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Old 04-30-2012, 09:44 AM   #76
Adv Grifter
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The boys have their own web site and are on Facebook. See links below.
I'm guessing they are somewhere in Eastern Europe or Russia by this time.

Eventually they'll figure out that they will got 1000 times more followers here on ADV Rider than on any web site or Facebook. I don't do Facebook and don't go to individual web sites. (not enough hours in the day!)

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Old 05-06-2012, 02:10 PM   #77
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UK to Romania.

So...We Finally managed to hit the road after a stressful final week of last minute to do's. I'm writing this now in Brasov, Romania after riding the legendary Transfagarason road today. More on that later...

Leaving the UK was not really the enjoyable experience I originally hoped for. Although the bike was pretty much good to go, working on it until the very last minute meant that I hadn't left myself any time to really consider what I was going to pack. Inevitably, I ended up shoving all sorts in at the last minute making the load on the back a ridiculous size. I felt more like I was mounting a horse not a dirt bike. We're using Wolfman soft luggage on the sides with a lifeventure dry bag on the top.Nevertheless, we set sail on the Dover to Calais ferry at which point we both realised there really was no turning back now.

We made it as far as Arras, France before getting our head down for the night. The roads were spot on. It was as if they had been designed with a sports bike in mind. We immediately wanted more power but reminded ourselves of the reason for choosing the Drz. We were and still are confident it will come in to it's own the further east we make it. We both already knew that we will be back in the Alps region on bigger bikes at some point in the near future so for now, the main focus was to get in the thick of it all in Russia and Mongolia. For that reason we powered on through the next day stopping for the night in Stuttgart before setting up camp in Prague. From Prague, we continued through to Bratislava and found a campsite just outside of the city. The campsite wasn't yet open for the season so there was no other guests or running water but the hotel next door was hosting a Miss Slovakia beauty contest so we could hardly complain.



It was here where we both decided we were sick of carrying so much luggage. There and then we both had a massive de-bulk session. I was impressed with just how ruthless we both were. Pretty much everything went other than a few pairs of boxers, socks and a couple of t-shirts. We also revisited the spares we were carrying and worked out what we could lose and what we could strap to the bike so we didn't need to cart it in and out of the tent or hostels each night and morning. In the Wolfman sides we have clothes and spares, on the top we have tents and cooking gear only. The tools have been strategically placed throughout the bikes and mainly in a lockable tool kit on the back of one bike and the big chain lock on other bike. The weight seems to be fairly distributed between the two bikes. I'm also now happy with the amount of weight we are carrying and no doubt the sub-frame is in for a better chance of survival. The following morning the bike felt like a completely different ride. It was a huge relief.



We took a quick detour to Vienna then on to Budapest and to Cluj Napoca, Romania. Yesterday we pushed on to here, Brasov.
I know there is already a million and one ride reports on this part of Europe so I'm conscious I shouldn't bore you with ride reports just yet until we hit the slightly more extreme areas but today was a special day that I think should be documented.
The hospitable offers we have received from people on the riding forums have been amazing. Today was the perfect example of this. Today we rode with a guy called Mike here in Brasov. As he lives here he knows the area and the Transfagarason road like the back of his hand. He saw a post I had put up on Thumper Talk and being a DRz owner himself immediately contacted me to see if we would be passing through Romania.
We met this morning and headed out for a days ride. It's a fairly long straight boring ride from Brasov to the beginning of the Transfagarason but definitely well worth it. Upon reaching the bottom of the road, we started climbing but quickly hit a concrete blockade preventing traffic from going any further. Mike explained that due to snow fall, the road does not open until later next month. I was questioning whether it was worth us riding all the way out there but when I asked him if we could go any further he responded with "Do you see any snow here?"
He just snuck through the barrier and popped a big wheelie on the other side. We followed, but conscious of damaging the bikes, without the big wheelie. This of course didn't have anything to do with our wheeling capability. :-)

We climbed and climbed, hairpin after hairpin and as the road was fully closed there was not a car in sight. There had been multiple landslides over the winter which were yet to be cleared but avoiding them didn't seem like too much of an issue for Romanian Mike so we just stuck with him. The views were incredible and it was excellent to get to grips with the bikes on such a road. We were eventually prevented from going any further as there was thick snow covering the entire road.

Mike had a little chuckle everytime we discussed the rest of our route around the world. When we questioned if he would ever want to do it, his reply was "On a DRz? ha, no chance."
He later took us on some dirt trails. The bike felt right at home. It will be interesting to see how the bike holds up.

For me, Romania has been a real highlight and I'm already excited about riding through the rest of Transylvania before heading into Ukraine. A massive thanks to Mike. I'm sure he would be happy to show anyone else visiting this area around so contact me if you want to track him down.

Anyone ridden the Ukraine before? Ultimately we need to head in the direction of Moscow so if anybody knows any good routes that we should take then that would be massively appreciated.

All in all, the trip is going exactly as we hoped and the bikes feel superb. Choosing road tyres has been the best call yet. The bikes are handling so well on the good surfaces on Europe but we are looking forward to donning the knobblies in Moscow and finally getting the bikes on the dirt. We have a load of video footage which we will be editing and posting up soon.

Pete.











Me and Mike on his DRz SM. What a legend!!

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Old 05-06-2012, 02:19 PM   #78
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Old 05-06-2012, 03:16 PM   #79
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Wicked awesome! Best of British!
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:21 PM   #80
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I'm in!
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:49 PM   #81
Adv Grifter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peteFoulkes View Post
It was here where we both decided we were sick of carrying so much luggage. There and then we both had a massive de-bulk session. I was impressed with just how ruthless we both were. Pretty much everything went other than a few pairs of boxers, socks and a couple of t-shirts. We also revisited the spares we were carrying and worked out what we could lose and what we could strap to the bike so we didn't need to cart it in and out of the tent or hostels each night and morning.
Good job on trimming things down. Not easy to do. Another reason I like doing a "shake down" cruise on a new bike before jumping off. As I said in earlier post: "... packing light is a fine art!" Looks like you guys got religion early!

I now use mostly Quik dry synthetic fabrics. Very little Cotton anything. Smart Wool long johns and socks, Gerbing Jacket, Moto gear for hot weather. Keen shoes for walking. I start very light and sometimes buy items as needed. I wash every other day or so. Shorts, T shirts dry in 2 to 3 hours. Socks, 6 hours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peteFoulkes View Post
In the Wolfman sides we have clothes and spares, on the top we have tents and cooking gear only. The tools have been strategically placed throughout the bikes and mainly in a lockable tool kit on the back of one bike and the big chain lock on other bike. The weight seems to be fairly distributed between the two bikes. I'm also now happy with the amount of weight we are carrying and no doubt the sub-frame is in for a better chance of survival. The following morning the bike felt like a completely different ride. It was a huge relief.
I sometimes camp but rarely cook on the road unless with groups. I prefer interaction with locals eating local food. Of course I carry snacks and some food. In some parts of the world camping is not practical or safe. Most of Mexico, Cent. Am. and S. America I never camped.

But you guys will be experts at setting up/tearing down camp by the time you reach Magadan, and I realize camping is a necessity where you're headed. Enjoy!

Everyone has their own idea about what parts and tools to carry. After 45K on my DR650 and 200,000 on a couple other bikes in the last ten years ... I now carry very little. But I start out with lots of NEW parts on a well tested machine. Lots of it is just blind luck of course. But at some point, you get a sense for your bike's needs ... or not.

Reading ride reports on RTW travel since about 1998, I see one common and recurring problem among many riders: Chains and Sprocket problems. So many riders can't seem to get this right. This especially plagues inexperienced riders ... who aren't really long time motorcyclists.

My advice is get the best X ring chain you can find (there really is only one) and NEW OEM sprockets to start out. I carry TWO spare front sprockets and change them every 8K to 10K miles. This extends chain life by a lot. I carry no chain tools or spare chain or rear sprocket.

I also take serious care of my chain and typically get 25,000 miles out of a chain, even doing lots of off road. With this mileage I am able to plan when to do a change.

I clean chain daily when doing big miles. Off road, I only use WD40. Wiping it down and keeping it clean means it will last ... if it's adjusted properly and lightly oiled for road use. Many run a too tight chain. Not good on a heavily loaded bike.

Another common problem? Battery. I would replace it every 6 to 8 months, just for good PM. They are quite small. Only so many starts in it. Headlight off when not needed is recommended to extend it.

I carry no spare cables (I start with NEW ones and they last 3 to 5 years), no CDI box or coil. I do carry two spare plugs (Iridium of course) and spare rear brake pads. (fronts last a LONG time) Also, I carry fork seals. But if you keep your seal/fork area clean you probably will never cut a seal.

Next biggest challenge: Tires.
I assume you guys have contacted Walter Colebatch? The Russian expert?
Are you buying tires locally? Hope they are not too dear. Good luck in Ukraine, ride safe!
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:23 PM   #82
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I`m in...
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Old 05-10-2012, 04:36 PM   #83
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Hope the remainder of your trip goes well! Good cause.

I'm a little surprised at the brevity of your trip reporting. You sort of breeze over entire countries in a sentence or two. I'm not sure if you're planning on telling the full story later. But I think it would make for a better read (for us greedy wanna be globe trotters) if you told more about your adventures. I hope you have the time both to enjoy the ride and the sights and people, as well as write about your experiences. Hope you're not rushing the miles in order to "make good time".

I think more stories, more description, more pictures will lead to more followers, more money raised, etc. Just my thoughts.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:00 PM   #84
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Subscribed. Well done, gents.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:11 PM   #85
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waiting.....

Loving the write ups guys, keep up the good work.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:14 PM   #86
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Great write up guys. Looking on intently as I have a DRz here in Oz and after reading Colebatch's stories (and buying his DVD) am planning a similar trip (most likely from UK)
Keep it up, stay safe and have FUN!!!
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:58 AM   #87
peteFoulkes OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superzoom View Post
Hope the remainder of your trip goes well! Good cause.

I'm a little surprised at the brevity of your trip reporting.

I think more stories, more description, more pictures will lead to more followers, more money raised, etc. Just my thoughts.
I agree... More thorough reports are likely to make for better reading. I've been maintaining a personal diary so I have all the details documented. It's sometimes tricky to get hold of internet connection out here but I'm in the process of getting some decent reports together which I hope to have up in the next few days.
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Old 05-29-2012, 12:26 PM   #88
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Great stuff so far, i like your bike setup and hope it holds up! Will be following
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:41 PM   #89
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Romania to Moscow

Right, so I left you in Romania after our excellent experience with Mike in mountains. I am writing this now from Ulanbattar, Mongolia. It's been one hell of an adventure but more on that later. So much interesting stuff has happened over the last few weeks here in Mongolia and Russia that I want to share with this community that in order to bring this blog up to date, please excuse my brevity for the time spent between Romania and Moscow.

On the 9th May we crossed into Ukraine and rode to the captial, Kiev. Immediately after crossing the border we were waved down by the fed, a big stern looking and very determined copper. He waived his arms and shouted at us for a while, but without speaking any English we had no idea what he was saying, I’m guessing we were going too fast, standard. He began filling out a form, and I chuckled as he noted down the details from an old India visa in my passport. When I pointed out he was using the wrong page he screwed up the form, gave me back my passport and sent us on our way. A lucky escape considering we didnt have any currency at that point!

We decided to give ourselves a day off in Kiev, and Jon managed to convince me to give any site-seeing a miss and to head straight for the boozer. It had been a long few days and we desereved a Kiev pub crawl! Spitting feathers the following morning made the pack up harder than normal, and the ride was long and straight E101 to Russia, as straight as an arrow! I haver never seen such a long straight road with no changes in scenery. It may sound silly but it was only at that point that it dawned on me that my life for the next 8 months is sat on a motorcycle, often without music and attempting to sing to myself for entertainment.

As we approached the Russian border we were hassled to buy motorcycle insurance before entering. This appeared to be a 3 man job as they ushered us into a small hot cabin to convince us this was legit. At first they wanted €100 each for 3 months cover. We only had €100 between us so we offered them €50 each, which they quickly accepted. Inevitabely we feel like we have been mugged off and that we should have bartered harder!

The rest of the border crossing was fairly straight forward. None of the officials spoke any English, so we just noded and said yes to all of their questions, then if they started shaking their heads we would switch to saying no, this seemed to work. Even the decleration form was all in Russian with no English translation, so we gave it our best shot by copying an example form. We have no idea what we declared, but it seemed to be ok and we entered Russia on our business visas, happy days! They had a good look at our bikes, prodded a view parts, but we didnt have to open any of our luggage. With almost a smile, and a small snigger the guard spoke one line of English to me, “Welcome to beautiful Russia”

Our first night in Russia was spent in Bryansk, 200km from the border and 400km from Moscow. The town felt like a rough council estate, and we struggled to find a hotel. We finally managed to find one by 10.30pm, and I drew the short straw for the check-in process whilst Jon waited outside with the bikes. With a complete language barrier the check in process took 45minutes, we were very tired and it was a stressful process with the grumpy lady scanning 6 pages of each passport. To top it off, Jon had to entertain a complete waster who would not leave him alone, banging on at him in Russian and trying to wear his crash helmet.

Feelings of apprehension were building at this stage as we both knew the real tough miles were about to commence when we entered the wild of Siberia and Mongolia.







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Old 06-14-2012, 03:30 AM   #90
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Moscow and the Trans-Siberian highway.

As most people embarking on a trip of this nature would, we spent hours upon hours trawling through the various blogs and posts here on ADV Rider and other on-line forums. There was one thread that really caught my attention which I revisited over and over again. It was this one here by Walter Colbatch about his ride over the infamous BAM road. I was in awe of the achievement of that 3 strong team and envied every day they spent out there in the field.
After contacting them through the forum, Tony P, Colbatch's riding partner for that trip, promptly responded to the long list of questions I put forward to him regarding riding Russia and in particular Siberia. When we realised that Tony is actually based in Moscow we jumped at the opportunity to buy him a beer and here his tales. And what an honour that was.



I can't describe Tony as anything other than a legendary motorcycle adventurer with vast experience riding the notorious roads of Siberia. Sinking a few of the good ones with Tony was a real pleasure and hearing his stories of his experience on the BAM road was sufficient to send the shivers up me. Despite this, we have decided to take on the western part of the BAM after we dip down in to Mongolia. To say I'm nervous at this point would be a huge understatement. For those of you familiar with the region, with Tony's assistance we have planned a route which will take us from the top of lake Baikal over to Tynda before dropping down to join the main highway over to Vladivostock. I have no idea what it is that I have actually agreed to here but we're going for it nevertheless. More of that to follow when we make it that far.

The amount of mosquitoes on the Trans-Siberian highway is unreal, We were eaten alive eaten alive and it was time to camp along the side the highway.

We left Moscow Thursday 17th May, to begin our 6 day journey towards Novosibersk, Russia’s 3rd largest city in Western Siberia. After a full day of easy riding we decided to venture off the road and find a suitable spot for our first night camping in the wild, the moment I was slightly in fear of. After an hour spent riding around fields, mud tracks and gravel roads we still didn’t feel comfortable pitching up. Not wanting to admit defeat we headed down yet another country road and found a small village 2km from the main road. It was very quiet, almost desolate except an old lady doing some gardening. We stopped, removed our crash helmets and approached the lady with our book to show her a picture of a tent. Without being able to speak any English she just smiled and pointed at a patch of grass in front of her house. As we stood there laughing at the prospect of setting up camp millions of mosquitoes surrounded us, and some of the neighbours wandered out to see what was going on. A group of immigrants from Uzbekistan emerged from the shack opposite and told us to come in and sleep inside to avoid the mosquitoes. This situation felt pretty crazy but we accepted their kind offer and rode our bikes through a narrow gate into the backyard, almost pulling down the fence as we squeezed by with the luggage.

We followed them into the run down farm house, where they invited us into a small kitchen for a cup of tea. It was very quiet, and due to the langauge barrier we often sat in silence, but it never felt awkward, just peaceful. The silence was soon broken by another two residents arriving home, this time it was two loud Russians, a tough looking builder and a very drunk fisherman dressed in full camo. They didn’t seem surprised by our presence and were both very welcoming, with the fisherman insisting we got up at 5am for a morning fishing session the following day. Before long we found some common ground knocking back straight vodka and tequila, proper Russian stylee. Dinner was fish in a can, and we brought some Heinz baked beans to the table, which we all shared out of the tin and they seemed to go down a treat. They also gave us some weird potion made with various herbs to stop the police smelling alcohol on your breath the next day.

As the sun was setting they said “let’s go” and we all walked down a gravel path to see where they are building a huge house over-looking a beautiful lake. The drunk fisherman seemed like a bit of crazy Nutter, he stuffed a handful of dried fish into my pocket and then stood at the edge of the lake screaming out something in Russian, trying to make us do the same! I thought to myself, if I was camping nearby and saw him I would have been petrified! After watching the sunset and having a look around the building site we ventured back to the farm-house to prepare for bed. We shared the floor space in their large bedroom, where they provided us with an inflatable mattress and an old sofa. It was a hot sweaty night, and due to the mosquitoes we decided to sleep in our motorbike trousers and hoodies. I found it hard to sleep using my dirty motorbike jacket as a pillow, and hearing the mosquitoes doing laps of the room. I also needed the toilet in the middle of the night, but I didn’t want to disturb the rest of the room, and the toilet was a hole in the ground at the end of the garden.



The following morning we were grateful not to have had a 5am wake up call by the fisherman, and as we packed up I got covered in dust folding up the inflatable mattress. Despite the incredible hospitality and unique experience we had been given they wouldn’t accept any money for our stay, so we just tucked a 500rubs (£10) note under an old tin in the bedroom as we left. We didn’t bother putting on all our gear, and decided to it would be easier to ride out of the garden in just a t-shirt and stop down the road to re-group.

Home is on the bike.



















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Read more about our round the world DRz 400 trip on our website here:
www.toughmiles.com

Find us on Facebook here:
www.facebook.com/toughmiles

peteFoulkes screwed with this post 06-14-2012 at 03:52 AM
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