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 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.

Helmet vlog microphone

When i wanted to put the microphone back in the helmet after the repair i thought it might be worth a short video so others can see what i did to get rid of the microphone for the GoPro mediamod.
I thought i made some pictures of the work but apparently i didn’t.

Christmas Truckrun

The next excuse for not finishing the ScanBaltic trip is the Christmas truckrun.
This is an annual truckrun for disabled people and it’s lit… literally.
I’ve been in the organisation for several years in the safety department where it was my task to get the traffic controllers together and approved for the job.

Not the best pictures but it will give you an idea what i mean what i meant with it’s literally lit.

This was the last year i did this and the guy in front is one of the 2 guys taking this job on for the next years.
This made it extra busy this year adding to the challenge it already was because we started a bit late and the Dropbox folder that went missing.
We where late because of the uncertainty if Covid was really gone, take in mind we work for a group of people with high vulnerability and the missing Dropbox folder contained the base file with email addresses from people who might want to be a traffic controller.
I spent a lot of hours into this event putting my personal things on pause but it was all worth it again.
As long as i’m in the Netherlands i will still be doing the runs as a traffic controller and go to the VFROC rides but after 5 or 6 years CTR plus another 3 years before helping my predecessor and 9 years on the board of the VFROC spending a lot of time for others a time for me has come.
The first video is after boarding the clients and the second is line almost ready for departing.

For now i’m a bit in conflict, i really want to finish the ScanBaltic series but i’m also wanting to do absolutely nothing for a moment and the dark winter period is the only time in the year i am able to do nothing, like my ADHD went into hibernation.
Problem is it’s not really and i need to keep an eye on time, if not in a couple of days i live at night and sleep during the day.
You’ll see what’s coming next and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog as well as my YouTube channel @ride4life_motorlifestyle.
Yes i use it mainly to embed the video’s here but subscribing there and liking the video’s helps others finding this page too and as i’m not filming everything subscribing here prevents you missing out on the journey towards the items that are worth filming.

I don’t do Christmas (yes, very strange for someone who spent years helping to organise a Christmas Truckrun) but happy holidays and a tripping 2023!

Sporherre broke down

This week was crazy, Tuesday i had the meeting with the guys who take over my work for the Christmas Truckrun, Wednesday something bad happened at work at one of the worst moments in already a difficult time plus i had an appointment at the barber after work and another meeting with the whole Christmas truckrun organisation.
With the standard long Monday it where three long days and Thursday on the way home sporherre showed a red light on the dash… that means stop immediately!

The light was the overheating warning so i started looking around for reasons why that happened.
I was going quite full on because it was the first time in daylight with the new tyres and i wanted to test them properly now i didn’t have to be somewhere with barely time to have diner.
It didn’t took me long to spot the coolant all over the left side including my boots and pants but where is it coming from?
A known weak point is the water pump but that sits on the right and i have a protective cover fitted.
Second scary part because of the costs is the radiator but that seems dry and if something happens with that it’s most likely in the middle.
On the left is the coolant reservoir and everything points at that part but it had coolant in it and no cracks…. strange.

I don’t have road assistance because i never needed it and most things i can fix myself.
For now i had it cooled down and i was hoping i could get home by going easy but after 2km it was too hot again.
New plan was walk a bit until i had a better place to wait for it to cool down completely.
When i fount that place it also had a light post so while waiting i did some more research and i spotted a disconnected hose, that would explain the coolant and it was right behind the reservoir.
That’s why i always carry my toolkit, also because i tend to make a spontaneous detour when i have time and the weather is nice so i took it out and started fixing the hose.
Remember when i thought my oil cooler had a crack? I guess when i had that apart i didn’t properly put the clamp clip back if i didn’t forget it completely.

Just when i was at the point to put the covers back on a car stopped.
A guy living in Germany about 5km from there got out to check if he could help, he also had a motorcycle but didn’t ride it very much.
As i fixed the real problem my first thought was to get some water to get home but he offered to get me some coolant so i don’t need to flush the system since there was no reason to take it apart again.
He even asked what kind i had in it and went of to a shop in the first town a few kilometres down the road.
When he got back he even didn’t want me to pay for it.
That’s exactly why i’m not afraid to go on those long trips all by myself.
People tend to look for all the bad, reading the news and searching the internet for all kinds of crap around the world but the fact is there are more people like this good Samaritan than people who cause all the news items.
Thursday this guy was my hero and when i get the chance i will pay it forward and help others like i did before, that’s how i like the world to be because if you want to improve the world you have to start with yourself.
And think about it, the internet is full of memes and video’s where bad things happen to bad people with the capture “karma” but karma doesn’t mean when you do bad, bad will happen to you but it means what goes around comes around and that can be good as well.

So, it was a though week but it was all forgotten with this gesture by a total stranger taking some time and afford to help a total stranger.

Work on Sporherre

Just to fill up the void in between episodes i decided to try something else.
Not planning on making how-to video’s so it’s just me telling what kept me busy this weekend and also try to get a bit more comfortable on camera.

This time i had some work on Sporherre because is needed new tyres and had some work on the brakes.
I don’t understand what happened with brake disks or rotors depending on the country or region, not sure but i know both names are correct just not where de differences come from. I always use Ferodo pads and never had to change the rotors on my VTEC but had them changed on Ragnarok and the ones on Sporherre are shot even faster.
The VTEC was totalled at 114k km and Ragnarok needed new rotors at 88k km but the ones on Sporherre already showing serious signs of wear at 27k km.

For now i put back the pads in front that came off when i put a fresh set on at the start of the ScanBaltic trip. That buys me time to figure out what i want to do but i’m thinking about a one disk conversion with a rear ABS delete.
At this moment with both sides needed to be changed it’s just a little more expensive at this moment but saves money every time i need new pads.
Other plus is the weight saving and this weight counts double as it is unsprung weight.
This is one of those things i normally would not spend money on just to change it but is a big win when you need to change the parts anyway so i guess you already know that i’m fooling myself when i say i’m thinking about it…

I thought the rear pads where worn but they’re the same as the old ones that came off and can stay until the rotor change together with the front.
What i did do front and rear was change the brake fluid for the DOT4 Racing. In Episode 1 of the ScanBaltic series i mentioned losing my rear brake on the Lysevegen serpentine road.
I had the same with Ragnarok in the south of Italy after Michel and i split up. I already ran DOT5.1 on his brakes and changed it to DOT4 Racing and never had it again so that’s what went in Sporherre’s brakes too.
This was also a regular service item just done with a better product. It’s about 3 to 4 times more expensive as the normal DOT4 but still way cheaper than crashing the bike.

Then off course the tyres, the old and new front and rear.

And off course the video, let me know what you think of this kind of content.

I had Sporherre done… or was that an illusion?

Yes i said he was finished and as perfect as he could be.
But then there came a fix for something that wasn’t perfect that was not even in the making when i said that.
It was quite an annoying imperfection so when there was a fix presented by an engineer and producer of ADV products who also rides a T7 i just couldn’t resist.
The brake pedal was called “spongy” by a lot and other said the rear brake was not working at all.
The brake did work and was not spongy but the problem was that the travel was too long making it seem spongy or not working because you just should not flex a foot that far.

@CamelADV made “the fix” and i already had the one finger clutch from them and when i’m at it i just ordered the footpegs too.
The OEM footpegs weren’t that bad, not perfect but good enough to resist buying something better until now. is the Camel ADV in the Netherlands and i now discovered they where located in Maasbracht where i lived for 16 years and still work so i ordered these parts and said i will pick it up saving the postal costs.
Friday i got an e-mail that the package was ready for shipping??? When i mailed Wouter from RM he said he was away a lot next week so he shipped it free of charge so i will have it soon as possible (it was delayed already).
Great parcel company… not. It supposed to be here the next day but in the app it said it was planned for Tuesday evening.
Not a problem because i was going away Saturday afternoon until Sunday. This morning i did see a mail but thought it was the mail from Friday i left as unread and when i got home on the laptop i noticed it was a new mail saying the parcel was for delivery today (Sunday) and that timeslot was just started at that moment and at 15:00h it arrived.

Next week i need to change the tyres and i was planning to take this on at the same time but i decided to do it right away. It was too early to start with diner and too late to start some editing and it seemed like a easy job.
It was and just a bit over an hour later i was back on the couch and this is the result.

The Camel ADV footpegs are not bigger like most people opt when upgrading but my reason was grip and the weight loss is i nice bonus.
Here in the Netherlands the muddy season can be quite long and slipping off the footpeg is not what you want. A bigger footpeg may be more comfortable when standing for long distances but it also can be in the way when you need to put your foot down unplanned.
The only upgrade i now can think of is changing the brake fluid from OEM DOT4 to DOT4 racing but that is a regular maintenance item that is needed in the near future.
Tomorrow is test day, on the way to work road test and the way home offroad test… in the dark.
Next weekend tyres and planning for the Christmas Truckrun but i hope to finally get another episode of the ScanBaltic trip in but no promises.

Nothing but a lot is going on

Still no new episode due to lack of time but it’s all to end up with more time for those things and also some fun keeping me away from home.
Last week i had my last board meeting with the VFROC, until the annual members meeting end of January it;s just helping the new guy getting started.
Also full on with the Christmas Truckrun organisation until the 17th and then it’s all for the new guys there too. For that i had a meeting on Thursday.

But like i said also fun stuff.
Friday i had concert of Stahlzeit, a very good Rammstein coverband and as i’m writing this quickly it’s about time to leave to Haarlem for a concert from Sepultura with Sacred Reich.
Next week i have a thank u diner with the volunteers of the VFROC and the 1st of December i go to Alter Bridge with Halestorm in Amsterdam.

So not much to say.
Oh yeah, i now can make a post on YouTube too. Don;t know if that’s because i reached a certain amount of views or because i caved in and went for premium to get rid of the commercials. I follow some channels and always listen to music there when i’m doing stuff in and around the house.
Like i said in my first post on YouTube, it’s like the E10 or other questionable fuel… Better bad fuel than no fuel if there’s nothing good.
Now off to Haarlem with a stop on my way at my ex because it’s her birthday tomorrow.

Some love for Ragnarok

With Sporherre i have a new partner in crime and he became my main bike, not because i don’t like Ragnarok any more but going offroad is just too much fun.
Ragnarok will stay and i take him 2 times a week to work for the grocery’s on the way back and when i have to go somewhere and it’s just an A to B ride without time to take the small roads with maybe some dirt it’s also the bike to use.
The odo past the 120.000km so it was time for some love.

For regular maintenance it was time for new spark plugs, coolant, oil and filter, air filter cleaning and valve clearance. A big service.
I hate rushing these jobs so he’s out of the running for a couple of weeks so also a good moment to do some cosmetic work. The pannier racks and rear luggage rack where rusty ad oxidated and the crashbars where used and rattle canned to protect the bare metal.
The last ride to work was without panniers and i left without the “scaffolding”.
It was easier to take it off at work than at home and take the loose parts.
At home i started stripping the bike.

At work i had some work to be done to the “scaffolding”.
The pannier racks where already on when i bought it and had some aluminium panniers with a lock for the panniers and quick disconnect for the racks. Don’t need the lock hook and also never take the racks off so time for the angle grinder.
Also wanted to use this moment to get rid of the straps for the crashbar bags.
These bags where not meant as crashbar bags but i thought it was the best option after destroying the ones i had before.
Fun Fact, the international sales manager from Mosko Moto did pitched it at Mosko Moto but they didn’t see it but he uses them too (i discussed this with him and send the how-to).

Now that’s ready for sandblasting and when it’s back i can paint it.
It’s still at work but the blasting chamber is in another location. The spray cabin is at my location, very convenient and also nice i can use it whenever i want (only not when it is in use off course).
In de mean time i can work on Ragnarok but that got shifted a few times.
One time was because of a spontaneous TET ride with Jan, a fellow T7 rider i know from the T7 forum.
He lives in Germany near Cologne (Köln). We wanted to ride together for a bit longer but the agenda’s didn’t match before.
I suggested a week later but it supposed to get wet that weekend and this weekend was just great so i caved in and we went to do a new part of the TET NL. He did a part of it earlier but this part didn’t exist yet.
When we came at the point where we both already rode that section we had lunch (thanks for buying Jan) we changed our plans.
He is a beginner rider so we went to a part of my offroad commute to practice a bit to make it a bit more relaxing for him

We had a great day and we will do some more of the TET next year>
Back to Ragnarok.
The biggest job of the whole set is getting to the parts a want to address. You have to take apart halve of the bike and then fiddle some more to get the valve covers off for less than an hour work and then all steps again in the opposite order.
Even if you get on it like a pro it still would take at least a full day and i think even a day and a halve so it’s a huge money saver if you can do it yourself.
Coolant was way too late, it still worked and the bike never got hot but the stuff that came out smelled horrible.

And then there was the matter of painting some parts.
Already had an idea to get a bit more colour on the bike and this was the perfect moment.
Off course it would not be the regular way, it had to fit the bike so orange it is.
Putting orange racks and crashbars on would look silly and too much, my plan was to paint it black and then the inside orange finished with a mat clear coat.
When painting the inside the overspray would make a nice match with the top of the stripe on the tank and fairing.

We got a new mat clear and that didn’t turned as mat as the bike but still a lot more than the pictures show, this was still wet and a little less does give it a little contrast.
Two bolts broke with disassembling so when i fixed those problems i put everything back together with stainless bolts with anti seize but i hope i don’t have to take it apart again.
One part i will and that is the bashplate where one of he bolts broke, that i have to take off for oil changes.
Only thing left is showing the result but it is nothing like walking around it in real life.
Don’t have a picture yet with the panniers back on.