Where is the bloody tiler?
My first ride report, so please be gentle. Itís going to be live report, because I like them the most and being lazy I wouldnít be able to write anything after my return.
Some seven years ago I was flying to Australia to do some more studying. From the plane I could see a lot of interesting stuff Ė mountain ranges, deserts, forests. I thought it would be nice to go there on a bike one day. It would be even nicer to go and visit my family in Poland on a bike, going across what I saw. Australia to Poland on a bike...
Couple years later I found out about Motosyberia guys on some Polish website. From their blog I learned about Advrider and became a massively addicted lurker. LordMaciek showed me the way. Later came other highly inspirational riders Ė Mataljockey (from which I learned about G650Xchallenge and how to enjoy riding), Colebatech (this guy is just a legend and I hope his bike is not copyrighted). Dr. Rock and LDF with their Mobius Trip are heroes too Ė one day Iíll take my wife for a ride (although I might need to knock her out of consciousness first...), today Iíll just take handful of riding ideas and solutions. Oisin Ė Jesus, I really laughed reading his stuff! Mongolian section of his ride report effectively forced me to go there. Rtwdoug with his unique choice of motorcycles and relaxed attitude is always a good read. At the end of my short list came Nathan riding Elena with a lot humour and Luke & Nick with their constant problem fixing exercises. Evan and Charlie are on a list too, although for a while they fooled me into thinking that I canít leave my village without 10000000$ budget and five people crew. So here comes my BIG THANKS to all of you, for your advice and/or inspiration.
In 2007 I got my first bike in Australia Ė KTM 690 motard . I loved it so much I wanted to take it for cross-continental ride. Luckily my brain woke up right in time to stop me, although it could add more challenge to the mix. Idea was growing in my head rapidly so I started to look for companion. Riding solo if fun, but sometimes itís good to have someone to cover you in trouble or talk to by the campfire.
Here comes Jonathon Ė highly unlikely choice since he is not a motorcycle rider. But heís a top bloke in all other aspects of blokeness. Such a minor obstacle is not enough to stop me of course, so I poisoned his brain with my master plan. His lovely wife might still hate me for that... I showed him my route plan, itinerary and possible budget requirements. It happened over a beer in local pub and thatís it on the photo below. It was enough to plant a seed in his head. Sometimes I think men are way too simple if that was enough to make him a proper adventure rider...
Fast forward three years Ė I got BMW G650Xchallenge. It was slightly
used, but already nicely equipped. I got it at the right time Ė when previous owner ran out of enthusiasm. Despite that I still managed to strap a lot of good stuff to it. During last Easter weekend I took it for 5 days, 4000km trip and it worked great. I certainly hope that lots of preparation will make up for a lack of talent...
Visas sorted (6 of them), flight booked, shipping agencies aligned. The only problem is that John was still missing a bike. I used my Jedi powers to force him into shopping mood and he got F800GS. Truth is that he lives in Singapore and had to get bike in Australia (price here is ridiculous, but still lower than over there). It took him some time to get here and find something. Slightly used, but looks like new. Due to lack of time for customising he takes it in stock form.
Right now bikes should be somewhere between Australia and Korea. Wendy Choi is going to pick them up and transfer to Donghae for Sunday, 26<SUP>th</SUP> on June ferry. I should be in Korea on Saturday morning, bit of touristy crap in Seoul, handshake with Wendy and bus ride across the country. From Vladivostok it will be pretty straight forward Ė first we need to go along the Chinese border to Mongolia and then south to -stans. Iíll try to put proposed map of our route in the next instalment. Iím sure everything will work out somehow.
And yes Ė Iím a tiler and my clients must hate me for this trip :D
Approximate map of the whole trip looks like this:
Detailed, although still not exact route:
It only shows the key locations we want to visit, and it's still just a rough idea. For sure we want to ride through all those countries, but there is a lot of good old freestyle to be done. Nothing is planned for European leg of the trip. I guess we will worry about that when we get there.
Love the first map, just needs a scale bar!
Hope you have an awesome trip
You're asking for too much - that's as far as my 3'rd grader's geography knowledge allowed me.. after couple of beers on backside of a beer coaster.:evil
I got the bike with few extra bits:
-front suspension upgraded - although I do not know how much better it is now and what was the upgrade about, for all I know it could be only the stickers...
- rear Ohlins suspension
- rear rack
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It looked like this:
Since I had not enough time to ride the bike like it deserves, it left me with enough money (not spent on petrol..) to upgrade this and that.
First came the front fairing with mudguard Ė wind protection and better lights, with a lot of cockpit space. Then muffler Ė I bought the cheapest on the market, which was a mistake. Leo Vince is attached in one spot only and tends to drop, causing burns on water hose. I might have to pay for that later... The reason for change is that original has a cat converter that heats up a lot Ė my plan was to get Giant Loop bag that could get burned. I donít care about power and noise Ė after KTM itís too quiet and powerful like a postie bike anyway.
Bag came next and is big enough for my needs. Just in case I got Wolfman duffle bag, just as a spare space. Who knows Ė I might buy a goat or something!
Next on a list Ė steering. Wider bar, steering damper, clutch lever, levers protection. I was stubbing in the dark and got the wrong stuff after all. Zeta clutch lever is awesome Ė two fingers is better than four, and stock one looks like it belongs to some kind of farming equipment anyway. It has no neutral light switch though and no mirror mount, so I got some plastic one that shakes like an alcoholic.
Damper Ė the cheaper the better, right? Wrong! Scotts unit might be good, but mounting is crap. Some sort of tower/pole/lug needs to be welded to the frame. It is too tall, load is too high and it cracked after two days. Welding itself was so expensive, that I ended up being north of 1000$ for this exercise. Plan was to weld it back again in Russia - cheaper for sure and cannot get worse than it is now.
Next on a list Ė lever protectors. Zeta makes a nice ones, with built-in blinkers. Too bad it doesnít work with ABS stuff. There is a lot of hydraulic connectors behind brake lever and it all would be devastated during first tip-over to the right. I got Barkbusters then - much better fit, designed for this particular bike model.
Both Scotts and levers protection will end up on my other bike, so itís not a complete waste.
Stock seat is just bad. Hard like a brick, shaped like a brick and nice like a brick too. XPC seat is much better, although still seems a bit hard after four 10-hour days in a saddle during my test ride (slight baboon-ass syndrome). Just in case I take Airhawk with me.
Bashplate Ė TT with toll compartment. Itís good to keep heavy stuff way down, but I wonder how itís going to work out during water crossings. I see some rusty tools in near future :eek1
Stainless steel wheel spacers Ė better than stock aluminium that allegedly wears out quick.
Booster plug and K&N air filter for good measure and I was ready to go!
Being qualified bush mechanic I decided not to touch engine as I would have no clue how to fix it later.
I was brave enough to do some electickery Ė three switches on cockpit to switch off GPS power supply, grip heaters and cigarette socket. Grip heaters have their own control unit, but at that time I wasnít sure what model Iíll get so it was a precaution rather than necessity. Cigarette socket is crucial to charge phone, Scala Rider and Spot batteries during ride.
Iíve got a feeling that there is something I missed but anyway Ė thatís how it looks now:
There was also a front view photo, but there is some Ďno nipplesí policy here that I have to respect.
Side view, ready to go:
There is also last minute update on steering damper - Scotts will meeet Ms. Hacksaw Blade in Korea, replaced by RalleMoto unit.
It looks like ash cloud is gone so I'll be gone tomorrow too!
Spot - http://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?...54dfe024e6086d
Good Luck Mate! I'm NNNNNNNNNN :lol3
Awesome racki,this is gonna be great
After landing in Korea it took just a while to get luggage, find Jonathon and jump on a bus. Tiling job at Korean airport was mediocre Ė governments try to outstyle each other by having better looking airport, but they are lacking in finish quality. They surprised with the menís loo Ė just check this out:
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Do they really have such a long penises? LordMaciek stated that Polish people have the longest willies on Earth, but I must confess that reaching all the way to the bottom of this was a challenge. They might have very short legs though...
Wendy picked us up from bus terminal, we left luggage in storage (locked with her fingerprint scan Ė she didnít want us to leave her somewhere J ) and went exploring Seoul. We were totally surprised that she wanted to waste time with us and are eternally grateful that she did. In exchange we embarrassed her in subway by talking too loud and having too much fun Ė some old fart didnít like it and reprimanded her. Why not us? We were the loud idiots. Well, we learned about yeat another cultural difference the unpleasant way.
We visited Royal Palace and then went for some food and traditional tea. I liked the old, narrow part of Seoul , food was great and Soju (rice wine) wasnít bad either.
Of course we missed the bus to Donghae, but Wendy saved our asses once again Ė she talked ticket lady into exchanging our expired tickets for new ones. There was a bit of nervousness when we tried to pay Wendy for her services Ė ATM didnít like our cards. She said that we can transfer money later, but Iíve read somewhere about some clients that didnít pay her fully and I didnít want her to feel exposed to next scam. Secret stash of USD kept for Russia and Ďstansí saved our reputation.
Haven't seen much big motorbikes in Seoul, but there was a lot of 'cargo scooters' (most of them were a scooters alt least...):
Bus was OK Ė it was pissing heavily, we were glad bikes were already in Donghae. Jonathon speaks some Korean so he managed to explain to taxi driver that we need some shitty hotel with bad reputation. I donít know Ė maybe he was asking for something fancy, but thatís not where we were sleeping that night.
Local beer and chicken joint filled us up, giving me serious headache in the morning. It must have been the chicken...
Go Bart Go! This looks great already. Excellent start. I'm hooked.
I've been eyeing that G650X for awhile now. This may tip me over the edge.
It looks great from behind.:D
We woke up, grabbed taxi to the ferry terminal (about 700m ride) and stood in line. Almost all passengers were Russians or Koreans. Apart from us there were two 4wd with French crew and one German guy in 4wd. We were being constantly passed in queue by some sneaky Russians - there is only one of them in front of you, but it seems he holds spot for 40 others. Eventually got tickets and went to sort bikes out.
They were still crated, but already on the ferry. Good for us, otherwise we would have to set them up in the rain. Crew let us onboard to work on the bikes and after 90 minutes we were almost ready.
Bikes can ride now, but I forgot to take some special key to undo steering bar in Jonathonís bike (it was lowered for shipping by the dealer). We had no time to put dampers on, I just got rid of Scotts mount by means of hacksaw blade kept in my bare hand and a lot of swear words.
We were not sure about the luggage so took it with us, which was a mistake Ė we had to walk around with 30kg of awkwardly shaped stuff, then there was security checkpoint. I didnít realise that it wonít be legal to take knife onboard and I had two of them plus knife blade in Leatherman. It would be a massive loss to my camping gear so I weaselled my way in by pretending that knifes didnít exist and Leatherman was just a pair of pliers. We were not allowed to take all the gear onboard anyway Ė it was taken checked inn and would be released in Vladivostok.
Then came the bad news Ė because of some typhoon our cruise was delayed. They said something about leaving next day around 5 am.
The only thing to do was to socialize with other passengers. We made friends with group of four French guys taking two 4wdís across Russia, one German guy with the same plan but different route and couple of Russians. I expected foreigners to stick together, but was surprised by Russians approaching us to talk about our trip (we stood up from the crowd from the beginning carrying helmets and strange luggage).
Everybody was nice, even stereotypical Russian drunks treated us with a lot of gallantry, or least as much gallantry as can be expected from drunks. Ferry was due to arrive at 11 am on Tuesday, so after solving Johnís steering bar problem (6mm hexagonal socket fits male torx perfectly), we socialised a bit more.
Then it stopped raining for a while so I took some pictures f the ferry:
Sleeping on the outside is always better than with 20 smokers in one room:
Few more hours and we should be there:
There was not much to comment on tiling on the ferry.
It's begun !
This ride report is looking great...
Happy, safe travels mate.
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