Adventure bike sales have been booming since Ewan McGregor and that other bloke rode around the world on a pair of fully loaded BMW R1200GSs… and rightly so. After all, a good adventure bike comes as close as it gets to motorcycling perfection in one machine, and they look the business, casually suggesting you could be popping down to Morocco for tea any minute.
But few ever do because when it comes down to it, adventure riding’s hard work. Not only that, it’s also a bit, well, smelly. Camping in the same wet tent gets old pretty quickly, as does wearing the same pants for a month because all your luggage space is taken up with spares. In your mind you may think you pack all the roguish charm of Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone as you roll into another dusty border outpost astride your steed of steel. In truth, you look like a tramp on the run and smell like a pirate on shore leave!
Which means the adventurous side of adventure riding tends to get done by the few genuinely teak-tough dirt men out there who care not a fig for personal hygiene and believe boil in the bag spag-bol actually tastes good, while the rest of us read about it instead.
But it doesn’t have to be this way because, if your pockets are deep enough, the adventure riding dream can be made reality and it can be a place where fine adventure AND high living come together.
One man with access to spectacularly deep pockets, who’s more than happy to point such resources in the direction of epic off-road enjoyment, is Hendrik von Kuenheim, overall boss of BMW’s motorcycle division. A longtime enduro rider and fan of all things dirt, when von Kuenheim fancied a tough and exotic riding holiday he simply had a word with his people and made it happen. You can imagine the conversation:
HvK: I’ve been working too hard, I want a riding holiday.
Staff: Where to boss?
HvK: Somewhere hot, dusty and loaded with adventure where they also have the best hotels and the finest wines known to humanity - after all, a gentleman needs to relax after a hard day’s riding.
Staff: What about bikes, boss?
HvK: Pluck as many GSs as you like from the worldwide dealer network and have them sent to the start point. Oh, and add a couple of new Huskys. We’ll put them on a trailer just in case we want to play with them along the way. You can all come too - I’ll need people to carry my bags.
Staff: Sure boss, erm, just one question - how are we going to pay for all this?
HvK: I’m the boss – I’ll sign it all off!
Staff (in unison): Brilliant!
Namibia was the destination and in case anyone at BMW realised this was all a massive jolly, von Kuenheim also invited a handful of journalists to join him, thus cloaking his otherwise obvious holiday in a thick veil of media fog. RUST couldn’t pack quickly enough…