Mega Balkan trip 2021, episode 3

Last week i ended on the Transfagarasan and it’s time to leave that wet mountain.
I always try to ad a video with the blog and i do some voice over when recording audio on the road fails, most of it will be told here also but not everybody likes reading.
However, the blog tells way more so when you read it you still can enjoy the view and place the story at the places you see in the video.
The first 2 got a bit longer than i wanted but this week it’s a short one.

Getting down from the Transfagarasan it got dry and this is bear country so i really hoped to see one in the wild and i was not being disappointed. Before i left the Transfagarasan road there was one sitting in a corner, just relaxing.

Also have it on video but still not the best footage. I made some quick pictures and turned the camera on but didn’t want to waste my real life experience to get it all in high quality looking at it through a screen like most people live their life’s these days.
I do want to share it with you but not sacrifice my goals for you, I’ll try to give you something and it’s up to you to imagine how great it will be to be there. It might pushes you to go and experience it for yourself.

Next goal is the Bicaz Gorge but i discovered when i was putting the route together that i was passing not far from Bran so i made a little change to pass Bran Castle a.k.a. Dracula’s castle.
After a bit of nice weather Transylvania did what it does best, changing into rain and i had to be double careful as there where also cow’s on the road.

After those nice mountain roads i got to Bran and i’m not a touristy guy but wanted to check out the castle. It ended up to be at least an hour waiting in line to get in and as it was not a goal i turned around for a picture and continue my ride for that day.

In fact this is not the real castle of Dracula but this is the one he fled to, the real castle is a ruin somewhere on the Transfagarasan which i missed due to the weather.
But this is the one that is restored and used in the original book about Vlad III better known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula.
Next was to find a place to stay for the night but that was after some more riding with more changing between dry and rain.
This was another time i just stopped somewhere and asked if they have a room.

The next day was a short one through the Bicaz Gorge to Lasi, close to the Moldovan border.
Romania is a country with a great variety of mountain types. The Transalipina was rocky with a yellow brownish longer grass and moss, the Transfagarasan had green short grass and moss, then towards Bran it was a forest but on mountains and Bicaz is just big bare rock sticking out of a forest.

After Bicaz it was an easy ride, nice but not spectacular but in Lasi i had some trouble finding a cheap accommodation. I thought i found a nice place outside Lasi and getting there was quite a challenge as i had to get through a residential area but all the roads where unpaved.
Not challenging but when i got out it went downhill with deep ruts and that was on this heavy bike. It ended up being useless too as it was not even a B&B so back to Lasi where i eventually found a place on the side i entered Lasi.
Luckily it also had a restaurant so food and beer was also covered…

Time to enter the next country, Moldova.
I didn’t get any local money as i just was passing through. I was expecting some bad roads but it was a bit rough but overall not bad at all making me think if i missed out not taking back roads. I didn’t think much about it as there where not many and after that place just outside Lasi i doubted those roads where paved with possibly a huge difference to the main road.

Then i came across some checkpoints wondering if i need to stop but they waved me to keep going… strange, what is the purpose of it as the Ukraine border is still over 100km away.
Yet i run into a border?
There are 2 very nice looking ladies, one in some sort of police uniform and the other in camo, they spoke reasonable English but when i asked what country i was about to enter they said Република Молдовеняскэ Нистрянэ.
I thought i just didn’t hear it well because of my earplugs but after 3 times i gave up.
I had to buy a vignette and i could pay in Moldovan Lei, Dollars or Euro. I didn’t change any to Moldovan Lei as i explained before but i had a €20 note but that was a problem even though it was a currency they said was accepted???
It seemed to be just too large but it was all i had. Creditcard was not possible and he kept looking at his phone and was sighing but stayed friendly just like myself, it’s the best way to get things solved.
Then a local walked in and seemingly he crosses that border often, they spoke a bit and made his papers ready and then he made a gesture to come with him. He opened a glove compartment in his car and took out a big stack of 50 Moldovan Lei bills and he changed my €20 bill for 400 Lei.
Now i could pay and it was now clear that it was not his intention to let me have him the €20 because he didn’t want the change from the local currency, or it was not good enough not being €16.

When i could continue and passed the gates a shield said PMR, when i got to my apartment in Ukraine and established wifi i looked it up. it stands for Pridnestrovian Moldovian Republic or Transnistria for short.
It is a independent dwarf state not recognized by most country’s other than a few other country’s in a similar situation. I count it as a halve because i still had to do the whole border handling.
When i was editing the video i was not sure if my insurance was valid just as i was thinking when i arrived there but when i Googled the name (i keep forgetting what the “P” stands for) i also noticed that because it is not recognized it is just part of Moldova.

The roads here where a bit worse than in Moldova but still quite descent.
At one point a truck-driver signalled me from behind riding on the wrong side of the road making me doubting about the side of the road where i have to ride but oncoming traffic took that away. I did stop to check if i might lost something or had a broken light or so.
Nothing wrong and on to Ukraine.

At the border a friendly soldier with a big machine gun told me to pass the line and walk to the window making the crossing take about 15 to 20 minutes instead of a couple of hours.
Next challenge was to find an exchange office to get rid of the Moldovan Lei as the Moldovans and Ukrainians are not friends so accepting each others money is out of the question and in Romania where i get back to after Odessa they also have a Lei but a different one and also not keen on the Moldovans if i remember correctly.
English was a problem here and it took a few attempts to get the proper information about the whereabouts of the exchange office but i got there.
It turned out to be not at the border but the first intersection.

Because of the money issue at the border i was not convinced that plastic will be accepted at gas stations but in theory i had enough to get to Odessa and in practice it was too.
But it will be helpful if there was petrol at the gas station and there was not, only diesel and it was already getting critical but still no reason for panic having the 2 litre extra.
The next did and after that it was time to find my place to stay for the next two nights.
Reason to stay a day over is a motorcycle store who had the camelback i want on their website so in the next day i can check if they have it in stock and do a bit sightseeing at the same time and look for extra memory for the camera’s.
And here i also ticked another destination… the Black Sea.

Yes i am happy, very happy even but just not a selfie type. Welcome to the Black Sea…

Mega Balkan trip 2021, Episode 2

This episode is about the whole reason to take on this trip, the Transalpina and the Transfararasan.
Two passes next to each other with the Transfagarasan as the more known pass, partly because the guys from Top Gear named it the most beautiful driving road of Europe but i disagree, i’ll get back to that later on.

Episode 1 ended at a hotel at the bottom of the mountain where the Transalpina passes but it was still quite a ride to get there.
Not a problem because it was still a bit chilli but sunny and it was a nice road with great scenery, perfect to start the day and get into the groove.

At some point the GPS said right but it was closed by a roadworker and the sign said the Transalpina was left???
A bit confused i turned into the parking lot at the T splitting, there where some stands and i could get a coffee.
At that stand i met some bikers, a Belgium guy on his way with two locals and they told me the sign is wrong and always was.

When you go left like the sign said you never get to the Transalpina and it seems that nobody knows why it is wrong or why it never has been changed.
The closure to the right turned out not to be a problem, the roadworker had traffic duty because one halve of the road was closed for repairs and both ways had to take turns on passing so after the coffee break i could continue in the right direction.

I did got stuck behind some other riders which where difficult to pass as they went like crazy on the straight but couldn’t handle the corners but there it was not safe to pass.
Even the few corners i could oversee i could not use to overtake them as some of the riders went wide and two of them almost crashed but didn’t seem to understand that they shouldn’t go faster than they can handle.
Just hope they don’t learn the hard way after all.

At the pass i did stop a few times to take in the scenery and take some pictures leaving me with more than enough road to ride at my own speed.
And that is not even the main reason why i think this pass is a better riders road than the Transfagarasan but why it is has to wait until the story gets there… don’t get ahead of ourselves.

Along the way i came across the guys form the coffee stand quite some times and even after the pass they went the same way.
At some point after studying their riding behaviour i asked one of the locals about the rules and he said that they don’t apply for motorcycles and according to the reaction and behaviour of the people in the cars it might be true too.
I already adapted to the local riding at the first day in Romania but having it confirmed made the rest of my time in Romania even more relaxed.

On my way to the Transfagarasan i ended up at a busy road. On the map it seemed like a nice road which it was but they don’t have a lot of highways and this turned out to be a main road but there where no options in my direction.
The scenery was good but filming the back of a truck and some overtaking which would look idiotic on camera due to lack of overview was not worth the memory.
Halve way that road it started to rain as well but it kept going, a lack of traffic lights did help a lot.
It was a bit boring after the first halve of the day but not halve as bad as these kind of roads in the Netherlands.

When i got off that road on a connecting inland road to the next main road i had to make a detour. I had to cross a bridge but there was no bridge and as far as i could see there never was just like there also was no ferry and no road leading to the point where i should cross the river.
Just had to follow the only direction of the road and eventually i found a bridge.
Not much later i got to the next boring road but they where only few on this trip and a necessary evil to get to the places i wanted within the time i had.
Petrol is something that made me nervous a few times, at moments there are more than enough gas stations but when i needed them they seemed scares.
Just after the roundabout where i had to go right towards the Transfagarasan there was one. According to the cue it was one of only few and a sign that it was a smart decision to fill Ragnarok up before heading to the pass.

Next strange problem, i could not get back to where i should go?? Only one exit with one way to go and it was the wrong way.
Luckily just after 1,5km there was a side road where i could turn around.
Just after getting back on track a entered the town where the section ended but as i said, i don’t have plans but guidelines and i started the next section.
I didn’t want to stop and i felt like i could find a place after the Transfagarasan but when i came closer a big cloud started to consume the mountain top and the mountain got smaller by the minute… maybe better to find a place to stay after all.
Just at the base of the pass there was a hotel where i decided to stay the night hoping that it would be better in the morning.

It was Belgian day i guess because after walking past the shops and have a beer i went to see if the restaurant at the hotel was open and at that moment another Belgian guy came in.
He was passing through on his bike and was looking for food. He was on his way home for an important appointment but he must do the Transfagarasan.
He was a bit restless and the clouds where not helping as he was foreseeing not seeing anything at all.
We had a meal together and i went outside with him to take a look at his chain as he was a bit doubtful about the tension. It was not the best any more but i told him that if he kept some tension on it while riding it would be okay.
As we stood next to the bikes we looked up and saw the clouds disappear even faster as they came and i told him he might be one lucky bastard.
If you don’t like the weather in Transylvania you just need to wait a few minutes is what they say and it is true. Problem is when you do like the weather it can change as fast none the less so when you decide to come here prepare for the worst, hope for the best and accept what you get.

The next day it was dry but cloudy, as it is chilli in the morning this time of the year (this morning was the first of September) i already put on my raincoat as a wind stopper and the medium gloves so i am prepared if it changes.
To give you an idea how close at the foot the hotel was, this was 50 meters after leaving the parking lot.

This day i had less time to get into the groove and is i got close to the bit where it’s all about it was raining again but you can’t have it all.
At least the clouds stayed high and i could still enjoy the dramatic scenery and that’s where we get to what i said in the opening about this not being the better road over the Transalpina and it’s not because it rained here although it has a part in it.
I think the Transalpina does have less rain and therefore more likely to be better to ride but the road is in better shape and you can see further ahead i most places.
The scenery at the Transfagarasan does feel a bit more dramatic and you have the feeling that it is higher but as a matter of fact the Transalpina is the highest paved road in Romania at 2145 meters above sea level against 2134 for the Transfagarasan.
But have a look for yourself, i leave you with a few pictures and the video for this episode en next week we continue the trip going down the Transalpina crossing off one bucketlist thing i had no control over and just could hope it happened and on to the next destination(s).

Mega Balkan trip 2021, Episode 1

Finally i found some time to start editing the footage form the Balkan trip and i finished part 1. No idea how many parts it’s going to be but i guess 5 or 6 and i hope now i started i can post an episode every week but i don’t make any promises.

The Italian trip in 2020 was my first big trip and i loved it, but i also learned from it.
I wanted to start right at my doorstep with the nice roads but with limited time unlike the YouTube travellers like Itchy Boots and Pedro Mota it’s actually a waste of time.
Everything i see the first and last 2 days i also can see in a few weekend trips, if i not been there already on a weekend like the VFROC weekends.
This trip i kind of sacrificed 2 days to gain 4 days which made me feel more free because i didn’t needed to cut a part short if i didn’t make a section or decided to take a day of to stay over because i want to.

So, the fist day became a 885km trip over the Autobahn until the Austrian border to take on some main inland roads to somewhere not to far from the Hungarian border.
This trip and the Northern Europe trip where my initial bucketlist trips and for both i already made a rough version when my now ex and i decided i should do one of those trips.
Then it became clear it was going to be this trip and i started to work it out as a real trip and in that version it took me 3 days to get to this point instead of one.
An 885km trip is a long one on it’s own but the rain made it not any easier and when i was sure i was going to make it i took one resting moment to book the hotel i had the section ending.
The idea was that i’m behind the holiday season and therefore places are not fully booked but i was wrong.

Unlike last year when Covid resulted in early closing by some places and lots of room in the still open places this year a lot of people waited. The Dutch waited for their vaccination as we went down by age making the age group that had the most people going on a vacation be quit late.
Too late to be fully vaccinated when the season started so they postponed their holidays and went when they could which was the same time i went already for a long time to avoid the typical obnoxious holiday people and save some money at the same time.
There was a motel in the same town with a free room with breakfast for a reasonable price and i booked it. It’s good to have that sorted on such a long day even if it is not really appealing.

Once there it turned out that the restaurant was not open for diner so i unpacked what i needed and decided to break in my new hiking shoes i bought for the trip on the 1,5km walk to the nearest restaurant.
Last year i took some boat shoes as they where nice and compact, i had hiking shoes but they where a high model and that is a lot of space on a motor trip. I had plans that involved quit a hike so for this trip i bought new and low hiking shoes.
At the restaurant i ended up having a few beers with some locals and having a good time after all.

The next day the trip really started and it started still a bit grey but when i hit the Hungarian border the sun came through.
I believe Hungary is a pretty country but not this part. This part is flat and agricultural i believe but i new that while i was planning the trip but the better parts where too much out of reach within the time frame i had.
I could put some sight seeing in passing Lake Balaton but where it looked on the map as the road went along the lake it turned out to be quit far form it and/or obscured by trees and even a railroad. This was the best view i had.

I tried to find a place to lunch with a view but that was also not to be fount without turning back to the exit to the parking lots away from the main road ending up at tourist traps.
This was also quit a long section just over 500km so i kept riding but that’s what i’m about anyway.
The last quarter of this section had some bad roads but they where nicer to ride. They where more curvy and greener.
When i stopped for gas it started to rain so i took my camelback of and put it on the back of the bike on top of the duffel to put on my raincoat.
After that i paid and continued to the B&B i booked in Szeged not far from the Romanian border.
About an hour after that stop i wanted to drink and then i discovered i forgot to put the camelback back on… @#&*
Going back would mean a 2 hour loss without being sure i would get it back and missing the already too late check in at the B&B.
This also is travelling alone, no one to remind you or riding behind you to see it fall down but also another learning moment.
Never let your mind hang in the bad moment, yes it was a loss with a price to replace it but i made my choice not to go back based on the situation.
If i kept hanging in that moment i would not only have lost the camelback but also the time after that for as long i kept moaning about the loss so accept it and leave it there.

The third day went in to Romania and ended up just at the foot of the first reason to go this way.
I crossed the border at a small crossing and a few km highway after that, luckily motorbikes don’t need a vignette in Romania as this 17km stretch of highway saved me an hour on a also not appealing stretch of inland road.
After that i started to get the first mountains in sight but they still where far away.
The roads however already started to get a little curvy and greener.
Along the way a passed some villages smelling like the middle ages getting closer to the Carpathian mountains.
I was expecting to encounter some offroad and i got it on the third day. I already showed you in a short on the road blog but it needs to be in this story as well.

A little further after some almost new asphalt i ended up in a muddy dirt road.
Also shown the aftermath picture but that one i do not repost as it is better portrayed in the video down below.

Where the muddy section is cut of in the video it went on for about a kilometre and then i ended up on the curvy roads.
It didn’t took long to get the mud off the tyres and the fun could start at the end of another day.
I did check for accommodations but couldn’t find any along the way.
Off course not every place is on or Google and that’s why i decided to just ride and see if i pass a hotel or campsite on my way to the Transalpina and i did not long after entering the curvy section.
Episode one ends where i parked Ragnarok, enjoy the video and don’t hesitate to react on the video here or on YouTube. Also when it is criticism, i only can make better video’s when i learn what’s wrong.

Sporherre’s new jacket

Like i mentioned Sporherre would get a new look.
After some delay and a wrong print last Thursday i got the corrected stickers in.
I had to hold myself not to start already as it was dark outside and i didn’t planned my lighting in the living room for working on the bikes.
I do have a floodlight on a stand but that would cast a shadow and i know myself, when i start i want to finish it risking mistakes and not a lot of sleep that night.

Today i put my alarm an hour early and after breakfast i started with the left side which took about 2 hours.

I wanted to see howe it looks with the crashbar so i put that side on.

After a coffee break i started on the right side, i already turned the bike around exposing the other side to the light from the window.
The fitment on this side was i bit off making it harder and quite a challenge but the practise on the first side helped and i finished a bit faster.
After throwing the backing paper from the stickers away i put the crashbars back on and i looked if i could find a way to put the Reckless 40 bags on, the Stinger 8 i had as tailpack is a bit small.
With the tail tidy i did have a place to put the back straps around, not perfect but this gives me a bit more time to fabricate a proper mounting point on which i also can strap the Reckless 80 on.
Tomorrow i have the last ride of the season with the VFROC and i want to do that with Sporherre to get the feel of a long day on his saddle and i have to fill him up because the gas station is closed when i leave in the morning.
Ready to go…

And of course… i couldn’t just go to the gas station and made him dirty already.
It was slippery in the wet forest but it had the right colours to match Sporherre’s new jacket.

Tonight the last details for the deadline of the club magazine, tomorrow the ride and then i should have time to start with the travel blogs.

Travel news

A week and a halve ago the news said there will be a direct link between the Netherlands and Norway again since i think it was 6 years.
From April 2022 the ferry service starts and it’s between Eemshaven in the north of the Netherlands and Kristiansand in the south of Norway.
It just happens that after a day highway for just over 900km’s to get to Hirtshals in Denmark to get the ferry to…. Indeed, Kristiansand.
The ferry from the Netherlands will be a overnight ferry and take away 1 day travelling to get to the real start of the trip. It also takes away about 600km boring highway and a probably expensive overnight in Hirtshals so time to re-evaluate my plans which are actually more guidelines.

Well… i double checked at work and booked the ferry with the departure at 9 July 2022 and that will be the only thing pre booked and the main reason is the early bird discount which is besides the mentioned pro’s probably even cheaper.
In the initial plan a had a long first day and i don’t mind camping but rather not on the first day after such a long ride, hence the probably expensive overnight.
Now i can plan a nice route from the far south to the far north. The departure is at 15:00h and the arrival is at 9:00h giving me 5 to 6 hours depending on how far before departure i need to be there to get there.
Once boarded i can enjoy the 18 hour cruise eating, drinking and sleeping to arrive well rested to start the trip right away.

I changed 2 other things on the trip.
First i decided to take Sporherre and ad a bit off the TET Finland into the trip and maybe i’ll find some more alternative routes on my way.
Second is a detour to Lofoten Islands which i would like to go to but i was afraid it was just a bit too much. A friend mentioned it also a few time that it is very beautiful and now i have essential a day extra it became an option, i just hope the ferry from Bodo to Moskenes doesn’t take too much time or budget.
after the Sicily trip i had decided to do the next trips with a long first and last section and that cut this trip back to 19 sections in 23 days off of work.
At this point i am thinking of staying a day over in St Petersburg and maybe also in Berlin. I don’t like big city’s but somehow i have the feeling these are a bit crazy city’s with interesting sights.
It’s not like a real plan but i think you have to have at least some kind of general idea which you can screw up along the way.

It’s not just me screwing up.
The surprise part i mentioned in the last blog is a special designed sticker kit, that’s why i washed Sporherre and put him in the living room. The garage is not heated which makes the vinyl hard to work with and it’s also a bit dusty.
A special design was off course a bit more expensive but it turned out not way less than i thought id would be. It would also take a bit longer but it became another bit longer because my design went wrong on 2 different tries and when i finally got the kit in it turned out that they where sleeping and it looked like they packaged one of the faulty prints.
I mailed the photo’s and pointed out on the approved design what was wrong and no bullshit or excuses, just sincere apologies and they would fix it.
Yesterday i got a text from DHL that it was scheduled for today and i changed the address to a pick-up point just like the last time but this time it wasn’t there the next day so i have to wait another day…. again bummer…
Just to give you an idea what direction it goes i already put the front fender on because that was correct, don’t mind the mess.

The Black and blue are staying but i added grey, white and off course orange.
My allroad helmet had the Crosstourer logo and a big Honda wing on the back but i thought the Honda vibe is not appropriate any more and Sporherre also deserves a place.
Already looked for a T7 logo but couldn’t find anything i liked and when i removed the decals to clean up the panels for the design kit i thought i might be able to rescue one and recycle it sticking it to the place where i already took the wing off.

The tail tidy came in also came in and as i couldn’t finish the sticky job i had the time to get that sorted.

In between i wrote a travel report for the V4 (club magazine for the VFROC) from my Balkan trip and i hope to get Sporherre finished before Saturday evening.
Sunday is the last ride of the VFROC and i want to take Sporherre to get the feeling on a long day in the saddle with highway and small roads just over 600km.
After that i promise i will start with the movies and story about the Balkan trip. The V4 has a fixed deadline that is this Friday and i have to do a bit more for that.

A little step forward

Finally i’ve sorted out all the footage from the trip. I thought the Hero 8 footage was way less but it ended up with 73 usefull clips and 33 discards but glad i did that first before checking the remaining 18 clips from the Hero 3 because only 1 might have some added value.
Now i have to get myself to the even worse part… making something out of all those files knowing i can only use a fraction from it.

Going through the footage i already noticed i only need fractions because otherwise it would be very boring to watch for you.
I’m not a very touristic person, i like the riding and nature so most of it is riding bend after bend and me enjoying the scenery.
I think only my ADHD brain makes me capable of enjoying the scenery at those speeds making it even more boring to watch but i’ll try to make some entertaining movies and off course i will write some more to tell you ale about the trip.

Meanwhile i got tested positive for corona even though i’m fully vaccinated, but it was always told that you still can get it.
I’m fine and my health is nothing different than the normal nose cold i have when the mornings get cold and the days are still nice. That’s what you get when riding a motorcycle all year, a bit late with an extra layer in the morning or getting rid of a layer at noon.
If i didn’t get a message that someone i got together with had tested positive i would never had myself tested as i didn’t felt sick or any way different than normal.

So, when i came home from the official test (i first did a self quick-test) i decided to give Sporherre a wash just like i already planned and instead of park him in the garage i just parked him in the living room.

Still waiting for the surprise part and the tailtidy but at least i know the ramp in the front of the house works an i hope the surprise part comes in before i get Sporherre dirty again.
For that part i had to be able to get him in the house because the garage will be too cold and dusty to put it on… ooh, what will it be??

In the mean time i also started looking into the TET Finland and another place close to Rovaniemi.
I think i can make it work and i’m thinking of taking Sporherre on the last VFROC ride to get a feeling of a long day in the saddle because i plan to take Sporherre on the Northern trip in July.

Always something to do

I’ve started with sorting out the footage of the Balkan trip and have done the Hero 3 material. When i was checking what was usable and what not i thought i was missing some sections but when i got to video 87 of the usable footage i found the missing sections which somehow had a different set of numbers.
Don’t know why but maybe caused by formatting or something like that, glad to found the missing sections but it means i have another 18 clips i have to put in the right pace as i was renaming the video’s and make a list with the days and numbers to get a timeline.
This i have to do with the Hero 8 footage as well and when i finished that i can pick clips from both camera’s and try to make some chronological movies.
I really don’t like this part of maintaining a blog so please be patient, the real blogs will come eventually.

Then there is the other work is have to do, the 2022 calender for the VFROC is made and almost sorted, spent some time on the MAG and the Christmas truckrun which sadly is cancelled again due to Covid restrictions. There are not many any-more but we’re dealing with a high risk group of people.

Also had to do some things around the house and i got the anti wobbly head stabilisers for Sporherre in.

When i was pruning the trees i noticed i could easily make a ramp to get the bikes to the back of the house where i have a drainage, a water hose and space to wash the bikes.
I live in a street on a hill with a little front yard which is higher than the street and a garage in the back with another yard/garden which is higher than the house and patio.
From the back i never could get the bikes to the patio level and in the front a have a very wide gate (160cm doorway).
At the back i have French doors where i can even enter the house now and that is needed for another job i have coming up i cannot do in the garage as it is not heated.
For the normal maintenance it’s fine and the little hot air blower is good enough but for this i need i little more temperature… you’ll have to be patient for that too.

At work i asked for a piece of aluminium diamond plate and made a ramp.
Always a challenge to get bigger stuff home without a car…
The ramp is in that place for two reasons, it is the lowest part i could use and there are 2 parking spaces and going a bit more to the left would get it too close to the parking space.
I own the ground on the higher level but the lower part is owned by the city so i drilled some holes in the stones of the city to fixate the ramp placed on city ground, hope i don’t get problems with that…

Next in is the surprise part and a tail tidy and when i have the tail tidy mounted i will ask my boss if i can make a luggage system at work (not expecting any problem with that request).
Also need to borrow a company car with the trailer to get the prune garbage to the landfill. It can be collected for free but i have too much for that service.
I’ll wait for the tail tidy with making the luggage system, when i fix that i can see if i can use some points to fix the rack to and also don’t make anything that might get in the way.
In between i hope to get the hero 8 footage sorted but getting Sporherre sorted is more important because i will take on the trip to the North Cape with him.
Already started to look if i can integrate a part of the TET Finland into that trip without adding more days to the trip and risking making it too long for the 3 weeks i have and it’s already almost 8400km’s.

Time for an update

The first things changed on Sporherre, i took the double take mirrors of Ecstasy and mounted them on Sporherre just as the Osco Oiler for the chain.
The GPS mount is fixed properly and is powered up just as a USB socket for which i had to take off the complete front of the bike to get it placed in the place Yamaha had prepared already.
The passenger steps are removed and a crashbar is installed. That was a lower and upper bar and i had the lower set send back but when i got a new set back and i wanted to see how it will be mounted i discovered it might not work with the after-market skid-plate.
I will look in to that at a moment a have to remove it anyway.

Already was looking for a way to ad some orange to make it mine as that colour became my signature accent colour when i overhauled the VTEC and i found a way… and what a way…
That is something you have to wait for to see but i promise it will be awesome.
I have to sell Ecstasy before i can do crazy stuff but at the same time there are some important investments that might safe me a lot of money, that’s why i bought the crashbars and also why i already changed the flimsy plastic hand-guards for a set Barkbusters.
With that i ordered some nylon screws for the front fork protectors and a kit to change the screws for the front seat so i can take that off without tools because the fusebox is placed under the front seat.
The plastic screws are a replacement for the steel OEM. There are cases where people had the forks destroyed in a fall or by scraping some rocks. The bold doesn’t break but it will tear off the part where the bold screws in as the aluminium is the weaker part, the nylon just will tear it’s head of. Not worth risking for €0,66 per set so i ordered 3 sets.

The dashboard of the T7 already has a nickname, Wobbly head. And the GPS mount is also not strong enough which can be solved with some brackets so those are ordered and i came across a cheap tail tidy to get rid of the pie scoop. Both thing i could make myself but not for that kind of money, i would earn more as overtime pay in the time i spend to only get things measured.
Last investment is probably the most important, some adjustable levers.
The OEM are too long for 1 or 2 finger use and too far of the handlebar to have proper control with my short fat fingers and loosing control can cause a crash.
Yes, i will crash and that why i invested in crash protection but crashing because of lack of control is way more dangerous and more likely on higher speeds.

Last part of the update is that i started with the footage from the Balkan trip.
Besides time i also was overwhelmed by the amount of video’s so today i started with a quick look at them to see if it’s useful. If not i remove it and if yes i rename it and put it on a list where i have an overview from what day it is.
For the footage from the Hero 8 it’s not the biggest problem because that one is connected to the phone and takes the date from there after running out of power but the Hero 3+ doesn’t and i don’t set the date every time it went of power. That would be every time i turn of the bike.
When i get through that it will be much easier to turn it into 5 or 6 movies around 15 minutes each.
Just a few pictures from the work on Sporherre to end this blog.

Busy times

What am i doing to myself?
I still have the footage from the Balkan trip to work out but this weekend i have to get the basic things on Sporherre sorted like the power for the GPS, the USB socket because it make sense to do those at the same time instead of taking the bike apart 2 times and mount the crashbar before i crash it which i will sooner or later.
That is already not going well as the engine guards of the kit had some metal welded inside the tubes and that would not be fun having the rattle every time you ride so they where send back. I kept the upper part so i have at least some protection and i think it’s the most important part (plastics and also the radiator).

I also have to start with the calendar for the VFROC and have to get the questionary from the MAG sorted which is way overdue. Part because of myself and part of other difficulties.
The myself part is caused by the pandemic and the change of my personal situation last year. The pandemic took me out of my rhythm and i thought the change will give me more time to do something extra but in reality i ride more and started this site to share it all and make me want to do even more which cost time.

The story of the Balkan trip will come, the bikers i met in Ukraine with the broken down bike send me a few pictures which is great and i will share that in the blog as well as the pictures with the guys in Romania who took me to the beautiful rock formation where i thought it would be a bit boring but i have obligations to the organisations i signed up for.
I told all 3 organisations that i will stop of the end of my term or do it maximum another 2 years because i would see if i can get something going to move to South Africa to start a new chapter of my life.
Yupz, that is another thing i have to fit in, for that i have to do some research what i have to do to make it happen and find a way to make a living over there.

This weekend i take a little rest by sleeping in a little and watch the F1 qualifying and race. In between i will connect the power for the GPS and USB socket plus mount the upper crashbars and give Ecstasy a proper bath to make him look good for a buyer.
After washing him i will make some better pictures form him and everything that comes with the buy for a new advert on the online market places.
I have some reactions but the kilometres on the odo scares everybody away even though it is a great bike which i never would sell already if Sporherre didn’t get in my path.
The few things i have to do is enough to keep you entertained until i find the time to make the first video i think and if not it probably is because i get distracted by something else which keep you entertained a bit longer buying myself some time to get those video’s done after all.
Have a nice weekend, over here the weather will be nice if the forecasters are right for a change. If that’s the case with you also take advantage of it because it’s starting to get colder.

Meet Sporherre

WW1 Deadwire monument Molenbeersel (Dutch Belgian border)

With Ragnarok i already figured out i like some offroading but didn’t knew how far i liked it but it was more than Ragnarok could handle, or better said than i could handle with Ragnarok.
It probably is a bit of both where Ragnarok’s weight is more than i can handle and the lack of suspension travel would limit Ragnarok.
Anyway, there had to come another bike for some offroad going beyond a gravel or dirt road but still could handle some distance on a limited budget.
That’s where Ecstasy came into my life and we did had some fun but you know the story or can read it back.

On the research for that fun YouTube was the place to go and every time the new Tenere (the T7 or T700) showed up. This bike was before it came on the market a long (3 years) awaited bike in the all- offroad community after Yamaha showed it as a concept bike.
I want to do more offroad and go further to get to the good stuff but Ecstasy does handle the road quite well but the necessary highway to get further without losing too much time for the fun stuff not so.
The T7 does that much better but offroad it does everything also better than the XT660Z and even with an extra cylinder the stock T7 is 4 kilo’s lighter than the stock XT660Z.

Wanting to do a bit more offroad and coming across al the great reviews i felt more teased dan researching and getting myself in some gnarly situations on the Balkan trip where Ragnarok’s weight made me a bit nervous a few times i just had to check it out for myself.
Second hand they where not available (yet) and new even with the very sharp prices just a bit out of reach.
Except one. A 2020 with just under 3000km’s on the clock, an upgraded bashplate and stock heated grips for a nice price…. hmzzz….
I called if it was still available and made an appointment for a test-ride. At that point not sure if the hype is justified but i do like it and i want it but they didn’t want to trade in any of the both bike i own due to the kilometres on the odo.
The salesman didn’t want to speak out what he was allowed to give for them and having the money to pay for it but that meant i would have very little back-up money left so the dream fell apart.
It was a Saturday and he could give me until Tuesday to try and sell one of my bikes private as there where more people interested, so i went home and put Ecstasy online.

It was a long-shot but worth the try but it didn’t work out so i had to let the T7 go by.
Thursday i discovered i had a bit more saved up than i thought and that changed it a bit making me think, wonder and doubt all night.
In the old days i would buy it on the spot after the test-ride but my ex learned me to be a bit more conscious about money.
I’m sure Ecstasy will be sold and until then i still have some back-up money in my savings account and that made me just do it.
Still have some doubts if it was a smart move but we live in a strange world at the moment and who knows what the future will bring us and also the wish to move to South Africa is part of the decision.
Today i picked him up, left home at 7:20 to take the bus to the train station followed by 2 trains and a 2km walk to the shop where i bought him.
We put the GPS mount in place for a nice ride home i made hoping the internal battery of the Zümo XT would last long enough.

On the way home i made an unplanned stop to do the first adjustments which i should have done before leaving the shop.
The levers where as usual positioned way to high, even for seating let alone standing up and the throttle cable had to much slack. Both are very common with new bikes and should be part of a standard setting up routine at the delivery of all bikes.

But what about the name?
Well… As a metal dude there are many songs revering to the old Norwegian gods just as Ragnarok comes from the Norse mythology.
At first i wanted to name him “Tracklord” because i want to ride some nice offroad track with him but after Googling this name it turned out to be a bicycle brand and thinking about Ragnarok and the many references to Norwegian Gods and Norse mythology in metal songs i just translated it and that’s how i got to “Sporherre”.
I also put in some tracks in the route and got him dirty already.
The ride home was a blast and i think we will become good friends, on to many more mud and dirt.