Although the trip hasn’t officially started yet I thought that it would be a good idea to get the ball rolling on this blog with a first post. After much shopping around and research throughout the last year I finally decided to send the motorbike to Canada per RoRo (Roll on Roll off ferry). By using RoRo it meant no fiddling about with packaging or containers, the bike is simply driven onto the ship in Germany and driven off again in Canada. To accomplish the whole task I decided to go with InTime forwarding in Hamburg, the price was good and so was the communication. They looked after all of the paperwork and bookings all I had to do was ride the bike to the port and hand it over a few days before the ship’s departure date.
On the 15th of July Franziska and I got up early and left for Bremerhaven which is two hours drive away from Hamburg. She went ahead in the car and I followed on the bike. There was nothing interesting about the ride down, as it was Autobahn all of the way and as we were driving quite fast for the whole journey all that I was left with at the end was a ringing in my ears due to the wind noise. The ringing didn’t bother me though because I knew that was the last time for at least a year that I would be riding over 130kph. It was quite easy to find the drop off location after we arrived I got off the bike and went into the building marked reception. Inside I explained to a helpful looking lady who sat behind a long counter style desk that I’m here to drop off my bike, she asked for the documents and I handed them over. She didn’t seem sure at first and began to speak but stuttered, no sooner had she stuttered than a large German chair dwelling man who sat close to her whipped the papers from her hand and said in an authoritative tone that it is absolutely forbidden to ride a motorbike in the secure area which lay behind the reception building and that I would need a security escort. He picked up the phone and began to organise the security escort while motioning me to go to another building across the road where the freight company office is. We walked over to the freight company’s office and again presented the documents, these guys were much more relaxed and joked around a bit until they realised that the guy at the reception had requested a security escort for me. One of them promptly picked up the phone and called the reception. It’s always fun to listen to Germans get angry and remain in the formal speech politely insulting each other.
It turns out that I would only have to ride the bike about 20 metres behind the reception building and an escort was totally unnecessary. So I went back to the bike and got ready to move, a couple of minutes later a security car arrived with one man inside and a second person from the port authority walked over to join us. This was my escort and when they found out what they had to do we all had a good laugh. They got in the car and proceeded through the checkpoint as I followed close behind. After about 4 seconds the trip was over, a representative from the freight company met us and I followed him to a hangar where the motorbikes are stored. I parked up and left the key in the ignition, I received a docket with a stamp and was driven back outside to where Franziska was waiting with the car. It was all pretty painless the whole ordeal was over in about 25 minutes. +1 for German efficiency.
It was a strange feeling to think that the next time I see my bike will be in 3 weeks half way across the world.