Tuesday, December 03, 2013
At a recent party, I trotted out my usual excuse for not taking my motorbike on to a racetrack: “Dubai Autodrome’s rules require full leathers. I don’t have full leathers; I can’t find any leathers in my size.”
“Ah, but you’re off to Germany for the UAE National Day long weekend, a country where many large gentlemen ride large motorbikes, and rather a lot of them also enjoy beer.”
Beloved Wife wanted to visit the Christmas markets and purchase more glass tree-bling, and she really, really needed a short but total break from work. Now added to the list of Things to Do in Germany was a quest to insert my unorthodox shape into a set of motorcycle leathers. I’ve tried this before: witness my previous futile attempts in the USA.
We previously went to München in 2010 and enjoyed the snow. I was admonished in the blog comments by one of my online motorcycle friends Martín, who writes the ¡Tengo Hambre! (I’m hungry!) blog because we came and went without giving him a chance to meet over a meal of beer and sausages. This time I dropped him a line, and he agreed not only to meet for breakfast and bring a friend and work colleague, but to drive us over to Munich’s motorcycle accessories souq.
Hearty breakfasts and a gallon of coffee later, we arrived and discovered that Hein Gericke had very little in the way of leathers, and certainly nothing in my size. But not to worry, because about three doors down was Spätzünder, emporium of motorcycling clothing and accessories.
I was impressed by the huge display of bike gear, and particularly by everyone’s patience while I tried on almost all the racing and touring suits in the shop. The pile of leather that was too tight across the shoulders, too long in the leg, too heavy to wear except in winter, or the wrong colour soon formed a mountain that my shop assistant Luigi was going to have to deal with once we’d gone. Martín, Simon, and Beloved Wife sat patiently and chewed the fat, while I eventually located a zip-together two-piece that I was happy with. Speaking of ‘fat,’ by some miracle it’s a good fit, with plenty of ventilated panels and is only slightly too long in the limbs. I also picked up an undersuit which is easier to wash my sweat from, and a spine protector. And I discovered that I’d be able to buy a replacement visor for my helmet too.
I am so pleased at the customer service I received from Luigi – which is why this bit reads like an advert for the shop. The story gets better, with about 12% knocked off the final bill, and then paperwork that should enable recovery of the 19% VAT. For unknown reasons, having had the paperwork stamped at the airport, we have to mail it back to Spätzünder to get the VAT credited back to the card. Beloved Wife’s other, non-motorcycle-related purchase had the VAT returned immediately at the airport.
Thank you for your service, Luigi. Thank you for transporting us around Munich, Martín. Thank you everyone for your astonishing display of patience.