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On its maiden voyage with the BMW R 75/7 (1978) - Five decades on two wheels (1)

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Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
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Posts: 20
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Hi guys, I'm new here and trying to find my way around here. My friend Alan introduced me to this website here. My name is Wolf-Ingo, my friends are allowed to call me Ingo. I'm 73 years old and I have been a motorcyclist since 1971. I have been driving a BMW R 75/7 since 1977. How I came to BMW, I will explain to you in the following text. Because I am German and can only speak school English, there are probably a lot of errors in the text.  Please forgive me for my inadequacy!

But let's start with the report:

In the fall of 1977, I was thoroughly disappointed with the MZ brand. Although the four-speed TS had transported my wife Sigrid and me thousands of kilometres across Europe, two engine failures in four weeks were simply too much.

Below: Take-off in 1977 on the MZ TS 250 to Spain

 
Posted : 01/21/2024 08:17
Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
(@18749)
Posts: 20
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

I also wanted to finally have more power, better brakes and a more comfortable seat. A four-stroke suitable for touring was needed, and soon.

My attention fell on the Bavarian boxers, which was not least due to Ilse Reuter, the editor of a fairly well-known motorcycle magazine. Its circulation-promoting image regularly graced the front page when the magazine once again published a BMW test. The editor, who shines as a cover girl, told me that the newly introduced R 100/7 has an extremely elastic engine and is therefore particularly suitable for holiday trips with a lot of luggage. Unfortunately, there was a catch: the balance of our student household. But for a BMW 750, the combined income from six weeks of holiday work at Daimler-Benz would probably have been enough.

Below: beautiful Ilse Reuter

 
Posted : 01/21/2024 08:19
Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
(@18749)
Posts: 20
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

Of course, I also looked around at the competition. Since I considered the common four-cylinders to be complicated and vulnerable, only large-volume twins like a Yamaha XS 650 or a Kawasaki Z 750 were shortlisted. They were cheaper to buy than a Bavarian Boxer, but the Japanese were outrageous when it came to spare parts prices. The list of disadvantages didn't end there: Smaller tanks, open chains, untested durability and a questionable supply of spare parts spoke against a product from the Far East.

While I was still poring over various tables and performance curves, an advertisement appeared in the magazine "Das Motorrad". In it, the Hilden BMW dealer Otto Labitzke praised a brand new R 75/7 with double disc brakes. The price was highly attractive: it was supposed to cost 7,500 marks. I talked to Sigrid and my bank advisor, picked up the phone – and bought the machine. On October 13, 1977, I boarded a D train early in the morning and picked her up in Hilden.

Below: Purchase contract and ticket from October 1977

 
Posted : 01/21/2024 08:20
Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
(@18749)
Posts: 20
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

I took two days to take "the new one" home. In wonderful autumn weather I went along the Rhine to Mainz, where I spent the night with friends and continued my journey the next day. I used the leisurely drive over small and winding country roads to track down the peculiarities of the BMW. One of them had already been revealed to me by the beautiful Ilse: "If you let the clutch come slowly, the BMW newcomer has the feeling that he is not starting forward, but is rising straight vertically into the air with the entire vehicle. Because the vehicle comes out of the springs, further, further and further..." In the end, however, things went forward. On the other hand, I could not understand any other diagnosis of the MOTORRAD editors. The much-criticized gearbox shifted without any problems. My experience with the MZ's rustic four-speed gearbox may have been helpful in this regard.

Below: Long-haired writer in front of the BMW

 
Posted : 01/21/2024 08:21
Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
(@18749)
Posts: 20
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

When I got home, I had nothing to do but mothball my rubber cow again. That was tough. During the long winter, I kept my head above water by buying motorcycle suitcases from Krauser and an elephant boy from Harro. On April 29, 1978, our patience finally ran out. We packed up and started in bright sunshine to France. This time we were supposed to go to Provence. The first kilometers were indescribable. Instead of a rattling two-stroke engine with a meagre 19 hp, a massive steam locomotive drove the load forward powerfully. Overtaking became child's play. I fell into a veritable frenzy of happiness. At Donaueschingen we took a break and noticed with deep satisfaction that a pedestrian who happened to be present threw himself in the dust in front of us. Whether it was the beauty of my wife that overwhelmed him, or the majesty of the classic boxer engine, remained unclear.

Below: Passenger, BMW and kneeling admirer

 
Posted : 01/21/2024 08:22
Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
(@18749)
Posts: 20
Eminent Member
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The second day of driving turned out to be a tortour for several reasons. The first was that I had caught an infection and spent half the night in the hotel toilet. Feverishly, I had to get on the bike and take up an exhausting fight against the extremely gusty rain that pattered non-stop on our rain suits and helmets. Accordingly, the horrible weather was the second difficulty of this journey. Only slowly we fought our way to Lyon and from there took the country road to the right of the Rhone. At Rochemaure, it was no longer possible. I felt miserable and weak. When I got off the rubber cow to refuel, we even threatened to kiss the oily ground. Only the petrol pump prevented the Woytila salute. To avoid worse, we immediately moved into quarters in the small town.

Below: Wet clothes in the hotel

 
Posted : 01/21/2024 08:23
Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
(@18749)
Posts: 20
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Topic starter
 

The night was feverish and lasted endlessly. The next morning it was all over: I felt better and even had an appetite for what you think of as a decent breakfast in French hotels: a pitiful accumulation of 20 centimeters of white bread, a thimble full of butter and two jars of jam, whose exuberant sugar content mercilessly kills any hint of fruit flavor. The weather was a good match for the quality of the food. Rain slapped against the windows and upgraded the dreary breakfast room to a homely haven of warmth and security, which would take a great deal of effort to leave. Had we really gone that far to experience this?

The bad weather continued throughout the morning. The mood remained correspondingly depressed. In the visibility-robbing spray of cars in front, the drive led us via Orange and Carpentras to the Plateau de Vaucluse. There is a jewel of Romanesque architecture: the Cistercian monastery of Senanque. Even the external sight made us forget all the hardships: In a lonely location - surrounded by wooded mountains - the massive building rose in front of us. Even 850 years later, one could still imagine what had once motivated the monks seeking peace and quiet to found their cloistered order in this abandoned valley. We paid tribute to the monastery and visited it extensively.

Below: Abbey of Senanque in better weather (we came back in 1996.)

 
Posted : 01/21/2024 08:23
Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
(@18749)
Posts: 20
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

Heaven seemed to be pleased with the monastic retreat, for it closed its doors shortly afterwards. The fact that the place was called Lumières, near which the grey firmament let light through for the first time, was certainly to be understood as a hint from high above. In any case, Pastor Braun would have been delighted. So were we: In any case, our mood rose suddenly.

Below: Light at Lumieréres

 
Posted : 01/21/2024 08:24
Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
(@18749)
Posts: 20
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We spent the afternoon and night in Aix-en-Provence, the sister city of our place of study, Tübingen. We strolled along the elegant Cours Mirabeau, thanked the old plane trees for their shade and admired the fountains and monuments of the old university town. Well-preserved streets in baroque and classicist styles formed a charming backdrop for the bustling hustle and bustle of the city centre. Young people were everywhere. We enjoyed the lively atmosphere and went to a restaurant in the historic center in the evening, exhausted and hungry. Whether it was due to the enjoyment of wine or just our ignorance of the place that the dinner was followed by a long-lasting search for our accommodation, I no longer remember, but I do remember the fact that we completely circled the old town.

Below:8 In the park of Aix.

 
Posted : 01/21/2024 08:25
Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
(@18749)
Posts: 20
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

The following day compensated us for all the exertions: The sun was shining from an almost cloudless sky, and the temperature rose to a very pleasant level. We calmly loaded our rubber cow, chugged leisurely to the coast and had a coffee in Cassis. Two hours later we had milk, cheese and baguette in La Ciotat. On a park bench we let the sun shine on our heads and watched the ships in the harbor loading or unloading.

Below: In the port of La Ciotat. Author and BMW unfortunately covered by the golden car.

 
Posted : 01/21/2024 08:26
Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
(@18749)
Posts: 20
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

The huge freighters gave me an idea: Toulon had a war port where the jewels of the French navy anchored. I really wanted to take a look at them. So we started the boxer again and drove east along the coast.

In Toulon, a bitter disappointment awaited us. The signposting was so bad that we wandered around the city disoriented and gradually began to sweat in our leather suits. After 15 minutes of frustrating searching, I gave up: to cool off, we took refuge in the nearby hills, took a commemorative break at the Circuit Paul Ricard and continued north from there. Towards evening it became fairytale-like: The slowly setting sun bathed the lonely bush and reedland in a very mild light and created an extraordinarily magical atmosphere. If Faun, the ancient Roman god of the great outdoors, had appeared by the wayside, we would hardly have been surprised.

Picture 10: With the BMW in Provence – simply wonderful

 
Posted : 01/21/2024 08:27
Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
(@18749)
Posts: 20
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

With difficulty we finally found an acceptable hotel in the dwindling daylight. It was located in the centre of Rians and was called "Hostellerie de l'Esplanade". There was a luxury here that we had been missing for a long time: a clean shared bathroom that literally invited unrestrained use. However, the house proved to be a real hit for a completely different reason: the cook was an ancient grandmother who mastered her profession. In any case, we still rave about their stave Provencal (stewed meat) 32 years later. The following day greeted us with wonderful weather. We quickly spiraled further into the French foothills of the Alps and came across the Verdon at Moustiers, whose winding course we followed to Castellane. The endless deep gorge that the small river had created over the millennia offered a truly spectacular sight. This panorama apparently distracted me so much that I underestimated one of the many curves and went a little too fast. At the apex I closed the throttle, but had made the calculation without the shaft drive of my rubber cow. She slumped, kissed the ground with some part of the frame and slid outwards. With difficulty I was able to avoid a fall, but suddenly found myself on a machine whose course deviated considerably from the course of the road. It would take more anxious seconds until I got the wild horse back under control.

Below: Verdon Gorge

 
Posted : 01/21/2024 08:28
Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
(@18749)
Posts: 20
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

In Castellane we drank coffee and turned west. The trip took us along the Route Napoleon to Malijai and then over the Durance to the Plateau de Christol. Since it was getting evening, we were looking for a suitable place to stay. She found herself in a small town called Banon. The hotel "Les Voyageurs" had pleasant rooms and an attractive dining room, which we visited tired and hungry. During dinner, I was seized with a violent philosophical fit. I lectured on the agonizing questions of life: the universe, its infinity, and the impossibility of grasping the meaning of the word existence. I didn't have any inhibitions, because our only neighbors within earshot spoke French – at least until they had paid and wished us "good night" in the best High German. They were holidaymakers like us and probably understood every single word. I was infinitely embarrassed.

Below: Departure from the hotel in Rians

This post was modified 3 months ago by Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
 
Posted : 01/21/2024 08:28
Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
(@18749)
Posts: 20
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

To digest this shock, we had a nightcap in the neighboring bar. After the second glass we got a visitor. A man in his mid-forties came to us and brought the language to my boxer. Touched by so much interest, we let him sit down and answered his questions about where he came from and where he was going. The lad was very charming and obviously knew his way around the opposite sex. In any case, he soon launched a crushing offensive of southern charm. Sigrid registered it with the composure of a woman who had already received - and rejected - much better offers: she smiled sybillinely. The next day we saw him again. He stood in the marketplace and sold vegetables. Hence his savvy dealings with the fairer sex.

Below: In 1978, it was still typical in rural France: ambulatory retail

 
Posted : 01/21/2024 08:29
Wolf-Ingo Seidelmann
(@18749)
Posts: 20
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

The next morning I had to refuel. In the process, the fuel cap gasket swelled and could no longer be brought into shape. Our next stopover was fixed: the BMW dealership of Tulette, a small town about 20 km north of Orange. Since the weather was kind to us, we chose the most beautiful route that the map had to offer. It led via St. Trinit into the picturesque Gorges de la Nesque. At Carpentras we drank coffee and once again soaked up the seductive atmosphere of rural France.

Below: Rest in coffee

 
Posted : 01/21/2024 08:31
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