The second post was meant to be posted yesterday. I was going to wax on about how we have only one bike, but two bikes' worth of insurance. About how we have two bikes' worth of riding gear and how tomorrow (now today) we would go and collect the second bike (Helga) from near Gaillac, which as the epicureans know, is a wine region near Toulouse. It was all going to be appetite whetting, but instead this post has to be more like wiping up the literary crumbs once the feeding frenzy is done.
We've been. We're back. We have a bike.
There was some speculation to the model of the bike. To how imitable our two bikes are. How similar, how different. The first post contained some minor inaccuracies due to some small miscommunication. The new bike was meant to be the single-spark model. Almost is. It is a BMW which is nice, a F 650 GS, which is what we were after. It has one cylinder, yes, but it is the two spark model. This is good news: our primary misgivings about the new bike were based around its supposed one-spark plug ignition, which it doesn't have. In all, this means the two bikes, far from being inimitable, are basically identical. This reduces the number of redundant parts we'll carry. The number of spares, the tools, and in effect halves the amount of mechanical knowledge required. Good news: we now know about half of what we needed to know last week, and so at the current rate, we'll know it all by next week.
We have put out some cries for sponsorship. Fancy batteries, fancy suspension, fancy tires, bearings, and all the running gear really. All the stuff we suspect will wear. We've begun sending letters to see whether people want us to use their gear and include it in our reviews. We are also preparing a National Geographic explorer grant, and if we're amazingly lucky and worthy, we might end up with financial and in-kind support for our trip (check out our sponsor's page), which will be good since if you check our budget page, you'll see this is going to cost.
Theresa and I are going to ride motorcycles from her parents' house in Wildeshausen, Germany, to my parents' house, in Tullera, Australia. I can predict the questions you're asking: How are we going to do it? What will we ride? How long will it take? Do we realise there is water in between, and that Ewan McGregor already rode a motorcycle a long way? Read on, intrepid keyboard warrior, and brace for answers.
Firstly, yes: we know there is water in between (and yes, I do know that is only half the map, but for some reason, Google maps doesn't find a route..?). Secondly, we are going to do it by motorcycle, thirdly, they will be the inimitable BMW F650GS, 2004 single-spark, and the similarly inimitable BMW F650GS, 2004 dual-spark. Fourth, it will take many months (indeed, we anticipate the preparation taking about 7 months). Fifth, and anticipation of your as-yet-unasked question, I know am answering the questions out of order, and lastly, yes, I know other people ride bikes a long way and have similarly self-aggrandandising web sites, blogs, documentaries, books, DVDs for sale, and so on. I get it. No, we aren't copying someone else's idea: we're on our own chautauqua.
Here, this blog-thing, will be the suppository of all of our wisdom. Our visa challenges (permission type, not the financial... though probably the financial, too). Our gear. The cost. The experiences, the photos, the videos, the DVD for sale, the list of sponsors. And so: how far along are we?
Well, we have two bikes. One yellow (the dual-spark), and parked in Engomer. The other Black (single spark), and not really exactly in our possession at the moment, as we will go and pick it up on the 17th. One week! How do the bikes differ? Well, the golden, dual-spark BM-Rubber-Duck-elew has a bit more horsepower, and better efficiency. It has stock BMW luggage. The sable, rider-of-the-night, beast will be slower. More likely to run out of fuel on the long legs, and has what seems to be superior Touratech luggage. Who gets which bike? Which will be more reliable in the long run? Will we, in fact, notice any difference aside from colour? Stay tuned avid readers, as the selection arguments unfold over the next couple weeks.