Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Who’s a lucky boy then?

Hearing Ron’s personal ringtone on my iPhone always brings a smile to my face.

“Yo, yo, Big Lad, how’s tricks?”

“It’s all good, busy as ever but what’s new?”

“So whats to do?”

“I’m thinking of swapping the ‘Pan’ ”

“Oh right, so what are you thinking of getting”

“A Super Tenere!”

Now to say I was ‘gob-smacked’ would be an understatement. Had I just heard right ‘Ron wants a Super Tenere’.

“Nice one. So how can I help?”

“Do you think your mate* can do me a decent deal on the ‘Pan’?

“I’m sure he’ll be able to sort something out for you”.

And so the conversation progressed. 

(*My ‘mate’ on this occasion referred to Keith of Keith Dixon Motorcycles in Accrington. Regular readers of the Blog will be fully aware of Keith as he is the dealer I bought Mr T from and who serviced both the FJR1300 and Mr T.)

I switched into ‘Bike salesman’ mode for a few minutes and took down all the details I knew Keith would need in order to get the ball rolling. Make, model, year, colour,  any extras, well you get the drift. A quick call the following morning to Lee, as Keith was out on an MOT run, and I passed all the info over  along with Ron’s mobile number. That was last Saturday morning.

With Ron planning on buying a Yamaha Super Tenere XT1200Z I started to get a little exited at the prospect of us taking part in the Iron Butt Association (IBA) Germany, European Road Runner Rally followed by our onward tour of Eastern Europe. When I didn’t hear anything  back from Ron Saturday or Sunday my mind started to run away with itself “I wonder if it’s a non starter?” I remember asking Jeannie out of the blue, much to her bemusement.

“What are you talking about?”

“Ron. I wonder if Keith or Lee have been in touch or if it’s all gone pear-shaped!”

“I’ve no idea”.

I need not have worried, as mid Monday morning the familiar tones of “Father Away by Evanescence” screamed out, loud and clear from my iPhone.

“Yo Yo, Big Lad. Go on then, what’s the script?” 

“Lee rang me Saturday morning, he needed to know about the tax and a few other things”

“Oh right, AND!”

“It’s all good”

“Come-On then, so have you got one or what?”


“What a spanker (brand new) or what?”

“Na, the new one was a bit rich for me, I’ve got an ex-demo with just under a couple of K on the clock”

“F*****g Brilliant, I’m well chuffed for you Big Lad”

“It get’s better! It’s a ‘World Crosser’ ”

The rest of the conversation is un Blog-able. Needless to say I was almost as ecstatic as Ron, just now quite. I could sense he was absolutely over the moon about his new stead. Who wouldn’t be, being the owner of a new Yamaha XT1200Z ‘World Crosser’ in Gun Metal Grey. Brilliant!

Ron was due to collect the ‘World Crosser’ that Friday and so we organised an overnight stop at ours on Thursday night. The week dragged but at last Ron was pulling onto the drive and into the garage on the Honda Pan European ST1300. It was a really nice clean bike with a mere 11,000 miles on the clock but it’s replacement was going to be something very special indeed.

As it was Thursday evening there was nothing for it and after a good catch up chat over dinner we headed to our local to take part in the pub quiz. Not that Ron and I were any use at all to Jeannie and the ‘Old’s’. We just sat and talked bikes all night.

Bright and breezy the following morning we were all up and about at 0700 hours, sorting Lilie Rose and Ben out for School. Pobsey had a nice 10 minutes with Uncle Ron sat side by side in the living room waiting for the school bus to arrive. Jeannie and I were surprised when, on her return from school to find Ron no longer with us she became a little distressed. It took us a good half hour to explain he’d gone home to Jo in London.

Anyway the ride over to Keith's was a simple affair, straight through Rochdale, up and over Owd Betts and straight through Accrington at the other end of the dual carriageway that just about connects the two. We were met by Keith who apologised as Lee had left to take up a new job with Knox-Body Amour so could not be there to complete the deal. I left Ron and Keith to sort out the finer details and had a mug of coffee with Diane and the new lad upstairs in the parts & clothing department.

One very happy 'World Crosser' Owner

I came back down just in time to see Keith rolling the mighty ‘World Crosser” around the front of the shop. It looked out of this world. I was just glad I’d ridden Tango’d over as it would have made Mr T look rather worn and dated. Dripping with carbon and looking ready to take on the world it is one very sexy beast.

The Yamaha XT1200Z 'World Crosser" Awesome!

Sadly after a steady ride back over the tops it was time for Ron to head back down the A1 to London. Still I did manage to take a couple of photo’s of his new ‘World Crosser” before he departed.

Ron that bike looks 'Made to measure' for you

So with Ron on his way I sat down in front of the Mac and looked at the route around Europe I’d  planned which was no longer going to be possible. The good news was, we are still able to take part in the German IBA Road Runner Rally, the bad news is, Ron has to be back in the UK on Wednesday the 2nd October due to work 

Not to get too down about the situation I took another look and decided to start and get organised a little more. One thing sprang to mind away. If we were only going to be away for 6 nights, 3 of which would be hotel based I could not see the point in dragging a load of camping equipment around with me. So camping was off the agenda, agreed, agreed!

Next were to stay Thursday night. After looking into riding down after Lilie Rose and Ben had gone to school the earliest tunnel crossing we could make would be the 16:20 from Folkestone. This puts us in Calais at 17:55 hours. Looking at BaseCamp brought it home that if we headed over into Germany it would be both late and dark before we could make any head way.

Then I spotted the “Biker Loft” in Groenedjksraat in Belgium. Ron was non to happy about only riding an hour up the road before getting our heads down but after a quick exchange of texts we agreed it would be a good idea.

So that was Thursday, in Belgium, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the rally start in Germany which just left Monday and Tuesday to sort out.

Plotting the location of the ‘Biker Loft’ in BaseCamp I realised to my surprise it was already in my Garmin 660. It turned out its has a Motorbike Museum there which is one of the locations on Grim Riders Museums Ride which I started earlier in the year.

Now the grey matter went into full flow. There are a total of 5 museums on Grim Riders Motorcycle Museums & Legends Ride in Europe. The ‘Biker Loft’ in Belgium, Dijon in France, Neckarslum in Germany, Augustusburg in Germany and finally Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. 

Correctly plotted in BaseCamp and hey presto you have yourself a cracking ride without too many dramas. So that’s exactly what I did but that left me a little short on what to do Tuesday. 

Now thinking back I remember reading in the original email from Grim that an extra point can be had for visiting an unlisted museum or legend. With this in mind and looking at our location the first thing that sprung to mind was the KTM Head Office in Austria but that did not really do it for me so  I carried on.

Then out of the blue I remembered reading an amazing book about an Austrian guy who rode from Vienna to India following Alexander the Great on Xenophon’s legendary “Road of the Army of Ten Thousand’ on a Puch Motorcycle with his friend Herbert Tichy as pillion.

The book ‘India: The Shimmering Dream'. It’s author non other than the famous Dr. Max Reisch (1912 - 1985). What makes this book so amazing is the fact the ride began on 27th July 1933. A little more investigation on my behalf and I discovered that the Max Reisch Collection closed in 2008 but Peter Reisch has relocated the entire exhibition to the South Tirol in a small Italian village called Bolzano.

Not being one to shy away from a challenge I contacted Peter Reisch to see if it would be possible for Ron and I to visit the exhibition. 

Good morning,

I write to enquire if it would be possible for my friend and I to visit the Max Reisch Collection on Monday the 30th of September or Tuesday the 1st of October. 

I read 'India the Shimmering Dream' almost a year ago and found it simply amazing in comparison to numerous other 'Overland Motorcycle' books which I have read. After doing a little research on the internet I discovered your website, hence this email.

My friend and I are both avid motorcycle riders having covered well over 100,000 miles in the last 4 years all around Europe.  We will be competing in the German Iron Butt Road Runner Rally the preceding weekend. The rally is a 24 hour long endurance photographic rally taking place throughout Germany but starting and finishing in Bamberg.

We will also be visiting a further 5 Motorcycle museums throughout Belgium, France, German, and the Czech Republic raising money for theWarwickshire Air Ambulance in the process.

We would be absolutely delighted if you could accommodate us and look forward to your reply with batted breath.

Kind regards

Ray F Walton

Peter’s reply came that very same afternoon:

Hi Ray and your friends!

Welcome in Bozen/Bolzano (is the italian Name of Bozen)
With pleasure I'll open the door of the Max Reisch-Exhibition for you.
Which day/hour do you prefer? Please give me your reply and:
Safe riding!

We are absolutely delight that Peter has graciously allowed us to visit the Max Reisch Exhibition on Tuesday morning. Following a brief search, our Monday evening will be spent in a very nice hotel in Bolzano in the South Tyrol in Italy.

I cannot wait to see this amazing machine
(Photo courtesy of Peter H. Reich)

Tuesday will be a busy day starting at the Max Reisch Exhibition, which I hope will be accepted by Grim as our extra point, followed by a very interesting ride over toward Dijon to photograph the Beaune Motorcycle Museum before riding through the night back to Calais some 850 miles away from Bolzano.

What will make the return trip somewhat spectacular is the fact the Stelvio Pass just happens to be en route to Dijon! 

Fingers crossed this will be open for business!

Throw in a 24 hour photographic motorcycle rally organised by IBA Germany and you have yourself one fantastic weeks riding in Europe.

This should keep us busy for a while!

Now how’s that for a plan?

“Ride well and stay safe my friends”


  1. Hi
    I know "small Italian village" sounds better than "mid-sized South Tyrolean city", but Bozen is definitely not a small village.
    I should know, I was born the same street where the Reisch Museum is. :-)

    all the best

  2. Thank you for taking the time to read my Blog and leave your comment. As you will have read I have never had the pleasure of visiting Bozen and so took my lead from literature read on the web. My apologise for the slight "artistic licence' used but you are right "small Italian village" sounds better than "mid-sized South Tyrolean city" and so I will leave it as that, If you don't mind too much.
    I'll drop you a message when I eventually head to Bozen, it would be nice to have a coffee together. Kind regards Raymondo