Annual BMW Motorrad Biker Meeting
Imagine a stunning location, long winding roads, thousands of motorcyclists, the latest bikes and displays, and a beer tent that rivals the Oktoberfest. That's the BMW Motorrad Biker Meeting. Last year over 200 UK participants rode to Germany in a mass ride out. Join in again in 2006 for another UK ride out to the BMW rally.
For the past five years, tens of thousands of bikers have descended on the small and idyllic location of Garmisch in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps in the first weekend of July to celebrate the annual BMW Motorrad Biker Meeting.
The biking festival has become an increasingly popular event for BMW enthusiasts. They can test ride the latest bikes, see the clothing and browse all the accessories that they can fit to their motorcycle. Not only that, but it's a fantastic social occasion.
Thousands of motorcyclists from 45 countries visited the event in 2004 and the challenge was set for BMW Motorrad UK to increase the number of UK participants for 2005.
Therefore the World of BMW charted an entire Eurotunnel train solely for participants to travel to the Biker Meeting - something that has never been done before. Through BMW Motorrad dealerships it also offered participants a hotel or camping option for the period.
The start of the journey was on Thursday 31 June. There were 210 BMW motorcyclists on the Eurotunnel site in Folkestone by 6.30am, ready for a crossing to Calais.
At the terminal the highly-efficient Eurotunnel staff guided the BMW group to a dedicated parking area and participants took advantage of the free hospitality, changed currency, or bought any last minute items.
Before long it was time to start boarding the train. Everyone parked safely on the train and with ten bikes per carriage the riders were able to relax, socialise and enjoy the smooth 35-minute crossing to Calais.
The bikes rolled off the train in France to continue the 390-mile journey to an overnight stop in Strasbourg, riding individually or in dealership groups. Prior to the event, participants were supplied with route cards, maps and could even download the route and waypoints to their BMW Motorrad navigators to help them with the journey.
The next day riders could either take the scenic route to Garmsich or the motorway. The mountain roads in the surrounding area were sensational, the scenery was like a picture postcard and there were bikes everywhere.
BMW officials guided riders to the parking area and then it was time to experience the Biker Meeting. BMW Motorrad UK had hired a stand for UK participants to use as meeting point. There were trade stands, display areas, a cinema, plenty of places to eat, off-road training, HP2 display, test rides and a stunning location to ride a bike.
In the evening, more UK participants appeared in the massive festival tent, which by all accounts, rivalled the Oktoberfest. Thousands of visitors packed into the tent to eat, drink and dance on the tables to the entertainment put on by BMW.
By Saturday everyone had arrived at the event. In fact, it was packed. UK visitors were keen to watch Chris Pfeiffer, Simo Kirssi and Jimmy Lewis showboat on the impressive new HP2 machines.
Several UK visitors who had ridden to the event, visited trade stalls and booked their bikes in to be modified there and then. Riders enjoyed the attractions and took advantage of the brilliant roads in the area.
Once again the Brits were in high party spirits for Saturday night and they were easy to see (wearing the UK Biker Meeting T-shirts). The tent was busier than the night before and visitors were happily drinking German beer out of steins and dancing on the tables. The celebrations went until the early hours of the morning.
On Sunday it was time for the return journey. Participants rode onto Heidelberg for an overnight stop. Then on Monday rode back to Calais for the return train crossing back to the UK.
The details for the 2006 mass ride out are almost finalised. The run will be longer and include an overnight stay in the alpine town of Davos. There will also be crossings from Hull and Dover. If you are interested in taking part, call the World of BMW on 08000 131 282 and register your interest or visit www.worldofbmw.com for the latest information.