Last weekend, I ditched work early and took off for New Mexico to check out the Bavarian Mountain Weekend Rally hosted by the Land of Enchantment BMW Riders. Continue reading to come along for the ride!
First off, I’ll note that I probably should have flown. My original plan was to take my time, but work commitments on both ends of the trip meant I ended up having to rush both ways and I didn’t have enough time to stop and enjoy the sights as much as usual. Even then, it all worked out because over the last few months I’ve been feeling like I’ve been writing much more than I’ve been riding, so the 2,000+ mile trip gave me a much appreciated respite. I asked BMW for a loaner (not the R1250GS as I’ve spent enough time on that for now) and they kindly obliged with the F850GS equipped with Heidenau K60 Scouts. Is there anything you want to know about the mid-sized adventure bike? Fire away in the comments and I’ll let you know what I think…
By the time it was late enough for me to experiment, I was stuck on the highway and in the mood to cover miles, so I just made a quick attempt and used a call box as a tripod. It wasn’t what I originally had in mind, but it was good camera setting practice for the next time when I want to do the shot properly.
The general idea was to try and find dirt after every 3 hours of pavement or so. This was a lovely detour somewhere in northern New Mexico – only problem was that I had to go somewhat slow to make sure I didn’t shake my laptop to pieces.
It was indeed a tiny casino. It was really a convenience store with an attached room full of slot machines. This was about 20 minutes away from the rally site – I went in to grab a six pack of Kilt Lifter before showing up. Priorities, you know?
This whole trip came about thanks to Bike-urious reader Gary Cade. Vy and I met him back in 2016 when we were doing a 2-up trip of the Western US, and we went back to see Gary and his wife later in the year to check out the International Hot Air Balloon Festival in Albuquerque on a rental Triumph Tiger 800 from EagleRider.
Gary’s a member of the Land of Enchantment BMW Riders, and it seems that he threw my name in the ring when it came to potential speakers at this year’s rally. I was excited to see him at the event, but I forgot to take a photo with him when he was wearing an “Are you Bike-urious” t-shirt!
After I saw Gary, I looked for the Rally Chair, a pleasant fellow named RJ Mirabal. As you can see from his t-shirt, this is the 35th running of the annual rally – and it’s been at the Sipapu lodge every single year!
The G310GSes of Paul and Voni Glaves. Voni is the only woman currently recognized by BMW to have covered 1.1 million miles on BMW motorcycles! I was surprised to see several examples of the G310GS at the rally, but I’m glad to see that people are snapping them up. I wasn’t able to attend the launch and I haven’t had a chance to try one for myself just yet, but I asked Adam Waheed to review it for me months ago if you’re interested in his thoughts.
The presentation itself was pretty straightforward, though I’m disappointed that I forgot to take a photo of the group. It was nice to chat with riders who are spending their hard-earned dollars on motorcycles and farkles, as sometimes I think I get in a press bubble where I’m often on new bikes or in new gear that’s supplied to me for free. I spoke a bit (maybe too much) about myself and my history with motorcycling, the current state of motorcycle “journalism”, what it’s like at a press launch and the future of motorcycling. I’m pretty bleak on the last point – I think the sport is dying in the US but that’s a story for a different day when we’ve got a few beers and lots of time.
I don’t want to end on a negative note, though, so I’ll just say that there are a few bright spots. I like what Robert Pandya is doing in trying to get new riders with programs like Give a Shift, Discover the Ride, and Newto2.
I also am a fan of Strider Bikes. I feel that my generation is mostly a lost cause when it comes to bikes, so the best chance for long-term success is to target youngsters. The smallest Strider (the 12″ model) can be used by kids as young as 18 months to develop balance skills and get them hooked on two wheels – the hope is that passion carries on through as they get older, right?
After my presentation, Voni Glaves noted that the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America also has a program designed to “introduce young people to the sport of motorcycling.” It’s called GEARS (Gaining Early Advanced Riding Skills), and it’s designed for riders between the ages of 14 and 26. I can’t say I have any experience with GEARS, but I love hearing about programs like this. Here’s a story by Richard Klain of the BMW MOA as he sat in on the two-day class.
The club offered me the opportunity to camp at the rally or to stay at a motel in Taos. I took the latter so that I could get some work done with wifi. Even in the dark on the way to Taos, I couldn’t help myself and had to find a little bit of dirt to explore on.
Tomorrow I’d give another presentation and then hit the road back home to Los Angeles!