At the time, the BMW R80G/S was the perfect template for a world traveler taking to the road. This was during the early years of adventure-touring on two wheels, and there were no aftermarket parts to speak of. I did, however, manage to get a Heinrich 10.6-gallon fuel tank for the G/S through a friend studying medicine in Achen, Germany. He hand-carried it home for his Christmas vacation; for me, Santa came from Germany that year!
During that winter, “Olga,” as I came to call my trusty R80G/S, was born. She had wide hips in the form of homemade aluminum panniers and was equally endowed in front, thanks to that big fuel tank.
That adventure grew and ultimately took me around the world over a 10-year period. My life changed on so many levels. I met the love of my life in Seattle in 1988 and later moved to the Northwest to live with Karen, now my wife. In 1993, Olga, my first love, retired at the BMW museum in Germany as I was given a brand-new BMW R1100GS in exchange.
It was hard to part with the old air-head Boxer, a bike I had grown to know intimately. But I must say that it didn’t take long before I felt very comfortable with the new oil-head. Over the hundreds of thousands of miles traveling the world on various models of the GS (see “The GS Spotter’s Guide”), I have been in almost every situation imaginable with the bikes and my riding partners, from the most wonderful to some of the most difficult.
To celebrate the introduction of the liquid-cooled 2013 R1200GS, I dug into my photo archives to find pictures of each generation of GS captured in the wild around the world. Each photo is numbered to help you find its location on the world map (see below).
Even if your best pictures are those lingering in your memory, these are exciting times to be a motorcycle world traveler.
Helge Pedersen’s book, Ten Years on Two Wheels, chronicling his 250,000-mile journey through 77 countries, was published in 1994. Four years later, Pedersen founded GlobeRiders, which, in his words, “specializes in long-duration, adventure motorcycle travel throughout parts of the world neither easily accessible nor commonly visited.” He is currently riding from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego on an R1200GS, the last oil/air-cooled version of the GS. Check out Packing Your Adventure Bike “Mule” on how he prepared for this trip.
To learn more about Helge Pedersen and GlobeRiders Motorcycle Adventures, visit: http://www.globeriders.com
Check out images in Photo Gallery: