‘Operación Sahara’

Spanish writer and explorer Miquel Silvestre can usually be found in some far-flung corner of the world on his BMW R 1200 GS, but his next quest sees him swap his 125hp liquid-cooled state-of-the-art adventure bike for a 47-year-old 30hp air-cooled BMW boxer. His destination: the Sahara desert…

Along with the One World. One R 1200 GS ‘Ride of your Life’ participants, Miquel was one of the first to enjoy the new R 1200 GS before it was launched to the public, setting off last March on a six-month trip through Europe, Asia Minor and Central Asia to Uzbekistan – and back – following in the footsteps of a little known Spanish explorer called Ruy González de Clavijo, who made a similar epic journey over 600 years ago.

No sooner than he had returned home to Alicante, Miquel was already planning his next adventure, with the 90th anniversary of BMW Motorrad right at the heart of the planning.

“Because BMW Motorrad has been celebrating ’90 Years’ throughout 2013, I thought it would be great fun to undertake my next adventure on a classic BMW bike, even though my journey would take me to the Sahara Desert,” he said. “In my previous life as a lawyer, I was able to buy a fantastic R 50 and while I was on my recent trip to central Asia on the new GS, I had the idea to take it on my next adventure, which I am calling ‘Operación Sahara’.”

Having left Tangiers, Miquel’s aim is to explore Spain’s colonial past in North Africa, using a machine from the past – in this case, his 1965 BMW R 50. His route will take him through iconic places such as the Bay of Alhucemas, Larache, Fes, Sidi Ifni, Ceuta and Tarfaya.

However, he won’t be using GPS navigation or traction control to negotiate his way across the arduous African terrain. Instead, he’ll rely on good old-fashioned paper maps and quality engineering to get him safely to his destinations each day.

“I’m calling my R 50 ‘The Grandmother’ out of respect for her,” says Miquel. “She was designed in the 1950s and was a revolutionary model for her time – capable of reaching 140 kilometres per hour. It was the ultimate design of those years and you still see quite a few of them around today.”

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