Scouting for trails

A few weeks ago my friend Jeffrey came over for the weekend to scout for some trails south of where i live.
One time on my way home i took the first exit on a roundabout where i normally take the second just to see where it get me but still going somewhat in de direction back home.
I ended up in an area with lots of dirt roads/track showing on the Garmin XT and i also spotted a few already without forbidden for bikes signs but in the wrong direction.
A couple did go in de right direction and it was a nice surprise with a good reason to check it out one time and this was the time.

It took some time to get the agenda’s to match up because Jeffrey had to work some weekends and others we had a VFROC ride out (he’s also a member) or other things to do.
Plan was to show him my nice offroad commute and then check what the south had to offer. After that have some beers and see what or where we get something to eat and the next day he would go back home.

The evening before i figured it might be smarter to drive towards him to do the commute part as it was not far from his route to my place.
Then have lunch and still have more time for exploring.
Good thing you could have seen the commute part in another video because i wanted to film it from the handlebar but i didn’t tighten the camera good enough so i filmed the sky once i hit the dirt.
The angle was not right anyway so nothing really lost and a learning moment, still thinking for a angle that works.

It was a good day and you could have read i destroyed my 1,5 month old handlebar and replaced it but that was good too even though it was another expense i could have done without but just imagine this has happened on my ScanBaltic trip.
Now i know the OEM handlebar is too weak and the new one hopefully is crash proof (to an extend off course).
I also know the Klim gear is up to it and the body armour does what it has to do.
Because i have several restaurants within 1km just across the park we decided to go out. The steak house didn’t had a free table but as i said there are more so we ended up at a Greek restaurant with also enough meat to choose from.

I leave you with a few pictures and the video, i kept it short (about 13 mins) and no music this time. I tested a wind sock but that only works at low speed, just turned the volume down for some engine noise in some occasions but also because i didn’t had very much time but wanted to put this blog up.

Not everything motorcycle

I started editing the video from the weekend with my friend Jeffrey when we went exploring some tracks here in the south.
But as a house owner sometimes you need to do some other thing.
I was planning on painting the door and window of the garage because the paint was coming of, had the paint already ordered a while ago and this weekend should be the moment.
Last week however i came home twice with the power cut off.
That also means the fridge/freezer stop cooling and when that happens when i’m away even if i empty the freezer as much as possible when i go on a long trip but also no lighting and window shutters simulating someone home to prevent burglary.

I narrowed it down to the pond so i shut the pumps off and that had to be addressed first.
There’s no fish but the water is just relaxing and the birds love the little stream but it also keeps the water clear.
The first thing i thought was the problem was not the problem, not a bad thing to change before it gets a problem but no fix yet.
Second attempt was cut of one pump and then the other and the first attempt showed that the problem should be in the waterfall pump.
At the fourth shop i finally found a pump and when i got back and fixed that issue there was no time left to start sanding, i did removed some loose paint with a scratcher and then started editing but halve way it was enough.

Today i got the door cleaned and sanded plus the outside painted so it is at least safe to hae the rest done next weekend.
This is definitely not my favourite job and with a long day tomorrow i didn’t feel like finishing the movie.

I did get a new Insta360 One R 4K camera, i bought one a while ago but it was a returned item with a discount but it turned out to be broken.
Because it was not a brand new one the warranty would get me my money back but not a new device.
When i picked up my rear tyre for Ragnarok at the neighbours he had 1 parcels????
It turned out to be a new camera under warranty and goodwill.
I did a test run (my regular commute) and it has good images but i need to find a better angle. I wanted that one for a few reasons.
One is because it’s modular and i can switch the display around from front to rear view whatever direction i use the camera. Second is i can buy a separate 360 degree lens (hopefully i find one before the ScanBaltic trip) and third i can use it without mods on a constant external power-source like the USB on the bikes.
Now i only need to find the best angle that works when i’m sitting and standing.

I also did some work to Sporherre.
I fitted new tyres i didn’t get in on time for the scouting weekend and they’re also not the tyres i wanted. Reason for that is also the reason i don’t buy tyres and parts at my regular supplier again. The tyres i wanted where available at an online shop but according to him my sizes where not available yet. He would ask why that online shop did have them but i never got an answer and when i decided not to wait any longer they where also not available any more at the online shop.
I really wanted to test them to see if it was the answer for the mileage problem of the already expensive but great Michelin Anakee Wild and i don’t like to start with an unfamiliar tyre on a long trip.
As a compromise for the price i bought a Mitas E09 Dakar for the rear which i ran on Ecstasy and has the same mileage as the Anakee Wild under Sporherre but is a lot cheaper.
For the front i now have the Mitas E13 because of the bad reviews of the E09 front.

Also got a new handlebar, a Renthal Fatbar because the previous owner bend the original one and i bend the new one i got under warranty meaning the OEM is just not strong enough.
I was hoping the spending finally ended but can’t ride with a bend handlebar. Funny thing is i waited 4,5 months for it and destroyed in within 1,5 months…. nah… not funny at all.
Lets end with some pictures of the work.
First the handlebar. When i get the handlebar replaced i asked if i could get the black form the T7 Rally but now i could choose between black and orange.
Black was better than grey but orange even better!

And the tyres

Until the next one….

Pedro Mota Dutch ride out

A couple of weeks ago the Dutch/Portuguese YouTuber and solo motorcycle traveller Pedro Mota did a shout out for a ride out the next day.
I had plans to build the new fence i had sitting in the corner of my patio for a few weeks waiting for at least 2 days free time and descent weather.
Then the shout out came and as a follower i thought it was not only an excuse to go riding but also meet like-minded people and off course get my site a bit of exposure.

I’m not a fanboy kind of person so it was not to meet Pedro the 69k subscribers YouTuber but to meet Pedro the guy who brings video’s that are nice to watch and give me some ideas for my own trips.
I think we are all equal and the only thing that makes us different is where we come from and what that background did with our interests and i have the feeling Pedro thinks the same.
I think we have some similarities and it was just like riding with one of my friends.

If you follow him too you know he’s a big fan of historic buildings so we gathered at a fortress and also had lunch at a fortress.

He also wanted it typical Dutch for his international followers so a lot of dyke roads but those aren’t hard to find here.
Only in the north we don’t have much rivers but we solved that by digging canals but the roads next to that are not that exciting because canals are very straight.
Unless you go offroad like in my Adventure Shield advanced video, then the water can be a bit scary.

I and i think we all had a great day, one guy did fall at a traffic light and hit the asphalt hard with his head. That’s why we wear helmets and he just had i mild headache and minor damage on his bike. We taped the indicator back with the electrical tape from my toolkit.
Just 2 corners away we had lunch where he could have a bit of rest before heading back home. I hope the damage was not too expensive.

After lunch we rode a bit more, some went home after lunch and a few stayed until the end.
Pedro and one of the others also had to go south so until Eindhoven we rode together but most of that was highway.
Pedro had some work to do and from where we split i had to go another 70km to go.
The last bit i took my regular route form work to get some dirt after all.
The sun was starting to set and normally i don’t take the forest part because there are deer that come out at that time and i don’t want to scare them or worse, hit them.
But i did very calm hoping to see one but not this time.
It was a good day and because it was Easter i had the Monday off from work and had my 2 days after all to fix the fence.

Oops i did it again…

This weekend i had some fun with my mate Jeffrey exploring the neighbourhood scouting for some offroad and this time i tested the crash protection at speed.
It passed with flying colour but the previous owner bend the handlebar and no i bend the new one, it definitely needs a stronger one.

The exhaust was also bend again so i hope the high mounted i ordered will come in sooner than later, the word on the street is that MIVV would start delivery the 30th of April so it should be in this week i guess.
New handlebar is also ordered but that and this weekend is a story for later, this was just a teaser.

For next weekend i was planning to get the ride out with Pedro Mota edited and written down and the week after this exploration weekend.
Project Africa is also starting to to turn into some sort of plan in my head but you have to wait ’till after the ScanBaltic trip for that.
Have a nice week and until the next one…

All sorts off stuff

That’s right, there is a lot of little things going on.
2 weeks ago i went on a ride out with Pedro Mota but i haven’t had time yet to do something with the footage. Keep track of his channel because i might end up in his version but i don’t know when he’s uploading it because he doesn’t have a very tight schedule.

Why didn’t i had time?
I was waiting for a 2 day weekend with nice weather to put up the new fence a had in the backyard for a while now. The old one was rotten and fell over May last year and was held up by a couple of ratchet straps.
Luckily that weekend was Easter so even with the spontaneous ride out on Saturday i still had 2 days.
The second picture was taken when i took the old down but is better in place there.

Glad that was done and the weekend after was filled also.
Saturday i went back north not far from Witteveen where i did the Offroad training but now with Ragnarok for the VFROC forum tinker day, not much tinkering going on but meeting forum members and give them a chance to meet the club members and maybe get them exited to get a full membership is actually the main goal.
When i got back i had the odo raised with 650km and more to come the next day.

Sunday was the first truckrun since Covid hit. A truckrun is a ride out with trucks for the disabled and i do a bunch of them (or with trikes/sidecars) as a traffic controler.
In this particular run i was for the second time the the main guide.

My job was to ride behind the police van and decide when and how fast we go.
It was a 65km tour but it was more exhausting than the 650 the day before but well worth it. The clients where smiling, the truck drivers where happy and the crowd was cheering. On top of that the weather was just great too.

When i started this blog i had some business cards made and they where finished so i ordered a new batch with some improvement.
The new have the logo with the “.nl” in it on the front and in the back there is not the website address any more but my name, a better description what the site is about, may mail address and a QR code to the site.
They also print clothing so i ordered a long sleeve too, i needed something between a sweater and a T-shirt.

Today is Kings day, a day off from work to celebrate the kings birthday.
For me it’s a day to commemorate a friend who died after a motorcycle accident on a weekend trip together to check out the routes for the club weekend in 2019.
He was crazy for ice cream, sometimes on those weekends we came back from the day trip around 300km and then we went of again to get ice cream 50km away from the hotel.
Today it was just me and Ron, a friend of my deceased friend but since the funeral we became friends too and what way better to commemorate him?

Go have an ice cream together off course.

It was a bit of a ride so i made a nice route there hitting some sand too and i knew there was some sand close to a WW I memorial.
A piece of the “dead wire”, an electrified fence which was back then 332km long to separate the by Germany occupied Belgium and neutral Netherlands.
It was not very effective because it didn’t took them long to discover rubber boots and gloves was enough to climb the fence without getting fried.

Did you know why we have such good cheese?
We let our cows relax at the riverside.

Somewhere this week i changed my front sprocket on Sporherre from a 15 too a 16 tooth to see how that works out for fuel consumption.
This configuration reduces the RPM which is nice on highway speed and should reduce fuel consumption. You loose some power on the low end but the T7 has power enough to overcome that and getting him to slide offroad is still easy.
Today was a good day to get an impression, not sure if i keep it but at least until i change the chain set before i leave for the North Cape.
On this trip i was not very impressed with what i gained in kilometres. I did to Witteveen with the 15T 1:21,75 and today 1:22,3.
Normal weeks with the standard commute it went even down from 1:19 and a bit to 1:18 and a bit.

The upcoming weekend i have a friend over, Jeffrey.
He had a VFR and bought a BMW GSA and we did the TET south NL with the big bikes and when i bought Ecstasy he also bought a XT660Z.
Saturday we go do my commute in the opposite direction and then go back south to do some more exploring where i ended up on that single track i shared before.
When we come back we have a few beers and he will crash in the spare bedroom… no drinking and riding.
Until the next one

Adventureshield advanced

First of April i took a day off at work so i could without any hurry ride up north.
The week before the weather was real nice but April has it’s own will and started off with snow.
It was at least not as bad as forecasted but it was quite chill.
I made a nice route but ended up with cutting some corners here and there.
On my way up i went by at #JJSuspension so they could check if i did a decent job at installing and setting up the suspension.
I was the first they sold the #Touratech WTE kit to without installing it and it turned out i did a pretty good job.
There is something more in it but that is already on the level i have to find out by using and trying the little tweaks because that is more personal preference.

I spend i bit more time than expected and that also was a reason to skip some parts of the route i planned and it was still a 350km ride in 0 to 5 degree C weather.
Glad i took the heated gear back out of summer storage.

The next day was much better, still quite fresh but the wind laid down and there was some sun.
I left the heated gear in the hotel because i knew Albert from #Adventureshield.nl would gave me enough challenge to get warm without it.
There even where some moments i wished i took the summer gloves with me.
Still we had some snow, hail, wind and a few raindrops between the sunny periods. All seasons in one day.

After a little warm-up we stopped for i quick picture on the way to the first practice location, you might remember the picture form a previous blog.

Most of the training is on public roads but also in privately owned forests with permission from the owner(s).
A lot of roads and tracks getting closed for motorised vehicles but there are still places where we can have some fun, please slow down when you pass pedestrians or cyclists to prevent more closures.
That also goes for sound, how much i like a nice growl it’s most definitely not because i’m getting old that i say it just is not done any more.
We live in weak wining society and being stubborn by keeping the loud pipe only bites you in the ass when you end up at the next sign telling you are not allowed to enter a nice piece of dirt.

But enough lecture, back to the fun. Nice old bridge foundations.

And after the walk through and a few laps of that exercise i just had to take one with the bike as well.

I could spend a lot of time writing about the day but this is one of the things that is better in a video.
It turned out i was the only student, apparently no one dared to take on this level and it turned out when we got back that i was the first who completed all 3 levels. Fun fact, i also did it with 3 different bikes. The Basic with Ragnarok, my big ass Crossrourer, the intermediate with Ecstasy the XT660Z and now the advanced with Sporherre the T7 who performed just perfect and i will take on the ScanBaltic trip with full confidence.

I hope you will enjoy the video.
There are 2 parts where i edited a fast forward and those ended up a bit strange, like they took a few frames from where it already is back to normal.
It ended up being 27 minutes but leaving more out would not do justice to the great day it was.
If you want to do an offroad training i really recommend https://www.adventureshield.nl/ and if you didn’t do any training before do start with the basic training.
This is challenging enough to start with and the intermediate is probably too much to start with. When i did that level there where others that did some basic training in Belgium but that was way too basic to enter the intermediate which is perfectly doable when they had the basic at Adventureshield.

Change of plans

I just discovered yesterday i will have a long weekend, thought Easter was next week.
Plan was to place the new fence i have standing in a corner over a month but was waiting for a free weekend and this weekend was finally completely unbooked.

I’m making progress with editing the video from my offroad training and still planning on have that blog finished this weekend but it might be at the end of the extension.
Today Pedro Mota, a Dutch motorcycle traveller i follow on YouTube decided to do a Dutch ride out now he’s back in the Netherlands so guess what i’m going to do tomorrow… for you probably today or even further in the past.
Good thing i have an extended weekend because things come by that mess up your plans…
Still have my 2 days for the fence but i hope it will be finished in one, it’s not a big one and the old one is kept in place by ratchet straps since it fell over by a storm May last year.
It should not be hard to remove the old but a certain Murphy figured out some law and that’s why i wanted a day to spare.

See you soon with the Adventureshield blog!

Weekly update

I was hoping to at least get something posted once a week but i do have to work in order to pay for all my gear and trips so there’s not every week something exciting to write about.
I do think there is enough going on in my life to write at least a small bit to keep the blog alive.
Feel free to comment if things are too boring and you rather have noting for 3 or 3 weeks, i can handle negative reviews. If not i would not be able to do trips like i do.

Last week i had the weekend to Witteveen for the advanced offroad training with #adventureshield.nl and it was great but i didn’t had the time to edit the video footage into a nice movie. Hope i find some time this week but here is a sneak preview.

Yes, i was the only student so i had one on one lessons from Albert.
The basic and intermediate training are well booked but apparently not a lot of people dare to take on the advanced with bikes this size (but it can be done with lighter bikes).

I didn’t learn just to control Sporherre better but also that not all minor imperfections on the T7 are to keep the cost low on parts that are very often changed anyway but it also has a design flaw which i already knew but now experienced in person.
When you fall on the right side the chances are big you will bend the exhaust hanger pushing the exhaust in and damaging the swingarm.
I kicked it back out but you can do that just so many times before it breaks, a new high mount exhaust will prevent that just like damaging the swingarm when you forget it or are in a situation where you’re not able to kick/bend it back.
At 2/3 of the cost of a swingarm or a fraction of the price of a new frame because the hanger is welded on the frame??? (did i mention design flaw?) it was not what i wanted but the smart move was to order a new exhaust.

It comes with some perks like 2,7kg less weight, 2,2HP extra and 1,4Nm added torque but i thought i was done with spending.
Another thing i thought i didn’t need was the #CamelADV one finger clutch kit but at this level of riding it seems it is not a gimmick so just let it be done and add that last bit to the cart as well. In time i probably figure something out to be improved but with these last parts added when they’re in there is not much i didn’t change and this bike must be damn close to perfection and i really love this bike.

Biggest time consumer last week was the VFROC, yesterday a ride out and last week i had been busy with the Fred Schoenmakers weekend. The registration period has ended but i had to find 2 more participants to get the group discount.
Normally we had an reserve list but this year when i was expecting an even bigger reserve list the opposite was true but i got it and now i’m busy with the puzzle to put everybody in the right room.
It should be ready tonight and then i start a mailing to the participants announcing the next step in the process.

Also been busy with tyres.
You would think that sand is soft and gentle on the tyres but it’s the complete opposite.
On Raganarok i did almost 9000km with the Anakee Wild but that was about 90% onroad, with Sporherre i’m happy to get 4000 out of them and very happy if it gets to 4500 and that’s only half what i need for my ScanBaltic trip.
I want to try the Heidenau K60 Ranger, the K60 Scout is a popular tyre for overlanders because of the crazy lifespan up to 20.000km but it has a centre strip which can be a pain in the but offroad. The Ranger is more like the Anakee Wild and will be wearing out faster but if it just get halve the lifespan of the Scout it’s worth it.
I just don’t like to go on a big trip with a unfamiliar tyre so i hope to get hold on a set very soon to be able to test them.
Otherwise i have to take the gamble with the Anakee Wild hoping the big stint to the North Cape which probably is mostly paved will extend the lifespan enough to get around without the hassle of sourcing a tyre on the road.
Next update i hope will be the story about the training.

Until the next one…

Bugger

Let’s hope it’s getting better again from now on.
Tomorrow i leave for a weekend up north to do the advanced offroad training but the weather took a turn for the worse with snow forecasted.

But the week went not all well in other ways too.
Last week i ordered a Insta360 One R K4 camera from an outlet with a nice price, 2 days later it was in and when i put it together (it’s a modular system) it went on but the battery was low and it probably it got fried because it went dead.
Because it was an outlet (returned within 30 days) i did get warranty but not for a new camera, have to send it back and i get my money back so no loss but also no cheap extra 4K camera.

Yesterday i wanted to test another adjustment to the suspension but it didn’t felt good, turned it from 2 clicks minus to 2 clicks plus on the rebound and the base setting was probably the best for that part but when i went back it got worse instead of close to pretty good like it was.
I thought i made a mistake so back to the base setting but everything was drama… turned out i had a flat rear tyre due to a screw.
Took the screw out to prevent further damage to the tube and put some air back in to limp home.

Tyre is fixed and holding pressure but i bought a new tube for both wheels. The rear because the hole was pretty big (about a centimetre) and had already a patch. The front to take as a spare because that size will work also in the back, that way i only need one spare in my limited luggage space.

I wanted to risk patching this to see if this will work just so i know and don’t need to gamble on a big trip.
It’s still holding pressure and if it make it tomorrow it will stay good. If not i can put the spare in and do the training anyway or even buy another rear tube on my way to put the right size in.
The Netherlands is a small country with not a big detour needed to get to a shop so better risk it now and learn than have to figure it out in the middle of nowhere in a unfamiliar country.

Plan for tomorrow was to take a nice route with a stop in Mill at #JJSuspension for the fine-tuning of the setup but with the rain today and the snow that should come in tonight i think i will leave a bit later and take the direct route to Mill.
In that case we don’t have to work on a mud dripping Sporherre.
When i leave there i always can choose to take the planned route and get dirty after all.
I will take the Gopro as planned but will work another time with a voice over. Didn’t had the time to build my dual microphone (Cardo and Gopro in one) and the media mod is not waterproof.
Also changing battery’s take too long and i don’t have the time because i have to keep up with the instructor and the rest of the trainees.

Now charging all the gear and prepare the luggage.
Also want to take the tankbag to try that and get a bit used to it. Saturday i only leave the R40 set on because that’s the bag i always have on the back.
Also the first time i will use the new camelback i bought after losing the one i had in Hungary.
Hope the weather will be a bit better on Saturday, the forecasting says it will be dry and 8 degrees Celsius… Fingers crossed.

A day early

Like i said Monday is a too long day at work but Tuesday i went right in with prepping and painting the underside of the tank.

That is a double coat of primer and a triple coat of 2K topcoat. Yes there are some runners but it’s just the underside and i had the can up close to get also some paint in the space behind the spot-welded bracket.
In between layers i worked on the STS module.
There where lots of video’s on YouTube about it and also one with a Yamaha what came in handy with confirming the cable colours and which side the male and female connectors need to come.
When i installed the handlebar i already put in the anti lock rubbers on the switch and after cutting the wires and reconnecting them again it didn’t work…
Maybe if i plug in the main connector back in?

Because the paint dries very fast the time i used buttoning up the STS and putting the front back together (wheel, brakes and fender) the tank already could be handled.
The real hardening can also take place when it’s back in place so i continued and at 21:45 i was ready to make the first test ride to check if everything works as it should.
I set the suspension up to it’s base spec given by #Touratech and put on my riding gear (i never ride without it).
First impression, the suspension is very stiff but the handling is tight. Let’s see if i can find some dirt but the only bits i know close by are a no go and because of the time i don’t want to go too far out. This was my only option, this picture was made during a reconnaissance for the MAG to find out if there are any visible reasons for this closure.

It says that destination traffic is allowed to enter. Funny thing is that there is no definition for a destination so in fact using that road to the right to do a safety check was my destination.

After a few runs up and down i knew it was safe to go to work with Sporherre the next day and what the first adjustment to the suspension setting needed to be.
The next day i took my regular offroad commute back home and that left me a bit confused.
The suspension was still a bit stiff but very planted, do i need to adjust more or first get a bit used to it. It might be not stiff but just firm instead of the sponge what came on it.
If it is a wrong stiff it would try to kick me of with every (speed)bump but that was not the case, on the other hand it was most definitely not comfortable so i did some more adjusting.
Thursday was another try, still nor super comfortable but also not uncomfortable any more so i leave it as is for the upcoming days and Friday on my way to Witteveen for the Advanced offroad training with #adventureshield.nl i go by at #JJSuspension for some finetuning and learning a bit more about setting up the suspension and this suspension in particular.

So, next week there will be no blog unless i just want to share a picture or so.
I’ll try to get some nice footage from the weekend trip. Finally a trip again @Ron 😉.
The way up i have a nice route planned with some dirt tracks and some parts of the TET to get the feel of riding with luggage. It will be not the setup i’m going to use on my ScanBaltic trip but i think i put on the tankbag to see if that will get in the way or not and when it does if i can move it a bit to get it out of the way.
In the back i use the R40 that i have on always with the tools in one side and the clothing for the evening in the other side and i’ll add the Stinger 22 (the stinger 8 is just a bit too small for the shoes).
The training i will do with my daily setup. I can take it of to go in as light as possible but why not learn the tricks with my minimum setup?