30 June 2013

Short Interruption for Late Breaking News

We interrupt the usual program of vacation trip coverage with some up-to-date news.

Yesterday was a big day in the riding history of this family as the most important member got her first brand new motorcycle:

Andrea and her R1200R
"90 Jahre BMW Motorrad" Special Edition

This was in the making for quite a while. Late last year she did a test ride on a 2012 BMW R1200R but at that time she said it was a bit too much. Now it's about 5000 miles of riding the F650GS later and the perception has changed slightly. When we were on our trip, we had two days "down time" in Las Vegas and she did another test ride on an "R" and after going on a highway for a bit, doing some more riding on city roads, she was sold. The R seemed to be "the bike".


Now, it was about finding one. There are sometimes used ones on the market, but we also heard that BMW San Jose had one of the "90 Jahre BMW Motorrad" special edition bikes still coming in. One day after our return home from our trip, we put down a deposit on that model. It was already on the ship from Germany and supposed to arrive this week. And so it did.

It arrived on Thursday, we picked it up yesterday and right away went for a day trip in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We rode Highway 9 to Santa Cruz, 1 to Pescadero, Pescadero Road to 84 and 84 up to Alice's Restaurant - one of our favorite places to go on the bikes.

This was already a super nice and twisty route - both proud owner and bike performed flawlessly! Only the helmet prevented the smile from going all the way around.

Today we continued the "break in" period with a ride to the North Bay. Our initial target was Point Reyes but with Highway 1 jam packed with cars between San Francisco and at least Stinson Beach, we turned around and headed for the Wine Country.

Proud Owner

It was a beautiful route, just incredibly hot today. We had 42C (108F) but still were having lots of fun.

Even I was allowed to sit on it and make "vroom, vroom" noises for a little bit before being chased off again.

"Vroom, vroom"

Tiger and New Stable Mate

On the way home we hit some cross winds – Andrea's favorite kind of wind on the motorcycle – and while I was being blown around, I checked in the mirrors and saw exactly nothing happen with the R.

It's a very beautiful motorcycle for a very beautiful rider!

From Andrea:

On our way home from today's trip we rode the last stretch on the highway. At some point I noticed a gusty wind area sign and indeed saw Guido bouncing a bit left to right shortly after [Guido: "a bit ..., argl ... it was actually quite bad!"]. I felt the wind myself on my body but that was it. While riding at about 65mph, the R kept going like on rails, very steady and unimpressed by those wind gusts. After the struggles I had on the F650GS, I was very pleased with this new experience! Guido was asking me whether I could feel the wind. "Yeah, I do. So?"

Overall, the R handles nicely not only on highways but also those twisty roads we went on the weekend. We kept it easy of course for those two first days. I'm especially careful in slow maneuvers on parking lots, gas stations, and such, just don't want to drop the bike due to stupid action or lack in concentration. It also feels like it's made for long trips. Especially with the comfort seat, Guido is afraid that he might ask for a break while I could still go on and on and on.

Another detail I found really handy in general for those days with temperature >40C: I soak my helmet cap in water before riding. This helps extremely for staying fresh and awake in case of a long riding day in hot weather.


  1. congratulations!
    and wow it is hot...also try a hydration vest if you'll be riding outside of the shaded protection of the hills til thursday when the heat breaks.

    1. We do have hydration backpacks and also sometimes soak our shirts when it is super hot. Right now I'm not using the hydration backpack as I have issues with my right shoulder when on the bike, but we loved using them during our vacation trip.

  2. Awesome!! Happy Bike Day Andrea. I am glad you found a bike you like so well and it handles those cross winds better too.

    Here's to many happy miles in the upcoming years.

    I wear a buff around the neck and soak it in cold water whenever possible when riding in hot weather. It stays wet for a while in front, but longer on the back of the neck which is nice.

    1. I prefer to keep the buff not wet but to soak the arms of my shirt. If it gets too cold around my neck/shoulders, I'm getting even more issues with my shoulders than I already do. The Tiger seems to have some odd ergonomics that are giving me trouble on longer rides.

  3. Now, time to redo the vacation ride, just for comparison...

  4. Andrea:

    Congrats on your new Bike. It is such an easy bike to ride, it nearly follows the twisties by itself.

    it also has very powerful brakes, just be careful using them

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. This morning I rode this particular bike the first time and again, I'm really impressed by it. The brakes are excellent (especially compared to the ones on the Tiger that a) have not much feel, and b) require a lot of pressure). Make it a bit more challenging when you're not used to them, though.

      The engine is just such a weird thing - it rocks and rolls when starting and when idling, but it is easily smoother than my Tiger on the highway between 60 and 70mph. But I also certainly felt that I'm used to a windshield ... ;-)