Back to the RT’s Birthplace – BMW Motorradwerk Berlin

The first major overseas trip planned for the RT was to its birthplace: the BMW Motorradwerk in Berlin.

I knew this was going to be a pretty boring trip as my past experience of Northern France has always been that it’s the area you have to ride or drive through to get to the interesting bits, which is why this July’s trip starts with a ferry down to Spain…

Anyway, I checked the Michelin maps I’ve got for that trip and saw that I could actually have some ‘scenic’ stuff in Belgium on the way (given that I’d planned a two stop strategy on the way to Berlin, two nights in Berlin itself, and then one stop on the way back in the Netherlands.

So at around 6am on Sunday 9th June it was off to LeShuttle at Folkestone for our fixed time trip out.  On the way there, the truly irritating BMW Connected app had frozen on the A3 but fortunately I knew I was using the M25 and turned off in time, rather than continuing as the app was pretending to tell me.  As we arrived to check in, I realised that I’d left my wallet at home so I’d have to try to pay for everything with Apple Pay on my Apple Watch or iPhone 15 Pro…

It froze a couple of times in France and Belgium which meant we had to go a slightly different route towards Liege than I’d planned, and threw my trust in the app off even more.  I can see why some other owners have given up and ditched it altogether in favour of a mounted Garmin one (which also has the added bonus of showing “safety” cameras).  Why BMW don’t let us use Apple CarPlay is beyond me.

Still, at least I got a bit of footage in Dinant in Belgium, which was indeed scenic:

We stopped along the way in a lovely little town called Florennes for a salad for lunch.

RT parked up in Florennes

We got to the Mercure at Liege and checked in, asking if we could book a table in the restaurant. “No,” they said, “it’s not open on Sundays”. Well that’s not what it says on their website! We decided to get a drink in the bar anyway, but again, we were told that’s also closed on Sundays. We weren’t best pleased…  We did, however, find a little Italian restaurant nearby where we could eat.

The next day was a bit of a wet one as we headed towards Hameln (or “Hamelin” where the Pied Piper hung out. I’d booked us into the Hotel Stadt Hameln and frankly didn’t expect much, but the room was large and comfortable and the restaurant was absolutely outstanding. We also wandered into the old town to see if we could get some cash out on Alison’s Supplemental American Express Platinum Card, but sadly that service isn’t offered any longer.  This meant we had no cash for tipping.

The Klim Latitude and Altitude clothing, our Alpinestars short boots and our gloves had all  performed brilliantly keeping us dry as a bone, and with the heated seats, grips and waistcoats we’d been warm as well.

We then headed on to Berlin and two nights at the outstanding Hotel Adlon Kempinski at the Brandenburg Gate. I could definitely get used to champagne and caviar for breakfast every day!  At least we could use their temporary gym – the normal one is being renovated – to burn some of the calories off.

We also visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe; very poignant.

On the Wednesday after brunch we went off to BMW Motorradwerk for an extended factory tour in English … except the English-speaking guide couldn’t do it, so the German one press-ganged a Polish(?) tourist into translating for him, which sort of worked but was a tad unsatisfactory.

Thursday morning after a workout and brunch we headed off to Eindhoven, seeing 207km/h or 129mph on the autobahns. Well that was irritating! One minute, you’re on an unrestricted stretch of dual carriageway in Germany and the next moment it’s the same road in the Netherlands with a 100km/h speed limit! The next morning was the same when we left the Netherlands and hit Belgium: the same road but now with a 120km/h speed limit.

The Park Plaza in Eindhoven was again comfortable after a really long ride but it featured the slowest lift in the world ever!

After breakfast we packed and headed back to Calais and then on to home. We’d booked flexiplus on LeShuttle so after ordeal by UK Border Agency as usual – including the jobsworth insisting we took off our crash helmets for no reason at all – we had lunch in the lounge before getting on the next train back to the UK and home by mid-afternoon on Friday: four countries in one day!

So yes: 1,418 miles with a maximum speed of 129mph and still averaging 47.8mpg for the trip.

At the last minute I’d added a Kriega US-40 Rackpack for our shoes and heated vests to go in, fixed to the frame and rack and sitting on the top of the top case (plus we had the top case and pannier liner bags to use).

May 2024 Stats

So, May 2024 was a continuation of FulGaz’s challenge over the course of the year, the FulGaz Ironman Sprint Series which I had started last month.

There was also a quick work trip to Madrid working long days, but with the chance of hitting our boutique hotel’s gym … which was utterly shite with only a prehistoric treadmill to use.  This had the potentially lethal feature of speeding up and slowing down randomly, coupled with a worn surface which made it like running on ice … and then there was the abrupt emergency full stop shortly after I’d started going full tilt. Nice…

So, here are May’s stats:

May 2024 Stats

May 2024 Stats

Activities: 33 Distance: 425.73 km Time: 19:32:24 Calories:  17,398

Turning to my weight, at the end of April I weighed 85.0kg and at the end of May I weighed 83.4kg, which is down 1.6kg.  Today, I’m down again to 83.2kg.

Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride 2024 – Guildford Surrey Hills

Well despite the dodgy weather forecast in the lead-up to the event, Sunday dawned bright and a bit crisp so we dressed up in our dapper finery and jumped on Blue Rex to ride into Guildford.

We weren’t sure who’d be there but as it turned out Charley Boorman was there on his Bike Shed-branded Triumph Thruxton RS which looked just great in that burnt orange.

Alison was doing videographer duties up back and we’ve got a couple of hours’ footage on one of the GoPros …and here’s a teaser:

I suppose being Surrey might explain the three Vincents/HRDs there plus a number of other lovely machines including a couple of army-specced bikes and a similar RAF liveried one (with two equally vintage riders that I saw).

We stopped at Loseley House to regroup and then continued the ride, ending up at the Hog’s Back Brewery where we stopped for Aperol Spritzes and a pulled-pork bap:

Yours Truly

Yours Truly

Alison

Alison enjoying the sun

After a relatively brief stop, we headed home.  Once parked up, didn’t Blue Rex look great?

Blue Rex after DGR2024

Blue Rex after DGR2024

Getting Ready for DGR 2024

We’re doing the 2024 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride again this year and again we’re joining the Guildford – Surrey Hills ride which last year had over 550 bikes attending.

If you want to donate, you can here:

https://gfolk.me/RichardMorris

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2024

Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride 2024: Please Sponsor Me!

A friend mentioned some YouTube clips he’d watched and we’re on a few:

At 58 seconds in.

At around 6 minutes in.

And more here at 4 minutes in:

So today it’s a few final checks and a refuel before tomorrow’s ride. I have done some damage to one of my glutes and hamstring, so sitting is painful. What could go wrong? ????

April 2024 Stats

April 2024 was a continuation of March’s heavy workload, but there was also my birthday as well as a new challenge over the course of the year, the FulGaz Ironman Sprint Series which I signed up to. Looking at the stats, I did work out longer and harder, which is a good thing.

So, here are April’s stats:

April 2024 Stats

April 2024 Stats

Activities: 31 Distance: 505.79 km Time: 22:02:43 Calories:  20,205

Turning to my weight, at the end of March I was 84.3kg (the same as this morning, 1 May), and at the end of April I weighed 85.0kg, so up 0.7kg.  I’m not too concerned, given today I’m back at 84.3kg and my weight has been up and down like a whore’s drawers!

You can also see a new feature in the stats which is that a blood pressure reading has been taken. This is because our blood pressure monitors have only allowed to take manual readings which we can then manually add to Apple Health, but there’s no way to automatically import them into Connect. And then I got a promotional email from Garmin about their Index BPM Smart Blood Pressure Monitor and it was a no-brainer to get it ordered.

Bye-Bye Gilles Rearsets

Well it had to happen eventually!

Way back in the mists of time, I used to organise and instruct on trackdays for the Motorcycle Folly.

Initially, I just had the ZRX, so I’d use that but to make it less unsuitable, I fitted a set of Gilles rearsets to push my feet backwards and upwards (with a consequential increase in the extent to which my knees would have to bend):

Blue Rex side-on

Blue Rex side-on

Note also that in that photo there are no grabrails or pillion pegs fitted.  That was fine when I was doing almost 100% solo riding, but since remarrying someone who loves being on the bikes with me, I’ve refitted the pegs and grabrail.  That always led to some clash of feet, no matter how much we tried to be careful.

Fast-forward to buying the BMW R 1250 RT LE and getting off that and on to the ZRX and it’s a case of “have my footpads fallen off?”  So couple those two issues with the degree of necrosis in my knee and with a heavy heart, the Gilles rearsets were removed last weekend and the standard footpads refitted.

End of an era.

Bahnstormer Motorrad Alton to Whiteways Cafe Ride Out

After a week or so’s seemingly incessant rain, the forecast for last weekend looked fairly good and coincided with a rideout arranged by Bahnstormer Motorrad from their Alton branch to Whiteways Cafe outside Arundel.

So we swapped over our rest days from the Sunday to the Saturday – I’m trying to get fitter and Alison’s in training for a PCA bikini class bodybuilding competition – and got up a little earlier to breakfast and head on down to Bahnstormer for a coffee and to join the other riders. In total, there were 29 of us! Take a look at Bahnstormer’s video of us leaving Alton:

Here’s my little highlights video too:

Oh and there’s a longer version with some added expletives here:

When we bypassed Goodwood because they were having a members’ meeting and our route was blocked, we ended up on a flooded road with bonus mud from the fields, so the RT got absolutely filthy.

Once home, I got the pressure washer out and cleaned it up, but noticed I could see the rear suspension from the left … because the small side cover was missing.  A couple of phone calls and a visit today and they’ve sorted me out without any fuss. I truly cannot recommend them any more strongly than I do and of course they’ll get my order for this RT’s replacement when and if.

I just must stop myself from impulse-buying an M 1000 XR by mistake in the meantime…

 

New Boots and Panties

I mentioned a while back that I’d bought some new Klim riding gear for Alison and me. I’d held off from buying the matching Klim Latitude Jeans for me and Klim Altitude Jeans for Alison as we both already had waterproof trousers, but Alison’s didn’t really fit and my Alpinestars ones were waaaaay too big and the Triumph Taloc leather jeans too big (but not massively so).

Klim Latitude Pants Klim Latitude Pants Klim Altitude Pants Klim Altitude Pants

I’d been using a pair of Alpinestars J-6 boots for general riding – as seen in this photo – but as I found out after a long walk in Gran Canaria to collect a bike from CanaryRide, they caused the odd blister after a while.  Now I could use my crashed-in but waterproof Alpinestars SMX Plus boots but they’re a bit heavy for walking around off the bike, so I decided to get another pair of boots that are waterproof, will go better with the light grey trousers, and should be comfortable off the bike. So I bought myself some Alpinestars Fastback 2 Drystar boots and at the same time bought Alison some Alpinestars Women’s J-6 boots, both of which are waterproof and should be good to wear off the bike.

Alpinestars Fastback 2 Drystar Waterproof Boots Alpinestars Ladies J-6 Waterproof Boots

These were all ordered – again – from SPORTSBIKESHOP but on their ‘try before you buy’ option using their Reading store. This was because the Klim sizing can be a little strange, apparently, although I’ve not had any problems.  We set off to Reading on Bank Holiday Monday to try the gear on.

We had followed the sizing guidance and had ordered my trousers in a 34″ waist on the basis that the feedback was they were a little smaller than that. They weren’t. Even with the thankfully adjustable waist cinched up small, they looked like a schoolboy’s first set of school trousers that you’d grow into eventually.  So I tried on some 32″ Klim Badlands Pro trousers and they seemed much better, so we ordered the Latitude trousers in a 32″ waist.  They arrived today – yes, the day after ordering late on a Bank Holiday! – and are fine; I can even cinch the waist up some more if I feel the need to before walking around. It looks like all my exercise might be paying off.

Oh and that noise you can hear? That’s my wallet crying…

 

Spring Has Sprung (and been replaced)

With the RT collected after its initial ‘running-in’ service and with the suspension replaced under warranty, it was time for a ride to check everything out with a bonus test of the super-trick “adaptive headlights” which apparently move from side to side when cornering (like they do on my Abarth 124 Spider).

And yes, they’re good and bright and work well:

Then my wife headed off for a family baby shower, leaving me unsupervised for a weekend, so I headed off to the Cotswolds to do some filming: