WSJ: “She Rides the BMW Motorcycle That James Bond Made Famous”

Woah, this is cool! The Wall Street Journal wrote a story about how I got into BMWs, and why I love my R 1200 C (both of them!), especially for camping trips in the mountains.

She Rides the BMW Motorcycle That James Bond Made Famous

Hello to all my new readers who found me through this feature! 🙂 Thanks to writer A.J. Blaime, and to awesome photographer Audra Melton for the cool shots!

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MY RIDE

She Rides the BMW Motorcycle That James Bond Made Famous

For this Atlanta resident, German engineering and a cruiser look—plus 007 magic—were worth buying twice

Atlanta-based Brooke Wilson, 43, an independent marketing consultant and author of the Biker Brooke Blog, on her 1998 BMW R 1200 C, as told to A.J. Baime.

I love city living. But one of the great things about Atlanta is how fast you can be in the wilderness on a motorcycle. The Great Smoky Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway, amazing roads in northern Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee—all of it is reachable on a weekend trip, and there are campgrounds all over, some specifically geared for motorcycle riders.

When I started riding in 2000, all I knew was Harley-Davidson, and I bought a Sportster. But when my Harley was stolen in 2006, a friend recommended the BMW R 1200 C. It was known for being the bike James Bond rode in “Tomorrow Never Dies.” I liked the idea of reliable German engineering, but the bike also had that cruiser look and feel I love. The bike was built for the kind of riding I wanted to do, and it didn’t hurt that it had a little 007 magic. I bought my first in 2006, a 1998 R 1200 C, and started taking it on camping trips in the mountains. I figured out how to carry everything I needed to sustain myself, on this bike.

In 2012, I was riding when a woman pulled out in front of me. I T-boned her vehicle, and while I was fine, the bike was totaled. I was heartbroken. I got an insurance check and while I could have gotten just about any bike, I immediately started hunting for another R 1200 C. It was not going to be easy; BMW only made the bike for about six years starting in model year 1998. You don’t see a lot of them.

Through Cycletrader.com, I found one in Asheville, North Carolina, and I convinced my mother to drive me 3 ½-hours there. I remember sitting in the car with my gear on, helmet in my lap, cash in hand. We got to Asheville and the bike was a dud. I was so dejected. As we drove home, all the sudden I got a text from a friend with a Craigslist link for a 1998 BMW R 1200 C in Lawrenceville, Georgia. This was in 2012, and I still have that text. I wrote back, “This has to be a joke. The ad says the bike only has 749 miles on it.”

My mother drove me straight to Lawrenceville. The owner lived on a dirt road, and he had this garage full of car parts. He led us to the back and there was this pristine bike—the same model year, even the same color as my first BMW. I asked, “How is it that this 14-year old bike has only 749 miles on it?” He explained that he threw out his back shortly after he bought it and his wife now convinced him to sell the thing. We agreed on $6,500 and he was so excited that the bike was going to a good home, he gave me all these bags and accessories. It was a once-in-a-lifetime find.

With all the sad news about the pandemic, the bike has been a saving grace. We have had glorious weather and my friends and I have been riding more than ever. Even in campgrounds you can be social distancing. The camaraderie is a great part of it. There’s nothing like a cold beer around a campfire with friends who share your interests, after a long ride.

Every now and then a stranger will approach me and say, “Hey, is that that James Bond bike?” Yep, it is.

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6 thoughts on “WSJ: “She Rides the BMW Motorcycle That James Bond Made Famous”

  1. Brooke, I saw this in WSJ yesterday. Enjoyed seeing an R1200C made it to one of my favorite weekly articles and pleasantly surprised when it was actually another Atlanta area C rider! Also many of the same roads I enjoy. Good story and enjoy the bike. These bikes do get noticed and appreciated at gas stations and parking lots for their unique style, and have their own satisfying boxer riding character vs the American V twins.

    Paul K. – Peachtree City
    2001 R1200C Ivory with Montana package

    1. Hey Paul, I’m so glad you enjoyed the article! How cool there are more of us in Georgia!

  2. Loved your article in the Wall Street Journal. I have a story that’s almost identical to yours.
    Beight years ago I bought a yellow BMW 1200 RC and it only had about 3000 miles on it it was a 98 as well.
    Well the story was it was in an estate and the guy spent about $500 getting it tuned up fixed up new tires so on and so forth right before I went up and bought it.

    I had a Lotta good times on the bike and then about three years ago I started dating a doctor. A cardiologist. She is not a fan of any motorcycles even though I wear a helmet long pants boots and a riding jacket even on the hardest days. I write a lot less, I don’t talk to her about it, but I still enjoy it

  3. Hello, I enjoyed the article in the WSJ. I live in Boston Area and the weather has been great for riding (though some days a little hot and soupy). I have owned a couple of BMWs (a 1984 R80RT and a 2002 R1150R) and they are well engineered/built bikes and a joy to ride. Currently riding a 1998 Honda Valkyrie. My motto is I will ride anything that has a horizontally opposed engine configuration. One of the most fun things about buying a used bike is the hunt and it sounds like you scored with that low mileage R1200C . What a find!

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