Tuesday, November 15, 2022


A 1995 BMW GSPD Classic (one of 150 manufactured) suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure on the way to the Start of The Last Broke Bike Mountain Ride leg of the 2022 ‘round the world rally, September 6.  At 70 mph on Interstate 90, 30 miles west from the Start point in Boise, Idaho, the drive shaft grenaded at the lower end where it connected to the rear drive unit.  The rider escaped serious injury by miraculously staying upright as the rear wheel clunked and attempted to lock up at speed, which it did at slow speeds. The BMW was a DNF (Did Not Finish), but more of a Did Not Start. A few days later, after a truck ride to its home near Seattle, the Broke Bike was sold. Potential buyer(s) beware! This Classic has had all of the classic BMW failures: drive shaft, two engine bolts stripped, electric rotors (3) replaced, and rear shock blown. On the plus side, it should have a solid transmission with the C clip installed at the factory, and has new Avon tires with less than 1,000 miles on them...and it has the superior Tea Pot side stand.

The 1992 highly modified BMW R100 GS of entrant # 69 (photos above) was also a DNF, in the Canadian leg of the Alcan 5000. Zigging when it should have been zagging over a serious risk avoidance section of high speed gravel caused the entrant to throw in the towel and limp back to California. The rider was unscathed but the meticulously prepared BMW was bent, scratched and then parked for extensive cosmetic repairs.
During the Looking For America Adventure, Dr. G stopped to meet with the Four Stroke Singles National Owners Group. Jack Robinson, founder of the club was captured below explaining how the 35 year-old club members were to follow him the next day to the "center of America," to keep a close distance between the motorcycles so as not to allow cars or animals to get in between.
A road knight in Iowa, Clint Wheeler, aka "Smalls" (pictured below) came to Dr. G's rescue when he broke down on a four lane highway, showing there was goodness in mankind in middle America. In trade for his kindness Dr. G gifted him one of his new books, ADVENTURE MOTORCYCLIST: FRAZIER SHRUGGED, all that Smalls would accept for an afternoon of downtime assisting a broke down traveler.
At the National Motorcycle Museum over 450 motorcycle and 1000's of treasurers were on display.
Some years before, Dr. G had donated to the museum the 2001 Kawasaki KLR650 he had ridden around the world in 2002.
The there was a detailed description of the KLR650 modifications and Dr. G's fourth global ride.
June 20, 2022 found #9 at the world headquarters for the biggest global motorcycle rally, Ride To Work Day. 
From here Dr. G reflected upon a saying on a 1969 poster he had seen for the movie EASY RIDER: "A man went looking for America...And couldn't find it anywhere." Not deterred in his search, he decided to turn west and keep looking, comparing what he found in North America with the rest of the world, possibly another loop around the globe, starting from Duluth, Minnesota. A deterrent would be the impossibility of crossing Asia given the political relations in 2022. Then Dr. G remembered what the American motorcycle adventurer, Danny Liska, had told him in 1984: "When they say you can't do it, that's when the adventure begins."
Cautiously and quietly, Dr. G left Duluth and chose Route 200 across Minnesota upon the recommendation of Aerostich (www.aerostich.com) founder Andy Goldfine in the book he had been given by Goldfine, titled THE RIDERS. It was to be the first leg of a possible seventh 'round the world ride for Dr. G.   
In Wyoming, off-pavement, the heavily loaded KLR 650 proved its true dual-sport nature, navigating some serious gravel and dirt sections.

The 2009 Kawasaki KLR 650 of # 9 suffered a drive chain loss at 65 mph on interstate pavement. An Indian Motorcycle owner came to the rescue and with the help of J & P Cycles, the KLR was back on the road a day later.

The KLR of # 9 did suffer a small fall down into the front of a stationary SUV (captured above) when the owner was checking the oil level and the motorcycle rolled forward, down a slight incline. Alone and unable to lift upright the KLR because the front wheel was pointed the wrong direction, the owner used a Hi-Lift car jack to upright it to a near vertical position. No serious damage was suffered in the "bike fall down" slow speed adventure.

Earlier DNFer Richard Livermore (# 7, aka Dick C. Nevermore) had a similar “bike fall down” in Chile in January, 2016 when he lost control of his parked Honda GL 650 in front of his motel room and broke his windscreen and a front turn signal. He had been attempting to park his motorcycle on the sidewalk in front of his room for what he thought was security, versus leaving it parked in the parking slot in front of his room.


Livermore was able to repair the windscreen damage with cable ties and the turn signal with duck tape and a spare turn signal he wisely carried two of, as he had broken the another one in an earlier crash/spill in Colombia. 

One entrant in late September, 2022 opined, “Maybe Livermore’s crashing in North America once and South America twice, his motel bike-fall-down, and then self-DNFing in Africa, put the jinks or bad mojo on our 2022 adventures?”

In the spirit and style of Livermore’s Indiana-farm-boy-English, and after researching the mystical world of Toto's Kansas and the etymology of certain phrases and words Livermore often used, # 9, ever the existential motorcyclist, looked skyward for a circling Edgar Allen Poe described raven for some seconds, and then said, “Okey dokey, you betcha, and the crashing and DNFs this year will be cosmically blamed on the psychologically dark world of the nevermore.”

[Saul Bishop posted November, 2022]