Still corona, what next?

As i explained in my word of welcome i also share some of my work as a volunteer and sometimes the topics cross with my daily life, this week it was one of those times.

For this topic i think i have to explain my thoughts about the Covid-19 situation.
Good thing i don’t have much followers because it’s not the most popular in this world full of snowflakes so not may people to walk away.
On the other side, after explaining it might make sense after all.

I love nature. A lot op people today think you have to be a vegan but humans are omnivores and that means we eat meat.
We are also just mammals and just like all mammals we should live by the number one rule of mother nature, survival of the fittest.
That rule keeps the species strong and the numbers in balance but we humans think we’re better and that doesn’t apply to us.
When an animal delivers 3 baby’s but can feed just two the weakest is thrown out of the nest making sure the other two survive at full strength. If not all three may loose their lives or end up to weak to reproduce the next strong generation if they don’t loose their lives after all.
We humans can’t accept that and feel the need to help the weak to survive making the species weaker with every generation. The intelligence which made that possible is draining away also with every generation and the movie “Idiocracy” is becoming more of a documentary than a comedy when you look at he actions our species take nowadays.

With that we also created a huge overpopulation and several environmental problems we try to fight with one stupid idea after the other, all short term thinking as a base when even an average person with just a little logic can see it’s ending up with more problems in a decade or two than it solves now.
Meanwhile mother nature tries to reduce the population back to a balanced amount with new deceases, the plague, Spanish flu, aids, cancer and now corona adding some natural disasters in the mix too.
But no, where not accepting that and fighting the new virus with even more resources than we ever did and guess what?
Again short term thinking. Regular care is put aside to save people from corona but when that problem is away people start dying from cancer and other regular deceases discovered too late. The economy has been shut down which will leave a mark as well with probably a lot of suicides from people not able to cope with losing everything because they’re fired or lost their business.

So yes, i’m against all the nonsense the governments worldwide tell but i cannot do anything about it.
I comply with the rules and respect the opinions from others even though i think it’s a result of weakness and i expect the same respect from everyone while i look for the edge of freedom to take as much out of my life as possible. I can’t see the future so i don’t want to waste my time now to take a change on having time to do everything later in life.
Like i said, survival of the fittest. I believe i will survive corona being one of those “fittest” but i accept it if i’m not, that is how i love nature.
All the problems we face is not the result of what we do but with how many we do it.

Now it’s time for the topic.
Last week i picked up something about the EU planning some kind of vaccination passport for free travel. This week the Netherlands expected that by July everybody who wants to be vaccinated can have their first injection.
I think that passport is a violation of privacy and i don’t want a vaccination.
Problem is that governments do whatever they want and when they cover each-other rules don’t apply any more.
I just got into the position to explore the world on motorcycle and i don’t want to give that up already so when i get the massage that i can get the vaccine i probably will.
When i’m positive i will survive corona a vaccine won’t be a problem anyway but i don’t like being forced to do something i don’t want to be free.
It’s like be taking hostage.

With the VFROC (Honda VFR Ownersclub Netherlands) we also had to make a decision involving corona.
Sunday the touring season is starting again. Last year we had an anniversary, the VFROC existed 25 years and to celebrate that i had a special plan for the tours.
Normally we have 9 tours al over the country all ending close to where we started.
This time i wanted to connect all tours to make a big circle instead of 9 small circles calling it “Rondje Nederland” (Round across the Netherlands) but then corona entered our country and everything was brought to a halt.

Later on we where able to organize some tours again thinking it will be over soon but when planning my vacation signs of a second wave popped up, that story is to be read in the earlier blogs. The last tours of 2020 also have to be cancelled when the second wave landed here and that second wave was taking a long time compared to the first. It’s even still going with a curfew as well.
Time to make some important decisions for the tours this year, thinking everything will be back to normal we moved our anniversary rides to this year.

Curfew is from 21:00 till 4:30 and during the day we still have some freedom but events are not allowed. Organizing a tour as a club is an event but we still decided to make the idea happen.
When there are limitations we provide our members with the GPS files to ride as individuals, when they coincidentally meet at the starting point they’re allowed to ride together (we always ride in smaller groups) anyway.
When it’s allowed the ride will be organized as usual.
There will be a present for everybody who ride all tours and that is also covered, they only have to provide me with some pictures as a prove they rode the tours that where not officially organized in the timeslot they’re given to keep it exclusive.

We hope it will end soon but in de mean time we adapt and make the best of in within the freedom that’s left.

Bash plate extension

The Ténéré has a factory fitted bash plate but it’s made of plastic.
It’s pretty strong but even strong plastic breaks easily and they know that at Yamaha.
In the OEM accessory catalogue there is a aluminium version with pretty much the same shape and the same flaw.

One weak point on the XT660 engine is the placement of the water-pump at the front bottom but high enough not to be hidden behind the bash plate and therefore the hose can be punctured by a branch or the housing damaged by a rock.
A bit of a shame that the aluminium version doesn’t cover that giving it a proper advantage over the standard plastic one.
Luckily i know my way around aluminium and now i had the time to finish war i started earlier.

Plan was to extend the bash plate and cover the hose and housing. It’s quite a puzzle to find the shapes going around and between the different parts so i started with cardboard.

After step 3 i had to shape those into aluminium and tack it on. The last piece of the puzzle can only be made to fit with the firm aluminium in place because the cardboard moves too much.
But first i have to make the parts using the cardboard as a template.

The bash plates have holes in it for cooling and drainage and i was thinking for a pattern for the vent holes in the big side plate.
In the bash plate there are slot holes so that’s the logical way to have it look like it’s original but then i thought that i also can make slot holes in a specific order…

Yep… XTZ
Only have to transform those lines into slot holes.

Yesterday i already punched the holes and today i thought i only had time to smoothen the holes and shape the plates. Several bends are needed to get it fitted and then i wanted to get the last piece also fitted.
I was making progress but because of that i forgot to make some pictures of the shaping progress.
As i said i needed the aluminium parts in place for the last piece and the only way is to tack it on and when i start welding i need to finish it or take the bash plate of until it is finished.
Friday is grocery day, no time for DIY and than weekend with some other projects planned and Monday is a long day…. just get on with it and finish it.

After tack-welding the parts in place i could make the last piece and with that in place it’s time to take the bash plate off to weld it completely.

I know, the bash-plate already looks pretty used and the rest will be look the same fast enough. I’m thinking of getting it anodised in blue but i have to check for prices first.

Only thing left is bolt it back in place with this as the end result (unless i have it anodised)



That will do it 😎

TET NL South section A.K.A. Mudmasters

With the brake-lines and levers installed Ecstasy is almost completed, time for a test if he became what i wanted.
The weather is great and a very big difference if you think about the fact that is is just a week after heavy snowfall. Let’s ride the TET South section since i live in the south so easy to do on a Sunday.

I also wanted to show the bike to a friend with whom i’ve ridden the TET already for a part with Ragnarok and he also has plans for buying a Ténéré. He has a BMW GSA which is just as Ragnarok a bit heavy for real offroad.
He lives about 30 – 45 mins form the start but he had to work until about 15:00h so i can’t go before. Riding the trail in the opposite direction will solve that problem.
I skipped the a little bit and entered the track near Nederweert and i will enter it there also when i go for the TET Belgium later this year (hopefully).

It started with a few paved roads and along those roads where some meadows with loads of water and that was not a good sign.
Off-course that should not be a surprise after the snow but i was hoping it would not be too bad.
The first stretch of dirt was a bit muddy but not bad indeed… for a couple hundred meters.

This was already after the worst part which was bout 800 meters. This went on for over 2km but after just over a kilometre i decided to take a side road and skip that other kilometre. Remember that i’m a rookie in offroading and this is the first time i encounter this much and deep mud.
Keep going when having other options is unnecessary demanding for mind and body plus i have to keep in mind we have an evening clock and all possible resting places are closed due to a partial lockdown.

After that the track improved with a few exceptions here and there but overall it was what i hoped it would be.
The first part of Mud-masters i had to cross the “road” to get to a rideable type of ground and there i almost went down already but i managed to keep Ecstasy upright. That was a nice confidence boost after the scare from seeing the pool of mud, it meant the Ténéré was light enough so i would not drop it at every bump or mistake.
At the second part of Mud-masters it went wrong and i dropped Ecsatsy… twice (second time was just a stupid mistake, even for a rookie), funny because i dropped Ragnarok at almost the same point when on my way to the same friend i would visit after this day of riding. Than it was because it was too dry, i hope Ecstasy will also do well in loose sand because Ragnarok and i are not friends with that stuff.

At this point i discovered that taking away the passenger grips was logical for a better fit of the luggage system (Mosko Moto Reckless 40) but i also lack every type of grip at the back.
Not that i could get to them when having the bags on which is always because of the daily use.
Without any grip at the back it’s still a heavy lift, way better than Ragnarok but i do need to figure out some kind of handle to make picking him up easier

The last bit a also skipped, i think the bit in Germany is all paved so i decided to turn around and go to my friends place.
Just on my was i got a message that he was a little later so i stopped for an ice-cream.
We didn’t see each-other since his accident on the way to the Adventure shield offroad training and after a short test ride for him on Ecstasy we catched up a bit.
Time to go home and when i pulled Ecstasy back it felt not right. Fuck… a flat rear tyre 😫

Luckily Jeffrey had a repair kit and a compressor. I did have the toolkit with the Bead Pro tyre irons but i didn’t had a repair kit for tubes (Ragnarok has tubeless) and the compressor was still on Ragnarok.
It was a bummer but a good one because i discovered some issues which i have to address before i go on the next trip.

Things to address:
– Tube repair kit plus some lubricant for seating the tyre after the repair
– Center stand
– Place for the compressor plus a power socket to plug it in
– Wrench 22mm
– Fabricating some kind of grip at the back
– A mount for the GoPro
And just like that almost complete has already a new list…

Brake-lines

The last blog you’ve seen the brake-lines and today i’ve installed them.
When i want to start i just had to clean the garage a bit because the last jobs i did where in the cold with just a small blow heater aimed at the spot i was working.
Thursday when i got home i stopped by at the car-wash to clean Ecstasy for the job at hand.
Shouldn’t have done that…
Normally i do the groceries for the weekend and then the storage on Ragnarok comes in handy but that evening i decided to let it delivered, i had a discount code for a free delivery and was afraid it would expire.

I could take Ecstasy after all and take the offroad route home but didn’t want to make him dirty again.
Not having fragile goods like eggs i’ve decided to do most of the offroad anyway, only the forest track i didn’t. The entrance is very muddy at the moment and the exit muddy and narrow and only the last two times i’ve managed to conquer the exit with both feet on the pedals.
On the way home i stopped at the bike-shop for brake fluid and also took a can of oil and a filter for Ragnarok.
Also stopped with Ragnarok at the car-wash to get rid of the muck and the next job at hand.

All parts in and space to put the parts and tools aside during the job so time to start.
When having a choice always start simple, the back is a short single line so guess where i started?
The only extra i had to take of was the little heel-plate that doubles as a guard for the pump.
This was just a simple swap and bleeding the system.

After this part it was time for lunch and then quickly on to the front.
There was a little change, the picture will show it best…

Standard it’s a one in two line and now i have a double line.
Both have pro’s and cons but the con of the double line is only in the first install and with the one in two it’s in the everyday use.
The one in two is not the most constant system in distributing the pressure over both sides. In theory it should be the same for left and right but in reality it tends to give a bit more pressure to the shortest side, in this case the right side.
The double line can be a bitch to bleed and the best option is to do it in reverse.
I always use a syringe to suck out the old fluid and refill the reservoir.
When you have trouble bleeding the system as i had you can work the other way around and use that same syringe with a piece of hose to fill the system trough the bleeder screw.
Just put only a little fluid in the reservoir and push the rest with the syringe through the bleeder screw up the line.
By putting a little fluid in the reservoir you can hear the air coming out and when it gets silent it means the line is filled, repeat this with the second line.
After that you cam bleed the system without any problem, to be sure double check and do it a second time in the same order.

The old fluid was pretty clear but i changed it anyway and i used DOT5.1 instead of DOT4. You can mix those types so no need to clean the system first. Reason for the switch is the higher boiling-point, not enough for Ragnarok i discovered in the south of Italy but more than enough for Ecstasy.

I also had to get creative on a few places.
The OEM clamp was not round as on the Hel brake lines and i couldn’t cut them off and use the OEM rubber because the OEM brake hose is bigger in diameter but as a metal worker this was not a big problem. It also helped that the used metal was pretty soft and malleable.
After finding a way of fixing the lines another problem came up, the USB charger was in the way.
The double lines from the top means you have two fittings and a longer banjo bolt. As the original banjo already just touched the charger the longer one will smash it at full lock.
Changing it to the other side did the trick.
Nowadays most products come with some stickers and with Hel it’s no difference and normally i don’t like stickers. As a matter of fact, mostly the first thing i do when getting a new bike is removing all the stickers besides the decals (warning labels are decals but will be removes as well).
Ecstasy has Dakar roots, a rally bike and this makes a big difference and after the Mosko stickers on the crashbar and front and the Hyperpro stickers on the swingarm and front fork i figured there could be some more.
I did save the stickers i’ve gotten before and added the Hel plus the K&N, Klim and Itchy Boots stickers to finish the job today.
The only jobs on the to do list for Ecstasy are a new map for the Power Commander and a new paintjob but overall it’s ready for what i bought him for.
Tomorrow i might but him to the test on the TET south NL but first some more pictures.

Little sneak peak

This week i wanted to order new brakelines and levers for Ecstasy, the standard levers are too long for my liking and the shape of most standard levers are not for my hands.
I have short chubby fingers and with these levers i bought now i can put ‘m close enough to the handle to have a comfortable grip and still space for my fingers when i use ‘m with 2 fingers like preferred offroad.

With ordering these items i also had to make the final decision for the colour-scheme.
I already had an idea and this time there was no orange involved.
The idea still stands and it will be blue but not what you might expect, that stays a surprise but i can give you a picture that will give away the accent colours.

Yes… orange had to be in it. It became a bit of a signature colour for me and it also go’s really well with blue.
Another plus is that my allroad/summer helmet still matches ever though the stickers all say Honda and Crosstourer.
Maybe looking for making my own stickers now i have a logo 🤔. But they have to be cut, i hate the printed stickers on a square, rectangular or circular background.

Now you know a little more about my plans for Ecstasy i can show you the levers when installed.

Today i extended the amount of offroad on my route from work to home.
A colleague told me about it and i could see it from the road i normally take but it was very wet and i rather practice in a bit dryer circumstances when i have the possibility.
Once i get more experienced it’s easier to take some chances and see what you encounter.
It still was pretty wet which i already expected after the melting snow the past days and the rain but i didn’t want to wait any longer to explore that track.

It was a fun track which i will take a lot form now on. These tracks i have on my route now have some differences and when i ride them every time i have the time i will come across them in different circumstances providing a nice practice.
The forest track was this time not the wettest surface wise but it was the wettest saturation wise. Once after a lot of rain there where some water puddles about 30 – 40 cm deep, today the ground was very mushy.
Somehow i felt more confident and drove faster and still pretty relaxed, probably the most fun i had offroad on my own and i can’t wait for the ride home tomorrow.

Balkan 2021?

At the moment it is still bad all over the world. Even we have an evening clock which was extended until 2 March.
But my vacation is not until the last week of August and i don’t have to set the date early on so there is room to shift.
I like to go late when everybody has already been on vacation but not too late when the temperature starts to drop and the day’s getting short, that’s why i want to go a week earlier than last year. It was still very nice but better safe than sorrow.

So… you hear a lot of hope from governments that from the second halve of the year it might get a bit more like normal and that gets me looking forward.
Last year i wanted to go to the Balkan and Scandinavia with coming back through Finland and the Baltic states was the second bucket list option but you can read that story in my corona edition blogs.
The Balkan has to be first before it gets overwhelmed with tourism as it was an upcoming destination for the Europeans before corona had taken us hostage.
This year i hope to get it of the list. The route was ready but i changed it from Bled (Slovenia) because the part coming after that i did last year starting the first days and this is the result.

Mega Balkan tour 2021

I kept the long first day over the highway to get where you’re not getting in a long weekend trip and i did the same at the end making it 2 days shorter.
Last year i learned that my schedule was very challenging and this will give me some freedom.
I am all about riding, that was not a real challenge for me but maybe i want to stay somewhere over for a day or even take a bit of the TET . I’m taking Ragnarok so it can’t be the most difficult parts but there are a lot of gravel roads where Ragnarok on the Michelin Anakee Adventures do very well.

We will see what this year will bring and when necessary i’ll change my plans again to wherever i’m allowed to go.
It’s still a long time before the vacation and i hope i can do some TET trips until than.
When you’re here anyway, check out my new banner at the top of the website. I made it a lot sharper and put my logo in 😉

TET

I mentioned it in a few blogs and i told you i would tell you more about it.
TET stands for Trans Euro Trail which is an mostly offroad trail all over Europe starting at the Arctic Circle and ending there again 51.000km later.

This trail is divided in several tracks per country made and maintained by the so called linesmen.
You can download those tracks for free (click logo to get at the TET website) and ride them whenever you want with whoever you want.
They also have an app where you can download the tracks, report problems when you come across some. For example a road closure like here in the Netherlands where they spread like the corona virus or a wash out because offroad on the TET is not just dirt roads.
Thankfully there are also a lot of country’s where real offroad is still possible and allowed.

I bought Ecstasy for tracks like the TET trails. I started the TET south Netherlands with Ragnarok fitted with a set of Anakee Wild’s and despite of the weight i managed pretty well on Ragnarok but on loose sand the weight and the 19/17″ wheel sizes the fun gets lost pretty fast, hence the buying and upgrading of ecstacy.

When i bought Ragnarok i was not planning to go offroad, the Crosstourer looks like an allroad but Honda never intended it to be an allroad, it’s just a tourer with a lift and a nice upright riding position.
But that doesn’t work for me. If you talk the talk you should walk the walk and that is when i started to upgrade Ragnarok.
I don’t do show. I bought Ragnarok because of the engine, getting hooked on the V4 with the VFR 800Fi VTEC which i rode for over 8 years.
When it was time for a change it was to be a choice between the Crossrunner (VFR 800X) and the Crosstourer (VFR 1200X) at that moment i found the Runner better looking and you’re sitting in the motor and not on it but the torque on that 1200…. 😎

When i crashed my VTEC a year before i planned to buy a new bike i had to decide to ride on with a damaged bike (it was economical unwise to repair him) or to buy the new one already.
That was the smartest thing so i had to make up my mind between the two X’s.
The 800 had to be an 2015 or later, the ’11 – ’13 was just a butt ugly VTEC and the ’15 still pretty expencive but i didn’t really like the looks of the 1200.
Until i went looking for one to really buy another bike. Like as it had to be this way.
The cheapest at that moment was the closest at that moment, only 35km’s from my home and with the Hepco & Becker Explorer panniers and crashbars, in black it didn’t even looked bad. Still not “wow” but not bad and after a test-ride i bought him right at that moment.

I have the tendency of not keeping things standard, that was my VTEC.
Designed and executed by yours truly, just as Ragnarok and the work in progress on Ecstasy.
The work on Ragnarok started with some paintwork because Honda made some covers stupidly light grey looking cheap like shit so it had to become black as the top halve of the bike and in a later stage when i had a bit more time make it matte with a matte clearcoat and adding a touch of personality making him mine.

When it started to look like a tough bike the thoughts came to make him really though and start to do some light offroad, like i said… i don’t show.
When i do something i do it for a purpose and there are a lot of riders with bikes looking like they’re taking the long way round or down but when it rains the bike stays in the garage.
That’s not my style so i made him look like it’s made to go allroad because i take him allroad and in a previous blog you could see that i really do and this year i also started doing long trips and in between i’m planning to do some sections of the TET with Ecstasy.

I filmed some parts of the TET south NL when i rode it on Raganarok until we had to stop when my friend crashed his bike and we didn’t get to it to finish it.
It was one of my first montages so it is not very spectacular but i will embed the first part (from 7) below. The rest you can find on my YouTube channel, all unedited.
Plan for this year is finishing the TET south NL, ride the north section, the Drenthe loop (a TET sidetrack from the north section) and the TET Belgium with Ecsasy and off course a new 3 week adventure with Raganrok, maybe implementing a few parts of the TET as Well.

New year, new plans

We’re at the end of the first month of a new year and after finishing up the trip i made last year it’s time to start thinking about the trip(s) for this year.

First we have to hope for the freedom of travel with Covid-19 still going strong but with vaccination programs going on all over the world i have hopes that the biggest issues are gone end of August.
I just hope the leaders of the world don’t take away our privacy by introducing a vaccination passport where you’re only allowed free travel when you’re vaccinated and have proof of it because i was not planning to take the vaccination.

No, i am not one of the uneducated conspiracy theorists or just denying the virus but i believe in the basic rule of mother nature… Survival of the fittest.
All of our problems we face such as all of the environmental issues and (probably making up a new name) stupidyfication of mankind are not because of what we do but with how many.
This problem is created by people who thought they where super smart because they found a way to beat nature and keeping the weak alive but the only thing they’ve accomplished is an serious overpopulation.
Strange thing is that when it comes to taking a life by death penalty or someone who just don’t want to be alive any more it’s wrong and we cannot play God but when it comes to saving a life it’s okay???
The movie “Idiocracy” is starting to become more of a documentary than a comedy because a lot of the weak are weak minded, we became to soft and are offended by everything and i’m sure there will be people who are offended by this part of the blog.

Back to the plans…
This year i’m planning to go a week earlier, still late enough to stay behind the crowd but hopefully early enough to get a little less closed doors.
When the weather gets a bit better and the lockdown less tight i want to do the Offroad course with Adventure Shield with Ecstasy and during the spring and summer do the TET North and South NL (did the south already for a big part with Ragnarok) and Belgium.
For the big trip i hope the Balkan trip which i couldn’t do last year is possible this year but not all those countries are in the EU or have an agreement i keep the North trip as plan B.

Both trips will be altered a little.
The Balkan trip will be changed at the end because i incorporated a part of it in the beginning of last years trip and maybe that leaves me with some extra time to put some parts of the TET in. And in that case i got a new thing to consider… do i take Ragnarok or Ecstasy?
For the North trip i changed my mind about North Cape. I didn’t want to go there because it’s just a place “you have to been there” but i’m a big fan of Noraly a.k.a. Itchy Boots (Also have a bit of a crush on her 😊) and she had the same idea but did it anyway and she was glad she did.
She is a sparkling personality who i can relate to, she is beautiful inside and out but the main reason i watched all her video’s and also why i watch other travel video’s is to get inspired and have my thoughts adjusted. If i don’t manage to travel the world which is very likely i wouldn’t like to miss out on where i do go.

Those are the main goals but just as last year i will keep adjusting my plans to whatever corona will throw at us.
If a vaccinationpassport will be introduced i will get vaccinated, not happily but i finally got to do my motorcycle trips and i’m not going to give that up already. Don’t get me wrong, i stand behind my opinion and if i could make a change to the world by making that sacrifice i would do it without a doubt but this wouldn’t be noticed by a single soul.
I think i have more of a change to get somebody inspired by doing the travels i want to do and tell about it here.

Cleaning the calipers

After discovering a brake issue yesterday i decided to start cleaning Ragnarok’s calipers.
I’m not a groomer keeping the bike’s clean and polished like they go in a showcase and in the winter i like them dirty.
When the time comes to cover the rads with salt against freezing a nice layer of dirt prevent the salt getting to get to the metals and therefore reduce corrosion.

Brakes get dirty but having to work on the brakes in wintertime is even worse.
Having a bit of time to take a moment to clean the calipers and the pistons is necessary because your life depends on good brakes. It makes it easier to clean them the next time but also saves your calipers not having dirt or damages cutting up your seals and pistons.
Every spring i clean the bike (now bikes), also behind the covers and i take the calipers of to clean those also. Over the year i don’t clean very much, mostly when i have to do some maintenance they get a wash or when it’s getting too much for me to ignore.
When i have to change the tyres the calipers get an extra cleaning also.

For now they’re ready for the new brake discs and this is the difference between a wintertime dirty caliper and a cleaned one plus how far the pads where gone.