Let’s go to Paris!

A wonderful week lies behind us; a week we planned with one goal in mind: to start in Berlin on Monday and arrive at the Cafe Racer Festival near Paris on Saturday noon. On our way, we wanted to test what German roads were made of. Just to tease a little: we were not disappointed. Always part of the journey: the BMW R nineT from Pure&Crafted.

After we were given the R nineT at the BMW plant in Spandau on Monday morning, we met up with the rest of the gang. Over cups of coffee and breakfast toast, we studied road maps and planned our first day. The gang, by the way, is comprised of Cäthe, Janna, Freddie, Daniel and Helen. Reinvigorated, we mounted our motorcycles and rode off towards the Harz Mountains, the first stage of our tour.

After a short autobahn intermezzo, we reached the first curvy and beautiful country roads. Since we took off late on the first day, it was soon time to look for a place to stay for the night. We decided to go with Pension Waldblick and whiled away the evening at the village’s Italian restaurant eating pizza and drinking Aperol Spritz.

On the second day of our journey, our destination was already set: Castle Altena in the Sauerland region housing the world’s oldest youth hostel. After a tormenting ride through the Kassel hinterlands, we were compensated by the Sauerland region from Winterberg onwards. Beautiful villages, empty roads, and our personal favourite: a small, private motorcycle museum in Schmallenberg which we discovered by accident while hunting for the perfect snapshot. The owner gave us a tour of various rooms, one better than the next.

At dusk, after 320 km of Sauerland roads, we reached Burg Altena, and we couldn’t help but ride into the castle courtyard with our engines sputtering loudly. For one night, we were proud castle owners.

On the third day of our journey, we headed towards the Bergisches Land. After we had said goodbye to Freddie, who had to head back to Berlin, we tinkered with the BMW Motorrad GPS system for the first time, and we found our favourite setting: Curvy Roads. The GPS navigated us along small streets through woods, past fields and lakes… simply indescribably beautiful. After a quick stop at Café Hubraum, it was time for our next stop on the agenda: visiting Cäthe’s parents, where the smell of fresh coffee and waffles already greeted us in the hallway. We were treated to a “Bergische Kaffeetafel”, a regional coffee table tradition offering waffles, rice pudding, cherry pudding and whipped cream (author’s note: a “Bergische Kaffeetafel” comprises a variety of dishes which can be extended according to the number of people at the table). We blissfully mounted our bikes again and rode towards Cologne.

After visiting Amadeüs Motors in Cologne-Zollstock, we headed towards Jens von Brauck’s workshop to take a closer look at his custom projects. We particularly liked the comparison between the R nineT Scrambler and jvb’s custom job. We simply had to give it a test ride.

We then spent the evening at a workshop run by friends of Cäthe – amongst the craziest custom job projects (a flat track racer with a scooter engine and laughing gas injection) – before we collapsed into bed weary to the bone.

The fourth day of our journey was a personal highlight for several of us. We rode to the Nürburgring to breathe in some racing air – and if watching a race isn’t enough anymore, you have to do something about it. No sooner said than done… Cäthe and Daniel took on the “North loop” track. When they returned to the parking lot after 20 km on the former race track, they wore big smiles on their faces underneath their helmets. Joyful leaps, hugs… on this day, a big dream came true for the both of them.

Last but not least, Janna ran into Guy Martin and didn’t pass up on the opportunity to take a photo with the charming race driver. This day was a great success on so many levels.

With a little help from a lovely mechanic and his wrench – to open the oil filter cap –, our R nineT was treated to a healthy slug of oil before we continued heading south. Always take good care of your bike.

We got as far as Trier that evening and settled down in a local wine bar to reminisce about the exciting day we had had, drinking delicious Moselle wine.

Let’s go to Paris! Friday morning; four well-rested riders with full tanks and a common goal: dinner in Paris. In the beginning, we, once again, went for the wonderful “Curvy Roads” option but soon realised that we wouldn’t make Paris on the same day riding like this. So, we entered the autobahn and stuck it out. The sun was already low when we reached the outskirts of Paris after 450 km. We quickly found out that our way of riding motorcycles (remaining in one lane and behind cars) was different from the Parisian riding style 100%. If you’ve got hazard lights, why not use them; the same goes for that little space in between lanes.

With the firm conviction that “whoever can ride up and down Hermannstraße in Berlin can ride anywhere”, we flung ourselves into Parisian city traffic, and we felt on top of the world.

After arriving at our hotel in the 16. arrondissement, it was time to go in search for our promised dinner. By the sudden appearance of the Arc de Triomphe in front of us, and a subsequent shopping spree on a Parisian street brimming with motorbike shops, we eventually found a cosy restaurant that would still serve us, and we could tick off our goal of the day.

Saturday morning; we had almost reached our destination. After a very French breakfast at our charming hotel, we insisted on taking our bikes on a little sightseeing tour: photo shooting at the Arc de Triomphe, photo shooting at the Eiffel Tower; riding along the Champs-Élysées, simultaneously chanting the eponymous chanson; we felt like tourists, yet accidentally, we turned into a much photographed tourist attraction ourselves.

After we had accomplished that, we headed for Montlhéry to attend the Cafer Racer Festival where we were joyfully greeted by BMW France. The R nineT was spontaneously placed in the BMW booth. Covered in dust and flies from over 1.500 km of riding, it seemed a little out of place amongst all the polished motorcycles, but its aura exuded adventure and freedom.

The day went by in a flash with shopping sprees and a bunch of races on Montlhéry’s impressive steep circuit. In the evening, we were in each other’s arms when Cooking with Elvis took the stage.

6 days on bikes, over 1.500 km; 6 days together with wonderful people that made every day so much better; 6 days on the Pure&Crafted R nineT scrambler – a bike you fall in love with the moment you turn the ignition key; a bike you never want to give away again.

Yet, we had to. So, on Sunday noon, I met with the next Pure&Crafted on the Road adventurers in front of the Eiffel Tower to hand over the keys. Ben and Mile greeted me with open arms, and I knew that the bike we became so fond of would be in good hands. Over a cup of coffee, overlooking Paris’ famous landmark, we talked about our adventures and plans, and we enjoyed a sunny day in Paris before I had to catch my flight back to Berlin.

Today, after one week, I look at the pictures again, and I have a big smile on my face. Such road trips take you to your limits; physically when it comes to riding, and emotionally as well – and I wouldn’t want to miss a single moment of it.