With its Mediterranean climate, awe-inspiring architecture and interesting mix of ancient and modern streets, Barcelona is the perfect city to explore on two wheels. From the beach to the mountains, it has got it all - which made it the perfect destination for the third BMW Motorrad #SocialTestride.
When the sun beats down in Barcelona the young and the old head for the beach, but lazing around on the sand and in the warm sea was the last thing on the minds of Pedro Cañamares, Albert Marti and Franz Inselkammer. They were the lucky riders who had been selected to “go electric” and see their city in an entirely different way. As such, they made their way to the Sant Adrià de Besòs neighbourhood, where the prestigious BMW Motorrad Barcelona dealership is located.
There they met their tour leader Jordi Canudas and were introduced to their rides for the day: a fleet of well-travelled BMW C evolution e-scooters that have already seen action in Amsterdam and Paris in the past weeks, before arriving on the shores of the Mediterranean. With introductions, briefings and general chat conducted in a mix of Spanish, German, English and French, it was soon time to get this multi-lingual show on the road and take on the Catalan capital, famous for its impressive architecture, multicultural mix and exceptional location between the sea and the Pyrenees.
Silently, but swiftly, the e-scooters made their way downtown, stopping at many points of interest for brief photos and quick uploads to the Instagram live feed. While the city tour buses plied their trade in the heavy traffic, there was nothing to hold the #SocialTestride participants back, as they cut their way across town, experimenting with the choice of four riding modes to find the best combination of acceleration, speed and energy recuperation for the ever changing traffic conditions.
In recent years, Barcelona has embraced the concept of sustainable travel in a big way, with its ‘bicing’ bike sharing scheme, tram network, hybrid taxis, and an ever increasing amount of electrically-powered vehicles on the streets. This meant that there was much interest in the C evolution, with motorcycle police, other scooter riders, and drivers of various e-cars all giving our riders the 'thumbs-up' for their choice of transport. The many tourists visiting the city were keen to know when this innovative 'green-machine' would be available for sale in their countries. With genuine enthusiasm, the quartet of Spaniards reassured all interested parties that however long it takes to arrive on their shores, it will be well worth the wait...
Always at the front at traffic lights, there was nothing to hold back the convoy of #SocialTestride participants as they visited a selection of the city's cultural and architectural 'hot-spots', ably guided by tour leader Jordi - himself an artist with a keen interest in sustainability. From UNESCO World Heritage sites such as La Sagrada Familia, to prominent landmarks such as the Agbar Tower, to lesser-known gems like the Encants Barcelona flea market, there was so much to see in this incredible city, with its efficient grid network and wide, tree-lined avenues.
Riding in and out of the urban centre was quick and easy (not so for the photo team trying to follow by car) with lots of free parking spots for ‘solo motos' and a plentiful network of charging points for electric vehicles. However, none of these were needed of course, as the C evolution's range of around 100 kilometres was more than enough to ride around all day – from the starting point at the dealership, to the conclusion at the stunning Mirablau restaurant high in the hills and offering stunning views over the city. At this final destination, the participants were offered the chance to hand their keys back so they could relax and enjoy a meal, but all chose instead to ride them back to the dealer, showing a keen and welcome desire to extract the maximum benefit from this #SocialTestride experience.
Across the globe, enthusiasts who had been following the Barcelona activities online via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and bmw-motorrad.com were able to see and recognise many of the numerous hotspots visited throughout the day, including the Palau de la Música, the Camp Nou home of FC Barcelona, the Monjuïc Castle and the famous Avinguda Diagonal. If you didn't have a chance to follow Jordi, Pedro, Albert and Franz during the #SocialTestride, then catch up with all the action in a short video of their story at www.youtube.com/bmwmotorrad. Make sure you tune in to the next two instalments of the #SocialTestride, which will arrive in Milan this Saturday before moving on to Munich the following weekend.