Friendly Harley Angels

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Wed 23 Sep 2009 09:47
We've seen the Southampton Boat Show, ordered spares for Ajaya and finally had the troublesome tooth root filled whilst simultaneously creating a cavity in our bank account that would take more than a spatula full of amalgam to replenish.
One important stop-off was to pick up some motorcycle spares for our great friends in Lanzarote, which took us to the newly opened Harley Davidson showrooms near Guildford.
The sign over the entrance informed us that this was also the home of the 'Hog's Back Chapter'. The 'Hog's Back' being the hill ridge running between Guildford and Farnham on the A31 just a few miles away. Would we be able to buy our spares before a gang fight broke out? Would a rival 'Chapter' suddenly roar into the car park armed with cycle chains to take revenge on the 'Hog's Backers'? On entering we were faced with a service desk manned by - well, middle-aged men, some challenged in the follicle department on top and with beards similar to those preferred by the American rock band ZZTop. They were also adorned with copious amounts of earrings and tattoos and were called Bill or Mick. Difficult customers, we thought would be led out the back to be given a good hiding.  But - what a surprise - knowledgeable, friendly staff, addressing customers as 'Sir'. If they had a murky distant past the Harley Davidson customer service training programme must have removed any 'Hell' from these "Angels"!  The showroom contained a fantastic array of gleaming motorcycles and upstairs along with a special coffee bar for the 'Hog's Backers' there was a full range of clothing, bandannas, jeans, sweatshirts and even Harley Teddy Bears. One thick leather jacket emblazoned with the Harley Davidson motif I could barely lift off the rack. It had a price tag equivalent to the cost of a good root filling. And we thought us yachties paid a heavy price for our gear...........