April 27, 2003 GMT
The Countdown

My decision to venture forward with this experiment really started about a year ago. I was just one of those job-related things that happened which brought it all about. In retrospect, I should be very grateful for the circumstances which made me decide to go. Without them I would probably never have come to the point of actually cutting the ties.

As the year passed and the equipment started piling up in my apartment it began to dawn on me, that this adventure was actually beginning to happen. In order for it not to lose momentum, I began talking to friends and family about it. This turned out to be some experience: the vast majority of people to whom I mentioned my idea of taking an extended time-out going on a long motorcycle journey encouraged me, thought it was a great idea. And the few who were critical - well they, too, served a purpose; they made me think about the plan some more. But rather than causing doubt, they made me more and more convinced that is the right thing for me to do.

So, in February 2003, I resigned my job, which meant that come March, I was “free” to start my venture. Most of the time since was spent on making some adjustments to my domestic situation, to make sure that I would still continue to maintain my “bourgeois” existence while being gone for a couple of months. Admittedly , I was not overly eager to deal with the “admin” part.

The more fun part was making some adjustments to the motorcycle and testing them. I will therefore not write too much detail about the pro’s ad con’s of the perfect equipment to be taken on a longer trip (there’s tons of stuff available on the net).

During the past couple of years, I had found that the basic concept of the BMW R1150GS suited my overall needs - at least for one or two week trips. For the type of extended trip I had in mind, I made to following changes: added an extra 12V socket to the left side of the fairing. This is more conveniently place than the original socket: I will use a 12V charger (placed in the tank bag) for AA type batteries. These are the mainstay of my “electricity supply” while on the road. All of my gadgets (GPS, digital camera, flashlight, radio) use these.


Additional 12V socket for ease of use

Thus far I have used the BMW luggage system/bags. I was for some time considering getting alu-boxes but since I intend to stay mainly on paved roads and in inhabited regions, that ideas was done away with for the time being. Instead , a friend offered to use his Givi boxes which are slightly (about 1 ½ to 2 inches) wider but offer more storage volume. – This is the time to say a special “thank you” to Klaus Schrader of Zubehoer Shop Frankfurt , a friend and motorcycle mentor (who also has the skills and resources to make technical changes that require more than tightening or loosening screws (which about describes my technical skills).


Givi boxes instead of BMW system boxes

The boxes will be used to store my camping equipment (small tent, sleeping bag, cooker, air-mattress etc. ) and the PC, plus the various cable needed to connect some of the electronic equipment mentioned above. If placed together, the combined electronic stuff looks not dissimilar to a “special offer tray” at your local electronics shop. We’ll see how this will work out.

The next two weeks will be filled with some more test packing and final arrangements. The estimated departure date will be on or around May 10th. More to follow soon.

Posted by Heiko Neumann at April 27, 2003 11:00 PM GMT

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