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.

One Reply to “ScanBaltic 2022 episode 8, The Baltics”

  1. To me this is your greatest blog in this series to date, as I visited Tallinn myself and can relate to your experience there. Somehow I seem to have missed update #7, though… Must be because I’m in Hawaii at the moment. And that is another great spot for motor cyclists, as the islands are not densely populated and offer loads of roads and trails that are accessible to motorcycles – a fact that is not generally advertised… Aloha from the Big Island! 🌺

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