The New BMW R1200GS Press Launch - My "EPIC" Journey to South Africa

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by ShawnWorks, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. ShawnWorks

    ShawnWorks Rock on!!!

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    Adventure Log 1

    Word of the day: Shellshock


    So, recently I received a call from one of the executives at BMW Motorrad USA. I’ve known this individual for several years, though it is not often that we talk on the phone. Seeing his name on the caller ID certainly raised an eyebrow.

    In general, this is the meat and potatoes of our conversation:

    Him: “So… What are you doing the weekend of January 18th?”

    Me: “I can’t say there’s anything special happening, I am scheduled to be in the office. What’s up?”

    Him: “I want you to attend the Press Release of the new BMW R 1200 GS Motorcycle.”

    Me: “…Err—Ok… Where is it?”

    Him: “South Africa.”

    Me: …

    Him: “…From the US we’re sending 5 professional journalists, and you. Just ride the bike and write about the experience. What do you think?”

    Me: …

    Him: “…Hello?”

    Me: “No. Friggin. Way.”​
    Suffice to say, the subsequent conversation included a lot of drooling and squealing. Then there was the running around and fist-pounding, yelling, and explaining of said gesticulations to a befuddled wife.

    The goal—or so I have come to understand it—is for me to join the fray and offer a differed perspective to the usual BMW “Press Launch” experience. In other words, tell the tale of the new R 1200 GS from the viewpoint of an unworthy slob who gets to take the trip of a lifetime…!!!!

    So there you have it. In about a week I will be heading off to George, South Africa, to experience first-hand the epic awesomeness that is the newest BMW GS machine. And since the role I will play is a bit unusual in the first place, I figure it's appropriate to share more of the tale than simply ‘riding the GS.’ I see this as a story with telling, hence the words in front of you… After all, it’s not every day you get invited for an event like this!

    Perhaps a quick Bio is in order. For the record, my name is Shawn Thomas, and I perform training and Tours for RawHyde Adventures (www.rawhyde-offroad.com). RawHyde is a cornerstone of the Adventure riding lifestyle, and where I first learned to ride a GS beyond the asphalt. I am also a part of the “BMW Community” team; I have spent the last 2 years traveling around the country with my brother, Lance, putting together groups of riding communities. We offer free clinics teaching the art of managing “big” Adventure bikes on the dirt (perhaps we’ve met?). Together, Lance and I have taught upwards of 2,000 Adventure riders around the country how to handle these machines off-pavement. In addition, I have spent a good 10 years in the world of motorcycles, beginning with a job in sales at a BMW Motorcycle dealer on the California Coast. Good times!

    Suffice to say--like you, riding is a passion for me. And for me, nothing compares to riding a GS. I love the power, and handling, the sheer diversity of the machine. In my humble opinion, it’s the best bike ever conceived.

    I also very much enjoy storytelling and photography, two helpful assets in this upcoming experience…!

    So, it seemed a good idea to start a thread about this experience. I do not know how it will evolve; but, I figure that some good can come from putting pen to paper (fingers to laptop) and telling my fellow Adventurers how this whole experience unfolds. Thanks for reading, I appreciate your feedback!

    To be continued… :wings
    #1
  2. bbenn75820

    bbenn75820 Long timer

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    lucky bastard ( in a good way )
    #2
  3. Fasnacht

    Fasnacht Been here awhile

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    Wow, dude...Nothing but the most hardy congratulations...Enjoy it for everything its worth! :beer
    #3
  4. marty hill

    marty hill The Energizer Bunny

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    Wonderful! Enjoy to the fullest.:D
    #4
  5. mint julep

    mint julep Been here awhile

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    Canada
    Envious no doubt, but look forward to read about your epic ride.:D

    Have a great time. :freaky

    Dave
    #5
  6. BordenBmw

    BordenBmw TheFrenchRider

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    Grid Roads, Saskatchewan Canada
    I'm in!

    :lurk
    #6
  7. SharkMan77

    SharkMan77 Shark on land...

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    Athens, Lalaland
    Lucky just doesn't cut it...! :clap
    Have a great trip and keep us posted.
    #7
  8. Scubalong

    Scubalong Been here awhile

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    So Cal
    :clap You lucky Bastard
    Me :cry
    Have a safe trip and keep us posted of your report.
    #8
  9. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    You hit the jackpot in 2013 already!! :clap

    :lurk
    #9
  10. yellowknife

    yellowknife Is In Canada

    Joined:
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    Nova Scotia, Canada
    buy a lottery ticket. U R 1 lucky person.

    Lookin forward to reading your comments.

    YK
    #10
  11. twinrider

    twinrider pass the catnip

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    Good to see you going with no preconceptions, looking forward to your impartial review. :lol3
    #11
  12. BTL

    BTL No more snow!!

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    St Albert. Alberta Canada. IBA Member 50093
    :cry So Jealous...
    #12
  13. ParaMud

    ParaMud Been here awhile

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    I am pretty sure I met you at the Rawhyde Open House thing last year. I am a tall skinny guy on a red KLR and my girlfriend was on a pink KLR. We did the beginner dirt class.

    Sounds like a fun trip!
    #13
  14. mtncrawler

    mtncrawler Long timer

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    Just in case you come down with a cold or last minute international travel jitters - and need a sub - I'll PM you my phone number...:lol3:lol3

    Have fun!
    #14
  15. ShawnWorks

    ShawnWorks Rock on!!!

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    With the trip to South America only a week away, I finally got my passport situation all sorted out. It’s been almost 10 years since I've needed one, and was due for a replacement. This involved a trip to San Francisco, home of the nearest Passport office that handles last-minute applications. Including drive time it was a 12 hour endeavor, most of which was spent finding parking (a little tip: never, EVER drive a pickup truck in SF. Bad scene.).


    Given the lagging Bureaucracy I had expected from a government agency, the process was surprisingly smooth. I had to stand in a lot of lines and answer several awkward questions (“yes sir, I suppose I do look older and fatter than my passport photo implies”), but it was most certainly worth it. Soon I was on my way home with a shiny new passport. Like the photo??

    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. Drif10

    Drif10 Accredited Jackass

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    Let me be the first to say...


    you suck.








    Have fun ya bastard. :thumb
    #16
  17. NLS

    NLS My bike needs washing...

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    Wow do they allow such photos on passports in the States?

    Anyway, you are certainly lucky, but your "life's work" actually justifies part of it. It's not like they chose a random guy walking down the street.

    Have FUN!
    And although you already know what you want to write, make sure to comment on anything worse than expected (or even worse than before), not just anything better than expected (and certainly better than before).

    Make sure to make contacts (there will be many important motorcycle people down there). Always useful.

    (realized my sig is ultra old... then again it's been years since I last posted)
    #17
  18. Malcolm Van Hilten

    Malcolm Van Hilten Adventurer

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    South Africa
    Hi Shawn,

    A mate of mine is personally overseeing some aspects of the launch and he has been busy on this project for months already. From what i know of the area and the preparations that have been going on, nothing is going to prepare you for what an awesome spectacle you are going to be part of.

    Enjoy and welcome to SA!
    #18
  19. ShawnWorks

    ShawnWorks Rock on!!!

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    Prunedale, and to a lesser extent, Santa Cruz CA
    Thanks everyone for all the well wishes... They are much appreciated! I leave in a few days, and am very much looking forward to it. Even washed my riding gear, a rare endeavor indeed... More stories and photos to follow!
    #19
  20. ShawnWorks

    ShawnWorks Rock on!!!

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    Prunedale, and to a lesser extent, Santa Cruz CA
    Today I received a call with additional information about the South Africa Trip. There is most certainly a lot to know—when I fly, where I’m staying, scheduling, expectations, etc.—and all of it is spectacularly exciting of course… But, some advice offered has given me pause:

    “You will be riding with people who do this for a living. These folks are right up there with professional racers… They are extremely good at what they do, and know how to ride very, very well. You would be wise to avoid trying to keep up. Check your ego at the door, ride at your own pace and enjoy the experience.”​
    I guess it was a bit of a surprise. After all these years behind the handlebars of a GS, it had not occurred to me that I would be labeled the ‘slow guy’ on this trip. The realization came with a bit of pride swallowing.

    But thinking on it, I am decidedly fine with being the dude in the back.

    Over the years, I have come to understand that the difference between a ‘good’ and ‘great’ rider is surprisingly little. Of course, it's the little things that make all the difference, especially when your atop of pounds in a 70mph twisty. But above all the technique, the best riders seem to embody a desire to push a little harder, to elevate themselves toward the pinnacle of skill and performance and nerve.

    When I started riding, I had a lot of nerve and almost no skill or patience. That combination got me into a heck of a lot of trouble (lots of broken bikes, not to mention bones). But as I’ve gotten older—and perhaps the teeniest bit wiser—I find the urge to ‘push it’ outside my comfort zone is diminishing. Sure, there are times when I catch myself riding hard and fast… And the thrill is quite tasty… But the sense of control, both of the machine and my ego, is rarely stolen from me.

    Most certainly there is room for my skills to improve, as will likely become clear when I follow some great riders on this trip. But the true test will be my ability to ‘ride my own ride’ when the temptation to push my limits is so readily available. I think I can do it.

    Or, perhaps this will be a 15mph nose-to-tail ride the whole time. Either way, I intend to make the most of it!
    #20