Euro Bike Night: Vroom with a view
Enthusiasts laud fun setting, variety of city's bi-monthly event
Twice a month during the summer, the Bank Block section of Grandview Avenue begins to look a bit like a European street.
The Grandview Euro Bike Night, held each second and fourth Tuesday, April through September, draws dozens of European motorcycle enthusiasts. Each event gets under way at 6 p.m.
"We have a very family-friendly event here," said Steve Newton, a retired Grandview teacher who organizes Bike Night with retired Grandview police officer Mike Small.
All motorcycles are invited to the event, not just European models, he said.
"There are events where only Harley owners show up," Newton said. "Some events don't look at scooters as being motorcycles, but we love to have them here, too. You'll see a Vespa scooter parked right beside a Ducati."
"We want people to come here and feel like it's a place where they are welcome," he said.
Newton said he and Small came up with the idea of organizing a Euro Bike Night because owners of those vehicles rarely attended other central Ohio events, such as the one held at Quaker Steak and Lube in the Polaris area.
"We wanted to do something different, something that had never been done before in Ohio: organize an event featuring European motorcycles," he said. "It's really grown since our first year (in 2007)."
Grandview Avenue is a perfect setting for a motorcycle event, Newton said.
"You can come here and have dinner at one of the restaurants," he said. "A lot of people who stop by aren't motorcycle owners. They just like to look at them."
Visitors will see a variety of motorcycles at the Grandview event, Newton said.
"One of the things I like about European bikes is they are eclectic. You don't see them everywhere," he said. "You go to any other event, and you'll see 10 bikes like yours. Here, it's hard to find one that's the same as any other."
Another appeal of European motorcycles is that they are fast, powerful and durable, Newton said.
"European-bike owners like to go places," he said. "It's not unusual to find people here with 80,000 or 90,000 miles on their bikes.
"What you have here is a bunch of guys standing around kicking tires and telling lies about how great they are at riding motorcycles and bragging about how far they've traveled on their bike," Newton said, chuckling.
Hilliard resident Bryan Dunlap, the owner of a Triumph motorcycle, has been coming to the Euro Bike Nights from the beginning.
"It's always a really nice crowd. I like that it is a low-key event and not a loud party," he said. "You see such a good variety of motorcycles here. I always see something different each time I come."
For Dunlap, European bikes have a style all their own.
"They are more performance- and handling-oriented than other motorcycles," he said.
Upper Arlington residents Jake Goodson and Dennis Moore just started attending the Grandview event last month.
"It's a pretty cool event. You get to see some pretty nice bikes here," said Goodson, who owns a Yamaha motorcycle.
Moore said he likes the setting of the event, along bustling Grandview Avenue.
"You go to other events, and they're held in a big parking lot in the middle of nowhere," he said.
Along with the Euro Bike Night, Newton said he and Small organize at least a couple of rides each summer, capped off by the Haunted Legends ride in October.
"We travel to all the haunted houses around central Ohio. It kind of wraps up our season," he said. "We're hoping to organize an overnight ride to Tennessee in July, but we're still planning that."