Two Wheel Traveler - Ramona SchwarzApr 13, 2012
Born in East Germany, Ramona Eichhorn Schwarz grew up in a world under Communist control. Her one salvation was a neighboring "non-conformist" family who encouraged her to challenge her world. And challenge she did - after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 she went on to become a translator, photographer, interpreter, journalist, traveler and global adventurer and who has explored the world on motorcycles and continues to do so with her husband, Touratech founder Herbert Schwarz.
Ramona's motorcycling adventures began in 2000 when she embarked on a five year around the world journey with then boyfriend, Uwe Krauss. She began this trip having very little travel experience, almost no money and only a few hours of riding experience.
"When my boyfriend Uwe popped the question: "Do you wanna ride a 640 KTM Adventure around the world with me?" I didn't have to think twice. To begin with I had to learn to ride. All my worldly possessions fitting into two panniers - what a fascinating idea! "Crazy. You'll never make it" were my friends comments about my plans to leave home with a riding experience of 50 miles and cross the Sahara.
In fact it wasn't until I faced the vastness of the desert at 125 degrees Fahrenheit that I grasped the full meaning of my enterprise. I knew that I could do it. The first year was hard. Africa was a culture shock. I stopped counting my falls. Again and again I jumped back on my KTM and rode on."
The many cultures Ramona experienced and the wonderful people she met along the way are certainly the main inspiration for her photographic and journalistic endeavors.
"People make you feel so welcome, and something amazing is that the poorer they are, the more hospitable they are. In Africa for example, families would give up the beds they slept in and the little food they had to make me feel welcome. They would not take no for an answer and I found this very moving."
After enjoying 5 years traveling through more than 40 countries and seeing some of the most remote parts of the world, Ramona and Uwe went their separate ways.
In 2006, Ramona met Herbert Schwarz at the grand opening of Touratech-USA's new headquarters in Seattle, Washington. Herbert needed, "a woman who likes to suffer" to be the fourth rider in the filming of Touratech's CAN2MEX video which documents the groups off road 5000-km journey from Canada to Mexico on unpaved roads. Ramona, always up for a challenge, jumped at this chance to continue her quest for adventure.
With Herbert on a BMW HP2 and Ramona on BMW's new soon to be released G650X-Challenge, the team was off to test an extensive assortment of Touratech Accessories. The G650X-Challenge was still secret to the public and Ramona got to be involved in the first long distance, adventure-travel test of BMW's new model.
Today, Ramona and Herbert continue to ride and document their many fabulous explorations to places such as Ethiopia, Scotland, Southeast Asia and East Africa where they secretly tested BMW's, unreleased model at the time, the F800GS.
Ramona and Herbert now have a family with two young boys who themselves have begun their own travel adventures riding in the sidecar next to their Dad, Herbert.
Ramona continues to inspire other adventure travelers with her photojournalism and enthusiasm for life and adventure. She is the driving force behind Touratech's new magazine, 'Travel Time.'
Click HERE for more stories from 'Two Wheel Travelers.'
Go get em EICHHORN !! :-)
By Brian Kiely on Apr 13, 2012 at 08:04:25 PM
My wife and I had the pleasure of having Ramona, as well as Uwe, live with us for 10 days way back when. Hey Ramona, Denise is getting her motorcycle lisence and wants an f800gs.
By Steve T. on Apr 16, 2012 at 12:04:49 PM
Ramona, we are embarking on a 13 day light-adventure tour in Costa Rica in June, traveling with the MotoDiscovery group. Have you traveled in this area, if so, any advice on what not to do while touring? We are riding double in an F650GS, my choice because I have an 07 here in Maine. I have been to CR once before, not by bike, and I am looking forward to this adventure!
By Mark Carrera & Luisa Scott on Apr 22, 2012 at 02:04:02 PM
Thanks for the inspiration!! Sara
By Sara Pedersen on May 07, 2012 at 08:05:54 PM
Hi Ramona! I saw your story on motorcycle touring with your family and you have inspired me! My husband and I used to travel via GS, but stopped when we had kids. We would like to modify a bike similar to the one you have - with the tandem sidecar and built in car seats - but we have no idea where to start this endeavor! I was wondering if you could recommend some companies and share any information you learned in the research process. We live in Southern California, but we are open to working with companies abroad. Thanks!!!
By Madeline F. on Jan 28, 2013 at 11:01:56 AM