It is an impressive picture in Assmannshausen in the Rheingau.

About a thousand motorcycles are lined up on the banks of the Rhine.

As if at a command, the bikers get on and start their machines.

Rich, roaring and bubbling engine noises allow the first taste of a weekend that is all about the American motorcycle cult brand Harley-Davidson.

Then the seemingly endless convoy sets off in glorious weather and drives on the federal highway 42 in the direction of Bad Ems through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley World Heritage Site.

Long-haired bikers in jeans and habit cruise on choppers with overlong telescopic forks in front of the picturesque backdrop of Rheinstein Castle on the other side of the Rhine.

Couples in leather suits ride on their thick machines with windjammer fairings, and now and then scooters and enduros mix with the shiny chrome parade of two-wheelers.

Hotel guests and residents wave from the windows, many have pulled out their cell phones and are filming.

No question: The "Magic Bike" is back - and that was just the start.

Since Thursday, Rüdesheim and the Rheingau have been the focus of one of the largest Harley-Davidson meetings in Europe.

Shortly after the opening, thousands of bikers from all over Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and other neighboring countries rode into the city - around the festival area at the Brömserburg, and on the former Asbach site there were hardly any free spaces to park the motorcycles .

“People are really into it now”

The organizing association Buddies & Bikes expects around 30,000 visitors over the weekend, but due to the excellent weather, the forecast will probably be exceeded.

In addition, the organizers have provided an attractive supporting program with the heavy metal tube Doro Pesch and the Rammstein cover band "Stahlzeit".

A total of 20 bands and musicians, including some from the region, make music on the festival days.

But first and foremost, after two years of the Corona compulsory break, it is of course about the motorcycles.

“Finally the 'Magic Bike' can be held again.

People are really up for it now,” says Karl-Heinz Weber, second chairman of the Rüdesheim Harley-Davidson Club.

According to Weber, the club was founded ten years ago and the 30 members helped with the preparations.

The 67-year-old Weber rode through the World Heritage Site as one of the stewards on his “Street Glide” on Thursday.

His machine cost 31,000 euros, but that was not the end of the story.

"I needed another exhaust, which cost another 3,000 euros," says Weber, and you can tell his enthusiasm.

Bettina and Frank Bockius from Spiesheim in Rheinhessen have come to Rüdesheim with their Road King.

“Everything is great here.

The flair, the people and also the atmosphere,” says Frank, while a trike slowly drives past behind him, from whose speakers “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash is playing.

"This is like a big family for me," says Daniela Dyda from Udenheim, who is happy that the four-day biker spectacle is being held again.

15,000 visitors on Corpus Christi alone

For the fans there is everything to do with motorcycles at the numerous stands, such as helmets, jackets and gloves.

Leather wallets with Harley emblems, glittering bags with skulls, there are few limits to the imagination.

At the official Harley-Davidson stand, anyone with a valid motorcycle license can test ride the new models, and at another stand, adjustable exhaust systems are on display - louder too.

Even if Harleys are the focus of the "Magic Bike", unusual motorcycles from other manufacturers also arouse the interest of visitors.

Right at the entrance to the festival area there was a Boss Hoss on Thursday.

The Corvette V8 has 425 hp.

"With its 2-speed automatic transmission, it leaves every racing car behind," affirms Peter Müller from Wiesbaden, who drives an E-Glide himself.

Müller has been on the "Magic Bike" for many years.

For him, the festival in Rüdesheim is something very special, because the event is more compact than any other.

That's what Frank Goebel from Hallgarten from the Harley-Davidson Club Wiesbaden Nassau thinks.

"It's all about fun, meeting friends and motorcycles," he clarifies.

He explains the rush of visitors on the first day of the festival with the long absence from Corona: "People are hungry."

That does indeed seem to be the case, because according to Bernhard Jung, more than 15,000 bikers were out and about in Rüdesheim and on the festival grounds on Corpus Christi alone.

“We got off to a great start.

It looks like we're going to break our visitor record this weekend," said the Buddies & Bikes chairman on Friday.

The top act with Doro Pesch went extremely well, the bikers partied until late at night.

According to him, there were no annoying incidents either: "Harley drivers often look a bit wild, but everything remained peaceful."

Anyone who wants to celebrate the bikers and see their machines or ride them can do so on Saturday in the Rheingau.

The big parade starts at 12 noon in Assmanshausen with the line-up and the biker brunch.

From 2 p.m. onwards, thousands of motorcycle lovers will drive through the Rheingau to Hallgarten in front of the eyes of probably just as many fans.

The bike show then starts at 4 p.m., and the most beautiful and unusual motorcycles are awarded in the evening from 7.30 p.m.

On Sunday from 10.30 a.m. on the Rüdesheim market square there is a biker service with the blessing of the motorcycles.

The “Magic Bike” ends at 3 p.m.

The detailed program is available online