Wall of inspiration

Some may wonder where i get my drive and others may question it.
Why do i keep adding plans and how do i come up with the plans?
Well… when i bought my own place after the relationship ended i knew i keep it simple going for a combination between minimalistic and industrial.
Minimalistic because i knew i would be away as much as possible and have to travel minimalistic as well and industrial because of the raw materials.
The first house i went to see was immediately the one i wanted, it just needed some new wallpaper.
It’s a house from 1920 with plenty of living space, a garden with a pond and a garage. I could live with less space but the garage was a necessity.

Time to do a bid which was accepted and then the struggle for the mortgage and that was due to the Covid-19 situation a lot harder than before.
My ex had to get her mortgage worked out first as i could not get one when still owning halve a house with her.
A year and a halve before we broke up (we parted as good friends and still help each other when we need help) i planned my first big motorcycle trip and in the year it should happen Covid entered our world and i have to find a new home.
It didn’t stop me from going but Covid had forced to change my plans ending up with the trip you can find here and probably already read and seen.
I also wrote in that blog that i signed my mortgage papers in Pompeii and being able to travel in these circumstances probably make me able to travel everywhere.

This was an inspiration for a wall that inspires en remind me at the same time…

A 4 meter wide floor to sealing world map with flags pinned to places i visited and a view of where i want to go.
Whenever i visited a special place or made just a stunning picture i will have it printed on canvas with a string to a flag pinned to that location.
I started with a picture from me taken on a hike in the Drakensbergen, South Africa and the same picture you can see on my homepage of Ragnarok on the Stelvio, Italy.
In two months i’ll be back from my next epic journey and i expect to add 2 or 3 more.
After that trip i will slowly start to get some information for my latest plan and if i can make that happen it will be my biggest change in my life and i made some big changes in my life already.

This weekend i planned to do the TET Belgium but corona is still not finished with us and put a cross through that.
It looks like the weather will flush away the alternative plan for tomorrow but lets keep thins positive… every drop that falls now doesn’t fall on my trip in September.
In two weeks i have another long weekend and than i want to clean up Ragnarok en give him a full check for the big trip.

TET Drenthe (NL) and Adventure Shield intermediate

Take a beer, it became quite a story 😉🍻
The weekend of ascending day i planned to do the TET North NL and the TET Drenthe (also North NL) but went home the second day due to rain as i wanted to do some offroading in normal conditions after the TET south NL mudmasters edition.
The last weekend of June i went back north for the Adventure shield intermediate training and decided to take a day of and also do the TET Drenthe as well as the end of that section was only 20km from the place where Albert from Adventure shield starts his training.

Leaving on Friday and the training on Sunday means 2 nights so i booked a place at a campsite in Schoonoord.
It was a minicamping which i thought was ideal for me not liking big crowds unless it is a metal concert or festival (or bike festival) and is was indeed a very nice camping with nice and friendly owners and also friendly guests.
When you find yourself in the neighbourhood looking for a place to pitch the tent i can recommend minicamping Landzicht in Schoonoord.
The town is a 1,5km walk for when you want to have a bite to eat with a beer alongside.
Next to the first café/restaurant you pass is a grocery store where you can get supplies.

In the evening i get company from Emile form the MAG (Dutch organisation for motorcyclists to keep roads open and riding a motorcycle affordable) where i am a volunteer. When do you call someone a friend? I think when you spent a night at a campsite sharing beers and having fun together on a TET track is a good start so lets say i rode most of the TET Drenthe with a friend.

He had to leave a bit before the end as he had an appointment for his Covid vaccination.
Until than we had some good fun as you can see on the video below.
We… or to be accurate he had an issue but that was just a minor mishap in comparison with a TET rider we came across.
He apparently misjudged a dip and ended up in a watery ditch next to the track (i have his permission to use the footage).

The rider as you can see in the picture was okay but they where glad we passed by and stopped as it would nearly impossible to get the bike out with just 2 guys.
It seems a lot of people doing the TET Drenthe taking the wrong track just behind the trees you see in the background (we heard some bikes passing in the time we stood there) and when there are already not much people riding the TET (even though it’s gaining popularity) and those who do take the wrong track than the chance of getting some help reduces fast.

We had our share of loose sand which never was my favourite and not sure if i’m ever gonna like it but it was not too loose and with Ecstasy it’s not that bad anyway.
After Emile went his own way i continued the track until i think the last 20 – 30km.
I still had to pay for the campsite and closing time of the reception was near and i had to leave before they opened again plus i started to feel my legs from the standing position in especially the loose sand.
As i didn’t want to leave without paying and also didn’t want to start the training all sore i decided to skip the last part which was at least 60% onroad anyway.

Adventure Shield day!!!
Looking forward to it for a long time it was time to learn some new skills getting a better offroader and having even more fun doing it because of it.
I left the campsite in time as i didn’t want to be late again but even though i left well on time i did get late a few minute anyway as i really underestimated the amount of gas-stations up there and had to make a pretty detour but at least it was just a few minutes.
Over coffee Albert told us what the day would hold and then it was time to get ready which took a bit longer than planned but at least we had a good time already anyway.
It was too soon to tell if it clicked with the group but it was at least clear we’re going to have fun.

We left and after some paved roads the first bit of offroad was… loose sand…
But it was not too bad and the day before i had time to get the feeling of it with Ecstasy.
As you can see on the picture some guys had heavier bikes (GS800 and 1250) running 80/20 tyres. I had 50/50 tyres on Ragnarok when i did the basic training and already struggled so hats of to them. In defence of myself, Ragnarok is heavier and unlike the GS not an allroad but a tourbike with just the look of an allroad.
The guy with the GSA also had a problem, he could not turn off the traction control and it was not clear why not.

We stopped at the same place where we did the first exercises with the basic training and started with braking hard.
I already mentioned the long braking distance offroad and this confirmed it quite well but we learned how to make it as short as possible.
I already was not afraid to lock the rear as i was used to it playing around but i learned that i need to use the front a bit more and that i had to lock up the rear first and than add the front about 80% more than i did with what i figured out myself.
Plus for me was that i just have fun when the rear goes side to side where others be uncomfortable or even scared. This made my second attempt already pretty good.
Next was a figure of 8 to learn about steering and that’s harder than you might think and we all struggled.

On to the next part. Back trough the loos sand and we where warned it was nothing compared to what was coming later that day???
Again no problem and on to the next part, from dust to mud and a slap on the wrist for me.
Over coffee at the start i talked about offroad videos i saw where riders riding close to each other in situations where you can fall very easily and as i always say, when offroading it’s not the question if you fall but how many times.
At one point i did exact that… Not riding close but overtaking when the others where struggling and when they would have fallen i could have easily hurt somebody.
Practice what you preach and Albert was right to point it out to me. It also shows he’s a good teacher and sees more than you might think.
Back to the mud. This mud pit was a bit dry but Albert knows his places so up to the next option.

Yes… that’s deeper than you might think. Just watch the video below.
The part before had some lesser but still challenging ruts in it. The left side was pretty good but we were challenged to take the right as we wanted to learn.
When you’re on a (off)road-trip you will take the easy way to avoid problems and risking damage which can end the trip but here you want to take the risk to learn from it for when you have no other option.

Time for lunch and after that we fuelled up for some real loose sand.
That particular section was deep and to make it even worse it seemed to be a well ridden road making the grains rounded and even harder to ride… okay….
One of the guys is an experienced enduro rider who bought a adventure bike and takes the course to learn to cope with the weight. He and Albert knew each other so Albert sends him on his way and says that if he want to challenge himself to change tracks (ruts) on this loose sand section.
Took in some confidence on the other loose sand at the beginning end the day before i decided to follow him and guess what? I even could keep up with him.
Then a long turn doomed up… wait… what…. i have to make a turn in this… dust????
I had no choice and it went well all the way so i committed and also the long turn seemed no problem at all.

At the end he turned around to go again but i’m not sure if i want to have more of it but i also turned around and went back knowing that i have to go a third time also.
On the way back i have to avoid the others and after the next turnaround i had to stop to wait for them giving me another challenge, get going again from a standstill when i could pass.
Unbelievable, this also went without a problem.
I don’t think i will like this type of surface but i think i wont be scared of it any more.

On to the last part of the day, a surprise.
An enduro track in a private forest. Albert knows the owner and has permission to take the students there. We only use a small part of the track but with the heavy bikes (especially compared to an enduro bike) it’s quite a challenge.
One of the guys took the wrong turn where we entered the track and had something to work out but somehow i had the feeling that Albert did a different piece than the guy in front of me leaving me also with something to work out.
I ended up doing the complete track and being an inexperienced and untrained offroad rider on a too heavy bike without a mental brake to do it easy on i got a bit overheated after my third fall (remember, it’s not if you fall….) and i had to catch my breath before i finished the rest. Even more i had to give my left hand a rest as you play with the clutch a lot and also do it with one or two fingers.
I heard them so i shouted that i’m okay and just needed to catch my breath so they didn’t need to worry because the bike would not start to growl right away this time.

Behind the trees is the secret enduro track and no, i don’t have coordinates where it is and if i had i’m the type of person who can keep a secret.

When we finished there it was time to wrap it up and go back to the hotel.
For me it’s hard to take a Monday off so i had to go back home afterwards and since it is a 300km ride home i stayed to have a nice meal before i went home.
It was a great weekend end the weather worked out pretty well also.
A few drops not worth being mentioned at Friday at the campsite while having a beer with Emile and the rain i had on the way back home didn’t flush the smile of my face also.
In fact i used that rain to test my Mitas E09 rear tyre in the wet as i had no experience with this brand.
On the highway he performed not bad at all being a heavy blocked tyre and at the roundabouts close to home i tried how far i could go but i didn’t get him to go sideways.
All in all a pretty successful and fun weekend.
The 23rd of July i took another day of (the first of my days for this year, the other days where left form last year) and i will look into it if i can do the TET Belgium next week but it’s unclear if i can because the Netherlands went to red on the European Covid map and exceptions for Belgium are when you’re fully vaccinated for example but being a European Union with a EU vaccination app as a “corona passport” one country says you’re good to go with one shot, the other says you can come in the minute you get you’re second shot and the rest says you need to wait until 2 weeks after the second shot.
In case of Johnson which only needs one shot it is from right after until 4 weeks after but some countries don’t accept Johnson at all as it gives a limited protection against the Delta varsity.
I keep you posted.

Last trip blog is coming later this week

This weekend i wanted to get the blog for the offroad weekend in Drente done but i had some problems with getting an codec to get some footage working from the GoPro 8.
Finally have that fixed and discovered not all footage is lost so i have to edit it into a short video first before i can put the blog up.
That’s always time-consuming as my laptop doesn’t have a real powerful graphic card.

Yesterday i had an appointment for remapping the Power Commander on Ecstasy but there seemed to be a problem with the fuel mixture measurement gear on the Dyno causing false readings.
Shit happens but it cost me halve a day without a result and have to come back when the machine is fixed, hopefully next Saturday.
But if you knew everything in advance you could travel the world with a dime and then i would be doing exactly that.

Owning a home with outside space also means you have to spent time maintaining it and weeds growing like crazy in these conditions we have the last month.
Planned to do that already for two weeks but whenever i had time it was raining or it was too late again.
I want to keep the neighbours happy so they keep an eye on my place when i’m on the road and decided to take advantage of the nice weather today and get the front cleaned up instead of working on the blog but i’m planning on doing that this week in the evenings.

When all goes well than Saturday i finally get Ecstasy remapped and Sunday is the next VFROC ride out.
Thursday i get my second shot of the Covid vaccination giving me full coverage by the time i leave for the Balkan trip.
Speaking of that, this week was in the news that 11 non EU countries going to yellow. We have red, orange, yellow and green. Red is don’t go unless it is real important but even than think twice, orange is only travel when necessary like for business trips or so, yellow says it’s allowed to travel but still be careful en green is complete freedom.
4 of the 5 non EU countries i will visit on that trip are on that list and only Ukraine is still orange but we wouldn’t be the Netherlands if there some false information and loopholes in the colourcoding and it seems that is also the case for the Ukraine.
It’s the same as Norway being orange. They don’t allow everybody in but there are exceptions and being fully vaccinated is one of them and when i have the correct information (will double and triple check it) that’s also the case in the Ukraine plus you need to buy an insurance locally but that’s only €3,30 for 3 days plus €0,80 per every extra day and i probably are only there for 2.

That’s it for now…
Time enough to get my filming straight for a nice registration of the big trip and hopefully the upcoming regular holidays don’t mess up my travel plans or the stupid decisions from our not even official government for that matter 🤐

Too much noise

People have less tolerance nowadays and one big issue is the noise from motorcycles.
A lot of dike roads are closed because of it and also a lot of dirt roads.
The exhaust on Ragnarok is changed for a LeoVince and in the first place for the looks but it also has a nice dark sound but at the same time less decibels than the OEM one.
Ecstasy is a big bore single cylinder bike and those do make more noise and on this bike i changed the OEM exhaust for the weight.
It’s an UK brand (Carbon Can) and was advertised as “street legal” but without an E stamp and certificate. First mounted it was about the same loudness as the OEM but it seemed to get louder and on the offroad weekend there where some remarks about it (still waiting for some pictures to start the blog about that weekend but it will come).
So this week i bought some damper wool with the idea of adding some and try to make it a bit less noisy.
Next Saturday (10th of July) i have an appointment to remap my Power Commander and wanted to “fix” the exhaust before that to get the best result.
When i drilled out the rivets and took the can apart it turned out the dampening material was burned out almost completely… that enplanes the noise.

Everything in the middle is completely gone.
I have no idea if it is because the bike runs too hot or that the standard dampening material was just inferior to keep the price of the exhaust low as it was a bit of an budget buy.
Hopefully the new map cam be a bit cooler when that was the issue. I thought it ran a bit rich which should be cooler but maybe as i thought it consumed a bit more petrol with the mapping the PC came with it was in fact running leaner. We’ll see.

It’s a small job but i didn’t repack it jet as i’m still thinking to add an extra perforated tube hoping to reduce the sound a bit more and maybe keeping the dampening material from burning out so fast again.
Around 6000km it took to end up like this and i was not planning to repack the exhaust 2 times a year.
Another thought is to change the Db killer.
I have the whole week to make up my mind and get it done but Friday it has to be back on the bike so i give myself until Wednesday.

With the Reckless 80 and the Scout 30L duffel i can take everything i need to camp but i decided to make a last investment to give me just a little play with my space.
I’m still waiting for the Aux Pox to be available again to complete the R80 set.
The investment was a new mattress, when i bought the one i had there was no plans yet to take offroading to this level and i found the price of the models with the small packing sizes way too high but now i realized it is worth it and bitten the bullet yesterday.

There was one smaller but overall this was the better buy as it is self inflatable and has a better R rating (insulation value) with just 20 grams more weight and not that much bigger packing size.
This one also provides at least a little bit of comfort when it start leaking.

Bummer

Today i imported the footage i recorded this weekend from the camera’s and it turned out the change in setting i did in order to improve the quality set the camera in slowmo for some reason.
Some footage needs some codec i have to buy and the Hero 3+ was clean when i left but when i started recording a kamikaze bug aimed dead centre on the lens.
Hopefully i can still make something out of the footage, otherwise it will be a blog without a video.
Luckily i made a few pictures and i had a blast and can tell about it anyway.

To promote the channel i ordered some businesses cards to hand out, stickers, T-shirts and coffee mugs.
The T-shirt have the new logo, not a big change but i added “.nl” to it in a subtle way.

Why didn’t i think of that when i made the logo the first time?

The bikes have the branding. The printer of the stickers warned about my choice when i wanted to use them on a dark background but is took the change and it doesn’t work real well on black but i just don’t like stickers with a fixed background colour.
I think it’s too complex for have them made as a cut out sticker but writing this i came up with an idea and have to check if it is possible and not to expensive if it is possible…
This is how it came out on the bikes.

I’ll try to write the offroad weekend blog this coming weekend, have some things to do in the evenings this week, and yes… cleaning Ecstasy is the plan for tomorrow after i collect the T-shirts from the UPS pickup point 😎

What’s going on?

This mesage is comming from a mini campsite in Schoonoord. Left Friday from home and today i did the TET Drenthe (NL). Tomorrow it’s time for the intermediate offroad training in Witteveen just under 15 minutes from here.

It was most definitely not boring today but that’s for later. For now it’s relaxing with a beer… Sadly the image was too big to work out from the phone. So it has to do with a small blog to keep the site active. The nex one will be a proper one again.

My Mosko Moto collection got extended

Ascending day was the day of the TET North Netherlands and the first camping trip with Ecsatsy.
i was told that the Mosko Moto Reckless 40 might be a bit too minimalistic, even with the Stinger 22 tailbag instead of the standard Stinger 8 that comes with the R40 when you go camping with full camping gear.
When i took on the TET North i packed like i would go for a week as a test and it really is just a bit too compact.
I managed to take along what i needed but for a complete week it wouldn’t work out, i already had to cramp extra bags under the beavertail.
Even when i invest in a really compact packed air mattress i still needed to use extra bags so i did invest but in the Mosko Moto Reckless 80 with the Scout 30L Duffelbag.

I now have from Mosko Moto the Scout V2.0 35L panniers, the Reckless 40, the Reckless 80 (still have to get the 2 4L Aux Pox but they weren’t available yet), the Scout 30 Duffel, the Scout 60 Duffel and 2 5L Aux Pox converted into crashbar bags.
In this blog i will show you the fitment of the R80 on Ecstasy and the differences between the bags.

The R80 is a “revolver” system which means you have a main/centre harness and two leg harnesses which can be mounted in 4 different positions as the R40 is a one piece.
Reckless is actually a nice pun as it really is “rackless” but for the R80 especially on smaller/slimmer bikes a rear luggage rack is advised and i don’t have one on Ecstasy.
I could go and buy one ending up with a ugly or expensive part but as you might know from the bashplate extension blog i’m quite capable with some metal work so i designed and made one for just a bit of time (my boss sponsored the material).
This is the result of 2.5 hours work.

The R40 has 2 straps on the bag and comes with a cleat kit, this model goes fine without a rack or plate and therefore the extra kit for mounting.
The R80 has 3 straps and that’s why i made it like this.

This is the complete Reckless 80 kit containing the 3 mentioned harnesses, 2 legbags, a tent pole bag, a 20L drysak bag, a heat shield (which i already had fitted from the R40 set) and a hardware kit including a sachet of Loctite to put everything together.
I did make an unboxing video but even though i did check the camera angle on the headstrap it turned out that i didn’t think about it that i look down for the most part with my eyes. Bummer but lesson learned and it was a good practice for speaking non the less.

Then it’s time to fit it on Ecstasy. I measured the straps on the centre harness so the fitment is just how far back i have to go and on which angle i have to fix the leg harnesses.
I’ll just show you that part….

Then let’s go and check out the differences.
First a comparison between the 2 Reckless models. The R40 has 2 smaller bags under the legbag pockets which will fit a 1L fuel bottle each and a soft lined goggle pocket on top of the beavertail under which will fit the Stinger 8 or Stinger 22. There is also a small storage pocket on the inside of the other flap.
The R80 has a lot more molle webbing to extend the capacity even more, on the bottom will come a 4L Aux Pox on each side which will hold 2 1L fuel bottles each or the 4L dry bag that comes with it. The beavertail will hold the Stinger 22 or the Scout 30L Duffel (and i even thing that the Backcountry 30L and 40L also will fit). One flap has a storage pocket and the other a document pocket.
The beavertail of the R80 is removable for when you don’t need the tail space or when you want to use the Scout 60L duffle (i think that one is replaced by the Scout 50L) which come with their own beavertail.

Then let’s have a look at the Scout V2.0 35L panniers next to the Reckless 80.
The panniers comes with a 5L Aux pox for each pannier and you can buy 2 more if you need it as they can be fitted on the back and the front of the panniers.
I’ve chosen for the back but switching the panniers around and you’ll have them on the front. On one side i have 2 1L fuel bottles and in the other the dry bag.

And the last things you can buy at Mosko Moto we have the different tailbags.
The Duffles are both an option for Ragnarok to go with the panniers, the 30L Duffle and the Stinger 22 are the options for Ecstasy with the R80 but that kit can also work on Ragnarok and for the R40 i can choose between the both Stingers

For the panniers and the Scout 60 Duffle i also have a lockstrap, ideal for the longer trips where you also might want to go see something on the way and have to leave the bike unattended.
To fix the Scout 60 on the back i have a pair of Backcountry cinch straps.

And at last the thing you can’t buy at Mosko Moto… shame on you for not having this option in great line of products, or should i say a line of great products??
I’m talking about the crashbar bags off course.
They only need to make some kind of molle webbing harness to strap on the crashbars on which you can screw the Aux Pox.
I took the 5L Aux Pox and used the screws to put some straps on.

And no, they don’t sponsor me for this.
The internet sometimes looks like a slaughterhouse for producers as they get skinned for every futile problem for which they often don’t even get a change to rectify.
Mistakes are made by everybody and it can be annoying because it mostly happens at a bad moment.
But quality is not only making a good product but also how a problem gets solved.
I did have one minor problem with the mounting kit of the panniers and they solved it real good.
At the moment (June 2021) they have a bit of a problem with getting enough stock in due to the Covid situation but they are very open about it and you can read about it on the site.
Even though you might have to wait, i’ll highly recommend their product based on the quality on the products and the aftersales as well.
you can find them on http://moskomoto.com or http://moskomoto.eu.

New rear tyre

Normally changing a tyre is not really blog material but it was the first time with the tyre-tool and balancer plus things went not as smooth as i hoped so i thought maybe blog material after all.

I was expecting a decent lifespan of the Michelin Anakee Wild on Ecstasy, i ran them on Ragnarok for almost 9000km but on the much lighter XTZ it was over when i got to the halve of those 9k/km.
I have the tendency of getting back to Michelin but that doesn’t mean i have to have Michelins and in the past on the road-bikes i did try some other brands.
Time to try out something else and after searching the net and watching various YouTube reviews and experiences i decided to give the Mitas E09 a chance.

Roads are something i can’t get around but with Ecstasy i always have offroad on my mind and it had to be at least a 50/50 but more hardcore offroad was fine too. It had to be only at least decent on the tarmac and it seams that the Mitas is even pretty acceptable on the boring stuff (for a Ténéré boring that is).
There where 2 options in the E09, a “regular” and a Dakar version and the latter is the same but stiffer with a bit longer lifespan and less likely to get a puncture for only €4,- extra.

I don’t know how about nails but on the last ride to work on the Wild there was something wrong and it felt the same as when the front tyre lost a lot of air but that one i’ve changed for the new one i already had ordered together with the Anakee Wild set.
The first chance i had to stop (no shoulder on that road) the front was fine but the rear wasn’t… a nail.

Too late to turn around to get Ragnarok so the only option was to ride on to the first petrol station to air up (the compressor was on Ragnarok) and hoping the air stayed in long enough to get to work. It didn’t but i could manage to keep it at 100KM/h which is the maximum speed at that time.
After long thinking at work i decided to just air up again to get trough the busy part the first few kilometres and than take it easy on the small roads since i didn’t want to spent an hour fixing the tyre for only 28km as the new tyre was that very day delivered at a parcel puck up point.

Today was wrenching day and with no riding also a good moment to wash the gear as the grey had become sand colour.
As a test i used the onboard toolset to do the job as a check if i had everything complete and working now, i had but didn’t at the same time.
When i had the puncture the last time after the TET NL south it became clear i missed a wrench 22 to take the rear wheel out. I took the one of the board in the garage but that one didn’t seem to work as the nut lies deeper and i can’t get a grip. Will be solved next week.
Than time to take the tyre of and after breaking the bead and taking the old one off i realised that i didn’t use the tyre tool as i should.
I used for the complete tyre the tyre irons but afterwards i figured out i made it hard for me as i could have turned the wheel around and use the lever to break the bead to push the other side of the tyre off.

On the right picture you can see one of the things that made it not a smooth change.
The tube protector increased in diameter and not just a bit… no clue how that was possible as it is bigger than the outside diameter of the complete wheel.

To be sure that i don’t ride to the dealer i called to ask if it is in stock but the regular dealer didn’t answer the phone, they take the time for you when you’re there but it means that f you call they might take the time for another customer end they let the phone longer than i want to wait so i called another shop and they had it in stock.
When i came there and i took my helmet off there was a typical sound of a bike on a Dyno and Ecstasy still needs a new tune for the Power Commander but had to wait for better temperatures (best results come between 15 and 25 degrees).
I had a price from a shop in Belgium end the Dutch shops where all too far away of too expensive but in the search result this shop didn’t came up.
When i asked the price it was only €10 more expensive than the Belgium shop and here i knew for sure it could be done on a Saturday so i made an appointment for 10 july.

Back to the job at hand.
This time the struggle with the valve should be history as i bought a valve puller, a handle with a steel wire and a bit you can screw in the valve.
You feed the threaded part trough the valve hole and than you connect it to the valve, without it you have to wrestle your finger in the tyre trying to guide the valve trough the hole.
Nope… also didn’t go that smooth as the wire of the puller came loose but i managed to fix it but the valve became a struggle after all.
Did i mention that the Dakar version was stiffer?
That also means that it is way harder to get it on the rim but i managed and again without my worst fear for this job. I’m always scared to get a puncture by getting the inner-tube between the rim and the tyre iron.

After cleaning it was time to balance the wheel.
I didn’t do this before on Ecstasy but somewhere i saw a video that it still can make a big difference on knobbly tyres and as i was planning on changing the tyres also on Ragnarok i bought the balancer with the tyre tool and tried it now.

That’s one mean looking tyre 😎

The difference between the Mitas E09 (left) and the Michelin Anakee Wild (right).

Tomorrow i might do something new for the channel, but when i’m not happy with the result you will never know…

Just playing around

Last week i went to my mate Jeffrey who also bought a Ténéré to go play in the sand.
We did the TET Netherlands south section together last year with our big bikes, he on a GSA and i with Ragnarok which was fitted with a set Anakee Wild at the time.
Jeffrey’s brother Ward also went along on a Kawasaki Versys.
It went pretty OK but it was clear that heavy bikes on the TET are a hand full but for me it was still just the start of my offroad adventures, not yet knowing if it was just a bit fun or that i liked it.
I think it is clear by now that i do like it. There is some raw footage of that ride on my YouTube channel.

Jeffrey also wanted to do the Belgium TET but he also just bought his first house and moved in the weekend before i planned to ride the Belgium TET.
He didn’t mind i decided to go north so we can do it together another weekend later this year.
Close to his home there are some nice dirt tracks so last weekend i went there to check out his home and have some fun on the tracks.

Also not far form there is the hill in the TET south track and after some rounds on the dirt track we decided to run that one up and down a couple times.
Compared to other countries it’s just a bump but seeing some video’s from riders taking on the TET it has to be more difficult you might think.
Coming from the north you get a bit longer slope with loose sand and then a pretty steep downhill.
Before i did it the first time i checked some video’s to get an idea what to expect and i saw more experienced riders fail on even more suitable bikes than the XT’s, let alone the Crosstourer which is actually a pure touring bike with just the looks of an allroad.
Ward was behind me and he thought i also was going to fail as Ragnarok waggled his tail quite severe but i made it, don’t ask me how…

In the video of my TET south ride in March you saw that i did it in the opposite direction that time and now we went up and down in both directions.
Strangely enough the steep side up is easier than the longer slope but we had fun and it was nice to experience the same part a few times in a row. I learned that the chosen line can make the difference between seemingly afford-less and a struggle (one time i almost ended up in the bushes).
Sadly i pushed a wrong button on the GoPro so that footage was useless.
We also had the intercoms connected and therefore i put some music under the video to not bother you with our chatter.
Also did something new with the in- and outro, let me know if you like it.

TET Netherlands, north section

Ascension Day plus the Friday after taken off from work so a nice long weekend.
The VFROC weekend had to be cancelled again made me get to plan B as you could have read in the “shorts or not” blog.

The Belgium TET and the 2 sections in the north of the Netherlands where on my short list but i’m also waiting for new dates for the Adventure Shield intermediate training.
That is in the north and maybe i nice combination putting Belgium at the top of the list.
On Wednesday i came across a video of a Belgium terrace where the parasols went up in the air and the rain poured down by the bucket.
The next morning over coffee i checked the weather report for Belgium and that didn’t looked promising.

Since i already had a mudmasters edition this year i checked what was going on to the north.
That looked fine and over breakfast the plan was changed from Belgium to the north.
The bike was packed for camping and there was no plan beyond that making it pretty easy to change the destination and i loaded all 3 tracks into the Garmin XT including a route to the end of the TET north NL… yes, to the end.
The TET was made from north to south but i live in the south of the Netherlands making it logical to go in the opposite direction.
It’s just a track, a line on the GPS without spoken directions like a route. That also explains why i sometimes miss a turn or suddenly get a bit slower seemingly without a reason. In that case i might be unsure if i’m on the right track.

Time to leave, i have a full tank off petrol and a route to the end of the TET with only a little part trough Germany because they are closed due to corona. We are allowed to pass through and if we do so within 24 hours there is no need for a test and registration.
Letting the Garmin make a nice route tot my starting point would be a risk as it was almost immediately into Germany via lots of small roads. I thought it might be hard to convince the police i’m just passing trough and fines starting at €150 up to €25.000 so i gave it a few extra waypoints.
The last bit still was trough Germany but over main roads (bundesstraßßen) and that was very explainable as i had to cross the river Rhine and in that region there is only a bridge in Germany and a few small ferry’s extending my trip with at least 30km.

After 140km i could start my next TET adventure.
Time to start the camera and put in a new element taking myself out of my element.
I finally have a working microphone but i still don’t know how it works out while riding.
Totally uncomfortable talking to nobody, yeah eventually to everybody who watches the video but it feels strange and i’m stumbling because of that.
I hope i get used to it but i don’t like speaking in front of large groups but also don’t like talking to nobody and talking into the mike of a camera making video’s possible to be seen by all the world is both at the same time.
As you might know i really like Itchy Boots and her video’s are easy to watch because she also tells things.
I’m not trying to copy her but i do want to learn from others. It’s also hard to find enough rights free music i like.

I only hope you don’t experience my voice as i do myself but there are several articles on that topic and it seems that it’s completely normal to not like your own voice when you hear yourself on recordings.
Please leave a comment what you think and don’t be afraid to be honest, i can handle it 😉
If you don’t like it there is no use to continue talking but if you do it’s a good reason to do my best to get comfortable with it. If that works out i can maybe tell more about where i am at that moment when i see something interesting.

Back to the ride.
The end is actually a good start as it starts out with some paved roads and then some easy going dirt and gravel roads.
Later on it gets more interesting or exiting and after the mudmasters edition of the south section it’s quite nice to have pretty good conditions.
With that i mean it’s not too wet that it gets muddy but also not dry making it dusty with lots of deep loose sand.
There where some puddles and it was slippery here and there but that was fine, otherwise it might get boring. There has to be some challenge otherwise i better stay on the road.
I even had some loose sand which i really don’t like but this time i get through without falling. I had some moments where the movements where the same when i was with Ragnarok and fell every time.
The 21″ front wheel and less weight really make a difference and who knows, part of the intermediate training is learn t ride in loose sand. Maybe after that i don’t mind it any more.

By now the restrictions are less but at the time of this trip the terraces where only allowed to be open from 12:00 ’till 18:00 and that forced me to go eat early.
Shops are not opened and the Reckless 40, even with the Stinger 22 is just a bit too minimalistic when you have a full camping gear. Taking food with you is not an option.
I did have 2 pack of survival food because i also wanted to test if it would work for longer trips so when necessary i could manage a few days but the Netherlands is too small to need that.
Even on this short trip it was clear that when you travel alone on a motorcycle you never are alone, you always meet people.

After diner it was time to find a campsite. I past a few but they didn’t appeal to me and knowing that i always can get off the track to go somewhere i can find in the Garmin or on Google which i did when it almost was 19:00.
Even for me there comes a moment when it’s time to stop. When i started taking the easy way via the paved bicycle lanes next to the unpaved tracks when it got muddy or loose i knew it was time.
If i didn’t had that option i still could manage the track but you have to stop before that moment comes. That is also something you need to learn before you go to the harder sections.
About 10km off the track there was a biker camping, Café Calluna, and that name sounded familiar because it also was mentioned as an option in the TET GPS file.
There where a few other bikers camping so it ended up being a fun evening.

The next morning it was grey and during breakfast it started raining slightly, time to pack up before it getting worse and it did.
Not really bad but when i checked the radar it turned out that it was a very slow moving front directly over the Drenthe section a was planning to ride staying there for at least 3 to 4 hours.
As i said i didn’t want another mudmasters so i decided to take a scenic route home.
Still have the intermediate training planned and then i’ll make another weekend out of it. After work to a campsite, one day training and the other day the Drenthe section.
No planning, nothing booked and no one to discuss it with.
When i go on a vacation or a TET section further away i have to plan the moment and then i probably will still go in these conditions but then i also hope i have a bit more experience.
At this moment my lack of experience makes me struggle too much to still have fun and i’m trying to avoid loosing the fun of it by riding too much in bad conditions while i still think too much about how and why i do or have to do things on the bike. I need i bit more confidence and learn at least how to properly corner in loose(r) sand and mud and slip on purpose.

Enjoy the first video with speech.
Today i installed the Hyperpro rear suspension on Ragnarok and i ordered a revision kit for the rear master cylinder plus a new rear tyre for Ecstasy.
More about that later on.