This "AT" rally took place about three hours from our home, and was
organized by a motorcycle club called Freunde
der Africa Twin e.V. (FAT), based in Oberursel-Weisskirchen, which
is North West of Frankfurt. The gathering was very
well-put-together -- I wasn't expecting this level of event organization
from a small social club. But, then, I realized that a lot of the
attendees are a part of the club's online community -- so it's yet another
example of how the Internet can be used to build face-to-face community,
not just online. All of the workers (food preparers and servers,
registration, etc.) were volunteers in or associated with members of the
club, and they obviously loved what they were doing.
The camp site was the parking lot of Burg Lissberg, a tower in a charming little village. The tower grounds are surrounded by a high stone wall, and on the grounds there is a large meeting room where presentations were held, a paved area for socializing, another walled area for a bonfire, plenty of good, cheap beer (ofcourse! it's Germany!), free coffee, terrific food (including delicious vegetarian options!), and BATHROOMS, not just pit toilets or port-o-pots (I really, really like plumbing).
On Saturday, attendees had a choice of going on a seven-hour road book
tour, with stops for small competitions (like rowing across a lake), or a
five 1/2 hour road book tour. We chose the latter, since it was chilly and
threatening rain (the longer tour got rained on; we managed to avoid it).
The ride was a great mix of paved and gravel roads, which all riders did
at their own pace. We mostly road by ourselves, but we did ride with
others at one point, when we all got lost in the woods -- which proved to
be kinda fun, actually (even though I pointed out the probable way out and
Stefan "didn't hear me", and the way out described by a passing local on a
bicycle was, indeed, my way...).
On Saturday night, there was a presentation by a couple who toured Argentina, Chile and a bit of Bolivia for a year via their ATs (we are ready to go NOW), followed by the announcement of the winner of a restored Africa Twin motorcycle (the money for the raffle for this went to build a school in Kenya).
People were very nice, as most motorcycle travelers are. I don't speak
German and, yet, I felt very welcomed and comfortable. And I really can't
emphasize enough how well-run and how friendly this rally was. I think
this may be the rally to which I judge all others - though, of course, the
only other one I've been to is Moto-FERNREISE-Treffen
by the famous (infamous?) Bernd Tesch.
There were a few non-ATs at the rally: a couple of KTMs, one or two Varaderos, maybe three Translips, a couple of BMWs... and a few women riders, some shorter than me, which I always am inspired by. Passersby were impressed either with the maps on Stefan's boxes that show where he's been by motorcycle, or by the Bushmill bottle holders on either side of the bike, which Stefan adapted from the boxes Bushmill's ships whiskey in.
Our next motorbike trip, by the way, will be to Eastern Europe in September. I hope we can also do one more trip in the Spring before we move back to the USA. Once we're in the USA, we have several motorcycling travel goals to realize: various parts of the USA (including Alaska), Canada, and Chilé top the list of goals. And, of course, I want to learn to ride myself and buy my own bike (not an Africa Twin; I just think it's much too big for me).
What makes a great motorcycle rally (& rallies I have attended)
Tips for Women: Getting Started as a Motorcycle Rider (just to ride, not necessarily to travel as well)
From Oregon to the "Lost Coast" of Northern California (Horizons Unlimited 2010 California meeting) - August 2010
Oh, Canada...Two-Week Canada/USA Tour by Motorcycles (Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, Idaho) - September 2010
Crater Lake, Oregon 2011 (photos only)
general information and advice for packing (non-motorcycle trips)
general information and advice for novice traveling women from the USA
health & safety considerations especially for women novice travelers.
things to consider regarding transportation and accommodations choices, and advice on preventing motion sickness.
the importance of complaining & complimenting.
transire benefaciendo: "to travel along while doing good." advice for those wanting to make their travel more than sight-seeing and shopping.
my adventures in Europe, Africa, as well as road trips in the USA
links to resources to help women travelers
my page of helpful hints for camping with your dogs in the USA.
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The personal opinions expressed on this page are solely those of Ms. Cravens, unless otherwise noted.