Goodbye to my first motorcycle! Hedda, a BMW G 310 GS

The name Hedda came to me, somehow. Is she named after Henrik Ibsen's leading character, in the play Hedda Gabler? According to Wikipedia, the subject of the play is “A newlywed struggles with an existence she finds devoid of excitement and enchantment“. Could this BMW Hedda provide Ibsen´s Hedda with another way out? We'll never find out. For me, Hedda was the start of something great.

Ack and alas, the day to say goodbye to Hedda finally arrived. It had to happen, I planned it to happen, but still, it feels a bit sad. My very first motorcycle, a BMW G 310 GS. I bought a brand new one (before I even got my license) because I felt insecure about buying a used bike. How could I know that it had been treated well? Been properly taken care of? How could I trust that it wouldn’t break down during the first week? 

Kenneth agreed that those were pros about buying a motorbike straight out of the factory, but reminded me that as a beginner, I’m bound to crash and tip over. It’s inevitable. If I got a brand new motorcycle, those first dents and scratches would hurt so much more than if I got a used motorbike. I agreed. From an environmental standpoint, it would make a lot more sense to buy a used motorcycle. I felt bad about that, but my thoughts on safety won over my environmental idealism. 

I knew it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, financially. Any new vehicle drops considerably in worth the first year. It´s undeniable. If I had more knowledge about motorbike maintenance I would have bought a used bike. BMW is also not the cheapest brand out there, but their marketing is clever. Still, I ended up buying one. Except financially, it was a great purchase! I liked it a lot. 

It has a 313 cubic engine and 34 horsepower, which means it isn’t the fastest or strongest bike out there. I wasn’t looking to race anyone though. In fact, my riding instructor kept asking me what the speed limit was. It wasn’t because I was going too fast, oh no. 

He asked: “What’s the speed limit here?” 

I replied: “Uhhhh 80.” 

“Then why on earth are we doing 50?!” 

Truth be told, I was a bit scared to ride a fast, big motorcycle. I’m not attracted to speed, unlike so many others. I’m more friendly with the throttle now, which Kenneth is very happy about. The reason I landed on it was that it was lightweight, had a relatively low seat height, and Kenneth said it was fun to drive (I couldn´t test ride it, I didn´t have my license!). Let’s not overlook that I’m also a sucker for advertisement, and BMW has spent quite a lot on just that. 

A lot of first experiences were made with that girl. She was the bike I had when I got my license! My very first ride without a teacher. I wanted to use my motorbike for my exam but forgot to take into consideration that it’s in the wrong weight class for my license. Since it’s below 35kW or 47,6 horsepower, it counts as a medium-sized motorcycle. I wanted the freedom to use any motorcycle regardless of effect, so I tried for the A license (heavy motorcycle). 

First deer. Oh, dear. It was one of those perfect summer evenings in July, it was my holiday, and we were out riding in the sun. Our ride had been perfect: around the countryside, stopped for a coffee, truly enjoyed ourselves. It was the first, and last, day of the season I rode my motorcycle without my protective pants. I was wearing jeans with holes in the knees. Not far from our home, as I was going 50 km/h in a 60 km/h zone, I suddenly saw a deer run out into the road. I shouted at Kenneth “A deer! A deer! Careful!” We were amazed, smiling inside our helmets, so happy to see an animal that near (and pass it unharmed!) Happy we missed it, I was still smiling when the second deer showed up. It ran out into the road right in front of my front tire. I attempted to maneuver out of the situation, but no luck. I hit the deer and flew over the handlebars. Kenneth, following me from behind, had time to imagine a future without me. I was too busy thinking about the deer. I could feel my knee hit the ground, then float above the asphalt, then be dragged along, picking up tiny stones. Then he was there, dragging me up from the asphalt, shouting “Pia! Are you okay?” It was painful. I was scared, I was angry, I felt ashamed that I had hurt an innocent animal. I wished I had never gotten my license. My knee was stinging, and my neck was stiff. Removing my helmet, I think my line was “leave me alone! how’s the deer?” It was scary, I cried, Hedda was scratched and had lost her right blinker.  I ended up having to do some stitches to my knee. The wound got infected, I needed 7 days of antibiotics and felt tense every time I got on the bike after. Hedda? She needed some repair too. The deer? We called the police and they sent out the municipal team in charge of putting down animals after incidents like these. The only thought that was worse for me than having killed an animal, was the thought of maiming an animal to a degree that it would suffer a slow death.

Have you ever crashed into an animal? How was the experience like for you? 

First solo trip. My first summer I took her for a 10-day trip up north. All by myself! We stopped by the arctic circle, to cross that off the list. The nature surrounding it was so beautiful! I loved it. Have you read about it already? What motorcycle camping in northern Norway taught me.

First offroad experience. On our way from Trondheim to Rondane, we saw a trail leading up into nowhere, and rode up there to sleep. It was awesome, thrilling, scary and I learned a lot! You can watch that on our road trip vlog from Rondane, here. 

That was before Hedda went to repair, as you can see from the crash bars

Why goodbye? The reason I said goodbye was that the project we set out to do required a motorbike with a larger engine. At least in my mind. She did struggle a bit on the highway when speeds surpassed 90 km/h. Especially when she had to bring luggage. The range of the fuel tank was also an issue for us, as we expect to spend a lot of time outside central areas. The Yamaha Tenere 700 will do a good job, both on the highway and offroad. She carries her weight well, is easy to maneuver, and has great power.

For 8300km, Hedda was my girl. Now she’s somebody else’s girl. Who knows if she’ll ever be called by that name any more. Still, I’m confident she’ll behave well. 

Thanks for all the rides, Hedda!

- Pia