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Wrap Up of 2023 BMW Ts safari A Newbie’s View

Wrap Up of 2023 BMW Ts safari A Newbie’s View
Wrap Up of 2023 BMW Ts safari A Newbie’s View
Wrap Up of 2023 BMW Ts safari A Newbie’s View

Wrap Up of 2023 BMW Ts safari A Newbie’s View

“I’d really like to do that one day!” An email hit my inbox for the 2023 BMW TS Safari, riding the Victorian and NSW high country. I have been riding BMW adventure bikes only for about 6 years (F800GS and currently R1250GS Rallye X), and I’d always thought the GS Safari was something for my bucket list. Wrap Up of 2023 BMW Ts safari A Newbie’s View

But what about the TS – I was always concerned that I wasn’t a good enough rider to handle the stamina needed for the GS Safari, but what’s the TS Safari about?

It looked a whole lot more cruisy, bitumen the whole way, but taking back roads and seeing a whole lot of country.

Questions popped in my head as I tried to decide if I would or could, do this event: What if I had to share a room with a big hairy biker who snored?

Mmmm…. Well, that means I probably should take the Grand Tourer option for a room on my own.

What if there weren’t any other ladies on the tour? I scoured the YouTube videos of previous BMW TS Safaris, and was a bit more reassured that at least there should be ladies riding pillion, if not on-bike themselves.

I clicked the link…

Geez, there wasn’t any of the premium spots left!

I decided a snoring, big hairy biker was a deal-breaker, so emailed the support email to go on the waiting list for the Grand Tourer option, not really expecting a reply.

A couple of days later, the lovely Anthea responded to say that they had a cancellation, and there was a Grand Tourer spot with my name on it.

Boom! I was going! Excitement hit. My first BMW safari. Woop woop!

This is my experience as a newbie to BMW Safari.

Welcome Dinner and Rider’s Briefing

Wow – exceptionally well organised! Registration, getting your event bag of goodies, and the first, welcome dinner appeared to run seamlessly, but was fun and laidback, meeting lots of new people. This was where we met all the team – tour owners and organisers, lead riders, sweep riders, tour doctor (riding too), tech specialist, luggage support, and weather girl.

After a pretty flash meal – thank you RACV Country Club Healesville – the
first rider briefing kicked off. Lots of info to assimilate:

  •  Maps of the first day’s route
  • GPS files for those with Garmins
  • Route marking put out by the lead riders
  • How to stay in front of the sweep rider on route
  • And what to do if you needed help.

Daily Riding

The tour ran for 5 days (6 nights) heading to Bright for 2 days, then Jindabyne, Canberra and Sydney. It was exceptional country and beautiful riding. Every day! And there weren’t any hairy bikers, that I was hoping wouldn’t be there. In fact, the average age was around 60, predominantly gentlemanly fellas, and nine ladies with two on-bike (myself included). It was a lovely group. And there were many exceptional riders. So, the event wasn’t just a great tour, there were lots of lessons learnt riding with more experienced people.

The Route

Clearly, I lot of effort had gone in to making the route, and therefore the riding, special. Lots of alpine twisties and sweepers, some technical riding, and other areas just taking in the stunning scenery. Epic views, beautiful high- country rivers, high alpine plains, winding national park roads. There was a huge variety in the type of roads that seemed to tick everyone’s ‘best road’ boxes.

In the high alpine areas above the tree line, we had some gnarly cross-winds on Day 2 that I found difficult, but most other riders didn’t seem too affected. Given that I hadn’t ridden any of the roads from Day 2 onwards, it truly was an adventure.

Every day had its challenging sections and it certainly wasn’t just a cruisy route.

On Day 4, the temperature leaving Jindabyne was a barmy two degrees and there had been a dusting of snow over- night on the higher areas we were riding through to start with. It was super cold! An hour into the route, Adaminaby became the stop for a coffee by what seemed like half the tour. There were about 30 bikes in the tiny main street.

Goodness knows what the locals thought! But the café did a brisk trade of coffees, muffins and cakes, warming up all the BMW icicles. And the group was having fun, regardless of the temperature.

What Didn’t Go Well?

There wasn’t much that didn’t go well. The whole event was professionally organised and I felt like I could just concentrate on riding and enjoying myself.

Hotel and food options in the smaller places we stayed was naturally more difficult, and if there were any areas that could improve, it might be around these. It meant that a couple of breakfasts and a dinner wasn’t provided as part of the tour cost. However, I cannot think of an alternative option when we were staying in smaller towns and the group spread across several locations. The accommodation and meals in the larger towns was top-notch and on target for the money.

I think there were a couple of ‘offs, a couple of riders overcooking corners, but nobody was hurt. And one tyre puncture that was plugged on the route and then replaced that evening by the techie. So quite different from the GS Safari. My 2022 R1250 GS Rallye X did not miss a beat, it ate up the kilometres and seemed to come alive on some of those twisties near Omeo!

What Did I Learn?

As a newbie to BMW Safari, I was originally a bit anxious about navigating, staying in front of the sweep rider, and whether I would have enough stamina to ride for five full days. And like so many things we get worried about, all of these were, in the end, absolutely fine.

I found that I navigated using the placed arrows and the GPS file, so it didn’t matter ifIwasridinginagrouporonmyown.I didn’t really use the map provided during the day, but did like to study it the night before, so I understood the route we were taking. Other riders relied entirely on the arrows on the route, particularly if they didn’t have a GPS. It was very doable without relying on the Garmin.

Even though I wasn’t remotely one of the fastest riders (and the tour wasn’t about speed anyway), I think I spotted our sweep riders only once, when I was leaving a town after lunch, and they were pulling in. It just wasn’t an issue and the group seemed to find its natural rhythm – who liked to be out front and who liked to take it easy and stop to see the sights. And there was plenty of time to stop where you wanted to.

And what about energy levels?

That wasn’t a problem either. Six to eight hours in the saddle every day turned out to be doable. It was tiring and you needed to pace yourself. And I needed a couple of days to recover once home again, so if you plan to do one of these events, don’t go back to work the next working day!

Would I Do It Again?

Absolutely, yes! I had a ball and thoroughly enjoyed meeting lots of new, likeminded riders. And even if it turned out that I was the only girl on another BMW safari or tour, it just wouldn’t be a problem.

So, perhaps I will see you on the next one?

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