For those of you who are contemplating European riding tour next summer or in the next couple of years, the following may be worth considering:
1) subscribe to a guided, pre-planned and pre-arranged tour which may break the bank or
2) Plan your own, buy a few maps and just go: this could save you “tons of money”
In preparation for a three-week trip (June-July 2002) starting in Holland with Norway as destination to visit friends I had not seen in 40 years…
I checked 5 Beemer rental places in Holland: weekly rates range from 325 euros ($500 cdn) for a K75RT and 425 euros ($660 cdn) for a R1100RT to 500 euros ($775 cdn R1100RT) with 750 km free. Additional km charges vary from 39cts to 50 cts……..!!!!
One of the five rental outfits is Bert Duursma, BMW dealer in Apeldoorn on the central-east side of Holland. His response to my initial e-mail,detailing what I wanted and what I had done in the past, was “ ……… We have a R1100RT, 1998 for 600 euros ($930 cdn), 500 euros damage deposit (refundable when returned with no damage), 2150 km free and extra km @ 12 euro cts (18.6 cts cdn)……” I e-mailed back asking if the 600 euros were per week,. His response – No, for the 3 weeks!!!!
Five days prior to arriving, I asked him if the bike had a topcase whereupon his wife e-mailed back saying that the bike had none, however they had ordered one and when I would arrive, everything would be installed….!! What a service. Needless to say that Bert Duursma is THE PLACE to do business with!
My “freebee” airline ticket, courtesy of Milton of Air Canada (airmiles) brought me into Frankfurt where the train station is in the airport.
A 4 ½ hour train ride took me into Arnhem with an unforgettable stretch between Frankfurt and Cologne where the train meanders along the river Rhine with its castles, medieval walls, old towns,- many restored and flying multi-colored flags - traffic on the river with freighters, tankers, pleasure boats, cruise ships, campers, swimmers, kayakers and whatever else can frolick on, in or near the water: amazing….!I had forgotten how beautiful this area is. From Arnhem to Apeldoorn is about one hour by train and when I arrived at the Duursma’s everything was ready to roll: being unfamiliar with the 1100 RT, one of his junior personnel spent about 15 minutes going over the various
aspects of the bike, followed by the paperwork in the office and half an hour repacking my gear into the three hard cases. The Duursma dealership is mouth watering: his showroom is immaculate with new bikes and used bikes (occasions) which cover the airheads, oilheads, cruisers; an odd vintage machine, K-bikes and F-bikes, apparel, helmets etc.etc. His workplace is as large as his showroom, clean, well-laid out and superbly organized. Bert sells and services among others the Militairy Police bikes with “all the bells, whistles and blue flashing lights” Bert is also one of the few, if not the only one, who has recently had a number of workshops to rid certain beemers of their irregular performance between 2000 and 3000 rpms –called “konstant Fahr Ruckel” (surging) This procedure replaces the plugs with “BRISK” plugs, a fine tuning and in most cases installation of a different code plug – reaction from the various Beemer clubs in Holland have been overwhelmingly positive. It is recommended to visit Bert and his organization at: www.bertduursma.nl/ you will enjoy it, even in dutch……..! and I don’t have shares in Duursma’s place, but would if I could.
If interested in any details about the trip, give me a call: 250-833-1450 Let it be known that Norway and Denmark are probably the most expensive countries in the world, however there are ways and means to buffer the impact on the pocketbook a bit: Holland and Germany can be expensive, but away from the cities one can enjoy hotels and cuisine for a fraction of the price. Compare Denmark - gasstation cum hotel,dining room and separate fast food facilities @ $156.25 cdn for overnighting with in-room toilet and shower facilities, great breakfast and good supper + one glass of wine and North Germany - road side “gaststaette’: pub, restaurant, dining room, and choice of rooms @ $ 54.85 cdn for overnighting (toilet facilities communal) but in- room shower facility, superb breakfast and excellent supper with 2 beers and one glass of rum.
Road systems are good to very good; autobahns are only good if one is in a hurry or to bypass the big cities as speeds between 135 and 220 km p/h demand constant alertness and more “looking in the mirrors than straight ahead” When travelling at 140 clicks, it is amazing to get a friendly wave from 2 police officers on K-bikes passing you and doing 150?? or more.
Joop Langelaar, September 21, 2002
Great Euro Maps here: http://www.map24.com/