Gleaming chrome, custom paint jobs, finely tuned engines… add in hundreds of bikers and a city that gave them its back gardens to camp in, and you’ve got the makings of a seriously good weekend…
Welcome to the Roaring Meg Custom Bike Show in , Northern Ireland where the hospitality was warm, the competition was fierce, and the machines were truly beautiful.
Roaring Meg has always been a firm favourite among bikers in Ireland, the UK and across Europe. The summer months might be full of rallies and runs, but this annual Derry-Londonderry event served up something a bit different – a bike show that’s open to the public, that was a great day out for families, and that gave dedicated bikers and enthusiasts a chance to share stories, swap tips and – best of all – show off their pride and joy.
And then there were the competitions… best paint job, best custom, best engineering, best street fighter.
Roaring into life
Roaring Meg has been on the go for five years now, ever since two Derry-Londonderry bikers had the bright idea of organising a large-scale bike show on their city’s historic Walls. With the support of the city’s motorcycle clubs and the event-running expertise of the Gasyard Wall Féile group, the show has become an essential date in the biking calendar.
What’s in a name?
If you were wondering where the name came from, Roaring Meg is Derry-Londonderry’s most famous cannon, used during the Siege of Derry in the 17th century. She got her name from the ferocious sound she made in battle, which was said to have been more terrifying to the enemy than the contents of her charge.
Oh, and it’s also the name of the rock band that entertained the crowds over the weekend.
The biker culture
Roaring Meg was a great way for bikers to showcase their motors, but it was an even better opportunity to get a glimpse behind some of the clichés of biker culture.
It’s not all leathers and tattoos (although there are plenty of those). This is a rich culture, with its own rules, traditions, eccentricities and an unexpected dedication to raising money for charity. Locals sponsor prizes for the show, and money raised by the event goes to a carefully chosen charity each year.
“When people think of culture in our city,” says Ami McBride, one of the show’s co-ordinators at Gasyard Wall Féile, “they imagine arts, religion, politics, ethnicity… but Roaring Meg is a separate culture altogether; the bike culture is one of openness, togetherness, fundraising and helping communities.”
Go on, get your motor running. The Walled City needs to be filled again next year. You coming?