Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1972 08 22

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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-lfyRCitimy'H"o--fe --The folloWing stOry II • BMW International Alpine Rally-1972 -J COI~n of excerpts from 80b Hogrefe's adventures during the '1972 I nternational Rally In Europe. The complete story Is scheduled to appear in the November Issue of cycle Guide magazine. As a four-year member of the Montgomery Street Motorcycle Club, I would listen to Bryce Schueler extoll the virtues of riding in Spain or Michael (Cochise) Ansara, casually mention riding a Triumph through the heather in England. Now, I'm not the jealous type, but after poking my Honda in to just about every nook and cranny in California, I was fair game when the Von Thielman BMW brochure came across my desk. It took a hurried conference with the family and a phone caU to the Von Thielman home in San Diego and some weeks later, I was aboard an American 747 departing for New York, carrying a gadget bag filled with 23 Ibs. of cameras., bike chain, lock, binoculars, film and passport. As the plane was taxiing for takeoff, I opened the Van Thielman lour packet to check the membership of the International Four. The first correspondence I, came across was a statemenl for $2.933.55. This included a BMW R 75 (bla kL Round trip from N.V. to Munich .. $~.522.00 Departure Tax 3.00 Round trip from L.A. to N.Y 262.96 BMW factory set up 30.00 Registration & license plate 14.50 Insurance, 30 days 50.00 Safety bars for cylinders . . . . . . • . . . . . 24.45 LU9ga~ The day started pleasantly in Zurich and ended up with nasty mountain weather. • rack 26.60 As I recall, I had one hour of night before the sun came up in Amsterdam. After the normal confusion of 300 passengers trying to exit one door at the same time. we entered Schiphol Airport, better known as the Freeport Super Market of the World. By now the blue jackets were warming to each other and little groups whe forming. (These would change throughout the ride.) After a slight delay, our DC9 arrived in Munich under a heavy overcast and for the first time, many of us met our tour director, Dita Von Thielman. She spoke five languages and no matter what any tour book tells you, very few natives of any land speak English. We boarded a bus fo< Gemering, a small village on the outskirts of Munich, where Krauser, the BMW dealer who handles allover seas shipments, is located. Tl,Jere, a gentle rain greeted us as, our bus parked next to 23 virgin BMWs; 21 are R75 and two R60s. On the handlebars of each is a bouquet of flowers. Some had fairings, others had saddle bags and as we exited the bus there was a concerled rush to claim the bike most closely resembling that which we had ordered. In only a couple of instances were there problems in accessories. As the new owners milled about comparing equipment and checking for scratches, it was readily apparent that the overwhelming complain t was in regard to the luggage racks. The rack, costing $26.60 plus $8 installation, extended aft a shon five inches, sufficient to carry a club sandwich. Apparently, Germans do not load up with sleeping bags, shaving gear, etc. My plans for a bungie-corded duffel bag were soon replaced by the purchase of custom twin fiber-glass German 1972 International BMW Rally panniers at $11 0,.:..'""''''''_''7::''__":'"!ll'':;;C:-=~'IIOOiJ Lu W~ ijlfh,ef"d i'1°"'I'P-.the.'1:t~tu¥ later. tne .generaJ unpres5,lon was. ~l\t Krauser's P.Ro was not all it could be in view of 23 bike sales and that accessories which amounted to a preUy pfenning should have been mounted free of charge. Further comments included placement of carburetors, skinned shins on cylinders, mushy brakes, top heavy, bottom heavy, etc. The next day, several of us headed for Munich and our flrst checkpoint. The 25-minute ride turned inlo IV, hours of horror-filled riding the wrong way up one way streets, attempting to translate street and traffic signs, and using my kitchen German on a 62-year old hausfrau that thought we were propositioning her. We finally located the cbeckpoin t and had our tour book duly slamped, only four more lO go. Thal afternoon we returned to Krauser's and had ·some minor adjustmen ts made to our mounts and shopped their display of accessories. I had previously bought a light weighl rain suit in Pebble Beach for $30, and in pricing Krauser's. quietly congratulated myself. His suils were lined, looked great, but sold for over $100. Later I was to wish I had a set of his gear. His prices are high bu tthe merchandise is of excellen t quali Ly. That nighl at dinner, we all felt fully qualified for any MX afler the day in Munich. Our first day on the road and the schedule called for a final destination of Rothenburg Ob der Tauber. For the first time. we were exposed to rural Germany with its small villages every 3-5 miles. The sigh t of our first castle and walled city with its narrow cobblestone streets was just like the National Geographic Magazine. I should point out at this time that the Alpine Motoring Contest is open to all legal residents of the countries of the American hemisphere. Participants in the Rally have the free choi~e of many routes through the Alps. A golden plaque is awarded to those contestants who.have visited five Alpine countiies in two year period. (We had less than three weeks.) A silver plaque is awarded to those who have visited three Alpine countries and had their control books properly stamped. • The next day, three of us promptly got lost for an hour in the rain as we desperately searched for the au tobahn to Heidelberg that we knew must be paralleling our course. In checking the map later we found we were doing a series of 360's. We finally made contact and our f.irst experience with this most super of all highways was migh ty frustrating. Our top speed was 70 mph at 4000 rpm on the new bikes. We felt like getting off and walking as the sophisticated machinery of Eur.ope passed us at twice this speed. We arrived at Ludwig's Castle with the help of a friendly native who had us follow him to the hotel and I spent the next hour cleaning my bike. I lOok ou t one of the most complete factory tool kits I have ever seen from under the seat and set 10 work tightening nuts and screws. I didn't find one after 10 minutes of investigation when the though t that the Germans used a special epoxy glue crossed my mind. The more I ride this bike, the more I like it. The idling is improving with 436 miles on the odometer. We went to the Red Ox Inn where the students of Heidelberg have been coming since 1703. The walls are covered with their various fraternity emblems. Dueling was a large part of this life and they say it slill continues on an underground basis. After your third beer you can almost hear the Student Prince sing. Our group assembled at an Aral gas station following breakfast where Michael Berger. the BMW mechanic, who followed us throughout the tour in a VW van, changed oil and filters and attended to minor carburetor and valve adjustmen ts. We were informed that we may now push the rpm's to 5000, which gave us a fighting chance on the autobahn. We awakened to a sunny day and after an hour of getting oul of the city, due to road construction, we were on our way to Shonmunzach, via the Black Forest. Whoever originated r.:ae expression, "Gott Mit Uns", had to be thinking of the German motorist. He passes on blind curves, VWs challenge Porsches and large tourist motorcoacbes drag with each other at every opportunity, leaving ven' little of the two way • Qigh,!,,~y' left to th'eoncoIDing, l+i}ff\c;( , -,QI4'T75~~havel m~.)l~ ing LIl: ofT I )..Ap a

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