May 15, 2003 GMT

My excitement was growing as – finally – the day of my departure came nearer. After a relatively (…too…??) relaxed preparation time until about two weeks ago, things got a little bit hectic as I tried to make certain domestic arrangements. This involved among others a sort of wrestling match with (yes…”with”, not “on”) a monstrous mattress that decided to make things difficult for everybody (but that is a very different story).

I had intended to leave on Wednesday, May 10 and therefore went on a little practice tour with the fully loaded BMW on the weekend before. I was still smiling then.


“The weekend before” – everything is okay

On Wednesday, with the GPS set to lead me to the Czech Republic, I left my place. Some friends were waiting at my local motorcycle hangout to escort me out of town. At that point I was probably too pre-occupied and/or excited, and thus was unconcentrated at the second traffic light about 1 km from my home. The car in front of started, began to accelerate and then, for whatever reason, slowed down and came to sudden stop. I must have been thinking about adventures to come when I was rudely brought back into reality. I failed to react and hit the back the car in front of me. Of course I “dismounted” in a very un-elegant way. Because of my protective gear and the slow speed (<15km/h) I was completed unharmed. Damage to the car seemed minimal (broken stop light) and the same applied to my BMW.


No apparent damage at first glance

Click for bigger image

That initial impression was immediately corrected as I tried to manoeuvre the motorcycle away from the accident site: the GS was impossible to steer. The handlebar was difficult to move. It was then that I realized that, in all probability, this was – for the time being – the very unglamorous end of my trip around Europe. A mere 10 minutes after closing my apartment door. This must be some kind of record...


Damage to front fork and telelever

The complexities of the damage are not very apparent from the picture. Front fork and telelever (plus parts) will have to be replaced. But there were some good things, too: The owner of the car I hit was moderately relaxed about the event and since we both happen to have the same insurance, there is very little administration involved. I also had a chance to meet my “farewell party”: instead of an escort out of Frankfurt, they quickly arranged for transport of my luggage back into my apartment and the BMW was brought to the repair shop. For this my particular thanks to Klaus Schrader of (once again...) and Dietger Pudenz.

For the time being, the future of my trip lies in the hands to Tiberius (“Tibi”) Erdelyi, of TIBIZA repairs located in Offenbach, near Frankfurt. Tibi is an expert offroad rider


and motorcycle mechanic


and now and then performs as “impresario” of enduro trips which he arranges for friends. Above pictures were take during a one-week offroad extravaganza in Romania last year.

With any luck and relying on Tibi’s skills, I should be able to make a second start in the not to distant future. I hope to be back on the road early next week (May 20 or 21). In the meantime, I will try to deal with the bruises suffered by my ego……(just kidding – or am I?).

More to follow soon….

Posted by Heiko Neumann at May 15, 2003 04:33 PM GMT

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