil the fun. I noticed a change in the engine sound and Felix said ‘we’ve got trouble’ as he pulled into a side road. Felix took the head cover off and a the oil inside was thick with metal filings. The mended pushrod had broken again, quite a few kilometres back and the two pieces had been continuing to function even though the broken ends were bashing into each other and wearing down.  My reaction was surprisingly calm, I took out some sewing and did some work on my project. 

By now Camilla and Jens had noticed we were no longer following them so they had come back. Felix showed them the problem and Jens said “I think I can make this.”                            “Really!” Felix exclaimed “are you a mechanic?”                                                                      “No, I’m a gunsmith.” 

‘Well string me up and put me in a hen coop’ as Sunny from the Norwegian animation ‘Il Tempo Gigante’ would say. What is this? We coincidentally meet these two people, (Camilla told me later she almost didn’t come and speak to us), they invite us to come camping with them and their bike club, then when we breakdown one turns out to be a gunsmith who can machine us a new pushrod in half an hour. And then they drive us to and from the bike, invite us to have lunch with them, offer us a shower, food, and place to sleep. How is it possible to come into contact with so many people with such big hearts, open minds and generosity? It’s almost enough to turn religious. 

Camilla picked us up in the car and brought us back to their house where we had a delicious lunch and where Jens was working on the pushrod. It looked exactly like ours, but made from gun-barrel steel, with extra hardened ends. The only concern was it’s weight, being solid, unlike the normal rods which are hollow, it was al least twice as heavy, if not more. Before going back to Nina, we met Camilla’s horses, an ex-trotter and her baby. We also met their eight dogs, three of them little fox terrier puppies only a few weeks old. 

Nina went together smoothly, except for that the tappet was seized out a little far and had to be hammered a few times back into place. She started up and ran well for a moment before making a few funny clunking sounds. Hopefully it was just the push rod not moving fast enough because of it’s extra weight and under load would work a little better so we jumped in and made it gingerly to the motorbike club house.

In the driveway we stopped to register, Felix started talking with Jens and another guy and Camilla took me on a little tour. There was a line of custom bikes, all beautifully painted and shiny, the club house was a bar/cafeteria with a workshop behind and another bar for indoor winter parties. Then Camilla introduced me to the members of the club who were all sitting round looking very motorbike gangish - black leather, piercings, the club vest. It was all a bit intimidating and I thought holy moly this is going to be one hell of an awkward night. Sitting under a marquee and round a raging firepit were other groups. People from all over Norway come to meetings like this, from all different clubs, there is one or more every weekend somewhere so it is quite a sport if you take it seriously and you can really build up quite a social network if you spend a lot of time traversing the country back and forth from biker meetings. Anyway everyone seemed to know everyone else so I was really the typical guest that only knows one person. 

After Felix and I registered we went down to the camping spot. We pulled up to a flat spot next to a group already set up and sitting round drinking. Felix asked if they minded us setting up next to them. A friendly looking man with a huge smile and shaved head threw his hands in the air and called out in answers “Yes, yes! The Australians with the Ural! We want you next to us!” The man, Hans Petter -but known as HP, (like the sauce) came over and as we set up our tent we had a friendly chat. It turned out he was the writer of a blog we had read quite a lot of about travelling Norway without using up your entire life savings and lived just around the corner from Solveig and Finn’s hytta. We are not sure the name of his Motorcycle Club but he was camped with members of the Aver°y MC from near the famed Atlantic Road, later a member from the club gave us our first patch. Every club has a design on the back of their vest and they carry little patches with the same design to trade with other clubs they meet, sadly we didn’t have a club patch to trade back. 

As we set up and stood around talking to HP, several more people came over all beginning their greeting with some variation of  “Are you the Australians with the Ural?” and offered us a beer. Word had travelled fast, everyone was expecting us, it was funny to get such a reception. Felix explained about the bike and her problems, everyone, whether or not they wanted to talk Urals, ended up in the never ending Ural discussion. So many people offered us anything they could to help us get back on the road in good running order. I was just beginning to see into the massive heart and open doors of the motorcycle community.

Over the next few days of the Ymse MC (pronounced um-seh, which means for anyone, all kinds are welcome) Treff weekend we drank, slept, ate, were treated like celebrities and royalty, had many whacky conversations with very drunk motorbike enthusiasts, were offered mechanical help, places to stay all over Norway, and spare parts. We washed our bodies and cloths in the icy waters flowing down from snow melt in the mountains and dried in the sun as we walked back. Felix, as part of the team named ‘Downunder’ with another friendly sidecar driver won the drinking/wheelbarrow race, we were presented with a trophy for ‘furthest distance travelled to the MC Treff from outside Norway,’ a club tee-shirt, and an Ymse MC patch. We had many non-whacky interesting conversations with a huge variety of people and just had a generally very nice time camping in a field with heaps of motorbikes and their riders. 

So as for thinking of motorbike clubs as gangs of criminal, drug taking, raving violent mad men - which was how I too mostly assumed they were, (When Camilla and Jens invited us to the meeting we wondered what we were getting into, hoping we weren't going to end up at some weird  party where everyone was high and there were lesbians dancing on the tables and fights all over the place.) we have experienced a totally different side of the story.  The peaceful, friendly, kind, open-hearted and generous community of people who are just everyday people with normal jobs, families and lives who also happen to love riding motorbikes. There are too many complicated names to remember let a lone mention. They have offered us everything and when any mention of money is heard they say “you are bikers so we will take nothing from you.”

So this morning we had a long, long sleep-in. When we finally emerged from our tent, most of the tent city had disappeared. We packed up in a break in the rain then followed Jens back to is house where a lovely man ěystein (maybe Julie and any other Norwegian readers are the only ones who can pronounce this correctly) from Ymse MC,  would meet us. He had offered us a his head - humm that sounds funny, I mean the head from his Ural - with valves, pushrods and all that stuff. He would accept no money for it and insisted he never rode his Ural anymore so we should take it. 
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Camilla on

Jeg er så glad du valgte å følge oss på møtet ! = )
Jeg håper og tror de fleste av menneskene i Ymse oppførte seg ;-) Vi er ikke veldig skummelt , hehe !
Good reading!

Edwin Wise on

Bring on the lesbians dancing on tables!

Daza on

Makes me want to buy a bike and join a MC club here in Germany (of course I didn't mean buying your bike...... :-)

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