Harley-Davidson Club Prague is the oldest existing Harley-Davidson club in the world. Impulse for its establishing was in 1927 the marriage of a famous motorcycle racer B. Turek, who was also director of the company Tesárek, which used to import motorcycles H-D into Czechoslovakia. 60 drivers on H-D came to accompany him to altar and by the wedding reception there came out an idea of meeting together more often.
This idea took up and under support of the company Tesárek was the Motorclub Harley-Davidson founded. Its members began to meet regularly and organize moto-trips. Home Office didn´t register the Motorclub H-D because of formal lack. In that time came the club to realize, that with its activity it´s overmuch bound with the general importer, that strictly speaking, uses the club only for interests of its commercial activities.
In this sense were also remade the statutes, which were registered by the Home Office and at the General meeting on the 25 th February 1928 was the Harley Club Prague (HCP) founded.
The club concentrated on the sport motorcycle activity, organized trips, schoolings in the drive practice, lectures about motorcycle contruction, social evenings, published a club magazine, cooperated with other czech motorclubs and foreign H-D clubs and it organized common drives and sport actions with them. To a speciality became moto-tournaments, supplemented by demonstrations of motorcycle acrobatics. To a rule became common meetings on Thursdays – this tradition has lasted till today.
The HCP started as the first motorcycle club in Czechoslovakia to organize the Opening of the motorcycle season with common drive to Poděbrady – this tradition was reestablished in 1998. In 1929 the HCP initiated building of the Federation of European Harley clubs. The realization of this intention wasn´t managed to implement and the company was founded only 60 years later.
After the first year had the HCP 150 members. Already in that time were the H-D motorcycles relative expensive goods – for the price of 1 motorcycle it was possible to buy a smaller house. It complied also with the club structure – the majority of members originated from businnes circles.
The HCP was from its founding till the outbreak of the World War II. the biggest and the most active motorclub on the territory of Czechoslovakia. In that time it noticeably contributed to popularization of the brand H-D and motorcycles at all. H-D machines started to be used by the Czech army, police, financial protection and even the taxi services.
After declaration of the Protectorate in 1939 was the club activity forbidden and also the motorcycles import left off. During the war was the petrol assigned only to the army, police and doctors – for civilian it was unavailable. In spite of it met the HCP members hereafter secretly in restaurants and on tourist trips.
Occupation offices confiscated cars and motorcycles for the army and because of it took the HCP members their machines into parts, made them immobile or hid them. In spite of it were many H-D motorcycles confiscated. This was one of the reasons, why after the ending of the World War II. and activity relegalization, were in the club only 10 % of its pre-war members left. After 1945 it came to organization changes and it was renamed to Harley UNRRA club.
The reason for the name change was the fact, that the majority of members got their motorcycles after the war from the stores of the organization UNRRA (Organization for the help to war-affected countries) in Pilsen. By this institution were over 600 H-D motorcycles sold in Czechoslovakia, mostly the models WLA and WLC. This were mostly machines used on the front and only a small percent of them were new motorcycles.
The club was stepwise reestablishing its pre-war activities. The common holidays on motorcycles were also organized. Reunions, as known from nowadays, didn´t exist. The people made, in that time popular one-day trips, where participated about 100 motorcycles. But it lasted only till the communist takeover in 1948. The club had to change because of political reasons its name to today´s Harley-Davidson Club Prague (HDCP), because the abreviation UNRRA in its after-war name reminded too much of the generous american help to our country and it didn´t befit the „comrades“ ideologically at all.
Fears of the communist secret police leaded the club to activity inhibition. In that sombre time met the club members secretly in restaurants and on tourist trips again. The trips on motorcycles were organized minimally and people were driving in small groups, not to attract attention uselessly.
In order not ti liquidate the club, was the HDC Prague in the 50-th years forced to join the militant organization Svazarm. By this way it was classed into the „united greyness“ of so-called National front under pigeons aviculturists, philatelists and gardeners, where it was as the for the regime politically dangerous group of people better to see and also under offices controll.
The atmosphere in the country began to liberate at the beginning of the 60-ties. In 1964 the HDCP managed to organize the first nationall rally in Seč near Chrudim, after the fashion of the western H-D clubs. The first international reunion was permitted by the offices even in 1967. It was carried out in Anin in Bohemian Forest and it was also visited by many drivers from Western Europe. The HDCP members had for the first time an opportunity to get view of the after-war H-D models including the legendary Electra Glide. This action, was even visited, though by mistake, the president of that time A. Novotný.
After 1968, this time after the invasion of russian occupating troops, was the club activity minimalized again. The members were followed by the secret police and on the club meeting then, under pressure of Svazarm, it came to absurd activities, such as throwing the gum grenade, target shooting etc. – and the results had to be reported to Svazarm. That way imagined the „comrades“ as an ideal motorclub activity.
In all that time, marked by the lack of spare parts, dispersed reunions and under unpleasantnesses the people still managed to keep the club alive.
In 1990, closely after the communist fall, the HDC Prague withdrew immediately from Svazarm. It resisted the temptation to unite henceforth under „protective wings“ of other covering organizations and started going its own independent way.
To ghost of a new time adapted the club statutes, began to establish closer contacts to other european H-D clubs – which was earlier impossible – and build its modern image.
Nowadays the HDCP organizes 3 big moto-reunions a year – in spring The First Mile, in summer The Czech Rally and in autumn The Last Mile – the reunions are so well known, that their names were stepwise accepted also by other czech clubs unifying other H-D owners. The HDCP also participates on realization of the Opening of moto-season by the drive Prague – Poděbrady in April and Biker-mass in May.
The club has also its other activities – in 2003 it cooperated for example with National technical museum by the preparation of the exhibition 100 years of H-D. Nowadays has the HDCP approximately 250 members and comparing it to other european H-D clubs it ranges herewith to the middle-big ones.
The machine park of the HDCP members has nowadays a wide spektrum – from absolute historical pieces to the newest models. The HDCP Prague doesn´t associate only drivers from the capital, but it also has members from all republic areas and beyond them also foreign members, e.g. from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but also from the USA.
In the club there´s free and easy family atmosphere, because more than two thirds of members have been driving together even for 20-30 years.
The members officially meet every first Thursday in the month.
In 1993 became the HDCP a member of prestigeous Federation of european HDC. Membership in this federation made the HDCP possible to organize in 2003, till that time the biggest moto-reunion in its history – Super Rally – the biggest european mega-reunion H-D, organized once a year in a directing country. The HDC Prague was chosen under many parties concerned and as the first HDC of all time from the countries of previous eastern block.
The Super Rally in 2003 was an extraordinary important event, because it took part in the year of the 100th anniversary of establishing the Harley-Davidson factory and 75th anniversary of establishing of the HDC Prague. Complicated preparations lasted almost 3 years. With such a giant action didn´t have the HDCP till that time any experiences and even the conditions in czech economics and services didn´t reach standards and opportunities common in developed western countries.
The reunion lasted 6 days and organizing it was arranged by many hundreds people – club members, their family members, friends and members of other motoclubs, including the MC. To the Super Rally to České Budějovice came 9000 visitors on 7000 machines from all Europe and also from other continents. Such a big amount of H-D motorcycles experienced our country for the first time…
And in such way lasted the HDC Prague out, with good health till nowadays. Despite different pressings for its liquidation in totalitarian times they never suceeded in smotheingr the club activity completely. Thanks to that is the HDC Prague now the oldest existing H-D club in the world. It´s a world rarity, because there´s even any older H-D club in the USA – birthplace of the steel legend.
The HDCP became the oldest H-D club in 1978 after the ending of, till that time the oldest ones, from San Francisco.