This weekend I rented a BMW F800 GS from Dubbelju Motorcycle Rentals and rode 300 kms to Lake Tahoe. The roads were pretty straight and wide expressways all the way from San Francisco up until I started climbing the hills of the Eldorado national forest.
I reached South Lake Tahoe by 1 pm and checked into a hotel by the lake. The plan was to ride around the lake, spend the night in South Lake Tahoe and then figure out what to do the next day. So I rode the motorcycle around the lake circling it clockwise. I rode slowly enjoying the breathtaking views stopping multiple times to take pictures.
The next morning I decided to find out exactly how much trouble I could get myself into with the Beemer at Lake Tahoe. I say trouble because I was planning on doing some off-roading with the huge adventure motorcycle, but it had tyres suited for tarmac. The map of the lake showed many mountain biking trails, but they were all for bicycles. Motorcycles were not allowed on those trails. There was one spot on the map that had a trail for ATV’s marked on it and I decided to go check it out. The fact that this was the first time I was riding a BMW GS, and it had street tyres, and it had a top loaded luggage rack with my stuff in it, and the road was meant for four wheeled rugged ATV’s didn’t seem to bother me at that time.
The stupidity of what I had set out to do didn’t hit me until I rode the Beemer to the start of the trail. Massive smooth rocks, like large shining pebbles, made up the first section of the trail. I’m not sure even knobby tyres would have saved the day for a novice like me. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it through the first section but wanted to know how far I could take the motorcycle.
So I stabbed it in first gear and started riding, negotiating the rocks along the way. The thin front wheel kept dancing in front of me and I had a tough time making it go in a somewhat straight line. I was making good progress when the rear tyre spun like crazy (due to the lack of any grip whatsoever), dug itself into a hole and said to me, “That’s it for me! I ain’t going nowhere.”
By then I had ridden around 150 meters and decided that I had better not push my luck more than I already had. I had a tough time getting the rear wheel out of its hole and turning the motorcycle around. I finally managed to do it and rode back to where I started, took a couple of pictures and decided to head back to the lake.
It was a good experience. It didn’t last long and I didn’t do much. But I learned exactly how much of a handful a BMW F800 GS can be.
After my short-lived off-roading adventure I decided to head back to San Francisco and return the motorcycle. In all I rode the BMW F800 GS 491 miles (785 kms) this weekend. The motorcycle is a piece of art. Very responsive engine. In fact too responsive for my laid back cruiser style riding. I touched 160 kmph a number of times with ease on straight empty roads. At 160 kmph I could feel the engine taunting me to twist the throttle a little bit more. Now I’m very interested to try out the BMW R1200 GS. I’m curious to know how much more hell can the extra 400 cc raise.
Here is a video I captured from my chest mounted GoPro.
The link to the Garmin adventure is here.