(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Petrol fumes, Harley Davidsons and a sword swallower are all part of the entertainment on show at this year's Gulf Bike Week. Amanda Fisher was there to experience the sights and smells on the opening day
It's the start of Dubai's third annual bike week. You may be prepared for petrol fumes and Harley Davidson logos. You may be expecting revving engines and men in bandanas. But one thing you will almost certainly not be ready for is the sight of a man attaching ropes to his eyelids with hooks, in readiness to tow an off-roader.
From the hardcore to the downright bizarre, be prepared to find a smorgasboard of variety on show at the three-day event, which aims to draw in upwards of 40,000 visitors. Doors opened at 2pm yesterday, and almost immediately self-acknowledged "freak" Australian Chayne Hultgren was shocking visitors - and leaving more than a few with watering eyes.
A small crowd gathered to witness the performer and bike-lover, who is also the proud holder of 24 Guinness World Record titles, give watching media a casual demonstration of rather unexpected spectacles.
He started simply, piercing a large shark hook through his face, nonchalantly explaining: "It goes in the nose, through the skull and out the mouth.'' Hultgren moved steadily on to the more impressive sword swallowing, a feat he performs so regularly he has actually had magnets surgically inserted to draw the metallic objects away from his heart.
Before long he had attached two hooks to his eyelids, and connected them to one of manufacturer Can-Am's side-by-side off-road models, demonstrating how he performs one of his favoured tricks and source of a recent Guiness World Record. Hultgren holds the title for pulling the most weight the furthest distance, using his eyelids.
Peforming at a bike show is a natural fit for the man who also holds the record for having the most motorbikes driven over him while lying on a bed of nails - that is 20 in two minutes, for those who are curious.
Hultgren, who will perform three half-hour shows each day, said people should be prepared to see everything from sword swallowing, to juggling live chainsaws on a unicycle.
"I'll be doing all sorts of stunts, things with hooks, blades and knives. It's a family show, but everything is dangerous."
But aside from the wacky, there is plenty of people focused on the serious pursuit of biking, with 75 stalls and over 200 brands on display.
One of the more spectacular sights is also the most expensive on show. French bike designer Fred Duban, of Dub Performance, is exhibiting a one-of-a-kind entirely hand-crafted motorbike which took him a year to build from scratch. The motorbike is dubbed "proto-slug", for an obscure reason which has to do with the passionate designer leaving his mark on the biking world.
"I want my name to be the slime on the custom (motorcycle) world," Duban said.
But don't let the name fool you - this bike is much more appealing than a slug, and was designed with aesthetics in mind. It has a carbon fibre body and titanium exhaust, and took over 1000 hours of manufacture time. And it's ready to go to a good home - for a price.
Duban said the Dh1,000,000 price tag may be off-putting for some, "but in Dubai everything is possible", in contrast to recession-ravaged Europe.
The show is a launching pad for new products, as well as a new brand, Rumble Cycles, but it has also become a fixture on the social calendar, according to the event organiser Clarion's managing director Christopher Hudson.
"We really are the closest thing Dubai has got to an urban music festival...we're the only place in Dubai where there's no valet parking."
He said while the main target market was bikers, the broad range of action on offer also attracted "lots and lots of non-bikers, we attract kids, we attract all nationalities".
But it is the hardcore fans who are most pleased with the slice of bikie action in the Middle East.
Harley Davidson owner Eric Brown, who has been living in Dubai six months, said the hardest thing to adjust to in the UAE after the heat was that he had left his bike at home in America.
"[The bike show is] kind of small, but it's Dubai and it's nice to get something like this here, for sure."