Magic Bike Week - A Tigers Tale
On 6th June 2023 I set off with a friend on our motorcycles to Hull ferry port in order to take the Hull-Rotterdam overnight ferry on our way to “Magic bike week” in Rudesheim am Rhein in Germany.
Tony as usual on his R1250GS and this time I took a Tiger 800 XRX which had previously belonged to a friend and was a known and reliable bike.
The crossing went without a hitch and we disembarked into European sunshine as we made our way across Holland towards Germany. Our stops to fuel and stretch legs were at the fantastic services which unlike many of those in the UK are smart, clean, well staffed and usually an abundance of delicious food available.
Fuel was a little more expensive than in the UK which was disappointing but the Tiger 800 achieved well over 60mpg so it didn’t hurt so much.
Later that same day we arrived at our German guest house at the side of the Rhein call Gasthaus zum Furstenberg. Greeted by Annie and later by Mike, the room was pleasant, incredibly clean with comfortable beds.
An evening meal was a German beer and a half chicken cooked to perfection and a plate of chips of which I didn’t know whether to eat them or climb them as it was so massive, brilliant.
The following day we took the ferry at Lorch across the Rhein and rode down to Assmanshausen which is a beautiful place, left the bikes on the promrnade and caught the Seilbahn which is an open cable car up to the Niederwald monument and back down the other side directly into Rudesheim and into the Bike rally which is sponsored by Harley Davidson.
This is a great event, and is supported by the police who block cars from entering the main front and escort the organised multibike rides out with typical German efficiency and not caring if your pipes were a bit loud or you even had a helmet on, well can you imagine our draconian UK police force doing that?
We visited the show again the following day and enjoyed the ambiance of the whole show.
We had in previous years visited the Reichsburg at Cochem and decided to have a trip through the back roads and through the forests to reach it however in sweltering 31 plus degrees the tyres on the bikes had become uber sticky so it gave us chance shall we say to do a bit of scratching whilst o the back roads!
The last evening I spent sat on the hotel terrace with the owner Mike talking about the world over a glass of local Reisling. The similarities in both our countries concerns over the world and future politics was astounding and I suppose mildly comforting to know that Europeans had similar concerns.
The following morning we bid Mike and Annie a sad farewell as they had been brilliant hosts and incredibly kind to us, so much so that we arrived as guests and parted as friends, and a promise to return. Their guesthouse was called Gasthaus zum Fürstenberg, book with them here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our journey then took us west nearer the French coast to St Omer which is another of our favourite places and to the Hotel Ibis in the centre near the beautiful Notre Dame cathedral.
St Omer is very cosmopolitan, with café bars lining the square and the streets and a lovely place to sit out on a warm evening and enjoy good food and a beer brewed locally called Audomarois which go’s down far too well.
St Omer has a special place in our family history in WW1 as my Grandfather was stationed there in the early days of the RAF which was called The Royal Flying Corps and based at Longuenesse airfield. There is a small memorial there to commemorate this historic starting point and of course those who have fallen.
"During World War I on 8 October 1914, the British Royal Flying Corps arrived in Saint-Omer and a headquarters was established at the aerodrome next to the local race course. For the following four years, Saint-Omer was a focal point for all RFC operations in the field. Although most squadrons only used Saint-Omer as a transit camp before moving on to other locations, the base grew in importance as it increased its logistic support to the RFC. Many Royal Air Force squadrons can trace their roots to formation at Saint-Omer during this period. Among which are No. IX Squadron RAF which was formed at Saint-Omer, 14 December 1914 and No. 16 Squadron RAF which was formed on 10 February 1915"
A day at the coast in the roasting sun, another evening of beer and food and we retired for the last night before our morning jaunt to the channel tunnel.
I have to say at this point the staff at the channel tunnel were exemplary and it ran like clockwork with us being given an earlier booking probably because the train was near empty, well just our two motorcycles in this carriage.
Well done Le Shuttle!
Out at the other end and back to blighty we raced off in the direction of home only to be frustrated by the abundance of lorries and middle lane hoggers on the motorway.
NOW for those of you travelling this way please take great notice of the following!
We stopped at Thurrock services because my bladder would wait no more and I raced off in the WC direction whilst Tony cracked a boiled egg into a tissue on the rear rack of his bike. Now a small piece of eggshell fell to the floor (a natural and biodegradable product of a chicken) as per picture and unbeknown to him a rather overzealous Thurrock Council park attendant came over to give him a £150 fine for littering, yes yes you did see that and read it correctly. Both of us were speechless.
Welcome back to the nanny state UK we thought. All that way through Europe, no trouble and we arrive home to this so please take note if you stop there. Its Thurrock services between junction 30 and 31 on the M25. I personally I am on a boycott mission here as this was unreasonable.
Home safe, disillusioned about our home country it’s back to it as always, until I can squeeze some time to return again (not via Thurrock services I hasten to add)
Thanks to my staff for holding the “fort” whilst I was away and thank you to all our customers for keeping us going.
The Tiger now having fulfilled it's mission and performed without fault is for sale at Charlies Motorcycles Wibsey on 01274 694231 or www.charliesmotorcycles.co.uk
To you Mike in Germany, I hope your 10-year plan works, you know what I mean!
Bis Bald, Auf Wiedersehen