Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

A Year On the RT - Part1 (long w/photos)

Recommended Posts


On October 5, 2004, I took delivery of a piedmont red 1150RT from Bob’s BMW in MD. I had owned several bikes in the 70’s, from a 250cc CZ motocross to a Honda four, but probably hadn’t even ridden a bike in almost 25 years.


Shortly after taking delivery of my bike, I set a goal of riding 12,000 miles my first year. There were several reasons for this, not the least of which was to make it worth the payments. I remember paying $2000 for my last bike in the 70’s thinking it was an astronomical price compared to what I had owned before. Of course, now I wonder why I ever let economic good sense prevail. I also wanted to ride those miles to develop the skill-set that today’s crowded highways and roads require. And I wanted to ride those miles because--IT’S A BMW. It expects it.


Last Sunday, I completed my goal during a 740 mile weekend loop though Maryland , Virginia and West Virginia.






I completed these miles almost entirely on weekend rides, two week-long trips, and occasional weekday and holiday rides. My shortest ride was probably to the RTE at the Olney Ale House (5 miles?). My longest, Etowah, TN to Waynesboro, VA (489 miles).




A lifetime friend and fellow rider in my previous motorcycling life, Lou, had also expressed a desire to re-enter the motorcycling world. He and his wife, Cheryl, had completed the NOVA MSF class in August. Cheryl had ridden on cycles before, but this was her first time as pilot.


I casually mentioned I had been investigating this bike, a BMW 1150RT, which seemed to have wide-ranging capabilities for both day riding and extended touring. The manufacturers of my youth seemed to be producing sport-bikes unsuitable for overweight 50-year olds and a Goldwing is, well, Goldwings tow trailers. Harley’s and other cruisers have never appealed to me at any age—I just don’t get it. So one Saturday in September, we took a trip to Morton’s BMW in VA, near their home. We sat on every model, talked to visiting owners, checked out the clothing and accessories, pondered the wear and tear on the used bikes, gathered up a supply of brochures, and went to Hooters for dinner (well, maybe there’s a little Harley rider in me after all).


Monday evening I get a phone call, “We called in sick today. Went back and rode and purchased the grey one. It’s in the garage.” Clearly, the ball is in my court.


I had been visiting Bob’s BMW every couple weeks since June. On my first visit, I was given a complete behind the scenes tour, a t-shirt, and an audience with the Bobster himself ! I mentioned the bike on display in his office was the last motorcycle I ever rode—so here I am.


I think my desire for a BMW was kindled by Gordon Jennings who wrote a cycle column in the early days of Car & Driver magazine. Anyone else remember him?


Bob’s kept offering test rides, but a phone call revealed I was not insured, because I didn’t have a current motorcycle policy in force. I had to content myself testing the relative heft by rocking the bikes on and off the center and side-stands and comparing static riding positions.


Being a computer guy, I also spent the summer lurking on the many web-sites and boards devoted to BMW motorcycles. I especially liked bmwsporttouring.com.




Shortly after my buddy’s purchase, Bob’s made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, so the stage was set. On a clear, sunny, October morning, my friend and three-week-RT-owner, drove with me to Bob’s and rode my new bike home to my house. I then spent the rest of the day riding 50 miles around the neighborhood trying work the right turn signal without simultaneously pinning the throttle wide-open.


Back to work the next day, and no riding. The following evening I come home, gear-up and head-out into the cold darkness for “just a little bit”. Two hours later, I decide maybe I’m keeping the deer awake and head for home. Now I’m hooked.


Friday, I take off work, load my side cases, take a deep breath, and leave for Lou’s house in Woodbridge VA. I choose the back way out route 28, down US 15, and somehow find my way around the outskirts of Manassas to their home in Woodbridge, VA which I have only accessed via I-95 before. When I arrive, I am exhausted but elated having endured copious amounts of large truck traffic, road construction, detours, repaving, and record heat. My own personal 110 mile ERC. A threshold has been crossed.


It’s the Columbus Day weekend, and we spend three glorious fall days riding our new RT’s on the back roads of VA and MD. Adjustable windshield, fairing, hard bags, heated grips--how'd I ever get by without this stuff?




Eight days after I took delivery, I’m back at Bob’s for my 600-mile service with 753 miles on the clock. The die is cast.


The last week in October I set out on my first motorcycle tour. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a very abbreviated trip as I misidentify the a rock on the BRP as a leaf. I dodge it with the front wheel, but it catches the centerstand, driving it into the engine case and pole-vaulting the bike over it at 50MPH. But the RT flew straight & true and brought me gently back to earth, and I was able stop quite normally and watch my engine’s lifeblood flow down the mountain.








(The full sad story was originally posted here) http://bmwsporttouring.com/ubbthreads/sh...true#Post418520




After missing three weeks of spectacular riding weather, I get my 1100 mile bike back with a new 0-mile engine. Although somewhat gun-shy, eight days and 750-miles later, I‘m back at Bob’s for my second 600-mile service.




This is where I learn the hardest part is getting out the door. With the RT’s fairing, a larger CB windshield, the heated grips and some Gerbings, riding is quite comfortable. Add some sun, and it’s actually fun. I especially like my electric socks.


In Punxsutawney PA to attend a Groundhog Day wedding, here I am extolling the virtues of Gerbings to Phil.






Spring is on the way! So I rewired it!






Satellite maps, satellite tunes. Someday, Garmin will build Google into their units.




At the end of March, Cheryl gets her own bike, an 1150R. Now we are three.




End of Part1 - RickP.

Share this post

Link to post

Congratulations on your first year. Fine ride tale. That photo of the 12K mile odometer cracks me up grin.gif. Your reflection in the glass is classic! You're such a Beemer dude.


I look forward to part 2. Have a great second year.

Share this post

Link to post
thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif Wonderful tale !

Share this post

Link to post

purchased my 2004 rt on 9/17/04 with same goal of 12,000 mi in first year. one rally, one out of state trip and mostly sunday rides. took it to dealer for 12k/annual service on 9/16/05. on that ride i exceeded the 12k miles. the year started out bad as it sat in my garage (which was still standing) for the first two weeks as i recovered from one of our many hurricanes last year-jeanne. i now have 13k miles and it gets better every ride.

Share this post

Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...