Finally, the #SocialTestride reached its conclusion on 14 June at the home of BMW Motorrad when the capital of Bavaria played host to a fleet of BMW C evolution e-scooters and their lucky test riders, chosen from many applicants to participate in the ultimate guided tour around this desirable and friendly city.
It was a fitting end to a unique tour that has put this innovative e-scooter firmly on the map in some of the best-loved European cities, including Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona and Milan over the past five weeks. This final destination for the well-travelled #SocialTestride team brought the show right back home, where five more 'locals' were waiting for their opportunity to experience sustainable e-power in the thriving cosmopolitan place known by its residents as 'Millionendorf' (village of a million people).
The awe-inspiring BMW Welt (BMW World) building was the venue chosen to welcome tour guide Anika Schulze and participants Mike, Lukas, Josef, Matthias and Doris for what promised to be an exciting and entertaining day ahead. This impressive building – already Munich's most popular tourist destination – was designed to showcase the BMW Group's products so it was fitting that the tour would begin inside the very place where lucky customers can arrange to collect their brand new BMW vehicles.
As excited owners were introduced to their shining new cars before driving them down through the distribution centre building and out into the city, our group also started their engines (metaphorically-speaking of course!) and followed the same route out of this stunning glass double-coned, multi-functional exhibition facility. From there, they headed into the city, famed for its inspiring mix of impressive modern architecture and historic buildings.
Designed to maximise the e-riding experience, this final tour took in a bit of everything – from the grand royal avenues of the 19th century, to impressive squares, neo-gothic streets, huge baroque palaces and of course the wonderful green spaces the city has in abundance. Among these was the Englischer Garten (which is bigger than New York City's Central Park) where right at the southern end is the Eisbach-Welle – surely the most famous city-centre surfing hotspot – where passionate surfers have been riding the constant waves on this fast flowing arm of the river Isar for many years.
From this impressive display of hydro-power it was soon back to the C evolution’s e-power, as the group moved on swiftly. As you would expect in the home town of BMW, the company's products line the streets, with plenty of all-electric i3 cars zooming around and even several i8 electric supercars catching the eyes of pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists.
The locals are of course used to seeing heavily-disguised BMW prototype vehicles all around the city and the expectation was that the ‘Munichers’ would hardly bat an eyelid at the fleet of gleaming C evolutions silently and efficiently slipping through the streets, but nothing could be further from the truth. Perhaps it was the complete absence of engine noise that allowed and encouraged the e-scooter riders to engage with other motorists, cyclists, tourists and even interested onlookers, who fired many questions across to the group from street-side cafe terraces as they sat enjoying their morning coffees and delicious cakes and pastries.
Culinary specialities were in fact high on the agenda as the tour snaked its way in and out of the city, with typical Bavarian cold dishes served up for lunch at the picturesque Waldwirtschaft beer garden, located in Grosshesselone on a plateau overlooking the Isar valley. As for the liquid-refreshment at the 'WaWi', an alcohol-free Weissbier was the perfect choice for the riders, who enjoyed their lunch, accompanied by the sweet sounds of a jazz band.
Dinner later that day was an even grander affair, taken at the famous revolving restaurant 182 metres above the streets in the Olympiaturm (tower) built for the 1972 summer Olympics. A full revolution takes 53 minutes, so while being 'wined and dined', the tour participants could retrace exactly where they had ridden, picking out many of the city's notable landmarks. The 360 degree observation also offers unparalled views towards the Alps, which in just a few weeks will come alive to the sound of motorcycles when more than 30,000 riders make their way to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for a BMW Motorrad Days festival of fun-fuelled, two-wheeled activities.
The entire #SocialTestride day in Munich – including a guided tour of more than 100 years of electromobility at the impressive Deutsches Museum Verkehrszentrum, and an informal coffee and ice-cream 'question and answer' session with C evolution product manager Dorit Mangold – was documented on film and photo as well as being shared live throughout the day via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, with comments and 'likes' received from fans following all over the world.
See a brief highlights movie right now at the BMW Motorrad brand channel on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S108MTqk4UU and watch this space for a longer film of the entire Europe-wide #SocialTestride experience, coming soon.