Yesterday was a long one aboard my BMW F800GS fleet bike. I’m headed to this weekend's BMW-sponsored Pure & Crafted festival in Berlin and decided it would be a good time for me to ride on mainland Europe by myself for the first time. After all, these bikes are made to conquer the world, right? So it should be a doddle on the GS...
Delayed Eurotunnel trains and endless traffic in Belgium saw it ending up being one of those hideously long days, and that isn’t even taking into account the driving rain that accompanied me non-stop through three different countries. Not forgetting of course, time spent re-navigating after taking wrong turns. It sounds like a trainwreck of a day, but it wasn’t largely in part to the GS.
Its capability really has made the trip so far a lot more enjoyable than it perhaps should be. The naturally frugal nature of the bike means that I was able to concentrate more on my new surroundings rather than using all of my concentration to tame the bike.
It really helped me just to focus on the matter of keeping on the right side of the road and adjusting my riding to suit the local traffic conditions on the wrong side of the road.
The frugality of the bike doesn’t make it dull though - wind it on and there’s still oodles of fun to be had, but it is nice to have a bike that is completely adaptable to how I want to ride rather than trying to constantly tame a beast while I try to navigate a new environment.
It’s completely effortless to ride and allowed me to just crack on with the trip, taking away the mental strain I’ve usually associated with riding a bike for a long time. The 14 hours I spent aboard the bike were made a lot easier just by the fact that it was comfortable with the bike’s relaxed upright position keeping any aches and pains at bay.
The height of the GS also gives a good view over traffic and let me plan further ahead, again helping reduce strain and effort. I was particularly glad to have this around Antwerp in Belgium, where I spent the whole time negotiating my way through heavy traffic.
Despite raining constantly through Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany too, it never dulled the enjoyment of being on the GS, even after my riding kit succumbed spectacularly to the elements leaving me sodden.
There were several points where I could see no more than a hundred or so feet. The good field of view again helped increase awareness of my surroundings, keeping me more alert to what was going on.
I suppose you could argue that the trip so far has been less than perfect, but with the GS it doesn’t feel that way in the slightest. It just gets on with the job at hand and makes life that little bit easier when the reality is it should be a lot more difficult. Now for day two...
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