The Iron Tigers promised sunshine for the weekend and it seems that their weather predictions are as good as their hospitality. It was Saturday 19th of July, the sun shone brightly and the Iron Tigers of Vladivostok began to gather beneath their clubhouse at Vlad Motors.
We’d been promised a small gathering and a convoy of bikes. What we actually found was more akin to Sturgis than Eastern Russia. We followed line-a-stern behind the President and arrived in Usserijsk with a police escort through to the centre of the city where several separate groups congregated together. By this time there were some 275 bikes, …. just slightly more than the promised ‘few’.
We were introduced to other chapters of the Iron Tigers and were immediately accepted into this large and growing family. All across Russia our bikes had stood out from the Ural’s and Jawa’s that travel the roads and byways but here in this town with the Iron Tigers, ….. our Triumphs were simply unusual bikes with smaller engines and less chrome than the Japanese choppers preferred in these parts.
Again under police escort, we travelled onwards in larger convoy to an enclosed camping ground beside a river several kilometres north of the city. It was a carnival atmosphere; different groups met as friends and partied long into the night to the accompaniment of live music and fireworks. The beer and food was plentiful, the vodka even more so. Here there is none of the tensions often felt at similar bike rallies around the world, … here in Usserijsk it was simply carnival time for everybody. Perhaps that feeling of safety was not too surprising when you see how seriously the Iron Tigers take their security. The picture above is of ‘Andre’ and ‘Guns’, .. my new best friends for the evening. Yes,.. it is real and as I found out later in the evening, ….. very loaded. It seems that here in Usserijsk it is only the ‘Crazy Anglian’s’ who don’t carry guns.