All-American Harleys Take Off in Mideast

Lebanon bike tour celebrates iconic rides
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 14, 2008 3:44 PM CDT
They're an American symbol, but many across the Middle East love their Harleys.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – It may seem incongruous, but in a region rife with anti-American sentiment, the all-American symbol has found a home: Harley-Davidsons are on the rise in the Middle East, even in conservative countries like Saudi Arabia. The hogs’ popularity was marked this month by Lebanon’s first-ever Harley-Davidson tour, which saw some 130 bikers from across the Mideast gather to cruise through the country—women and children included, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Once you get on a Harley you feel that you are really free and that your spirit is always up high and you're going through the wind,” says one local biker. Most Harley fans in the region have links to America, having lived or studied there, for example, says a dealer. “It’s a part of American culture,” he notes, but in Lebanon, most seem perfectly tolerant of the bikes and their leather-clad riders.