Europe's premier biker gathering is rapidly becoming one of the Continent's most anticipated motorcycling events. Over the long weekend of 1-3 July, a huge number of UK riders will leave England's green and pleasant land and ride to the forests and mountains that surround the picturesque German/Austrian border town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The event that has inspired this pilgrimage is the annual BMW Motorrad Biker Meeting.
The news that World of BMW has booked exclusive use of an entire Eurotunnel train has almost upstaged the event itself. Advance bookings and planned dealership ride-outs indicated that over 250 bikes, riders and passengers would cross the English Channel. Eurotunnel was immediately contacted and a special charter service booked and organised. The mass of UK bikes is also scheduled to return on another BMW charter - five days later.
World of BMW has arranged a ride-out programme in conjunction with the nationwide BMW Motorrad Dealership Network. A mass of motorcycles is due to assemble at the Eurotunnel terminal in Folkestone at 6.30am on Thursday 30 June. On arrival in Calais they will split into organised groups and ride 385 miles across rural France to Strasbourg, on the border with Germany. After the overnight hotel (or camping) stop, the groups then complete a 255-mile ride through Germany to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. They will stay in the German town for two nights and attend the Biker Meeting events hosted by BMW Motorrad.
Once at the Biker Meeting venue, the UK contingent will have a BMW Motorrad UK marquee to act as its base and meeting point. The event will host the world's first public appearance of BMW's impressive new HP2 Enduro machine and also feature a celebratory 25-year 'History of the GS' display, in which many famous or legendary GS machines will be on show. Among them will the Long Way Round R1150 GS Adventure of Charley Boorman, together with Kevin and Julia Sanders' hard-ridden GlobeBusters R1150 GS Adventure.
The visiting Brits will not be lost for something to do. Last year over 30,000 motorcyclists visited the Biker Meeting. It includes trade stands, bike displays, ride-outs, test rides, stunt riding, biker parties (in the evening), mega-litres of beer and plenty of live music - in fact, everything necessary to make the gathering a perfect motorcycling event.
The journey back starts on Sunday 3 July at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The homeward route will take the British contingent to Hockenheim, south of Mannheim, or Heidelberg for an overnight hotel (or camping) stop. After arriving in Calais, the riders and bikes will board a 6pm World of BMW charter on Monday for the Channel crossing back to Folkestone.