On Day -1, we have the brilliant idea that we can leave early. This would turn out to be one of the best decisions we made, for a lot of reasons.
At 10AM, my riding partner drops me off at Motorrad Briel in Duisburg, Germany, to pick up my rental bike. I have arranged for a BMW F700GS, a parallel twin adventure bike. Sadly lacking luggage. I knew that ahead of time and have brought my tank bag with. I also have purchased a Streetline 25l dry bag from Hein Gericke, as my 75l pack roll seemed stupidly cumbersome and large, given my pared-down packing.
Much to my surprise, the stock height seat is fine with the preload cranked down. All of my personal worries about needing a lowered bike are gone once I sat on the thing and pushed it up. Both feet are mostly down – my heels graze the ground – and if I scooch up all the way, it seems just like the fit of my old CBR250R – perfect. I try out the low seat, but have concerns that it will put my knees at too tight of an angle for day-long riding comfort. I decide to take the plunge and ride with the normal seat. I will question this decision about one hundred and fifty times a day during the trip – it’s little more than a foam-covered 2×4 and has
precious little no support for my girlie hips. About 100kms per stretch and I need to get off of it and stand around a bit. The low seat is carved out and the sitting area is much wider, more similar to the seat on my trusty old F650GS single. Which, now that I think about it, seems like a veritable butt paradise, considering I can go for entire tanks of fuel (350kms or so) without even considering my posterior comfort.
We slab it down to Bad Bellingen, near Lörrach, our original planned point of departure, had we managed to get AutoZug tickets. Unfortunately, the part of DeutscheBahn that runs the AutoZug has their heads in the air on pricing, and we preferred to spend that money elsewhere. We hole up at Haus Daheim in Bad Bellingen, just off the A5. Quaint, and more importantly, biker friendly. We get two nice rooms, a great breakfast, and a garage to stow the bikes in overnight.