Darryl.Richman's picture

Photo © Anastasia Keriotis/Dharma Love

If I were to have a motto, that one would fit well. Although I very much appreciate the beauty of a fully restored bike, nothing beats kicking it over and taking it out on the road. The feel of the motorcycle as it heels over in a turn or runs along down a little used road, opening up vistas in front as it flees trouble behind, is a wondrous and magical thing. And you almost certainly share that thought, since you're visiting this site and my blog on it.

When the first Cannonball was announced and then run in 2010, it was amazing. 45 people putting up incredibly valuable motos anciens, intending to ride them hard, put them away wet, and then do it again the next day. Lather, rinse, repeat for more than two weeks and over 3200 miles. It was inspiring!

But that event was not available to we BMW fans. BMW did not exist until 1918 and was building aircraft motors at that time. It wasn't until 1923 that BMW introduced its iconic R32 and set the pattern for its motorcycles for the next (so far) 89 years.

Now, the second running of the Cannonball has been announced and the route is longer and harder: over 3800 miles from just outside New York City to San Francisco, crossing over the High Rockies and the Shasta Trinity Wilderness (where a one day route looks to have over 10,000 feet of elevation gain and loss). But this time, motorcycles built through 1929 are allowed. And that gives me my entrée.

In 2004 I bought a 1928 R52 from S. Meyer in Germany. (I will post more about the bike, but you can see the basic information about it by clicking on the BMW Models link over in the left sidebar.) It came with full registration information back to 1954.

I had a significant amount of work done while the bike was still in Germany, and then my friend Sascha and I rode the bike in several vintage events in the German states of Baden Würtemburg and Rhineland Palatinate. In 2006 I brought the bike home and have since ridden it to close events and trucked it to further events. Until last month, the longest day I had spent on it was a ride to a vintage picnic, where I put about 100 miles on the bike. Otherwise, I have ridden it locally, usually in 30-50 mile rides. All in all, the bike has probably accumulated somewhat more than 2,000 miles. (It's hard to tell exactly, because the odometer "sticks" at 10s, 100s, and 1000s, and so there are hundreds of kilometers missing from it.)

As soon as I found out about the next running of the Cannonball, I thrilled at the thought of participating. What an adventure! The chance to help add BMW to the list of marques. And just the sheer pleasure of ambling along across the continent. Although I know the start will come soon enough, I can hardly wait.


Can Envy Have a Pinstripe

Peter's picture

Ahh Darryl does it again, the poster boy of the club, the chairman of the style council and now the King of the Cannonball Run. I wish I was there to cheer you on Darryl but alas I shall watch from afar and await the updates. Go strong the R52 and safe passage Mr Richman.

Darryl the check is in the mail

jrapose's picture

Darryl, I know this is expensive, and I don't want my name on yer truck...but I will send you some gas money...$250

I love the adventure !

Joel Rapose

More Ideas on Leaking Heads

Paat Tobin's picture

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