Sunday, July 22, 2012

Touring Scotland on two wheels

I've been trying to work out how to keep blogging about my travel experience here in Scotland, while riding a BMW instead of my beloved Ducati. I've finally worked it out. I can talk about the riding all I like and just bag the crap out of the boring beema.
It's not that there is anything wrong with the beema, it's a technically excellent piece of machinery. Engineering excellence as you would expect from the Bavarians'. But it just doesn't have any charisma. I don't know how it is possible to make a bike feel like a car, but that is what BMW has done here with the 2012 plate BMW R1200GS. You tip in and it just turns, exactly as it should but it is as if it is doing all the work for you. Approach a corner too hot, bang on the front brakes and instead of a nice nose dip to tell you get ready cause this could get ugly on exit, it just sort of slows down - front and back - without really indicating what is going on. Integrated braking this is called apparently where the back break is electronically applied in an according manner when you hit the front pegs.

 I hate it. It's as big as a horse too. Doesn't feel big when you're riding it but it certainly is a hulking big bike. The Multistrada is big as well, and it may not compare to the GS in terms of off-road practicality but it beats the shit out of it for fun factor. Roll on in 2nd or 3rd on the Multi in Sport mode and it's like being kicked in the balls. Roll on in same said gear on the GS and it just .... erm...... rolls on. There is no fun factor to this bike IMHO at all. All that off my chest and I shall just say that I do like the look of it.

 Anyway, the roads are a mixture of A and B roads, as explained (better than I can) by Jacques on his talk here recently about winning the UK Ride of a lifetime trip to Bologna with his Dad, and just like Australia there are good ones and some bad ones. I've been lucky enough to have two dry days in a row now, so I've covered quite a bit on my first day (231 miles down to Dumfries and up across to Ayr) and ended up on a spectacular scenery tour on a coastal road along the beach to Greenock which finished the day off really well. Today I am heading to a massive hairy hill climb called 'The Rest and Be Thankful' which will probably be just as many miles again. The Rest and Be Thankful is meant to be a spectacular hill climb so I'll get that on video too. But for now, here is a raw video shot on the beema using a Contour ROAM camera attached to the bars. This was the best part of the ride today, well some of it, cruising down the center from Edinburgh I turned off at Abington and took a B road to a small town called Elvanfoot. Very Lord-of-the-Rings if I do say so myself!
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