Monday, April 15

Mototourism arrives in Mérida on secret routes


The Harley-Davidson parking lot was filled with bikers yesterday. They stamped at a counter as they passed the welcome arch next to the gas station.

The motorcycles lying on the sideburns were crowded. A corridor with more than two hundred to the restaurant. Yahama or Kawasaki banners and in front of an information point with a lot of maps of Extremadura with the most recommended routes to do them by motorcycle.

María José Gracia and Almudena Prieto entered at noon. A-5 Madrid Merida. Bikers with stickers from half the world on the bodywork of their Kawasaky 650. They define themselves as motorcycle tourists. Of those who organize their vacations and their Saturday outings in kilometers and asphalt. This weekend it’s Merida. Like María José and Almudena, more than a thousand motorcyclists arrived yesterday at the Xtrem Challenge, a biker concentration that seeks, above all, to surprise those who participate.

The first ones parked at noon at the Harley-Davidson. Throughout the afternoon they were testing models that the brands put at their disposal. Departures every fifteen minutes with a monitor from the organization along the road that connects Trujillanos with Mérida. Quiet walk through an area with little traffic and no traffic lights. Andrés Muñoz is the organizer of the event. He says that they have divided it into two days so that there are equal parts coexistence and group routes. Yesterday was the day to test. José Manuel Antonio climbed on a 660 Aprilia. “Sounds like the old ones.” He took a picture of her and shared it with his whatsapp group.

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The idea, clarifies the organizer, is that potential customers share impressions of the same model that attracts them.

At night they concentrated on a technical meeting. The directors of the routes detailed the instructions for today.

The secret is the main attraction. Bikers do not know where they are going to go or where they are going to pass. There will be staggered departures from the Harley-Davidson between half past seven and nine in the morning. “We do it this way to avoid saturation on the roads.”

Each participant downloads a mobile application with a code with the instructions. There are several sealing points scattered around Merida where they will renew the sections marked by the application. “It is very interesting because we have an environment with spectacular roads and landscapes for bikers. We run away from monotony.

There are various distances. The shortest hardly reach three hundred and for the most resistant up to six hundred.

The Xtreme Challenge rotates its headquarters. On this occasion they chose Mérida for the UNESCO seal. «We want to surround the event with places with their own charm. Give a plus to the experience of the motorcycle that we already take care of making it pleasant for those who come, “explains Andrés Muñoz. Amateur between 35 and 45 years old. Large displacement motorcycle and a high purchasing power. He spends one or two nights in hotels with secure parking. The profile of the motorcyclist who spends this weekend in Mérida is very well defined. “We prepare the routes very well so that they can enjoy the itinerary that we mark out on the tracks.”

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Motorcycle tourism, explains the organizer, is experiencing a boom, but there are still cities that can get more out of it. And he gives Merida as an example. “We have exceeded a thousand registered, that shows that there is a perfect complement between this hobby and the city.” In his permanent contact with motorcyclists, he has detected that they are looking, above all, for routes and journeys that they have never done before. More than five thousand kilometers have been traveled to close today’s in Mérida.


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