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Gingerly balancing on the foot pegs of the big Ducati motorcycle, I turned the machine down a dirt-path hill between olive trees and grape vines.The bulk of my trip took place on a big BMW touring bike through neatl 5,000 kms of spectacular scenery and serpentine mountain passes in the Spanish Pyrenees and Austrian Alps, down the bustling streets of the glitzy French Riviera and to legal speeds of more than 215 kph on the German autobahn.At IMTBike, the standard deductible for damage or theft is 2,000 euros ($2,300), but I chose to pay an extra 20 euros per day for the peace of mind of a 350-euro deductible if someone made off with the bike, or if a tip-over in a gravel parking lot did expensive cosmetic damage.BMW also offers bikes through the rental car giant Sixt in Germany during riding season.This year's two-day off-road course in Tuscany costs 680 euros, not including hotel.Generally, daily rates decrease the longer you rent the bike.For a week or more, the rate drops to 129 euros daily. The daily mileage cap is 300 kilometers on shorter rentals, with a 30-cent charge for every kilometer after that. The sprawling factory makes up to 700 bikes a day, and workers joke that the company's acronym should stand for Berlin Motorcycle Works. Factory tours cost 8 euros.
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