Micha's "Kraftherz" K 100.

Motorcycling for work-life balance.

Growing up in her native Austria, Michaela Sonderegger bought her first motorcycle at the age of 16 with the proceeds from her holiday job. A few bikes and many miles of riding later, we meet the economist on her personally customised K 100 and talked to her about her passion for motorcycles.

The compensation for the to-do list.

The compensation for the to-do list.

She resides in Austria's Voralberg region, but commutes a hundred kilometres a day to her job at a rehabilitation clinic group in neighbouring Switzerland. As head of "communications and marketing", her work is busy and demanding, but it's also fun. "I only work four days a week, but my days are jam-packed with meetings and to-do lists. So motorcycling is the best distraction for me."

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Characterised by sound.

Characterised by sound.

Micha can't say for sure when her passion for motorcycles started. "But I do remember that when I was a little girl, I got really excited every time a motorcycle roared past. I loved the sound", she tells us. No-one in her family or her neighbourhood was involved with motorcycles back then, so something else must have inspired the young girl to save up and buy a moped once she started earning her own money.

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A thirst for adventure

As a teenager she would later get together with like-minded friends from around the region to ride enduro and dirt bikes in closed-off gravel pits and off-road motorcycle club trails, gaining valuable riding experience that would later come in handy during her two-week enduro adventure trip in the Caucasus in 2012. "My experience in Georgia had a big impact on me and it wasn't just the accident that changed my mindset in so many ways", says Micha as she points to her left wrist.
"Half way through the tour, somewhere in the Tiflis backcountry. Feeling bold after so many miles with no problems, I got cocky and started riding right behind the tour guide. I was on a tough stretch full of deep gullies and thought I could handle it. My high spirits were gone again pretty soon after I fell on my head and banged my left hand."
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Even when I was a little girl, I got really excited every time a motorcycle roared past because I loved the sound so much.

Michaela Sonderegger

Overtime in the workshop.

Overtime in the workshop.

Two years later she traded in her Supermoto for a K 100. She teamed up with the Fahr.Werk workshop in Feldkirch to customise the bike, which she had recently purchased in Burgenland and is often dubbed the "ugliest motorcycle in the world" or the flying brick. She opted for a four-cylinder in-line engine, since the stock K 100 isn't that sexy in her opinion, and the bike seemed like an uncommon choice for a conversion. But challenges are what motivate her.

She regularly helped out in the garage, unscrewed all the plastic parts and unneeded parts, sandblasted parts to prepare them for powder coating, researched the best headlights, indicators and necessary add-on components, located an upholsterer from Italy and described her vision for the seat to him. She sketched her new bike on paper, decided on a colour contrast between the tank and seat, and replaced the BMW logo with her own hand-painted "Kraftherz" logo, named after her custom bike culture blog. The result was a customised motorcycle that is a lot of fun but also won't stop running every time it rains.

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To Biarritz with the K 100.

To Biarritz with the K 100.

She put her "K" to the test for the first time in 2015, when she rode to the Wheels and Waves Festival in Biarritz – unlike many other festival-goers, "who travel to the biker gathering by car or even fly there," she complains. In addition to the K 100, she now owns a beaten up Honda CB 750 and a Harley Davidson "Shovelhead", her favourite bike for relaxing evening rides on backcountry roads. "The raw hum and mechanical operation of the Harley engine are simply incredible", she says, but admits that her "Shovel workhorse" still needs to be optimised for extended tours.

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The next item on the list.

The next item on the list.

One thing is for sure: Michaela Sonderegger found her personal recipe for a healthy work-life balance. At the end of our chat, she even reveals that the Honda CB 750 will be the next project to seize her.

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Michaela Sonderegger from Feldkirch, Austria, economist and K 100 owner, author of the "Kraftherz" blog.
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