Monday 29 June 2015

Weimar and Bauhaus

After much 160km-h autobahnstorming we  arived late in the afternoon in Weimar. A cute little town with a rich history. We checked into a boutique hotel and quickly got out of our sticky )40deg today= bike gear and sat on the roof top terrace for a bit before heading out to the town square for a feed and a well earned beer.

The reason for our visit was that the professor had to give a lecture at the original and famous Bauhaus University. We were treated to a tour of the facilities by one of the professors collegues. Not a pretty campus compared to some but it had a great feel. The history of the Bauhaus movement is well documented and a quick wiki seasrch will give you the details but for now I'll give you my take away.

It was an artistic movement between 1919 and 1935 that seemed to want to return function to form as a priority driven also by the modernism movement. Students of the movement we first grounded deeply in building things or "Making" in todays terms. This meant all students were first taught the trades inc carpetry, metal work, ceramics etc etc etc before perrsuing their "Art". Hitler put an ewnd to the movement as he saw it as a threat as too left wing and intelectual.

I was blown away by the workshops at the uni. Huge wood, metal, ceramic, plastics etc workshops as well as the more common making environments of today 3D printing, laser cutting and arduinos.

I loved the place. you may find the old schools output a bit harsh. but you can see its influence on Industrial design, architechure, and art today. The Maker culture of today would love it.

The Professors Billing

The original Bauhaus Mark

Rooftop terrace at our hotel sans G&T

A lazy Rodan lying around in the foyer

Saturday 27 June 2015


Gerty, had some work trips scheduled in Germany so we decided to ride our motorcycles and make a bit of a first tour of it. Gerty, had some work trips scheduled in Germany so we decided to ride our motorcycles and make a bit of a first tour of it. We had two nights in Weimar and 3 nights in Potsdam booked for Gerty's work and tacked on three extra nights to get there and back.
In the usual fashion we had got off to a late start so our goal was to get as far as possible towards Weimar as we could. This involved taking some major roads. We soon found our selves on a autobahn. This was a bit of a foreign concept so we spent some time sussing it out but once we had worked out the rules we were soon travelling at 140 to 160kph most of the time. What a hoot. I even got the F700gs up to its maximum speed of an indicated 205kph that the GPS measured at 195kph. This later figure aligns with the stated BMW max speed. To reach this I had it pinned (no more twist in the throttle) and had to lay flat on the tank to avoid the wind and also to place extra weight on the front of the bike to stop it wobbling. I even had to ride one handed to stop the wind buffeting feeding back into the steering.

Apart from being adrenaline filled max speed fun travelling at this speed is tiring so 140 -150 became our average. I did learn pretty quickly that the 700s windshield has to go, its far to inefficient for highway travel.

At a coffee break we had booked a motel on line at Wittenberg. Which seemed about half way to Weimar. We had no idea what his place was about but when we arrived we realised we had booked into a year round indoor ski centre. Outside it looked like a big shed in an industrial area, inside however people were tromping around in ski gear having après ski drinkies etc like any other ski resort. After a quick kip we dined overlooking people skiing well into the evening. My meal consisted of schweinaxel and beer with Kraut and potatoes. Brilliant. 

What a cool and bizarre place.

Friday 26 June 2015

Sense of Direction

It was time for the Beemers first service just in time for our trip to Germany. Up at 6:00 and off to Ølgod and our friends at Xpedit. The service was straight froward and we were allowed to watch and talk to the mechanics which is a pleasant surprise. My bike needed a bit of a rear wheel alignment and chain tension but apart from that all was as to be expected.

I also took this opportunity to get Xpedit to install my new Garmin LM390 GPS and show me how its done so I can install Gertys. A GPS is very useful here where I can't full understand the signs. Finally I can get lost and just press home when I'm tired or my sense of direction fails me.

Vstream GPS mount

Garmin 390 installed

Thursday 25 June 2015

Pulled Pork and Chasing Daiseys N Jylland

Needed to get the Ks up for my first service tomorrow so Gerty and I headed out for a pulled pork burger then try and revisit the Daisy route I found the other day.

Said Pulled Pork Burger and gratis kaffe

Well the burger was up to its usual standard ie bloody great, so we headed out. 

Now the daisy route is poorly signed at best. For example after following a set of linked signs for some time you may come  to a T intersection with no sign. Today was one of those cases and I unfortunately chose incorrectly and got lost. Alas we did not re experience the mini twisites.

Oh well next time.

Tuesday 23 June 2015

N Jylland - Chaising Daiseys

Today I went chasing daises again but this time headed north to where the the land wrinkles due to the receding ice sheet, back in the day (the ice age day that is). I'm sorry but no map or pictures, but what a ride. I managed to track most daises and fluked the correct turns when the signs disappeared. There was a bit of everything, lots of little twisty country lanes, jump ups, forests, tree covered roads, lakes, wild life (voles, pheasants, and squirrel looking things) and no traffic. I'm not really sure where I rode but I roughly headed to Horsens then west in and around Silkeborg finishing in Ry before bolting back to Kolding via the Motorway as I'd been out for 4 hours.

I hope I can find my way back here again and hopefully find a decent bloody cafe.

Sunday 21 June 2015

Pulled Pork

Denmark seems to produce a shit load of pork for Europe,  I think it must be the biggest export even before wind turbines and LEGO. So today's ride consisted of Gerty showing me a great little motorcycle cafe just near Midlefart on the island of Fyn.

We rode out of Kolding eastward across the bridge joining Jylland and Fyn and shortly afterwards we came upon a little cafe with loads of motorcycles parked out side. The cafe does a roaring trade and there must have been 50 bikes there all getting their free coffee and great burgers. We followed the lead of a group of Scuba divers that were refuelling after a mornings dive (Dry suits all year around here) and ordered the Pulled Pork Burger. My God what a taste sensation. This little cafe will now definitely become a regular launching point for rides in Fyn which allegedly contains some real danish twisites.

Said Cafe

Gerty and the Beemers post Pulled Pork Burger

There had apparently been a motorcycle festival just north of Kolding hence so many bikes but it is apparently always busy. Danish motorcyclists are no different from motorcyclist in OZ. It was only moments before they were chatting to us (luckily in English) sharing the usual enthusiasm and openness that I've come to enjoy in the Australian motorcycling fraternity.

Saturday 20 June 2015

Chasing Daisies SW Jylland

Today Gerty and I set out for our first real ride. My bike is in its run in period so nothing to hard. So We went chasing daisies.

There is a famous route around Denmark taking in all the most spectacular parts and roads outside the major cities, its called the "Marguerite route".  It is signposted by small brown signs with a daisy on them, and there are so many you can pretty much spot a sign turn off and enjoy the ride. The total route is about 3,600km and hopefully I'll get to see all of it eventually, but for now its a good way of having random adventures by just chasing daises.

The sign to follow

All 3,600km of the Marguerite route
Today we headed out to the south west of Jylland which is the western most lump of land making up three major bits of Denmark along with the island of Fyn and the island of Sjælland (where Copenhagen is situated). We rode about 300 kms of country roads skirting the sth east coast almost crossing the German boarder before we decided to head back on a more major road to Kolding. We enjoyed a quick bite to eat in a seaside town of Hejlsminde in the brilliant sunshine which has been pretty rare this summer. I'm sorry I cant publish a map but The GPS is not yet hooked up and quite frankly I'm not sure what roads we took.

The New Beemers at their first Lunch stop

Did I mention Denmark is flat. Really flat. It was formed buy the leading edge of the ice sheet during the ice age. Consequentially its land forms are basically the dirt wrinkle formed in front of the ice sheet. Its highest mountain (read lump) is only ~270m so twisties in the traditional sense are very rare. It is however undulating and very rural so it is easy to find very entertaining rides only minutes from home.

Friday 19 June 2015

New Beemer for European Assault

Today I took delivery of my new BMW F700GS from Xpedit my new BMW dealer here in Denmark.

It has actually been sitting at the dealer for ten days fully paid up and proud whilst I waited for my residency number (CPR number) to come through so it could be registered.

By the way this was also my second attempt to pic it up as two days earlier we drove out (2hr return) to pick it up only to be faced with driving rain  that did not let up. So we had to retreat back to Kolding to regroup.

The dealer was kind enough to let me take my new Schubert C3 pro helmet, Rukka gloves, jacket, trousers, Dayton boots, inner bag for the BMW top box all on account to pay him when my transfer comes through. Plus he gave me a great discount. Thanks Rune.

Thursday 18 June 2015

Happy birthday to me in the Koldinghus rape dungeon

Gerty took me for my birthday dinner at the Madkælderen Koldinghus a spectacular restaurant in the cellars of the old castle.

As you descend the stairs and loose the natural light I couldn't help but think "Rape Dungeon" and was bracing myself for the gimp suit and ball gag. But as our eyes adjusted to the lower light the atmosphere revealed itself to be cosy and viking like with lots of wood, sheep skins, barrels and candles with not a hint of PVC to be seen.

The food was spectacular. It was a set menu of never ending courses each one weird and delicious. For example the first dish was a potted asparagus with edible dirt made from honey and a substrate of some form of mayonnaise. The wine service was also interesting it was a self serve selection on a side table with about 12 different wines to match with all the courses. We were guided through this performance by charming a and helpful waitress.

Definitely coming back here. Thanks Gerty

The cellar at Kolding haus


Monday 8 June 2015

And the winner is?


So why the F700GS?

Well I still have my trusty R1200GS in OZ and would have loved the same here in Denmark. However, due to the very high upfront tax on motor vehicle purchases here in Denmark (ie 180% of purchase price) I could not afford the $60,000 price tag for a bike that costs 22k in OZ.

So it was downsize or don't ride (yeah right)

Of all the test candidates it came down to the F800GT or the 700GS. The GT had my heart because of its looks but after much deliberation I decided the F700GS the best fit, best all round and most suited to my European aspirations. It made sense as Danielle has also just purchased a F700GS so it will be nice to be able to take those dirt roads together without second thought.

I got a good deal from Xpedit as some one had managed to taken it for a ride in Copenhagen instantly making it a demonstrator. This and the fact its last years colour made it a bit cheaper but still has 2015 first rego and full new warranty with only 325km on the clock.

I still can't quite get my head around the fact that it still costs more than a new R1200GS in OZ but I'm sure once on the road all will be forgotten.


Oh and its silver so it will look just like a baby version of my R1200GS when I farlkle it with shiny aluminium panniers and crash bars etc.

Thursday 4 June 2015

Testing 1, 2, 3 .........8

Over the last two weeks I have driven to the west coast of Denmark to test ride motorcycles eager to purchase one and begin my adventures in Europe with Danielle.

After much searching on the net and use of Google translate I discovered Suzuki and BMW dealer about an hour away. The Dealers were both helpful but the BMW dealer in Ølgod (Translation = Beer Good) was a great find with the owner Rune Bach Anderson looked after us with numerous test rides (~7 over six visits) and buy keeping the shop open after hours for us. He has also kindly lent us gear whilst we wait for ours to arrive by ship and has let us take gear that we have purchased before international transfers of cash have actually landed.  I'd highly recommend Rune (pronounced Roona) and his teams in both the Ølgod and Copenhagen Xpedit A/S dealerships.

Anyway to the candidate bikes. All were given a thorough test and here are my thoughts

The F800GT was great fun, best brakes, best power delivery and best looking. But it is more expensive, not as easy to load up and I did feel more comfortable on the dirt roads on the dual sport format bikes. I really loved the ride but it did entice me to speed at every opportunity and the speeding fines are horrendous here. I'm not saying its all that powerful compare to what I'm used to but its light and does provide a grin inducing pull up through the revs.

The F800GS was as expected and didn't handle on road nearly as well as the others and for the extra money it just isn't as suited to Europe as the 700. There is no doubt though I would choose this for extended off road and dirt or RTW though. It would be a great around and through OZ bike.

The Vstrom 650 was great value, very planted, has a comfy seat and a smooth if dull delivery but, it's very ugly and lacks any personality. I found its finish is fairly agricultural and it felt too big and heavy for what it was given its low power. A real down side was its screen which delivered the worst buffeting regardless of position. Its probably a sensible economic choice but bugger that.

The F700GS felt really familiar, friendly, rock solid in the corners and feels very light and flickable. Its power is a bit down on the other beemers but it delivers what it has in all the right places making it better than the the others, all things considered. The seat and screen that so many complain about did not bother me but I am braced to replace if needed.

Mmmmm GT or GS ?