What’s wrong with the world

I told about the delivery of the seat but problems are not just with the couriers.
For Sporherre i needed a new front sprocket, i was a bit late and i started feeling the wear on in through the footpegs so time to park him until i have a new one.
My regular dealer could not deliver the one i wanted on a short term due to supply chain issues so before i went for an alternative.
It was a hard part to find but one shop had one that would take 2 to 7 workdays but that’s better then no date at all like the rest but after 8 workdays still nothing and after a mail asking why it was not here the answer was another 4 weeks… why didn’t i get an email about this delay?? They could see what alternative they could offer but i said a can get an alternative at my local dealer without shipment added and cancelled the order.
That Saturday i went to the wrenching day from the VFROC and stopped at my local dealer to order an alternative but the guy who helped me this time had another resource and Tuesday i would have the sprocket i wanted, probably it came in at the end of the day but Wednesday morning i had a text message it was in. This was why it was needed and why i didn’t rode it when i discovered.

But it didn’t stay with this for maintenance because Ragnarok needs new front brakes, pads AND rotors and when i take the front apart i also want to change the fork oil because that is wayyyyy overdue and steering is not how it should be so to be sure i also ordered new seals.
The fork oil i had to order somewhere else because the brand i needed was not available at the dealer. Found it with Saturday as delivery date which was perfect because i could start working and be home when it would come…. but it didn’t.
With that the title is explained, it’s a crazy world with still the aftermath form Covid and the Russia – Ukrainian war so i get it when items are hard to get but i don’t get why parcel company’s keep screwing up and why shops are not honest about delivery dates.
The sprocket i cancelled and never buy there again, the fork oil i have to wait for the answer from customer service but when i don’t cancel this because other options are most likely not here next weekend and i more than a week is not an option because of other plans but i will also not place another order there and i hope everybody will boycott company’s who are not truthful, this has to stop.
This is what the status is for now….

Yes i know, the tyre won’t last very long but the part connecting the 2 lugs is not a tread control but for stability when they’re still big.
The fork oil did was way overdue but the problematic steering turned out to be some play in the steering stem bearing, not a damage (yet) but adjustable.
Everybody has one of these days or just a period it just doesn’t go the way you would wanted and this is definitely a period for me because to add to the supply problems i’m having a cough i can;t get rid of for a few weeks and am not as fit as normal. One part of being tired in the evening is the use of cheap disposable reading glasses ad work because prescription glasses are expensive and my line of work is not friendly for glasses.
The cheap ones however are not up to it at all and degrading too fast causing me to fall asleep on the couch. The eyes just have to work too hard to see through the easily damaged glasses so i bit the bullet and have some fitted with mineral glass (the heat of the welding is destroying plastic) but that was money i really didn’t want to spend but it’s just nor normal for me to be tired and i hope this will solve it.
Today also my almost new compressor obtained an issue, it already came with a bad power plug (one of the pins was bent) and i blew the warranty by fixing that myself. They ship with their own company instead of one of the main company’s and to get the plug fixed i had to ship it back but i needed to take a day off to get that done and that would cost me basically almost as much as the compressor had cost me not expecting this.
On the other side this would not be discovered then so i hope i can fix this also myself.

Well that was not only an update but also a bit of a rant.
It’s all minor stuff especially compared to what my boss has gone through the last year so don’t be sorry for me, i’m fine like always and without bad moments you don’t appreciate the good ones enough.
Like my old neighbour (my second mom and often more my first mom) always said, it’s never so dark or it will be light again.

Keeping myself busy.

Last week i had the first VFROC ride out which was in my province but still 80km to the start. On my way there a few spats of rain and when we wanted to start the ride it rained quite hard but after a short wait it stayed dry. We had better weather on the first ride but also way worse but the “season” is officially started.
The Friday before the ride i went to Tilburg to see Devin Townsend at 013.

Not the best picture but a great show from a great artist and person.
I like to stay the night close to the venue when i go to a concert so i don’t have to walk around in my motorcycle gear and can get a few beers.
According to the hotel prices Tilburg might be the place to be but after the concert i couldn’t get a snack because everything was closed.
I stayed at a hostel in de city centre because that was the cheapest option and also closer to the venue as the cheapest hotel that was more then double the price without a breakfast and there where several guests that went to see the same show.
When i got back to the hostel i kept walking to see if there was something open for a snack and i got into a conversation with a Cyprian guy who brought me to the only place where you could get something to eat.
he next day i spoke several people at breakfast and my room-mate for that night who also went to Devin and they all went “how the hell did you find something to eat???” because they all wanted something but i was the only one to ran into a Cyprian guy who walked me all the way to the pizza kebab joint and along the way we had a good conversation. It almost felt like i was on new trip.

The rally seat saga did not end with a new courier.
When i got the mail with the delivery date and time i discovered the reason of failure, i accidentally wrote down my old street name, when i contacted DHL after the first return the lady confirmed the address was correct but it wasn’t and normally the systems run by postal code anyway so it should been possible to arrive here.
Problem is that both streetnames start with “Br” and end with “straat” with some other letters that are the same so an easy made mistake (there is some mindfuck where you can switch all letters between the first and last).
Because i spotted the mistake i changed the delivery to my neighbour who said i always can use his address.
I got the confirmation that the change is accepted and with another day delay it should be delivered…. NOT!!!??? “The company was not open, we will try the next day”???
I was completely fed up with it and wanted to change it to a delivery point after all but that was not possible at that point.
The next day the same story, same remark and very strange also the exact same time but now i could change the delivery. Another confirmation with the opening hours of that company. Su. and Mo. closed so the package was scheduled to be delivered on… guess what… MONDAY AAAAAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH.
The world must come to an end soon because i can’t imagine we are able to survive with so many dumb people.
Tuesday it was finally delivered but i had to choose between food and the seat so Wednesday i finally had it in my hands.

After the suspension this also makes the bike higher and i can just reach the ground with the tip of my toes but i will get used to that, you just need one foot on the ground anyway.
The test has to wait because my front sprocket is toast and keep going will destroy my chain too but that’s the next supply issue as i’m already waiting over one and a halve week and i was just too late to call about it today.

I forgot to mention in my last blog that i spotted Bassanti (Itchy Boots first bike) at the convention.

Thing to come:
I have new rotors and brake pads for Ragnarok, just have to source some fork oil to do a much needed front service next weekend.
First weekend of April the emigration convention, the week after the second VFROC ride out, a week later a Truckrun and the weekend after that a minitrip with 1 or 2 nights camping. A proper rally seat test and Bosnia practice plus a test to see if i fixed the microphone for the GoPro, just need to find a fix for the Insta mount for the second angle.

What’s happening

Wintertime is even though i keep riding a slow season but there’s always things going on and this is what went on the last 2 weeks since the last post.

I was planning on changing the rear rim for a narrower one when it would get damaged, just to save some money when it doesn’t need to be spent but with the upcoming Bosnia Rally i decided to order it before damaging the OEM after all.
I can buy tyres via the organisation and fitting them is in the rally service you buy with the entering fee but in my OEM size i have just one option and that’s not an enduro tyre.
With the 2,5″ rim for a 140 tyre (OEM is 4″for a 150) i have that one option plus 2 different enduro spec tyres so i bit the bullet and with the next tyre change i go for a 140 will also change the rim and the spokes that came with it.

My rally seat is still on it’s way after 2 fails from DHL having them send back to sender 2 times. The 3rd attempt will be done via another parcel company.
Funny enough is that the rim came with DHL on the same day as the seat but i couldn’t change the timeslot on the rim which i did with the seat (both times) and it was delivered at the neighbours.
Also bought new boots, i’ll keep the Sidi Adventure 2 for use with Ragnarok but with Sporherre getting closer to an enduro bike i also had to upgrade to enduro boots for safety reasons and for that reason i also will look for some knee braces. You can do stupid things as long your not doing dumb things and the difference is mostly doing it safe or not.

Then there is something to say about project Africa.
Yesterday i attended Motorbeurs Utrecht, the annual motorcycle convention where i manned the VFROC booth one of the days with a couple other members.
I also have some time for myself and went to the travel section where i spotted some South-Africa focussed booths on my way to the VFROC booth.
The first a visited was a South African guy called Rowland and we had a very good talk.
He provided me with very valuable information and a great option to get in starting what i wanted to do there instead of working metal like i do now.
Don’t get me wrong, i love what i do but i just want to try get a bit more out of life now i still can.
Next month i attend the emigration convention but i don’t think i get even halve the information i got yesterday and certainly not that offer, what that was i won’t tell right now because i first want to look into the feasibility of it.
But i might get some useful information about plan B, South America.

Wednesday i lost Sporherre’s license plate, a risk when riding offroad and Thursday i rode the track slowly hoping to find it but no luck so Friday i had a new one made and fitted because i wanted to take Sporherre to the convention. With the decals it is not just good looking but also a good advertisement for this platform.
Next week i go to a Devin Townsend concert (still have to fine a place to spend the night at walking distance), also have the first VFROC ride that weekend, a wrenching day the weekend after followed by 2 weekends without any plans so hopefully get some things done in and around the house and maybe have some time left to check some things.

Single rotor conversion

No bike comes out of the factory completely perfect and that’s just fine because perfect is different per person.
The T7 is a pretty good base but you know i did a lot to it and that was not all, in a matter of fact another upgrade is already on-route. That upgrade is a 2,5″ rim to be able to run a 140 rear tyre. It was not planned until the OEM got damaged but since i entered a rally it is just the best choice to do it now… actually not now but with the next tyre change.

Upgrades i did where partially performance (suspension, exhaust, Rapid bike module) or protection (also exhaust and even the main reason, crash bars, Bark busters…).
Often upgrading means adding stuff like the crashbars and Barkbusters and adding stuff means adding weight and that is going against the performance part of upgrading.
I already did some things to compensate that growth in weight like the exhaust, mail reason was protection of the swingarm and OEM mounting point but it also came with a little power and less weight (2,4kg). Another loss of weight was the removal of the charcoal cannister.
The single rotor and rear rim conversion are also weight loss items and they count double as they are so called unsprung weight losses, weight loss below the suspension.
For the rear rim it’s one of 2 reasons because the 140 tyre size just works much better offroad and next to the lower weight of the rim the tyre is also lighter so it keeps adding postpositively (or better said losing).
Main reason i do it now because of the rally is that i only can choose one non enduro tyre with the OEM 150 and have multiple choices in the 140 size between 1 non enduro and 2 enduro tyres.

Now to the point with the single rotor conversion.
Te kit:

Off course it’s not just removing one rotor and caliper, you also need a new disc but because of shipment and import costs it was a whole lost cheaper to buy one here with my local parts supplier. The OEM rotors are 282mm each and i now need a 320mm rotor from a ’04 to ’07 Yamaha R1 which has the same hole pattern and offset.
I will spare you the bike washing pictures because it’s the same as always and again mostly only because i have work to do but i do have some pictures from the state of the components that admittedly had a lack of maintenance because i had this coming.

The black spots on the rear after cleaning are from riding salty roads but it will be covered in mud soon enough (actually the next day). The front right will not go back on and like this it’s a nice comparison between a neglected and cleaned one plus the difference in the mounting brackets.

Now straight to the numbers, the work part is not very interesting and a lot is the same like many work on the bike like the fairing and tank that has to be removed and wheels just like when changing a tyre.
Like i said, main reason for this change is weight loss with the unsprung part as bonus but an important bonus.

The total loss of weight is 2842 grams from which 569 grams only in removed hose and hard lines needed for the rear to the ABS pump and back. Front new rotor and adapter is 1123 grams lighter as the 2 OEM but add the right caliper and the hard line that connected the left to the right you get to 2008 grams which is the sum of the unsprung weight loss.
Just over 2 KG (almost 4,5lbs).
2 KG on a bike that weighs 200kg seems nothing but this as unsprung weight is massive and it really is very noticeable.
The difference between the new front hoses and the old with the right caliper is 1150 grams but that was a stupid combination i now just used to calculate the total weight loss but when i did that maths i realised id didn’t gave me the unsprung weight results, that’s why i went back to the garage to weigh the old rotors with the right caliper and hard line.

The numbers in short:
2842 grams total (6,27lbs) from which unsprung is 2008 grams (4,43lbs).
This is the Stoltec single rotor conversion kit with rear ABS delete as shown in the first picture in this blog. You can by a Galfer rotor with that kit but for me as a Dutch citizen it was a huge difference in price and getting a rotor from here makes it also easier to get a new one when needed as a rotor is a wear part and i choose for the EBC Vee Rotor which needed a tittle work with a Dremel tool to make it work with the ABS ring (you can see the cut outs at the ABS ring bolts)

At last some pictures from the results.

At last i want too thank Nick from Stoltec Moto who answered my questions quick and was very helpful to try to get the kit as cheap as possible to my doorstep as shipping costs from the US are ridiculous. The first reaction was not fast but that was not his fault, my mail found it’s way into the spam folder but he also is active on the T700 forum board where i could contact him and how he discovered the mishap.
The link to this kit is https://stoltecmoto.com/shop/yamaha/tenere700/20-tenere-700-single-rotor-conversion/

So, i entered a rally…

And that is changing my complete planning for this year.
Yes you read it correct, i will be participating in the Bosnia rally 16 to 22 July on Sporherre.
I have another blog coming about my single rotor conversion i did this weekend which will be also very helpful in the rally.

It was an invite from Vanessa (https://youtube.com/@TheGirlOnABike), not personal off course but through her channel but i did had some email contact with her personally.
To stay within the annual travel budget i have to skip the trip in September. The short trip to Serbia should be a few weeks before the rally so i skip that too and take the same 3 weeks as last year with the rally in the middle.
New plans…. take a week to get to the start of the rally, do the 6 days rallying through Bosnia and then take a week to get back home.
In September i will go to Discover Overland and take a week after or before that, maybe 2 depending on how many days and budged i have left with a destination unknown… also depending on what time and budget is left.

A rally was high on he bucketlist but there where some issues with them so far, way too expensive, only roadbook, affordable and a GPS track option but in the only month i can’t take my vacation so i checked with Vanessa if what i had in mind would work out and checked if i could take my vacation that time and went for it.
This is what i’m getting myself into… https://www.nomadasadv.com/bosnia-rally-with-the-girl-on-a-bike

This will off course be continued but i was so exited that i wanted to share it right away.

2023 plans

The new year has started and the trip blog from 2022 has finishes, time to look forward on the plans for this year.

Yesterday i officially turned over my VFROC job to my succeeder and upcoming Thursday i have the last evaluation from the Christmas Truckrun and then i don;t have any obligations to other organisations any more.
That doesn’t mean i don’t do anything for others, i still man the booth for the VFROC one of the days at the motor convention, still applied for a task at Truckrun Horst and will do the Christmas truckrun as a traffic controller but all as a volunteer for the one day of the event without any obligations around the events.

Finished with obligations other than my day job i slowly can start looking into the big plans.
I need to look at the situation in South Africa, you can say there is a new apartheid going on but now the black community against the white.
The whole apartheid was wrong but that is the past and doing the same when you as an oppressed population reach the moment you can run the country you’re no better than the people in the old days. Maybe even worse because you didn’t learn from the past and other peoples mistakes.
That said, i still look into it because the news only shows the worst and often it’s not very different than the worst situations in your own country.
The fact that i only get in by a work permit in a critical skills job far at least 2 years i have South America as plan B.
I haven’t get to a deeper look for that option and in the worst case i have a plan C but i get to that later on.

That’s all internet research, phone calls and i hope to get some meetings with tour operators. I keep you posted on that when something is worth mentioning.
There is still a need for fun and that fun is also practice and learning opportunity’s.
The “new” bike and getting into the offroad community brings not only new challenges but also new friends and with one of those new friends the first weekend trip will happen somewhere in April.
He’s German living near Cologne a hair over an hour from here and Germany is not allowing much offroad riding so we planned to do the TET NL. We did a big chunk of the new part as a day of fun and learning for him and that weekend we will going north with a night camping.
Plans are not made but other than a definite date and where we go pick up the trail will not be made, just how i like it.

Then the wish is to make 2 long trips. Last year i did the big trip in July because of the limited window up north but this year i go in September again and even 2 weeks later.
I only can take 4 vacation days to the new year and every year i’m left with more than that so this year i want to take those days to have fun and not to take days off to avoid sponsoring the IRS (vacation days paid are heavily taxed over here) but not able to make use of them.
So to break the long time between the period with free days off (Easter, Ascension Day etc.) i’m planning to to some TET Serbia.

It’s 2 long days to get there and 2 even longer days to get back but i haven’t been to Serbia yet. The TET (turquoise, green and purple) will be 6 to 7 days but it’s not a goal to do it complete. The four days there and back are sacrificial and probably nuts and i will see how much i get done in 6 days and i’m also not sure when i will go.
There is the issue Serbia – Kosovo going hot and cold, i will keep an eye on that and if it will be too dangerous to go when i leave i have the TET Croatia and Bosnia with maybe Montenegro as a back up, Montenegro and Albany are too far for a short trip which is a shame because i really like those country’s but like i said, i’ve non been in Serbia yet so that is the first choice.

Then September…
Last year i went to Discover Overland for the first time, i wanted to go there before but i’m always on vacation the first three weeks of September and this weekend is always the third weekend of September and this year that would be 15 – 17.
The 15th is a Friday and the campsite opens at 18:00, plan is to pack Sporherre the day(‘s) before and take Ragnarok to work where i finish at 16:00, go home make final checks and head of for Discover Overland. Enjoy the Friday and Saturday and leave Sunday morning on a sacrificial day to the south of France.
From there it’s on to Andorra and from there into Spain, hopefully visit Gibraltar and on to Portugal out via the Picos de Europe and a Sacrificial day home.
Planing on doing the TET Andorra, Spain and Portugal i discovered that will be at least 4 day’s more than i have.

That trip is still a work in progress, the red’s sticking out are TET tracks and the Purple are my blue routes over the red TET.
For now it’s looking for alternative tracks and try to find out what parts of the TET are the least exciting to skip using paved roads to buy some time and try to persuade my boss to grant me 4 weeks for once but that might be difficult.
The whole Covid and Russian invasion had the truck building industry flat on it’s ass and a lot of trucks we ordered are coming in around that time.
But it’s still a long time to figure out what to do. Worst case scenario will be me heading of that way without any plan start following the TET and finding my own way until the time is up and i have to hurry home.

That’s it, none of the plans are poured in concrete and none of the plans are definite just like the future is not definite.
We still live in crazy times and when i need to adapt to that craziness i will, just like i did in 2020 with my first big trip. I managed then with no experience travelling the way i do now and now 3 trips in i’m even confident enough to go without any plan.
I always can check how long it takes to get back home and head that way when needed.
Can’t wait to get riding other tracks than the commute options again.

ScanBaltic 2022 Episode 10, The end part 2

I wrapped up the video part of the trip but when i got to Suwalki with the story it was already a long read and i decided to split that up, here’s the rest.

Not long after leaving Suwalki i met up with the TET Poland section 2, here the TET had a nice portion along the logic route to my next destination.
This part of the TET is an easy going part without any technical riding, off course you will come up to some surprises good or bad depending on your skill level and bike you ride but for my level with this bike it was easy and i even would have no problem doing this section with Ragnarok. At least in these weather conditions.

Maybe the most challenging was the navigation. This leg of the trip i also made some adaptations to the TET because it was not routeable or i was afraid it took too long.
Too long is only in time and i hope i get some miracles done at work this year so my boss grant me a 4 week holiday as an exception for my next trip but more about that in the next blog, that will be about the plans for this year.
The adaptations did end up to be controversial again and Garmin messed up this part too as you could have seen in the video.
The unrouteable TET turned out to be a perfectly fine dirt road and the routeable part went over some tracks in the grass probably flattened by a tractor or other agricultural vehicle.
As i did most of the skipping of the TET because of the time it was my logic choice to follow the TET because a clear unrouteable dirt road should be faster than some flattened grass in a meadow.

About halve of this section i followed the TET and the other halve i found my own dirt roads because i had to go a bit more northward of the TET and following the TET a bit longer meant more asphalt in the end.
If you follow Itchy Boots you might know she had a camera mount on the handlebar that broke at some point, i had the same mount and it also broke at some point.
Like i said it was not technical but i made the lack of excitement up with going fast.
The suspension did a superb job but an often made mistake is thinking offroad suspension is soft and comfortable but it isn’t, it has a long travel but it still has to maintain contact with the road and going fast over dirt tracks still cause a lot of vibrations. It doesn’t bottom out like the OEM or even mid level suspension but the mount broke at the same spot as Itchy’s.
Luckily the Insta 360 was just fine.

In Danzig i booked a room just outside the Old town in a new apartment building with a shared bathroom between the 4 rooms but just 2 where occupied i think.
Parking was unclear and nobody seemed to know how parking for motorcycles was regulated in Poland.
I ended up parking the bike right under my window just off the street.
After freshening up it was time to head to Old town Danzig for a little sightseeing and have a bite to eat at another Hardrock Café with more affordable beer as the last one.

The next day it was raining, time to gear up including the rain gear and no camera as the helmet cam is no use in the rain and the mount for the backwards facing camera has broken.
Next destination was Berlin and with 472km i had to stick to the main roads a bit more.
Off course i did a bit offroad because once in Germany that is over but it was not much, also because of lack of dirt roads in the right direction.
For the border crossing i mounted the camera to the crashbar like i did also in Finland at some point and form there it was all main roads (bundesstraßen) until Berlin.
Berlin is a huge town and it took me almost an hour to get from the edge where i entered to the centre where i had a hotel room for 2 nights.
As you know i don’t like big city’s but Berlin has a lot of history until as recent as 1989 when East and West Berlin where reunited.
A major historic event even i remember vert well, maybe also because Faith no More did an Epic cover of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs at a concert celebrating that event.

The receptionist at the hotel was great, he let me park the bike in the courtyard of the hotel, for free. That was a much better place than on the busy side-walk.
Germany is a funny place though, i started in the Netherlands and then crossed Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland and nowhere was any sign left of Covid.
In Germany i had to reserve a time slot for breakfast the evening before because just a certain amount of people where allowed in at the same time, same goes for the mall. There was a line packed with people rubbing against each other but the mall was safe and almost empty and every country i mentioned had no problem with me buying a single coffee or other cheap ass product and pay with plastic. First night in Berlin it was too late to go somewhere but too early to go to sleep so i figured i buy a few beers at the evening store next door and watch some TV or YouTube. Grabbed 2 halve a litre bottles costing €5 and i presented my card… “sorry but you have to pay cash, card is from €10″…
What!!! All over the place they (still or again) have regulations to prevent (indirect) contact but money is still going from hand to hand!!!

Next day was sightseeing day, i have all day to stroll around and i had some tips from Stephan back in Tallinn as he lives in Berlin.
Let’s show you instead of writing everything down…

From Checkpoint Charley i went on to the Bergmannstraße end the Graefestraße, the tips from Stephan.
Overall i had well over 10km under my feet and had to go about 7km back to the hotel. In Riga i downloaded an app for a taxi ride back to the hotel but with this app i also could rent a scooter and they operate is several country’s, also Berlin and that’s why there is a scooter in the pictures. That was my ride back because the 7km route was not a route with sights to see and not worth walking. I could, i also hiked 20km in Croatia when i visited the Plitvice lakes but the boring route would be a waste of energy.
The Hardrock Café was just around the corner from the hotel, a 250 meter walk so it was a nice coincidence that one of the cheaper hotels was so close and in the centre. Off course it was not a high rated luxury hotel but it was in the centre and the room was clean, what more do you need?

Time to head home.
There where some moments i would have needed the few days i had to spare but the weather in the Lofoten was too bad to follow up on the tip to go to Senja that would cost me a day and the split of one of the days was made up when i did 3 sections in 2 days because it went faster as i thought.
Because of that for a short moment i had the idea of not taking the autobahn back home but split it up and take a scenic route.
I didn’t do it because it was an expensive time due to Covid and the situation between Russia and the Ukraine and halve of the time i spent in 2 of the most expensive countries so 1 or even 2 more days would be more costs.
I already spent more this trip than the Balkan trip and this trip i camped a lot, cheap and even free while i never took the tent out in the Balkans.
The parts i would be riding i also have been and possibly end up another time.
To start up i didn’t went for the autobahn right away but first took a few main roads through some towns you might recognise from the few pictures i gave a capture, Potsdam and Brandenburg.
And to make things complicated, there is also a Brandenburger tor in the town of Potsdam.

That was the last picture and there is also nothing worth telling left, it would be why we call “Bondesrepubliek Deutschland” “Baustellenrepubliek Deutschland” and complains about the driving so i spare you that.
Thanks for your interest and on to new adventures and shenanigans to fill the time in between.

ScanBaltic 2022 episode 9, the last days

The series getting longer, Sicily 5 episodes, The Balkans 7 and this trip i ended up with 9 and i stretched the video a bit to 40 minutes but i hope you still like it.
For some reason even though 20 minutes is a nice time i had the feeling splitting this up to 2 episodes would not work but you can always pause halve way and watch the rest later or not if it turns out to be boring. Just say it so i know for a next time, i can handle criticism unlike the woke pussy’s we have nowadays.

Last episode i ended up in Riga and form there i take you through Lithuania to Poland where i stayed in 2 city’s and my last overnights in Berlin.
Before i continue i like to share a few pictures i took in Riga.

In Riga i spotted another T7 with USA plates, i left my card which he discovered much later and emailed me when i was already back home.
We tried to meet up here but when he was almost in the neighbourhood he changes his plans. He was on his way to the UK and according to the forecasts he could get a window with nice/descent weather and made a shortcut to dive in that window.

From here i wanted to cross Lithuania and stay the night just across the border in Poland.
The TET was too much out of the way but in these countries there is no shortage of dirt roads. In Lithuania it was at some points just like Finland, a sign telling you the asphalt was sold out and a main road turned into a gravel road… love it.
In Lithuania i took some real backside dirt roads and found it very interesting that there where a lot of memorials because i could count the people i came across on one hand in that area.
This is one of them.

The original plan was to go to Kaliningrad but due to the war. Even before it was already difficult because the E visa was discontinued as a anti Covid measure and for a normal travel visa i had to apply for it at the embassy incl. the hotel bookings (was also planning to go St Petersburg) but with my kind of travel i cannot book in advance as i don’t know when and where i end up.
I did plan to ride along the border but there was nothing going on. Didn’t make picture because it rained and it was not very exciting. The road was also very corrugated, have a little footage in the video.

Once i turned away from the border it was about 60km to the Polish border and not much further i had plans to stay the night.
But before i got to the border i had a surprise.

This crossing was too risky in this scenario. The bottom was very silty with a high risk of roots and an alternative was less than 500 meters away and after letting the air out of the tyres they felt better but in the mud i had before i ended up here it was hard work to keep Sporherre upright.
When i got back to the road i first checked the spokes because it felt the rim was out of true but they where all fine, had to be the tyre. I think i said it before, the front Mitas E07 will never be fitted again and i think i have a better alternative in the Heidenau K60 Ranger i fitted recently but that’s another item.

The plans for the night also had to change when the road i had plotted turned out to be closed for motorised transport and i had to backtrack.
I wanted to stay at some lake but i decided to stay in Suwalki where i had to go to get to the “planned” place but had to backtrack to Suwalki the next day to get back on track or go the other way around to get to the lake with no guarantee that road was open.
This is where i stopped to figure out where i wanted to stay.

In the hotel i freshened up and went into town for something to eat and to check the town out a bit.
In the park was live music i could enjoy walking around. After a stroll i decided to go back towards the hotel to an Italian restaurant i passed and that turned out to be a good choice.
The food was good but a woman at the table in front of me did not get to that, i think she was stood up for a date as she was crying and how she handled the phone.
After a while i asked the waitress for a piece of paper and a pen and i started writing her a note, i asked the waitress to give it to her without telling who wrote it.
I saw her reading it and when she finished she drank her wine, wiped her tears and left. The waitress had to thank me, it was just what she needed to hear (read) she said…. mission accomplished.
I treated myself with i nice desert and another beer and went back to the hotel.

Next target is Danzig but i think i save the rest of the trip to next week, story wise.
Enjoy the video, like i said a long one and this part will also become very long and i also have pictures enough to dress up an extra episode without a video.

ScanBaltic 2022 episode 8, The Baltics

Finally time to continue this series but it keeps you something to look forward to.
It was a smooth crossing on the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn and when i got off the first thing i did was going to the motorcycle shop to get a new rear tire because the Anakee Wild was finished.
It was a gamble with this tire, i used this one on Ragnarok and got 9000km out of it but that was mostly asphalt and the offroad was more gentle and hardly any wheelspin.
With Sporherre i did around 4500km with the rear and about double with the front, the guess was that Norway was mostly paved and after that when the offroad started the luggage would prevent crazy riding… I was wrong.
All the way till Finland i had time to get used to Sporherre and his setup for this trip and the weight shedding was a great success so it was very different to the Balkan trip with Ragnarok.
First of all, Ragnarok is stock already 70kg heavier than Sporherre stock. Both have updates but with Sporherre it was all about adding as less as possible and trying to compensate the weight i put on by removing parts i don’t need like passenger footpegs.
The bags on Ragnarok also are heavier just like the old camping gear.
All in all a rough guess make me think i had close to 100kg less to keep on track.

After a few bends and corners on the Finnish gravel roads i learned that i had 2 choices, go very slow or keep the speed and correct the sliding with the throttle and drift.
I had a long way ahead so slow was not an option… and no fun.
Thanks to Norway i got 1500km more out of the rear but after 6000km it was done.
The last days in Finland i already started looking in Estonia for a tire and through a tip from the first store i contacted i found a place in Tallinn with a large stock of different tires including 50/50’s.
I stretched it to Tallinn because Finland is more expensive but the Anakee Wild was even in Estonia very expensive and after checking my options in the inventory i decided to go for the Mitas E07 plus which was a lot cheaper and also on the list with tires i wanted to test and i decided to change the front as well.

Now it was time to get to the old town and find my hotel.
It was a cheap room i booked for 2 nights, cheap because it had no windows but i was planning to only sleep there and spend the time i was in town outside as the weather was great.
For the evening i would meet up with Wolfgang and Stephan for diner and something to drink, the German guys i met in the Hostel in Helsinki and with whom i shared the ferry ride.
The second day i slept a bit longer than planned, the lack of natural light to wake me up was something that slipped my mind but i still had time enough to explore the old town and go the the new part for a couple of SD cards for the camera’s as the ones i had started to get full.

I can tell a lot about old town Tallinn but pictures say more and are more fun than some reading, this is a slightly bigger gallery.

In the evening i would meet up with the guys again, they where also spend a bit longer and we just had a good connection.
On these trips you meet a lot of people but sometimes you get new friendships and we still keep in touch via WhatsApp.
After another night in the dark room i woke up by the alarm i set, i do that every riding day to be sure i get the most out of the day. My ADHD is a bit like a very old diesel car, the ones you had to start with ether and then let it warm up but once it’s running it doesn’t stop even when you turn off the ignition.

When i was planning the trip i found some offroad track just outside Tallinn, the TET was a bit too long and out of the way so i had to find some fun on my way to Latvia.
The tracks turned out to be right next to an army base and probably used for tank practice but it was outside the gates and accessible. I saw some soldiers looking a bit surprised but they greeted friendly when i passed them.
It was what has become a typical Garmin moment, how could this be a perfectly fine road/track. Tip: If you drive a car and use a Garmin XT, stay on the paved roads because the offroad modus will make you turn around a lot. With Ragnarok i also would not be pleased in many cases but for Sporherre it was just great and a good test for the new tires.
Speaking of them, i don’t like them at this point and especially the front and in loose sand in particular.
In loose sand you need speed but i couldn’t get it up to speed because the front was all over the place and i started to regret my choice.

The next offroad part i stopped to check the tire pressure, the mechanic at the shop asked me what pressures i wanted, normally i run 1,7bar front and 1,9 rear but because of the luggage i ran 1,9 and 2,2. I already found the ride on the cobble stones in old Town Tallinn very harsh and this gravel road also.
Guess what? 2,2 in the front and 2,9 in the rear!!! That is the normal pressure for road use in the front and normal rear pressure for Ragnarok. Road use Sporherre is 2,5 in the rear.
No wonder i didn’t like the tires, why ask if you don’t do it anyway?
This is a part in the video where the microphone decided to work for a moment and you can see that after lowering the pressure my riding is like it was in Finland again.
Also like in Finland….

I walked a bit into the bush but i had to find another way that turned out to be a challenge too and i didn’t dare to stop to take a picture or start the camera.
It was very muddy and i wanted to keep my momentum not to get stuck in the middle of nowhere an hour since the last time i passed a car.
Later on i had to make a sanitary stop and there was the proof that not every cyclist is an asshole.
A friendly German long distance traveller on a bicycle stopped to ask if everything was OK because i was standing not in a typical place to stop, as usual i forgot his name…
We had a nice chat and he was going where i came from. There where some bugs annoying us and that brought us to the mosquito’s in Finland where he would ride too.
As a thank you i gave him my Finnish repellent i had no need for any more and after a selfie together we went on with our trips.

Luckily i got in a lot of gravel roads but after the tank track and the missing track it all was straight forward gravel i could ride at regular road speeds with Sporherre.
Next overnight was Riga just across the border with Latvia and just before i met up with the TET again.
This part was not fine for Garmin so i made a routeable section to Riga but had the TET track on it too with the plan to see if i had time to check it out when i got there and i did.
After the “perfectly fine” tracks i was a little worried about the not fine tracks but in Finland i also had “impossible” tracks that where just fine.
When i got to the my entrance three enduro riders came out of the forest, they greeted but when they where passed i saw them all three in my mirrors looking back like they wanted to say “are you going in there with that bike?” and that got me worried again… maybe not fine this time?

What you see in the video looks just fine and that was indeed not too bad but i had the route still going on the Garmin and that was recalculating all the time messing up my zoom level which let me miss a few turns. It was a navigational nightmare and at a couple of misses i shut down the camera to see what i wanted to do and didn’t start it again.
I also shut down the route and tried to get back on the TET for some fun.
Once i got deeper in the TET i understood why the enduro guys where looking like that, it was a bit of a mix between a dirtbike track and an enduro track with a few tough bits.
A couple of time i almost fell and e few moment i had to catch my breath because it was hard work but i loved it and was very happy what that super expensive suspension did with the bike. It already paid for itself 2 time in Finland and here it made the bike feel 50kg lighter and gave me the confidence to keep going.
I think i spend about an hour playing around in the forest (from which about 15 minutes to find my way out) and then it was a good time to find my hotel.

I was in Riga before on a surprise vacation with my ex. If you want to do something different for your vacation and want to fly without knowing your destination until you’re at the airport check sprs.me where you can find citytrips on different budgets and lengths (3 days one city, 5 days 2 cities, 8 days 3 etc.).
Back then we stayed in a hotel in the old town but now the prices where too high so i found a hotel across the bridge, 5 minutes with a taxi.
The nice lady at the reception arranged a taxi for me via an app which i installed later on to get a taxi back and used it later also in Berlin but that’s for the next episode.
For now i leave you with the video. Don’t forget to watch it on YouTube and like and also subscribe if you didn’t already.

New year, old items

Happy new year everybody and a wonderful 2023.
I started with a short trip on the TET section that starts about 20 minutes from my house.

I was editing the video for episode 7 from the ScanBaltic trip but i just had to start the year with some dirt.
I did finish the video and it is rendering as i’m writing this at 23:30 and has still 26 minutes to go.
After that it has to be uploaded to YouTube and i have to write the story that goes with it so you can imagine it has to wait just a little longer but not very long.
After EP 7 there will be one more episode and then it is time to get deeper in my new plans for this year and the big adventure.