Our trip to Tuscany for the final rehearsal went well on the whole. As far as our equipment is concerned, we should be quite well prepared. And as for the weather: I would say we were able to gain some more experience and now know what is (still) fun and when we’d rather give Gernot & Gisi a break … (more about that in a separate blog post).
But now the time has come: Gernot & Gisi are to be prepared for their transport to Washington D.C..
Since we would like to spare the two of them a journey of several weeks by ship (and at the moment it is not much more expensive financially), we decided to let them fly to the USA as well. Because for this it is sufficient if the two of them set off only one week before us. However, as “Dangerous Goods” they each have to be packed in their own transport boxes. And this has to be done by two IT guys, who so far have only been sitting at their desks in front of their laptops 😉
At this point, a big thank you goes to Christopher and his team from Zweiradwerke! Because of their help, we didn’t have to build boxes by hand (which is possible in principle, but takes a lot more time) or buy expensive boxes, and we also got very helpful tips on how to best stow our two bikes and equipment in the boxes.
My conclusion from the last three days:
- Packing the two went surprisingly smoothly.
- 2 full days were perfectly sufficient. (Strictly speaking, we only needed 12 hours in total).
- My man always comes up with really good ideas!
- And: The Schwebers are a damn good team! 🙂
But here are a few impressions and tips, in case you want to have your two-wheeled treasure transported by box:
Day 1: How is everything supposed to fit into the transport box?
The transport boxes provided to us with the dimensions of approx. 230 x 90 x 130 cm per box are perfectly suited not only to stow a BMW 750 or 1250 GS but also to various additional luggage. They consist of a pallet with troughs for the tires and a cardboard box that is put over the pallet. (This actually works easier than it sounds.) Granted: A few modifications to the motorcycles are necessary.
The first question is how to get a 230 or 250 kg motorcycle onto the pallet and its tires into the troughs provided. The best way to do this is to use one or two wooden wedges that are not too long – as soon as the front wheel is on the pallet, place them in the trough for the rear wheel, thus preventing you from getting the front wheel out of the trough. To do this, it is helpful to use the engine power of your bike to carefully push it onto the pallet. And have a person to help you with the whole action….
For the subsequent fastening of the motorcycle, we used lashing straps from the hardware store as can be seen in the pictures: 4 pieces for the motorcycle itself and another 4 for lashing the cases.
Speaking of suitcases: Our two side cases including attachment bags and various contents (including motorcycle pants, rain gear, gloves, functional underwear, camping gear, motorcycle parts) are located to the right and left of the front wheel; the top case including helmet on the seat. Other equipment (including camping chairs, table, tent, sleeping bags, trail shoes) we have placed in a dry bag (also on the seat) or next to the rear or front wheel or under the motorcycle (if possible).
So far so good. Now just put the box over it… Wait, that sticks out way too far… And that’s too high; we can’t close the box like that… (Another little hint: Make sure there’s enough space around the transport box so you don’t have any problems handling the box. And remember that the pallet has to be moved with a forklift).
Day 2: What needs to come off?
And so we started to slim down first Gisi and then Gernot. Since Gisi is the smaller one, we “only” had to remove the following parts from her: the front axle camber pads, the navi holder, the windshield, the clutch & brake lever, the hand protectors, the mirrors, the license plate incl. holder, the BMW cradle and the bottle holders on the side cases. Gernot, on the other hand, is a bit more corpulent on the road, which is why we also had to unscrew his cylinder guard, the mudguard on the rear tire and the mounting plate for the topcase.
Now the larger things that couldn’t be packed in suitcases or bags just had to be fastened so that they wouldn’t fly around in the box during transport. And there Micha had again a great idea: Let’s get a shutter tape … ??? Yes, that sounds strange at first, and it didn’t turn out to be a roller shutter strap, but a simple lashing strap; but with about 10-30 cm long pieces of the lashing strap and 16mm screws, bulky things like protective bars, trail shoes or camping equipment can be fastened securely and firmly to the pallet. 🙂
And another working idea from Micha: Empty spare canisters, bottles or thermos flasks can be easily attached to the side case supports with gaffa tape – preferably open & upside down so it’s visible that they don’t contain any liquids.
So, now: put the box over it, close it with screws and washers on the pallet as well as from the top and you’re ready to go.
Day 3: Did we think of everything before the pickup?
After another night of thinking about whether we had forgotten anything, the next morning we checked whether we had fulfilled all the important requirements for the transport:
- Battery disconnected – Check
- Tank emptied to 2-3 liters of residual gasoline (for information: all other fluids such as oil, brake fluid, etc. may remain) – Check
- The tools for unpacking the motorcycles are not in one of the transport boxes – Check
- Anything that has an accumulator is not in the transport box – Check
- AOn the box are no question-raising information / pictures / logos (eg of electric motorcycles) printed or pasted – Oops 🙁
Thankfully, our forwarder gave us the tip to wrap each of the transport boxes with black stretch film. And so that was actually the last thing we had to do that morning before Gernot & Gisi started their journey.
Now we hope that everything will go well during the transport and we are curious how much time we will get at the pickup at the airport in the USA to reassemble all the disassembled parts. And how we will get the bikes (without wooden wedges this time) off the pallet… We will let you know. 🙂