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Old 01-20-2013, 05:28 AM   #16
KTM 950S
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Location: Greece....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dekatria View Post
what area in Greece are you in?
i live in Halkidiki...the place exactly is called Nikiti and i am about 100km away from Thessaloniki (2nd bigest city in Greece)
Its a really beautiful place full of tourism durring summer...now its very quite but also nice... http://maps.google.com/maps/myplaces...z=-120&t=m&z=9
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:55 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by KTM 950S View Post
i live in Halkidiki...the place exactly is called Nikiti and i am about 100km away from Thessaloniki (2nd bigest city in Greece)
Its a really beautiful place full of tourism durring summer...now its very quite but also nice... http://maps.google.com/maps/myplaces...z=-120&t=m&z=9
Looks awesome... shame it's so far out of my way. Awfully tempting though, I gotta say - maybe if I've got enough time, who knows whether I'll take a slight diversion

Training Trip no.2 - Tour of Great Britain - 13th to 22nd of July 2012

Day 9 &10 - Saturday the 21st & Sunday the 22nd - From Chiseldon back to Harwich, onto the ferry back home!




Waking up in Chiseldon, I knew today wouldn't really bring anything special to the mix other than the return to the place where I had set off just over a week earlier. Hostess Anne had read the usual poetic addition to my personal data, and before long we talked about the wide variety of writers we liked - quite nice departure from the normal scheme of things.



Yet another addition was made to the flag, after which I set off back to Harwich. And it went surprisingly quickly - thanks to my decision to leave London as it was (after a week of full-on touring, I didn't feel much for anymore insane traffic) I found myself riding on the last road to Harwich within 2 and a half hours. Hencforth, the only thing I saw of the Olympics can be narrowed down to this:



As I rode on the A120 toward Harwich, I was overcome by the realization that I was just a few miles away from finishing my multi-mile tour. Getting closer and closer, I found myself willing the beast onward, hoping the tires would remain OK for just a bit longer.



But just as it had been for the entire trip, there were no problems at all, and when I then suddenly crossed the same round-about I had turned upon on Friday the 13th just after leaving the ferry, the penny dropped. I was there. It had taken me just over a week, over 2000 miles, over a million midges and a crash, but I was there....and subsequently I had to do everything I could to keep the beast in a straight line. Before screaming my lungs out, I was absolutely lost for words.

It's such a grand feeling - like everything you sacrificed, everything you've gone through just falls into place at that one moment... and you're just overcome by the sheer power of such a thing.

Everything from that point on felt as a victory lap. Just taking a breather on a beach parking lot wrapping my head around what I had just done, a lifeguard rolled up in his car, asking where I was going. Instead, I told him where I'd come from. 'Well done man', he said, after which he signed the flag, as well as helping me to take this picture. 'Can I ride my bike onto this hill?' - 'Hell, you can ride on the beach if you want!'



I sought to get myself a sticker of Great Britain for on the panniers, after which I rode to the same accommodation I'd stayed at a week beforehand. Time to set up camp, for the last time.

Eventually I was joined by three German bikers on their way to Scotland, as well as two Dutch ones on their way to Wales. The final night was spent in the Castle Inn's pub, exchanging stories before it was time to hit the sack.



The next morning I took my time to pack up, said goodbye, and checked in at the port.

As I'd stopped to wait in line for the second time to board, I noticed one of my gloves was missing from the dash (I take them off when going through check-in so I can grab my passport more easily). I looked underneath my bike, but I didn't see it anywhere. Reluctantly I chose to walk back to where I'd come from, but before I did, I saw a small kid running into my direction from way back in another line. 'Mister, your glove!' he shouted, returning it to me. He ran back almost immediately, so I followed him back, bringing his family some of the project stickers as a way of saying thanks.



Before long I was joined by Wilfried and his son, who had just come from a meeting in Lowestoft, coming all the way from Hamburg, Germany. We talked bikes a little bit, before it was time to board. and as bikers are first to board (and I was the first biker) I was the very first on deck. And when I say that felt pretty awesome, that's because it was pretty awesome. Wheee!

Time to go back home after this adventure. It had learned me alot (more about that later) Upon arrival, I folded the flag up in the official triangular manner, and made a case for it using the roadbook I used during trip.



I presented the flag to my grandfather a week after arrival back home. He was very surprised, and thanked me for the gesture.



Seven weeks after getting the flag from me, he passed away.

I must say, I previously feared whether I was really fit for doing this kinda thing, but after the first day I was getting into the rhythm pretty quickly. I'm very much looking forward towards the final journey to Greece.

Let me just leave you with the Good and the Bad (G, B... get it? Oh, nevermind.)

The Good:

+The weather
+Cairngorms National Park
+Loch Lomond National Park
+Lake District National Park
+Snowdonia National Park
+Northern Scotland
+That all of these places are biking playgrounds with amazing scenery
+Scottish people
+My crashbars. They saved me from some expensive damage...
+The reception (and send-off) I got from Saracen's Head
+Natalie, the receptionist at Premier Inn, Edinburgh East. She even helped with carrying one of the panniers up (even though she first said she couldn't leave her desk - ha!)
+Pulling the bike out of the ditch with 7 people. At that moment I didn't really find it all that totally-awesome, but in hindsight it was one of those Paris-Dakar moments I'll never forget.
+The bike firing up after the crash. IT LIIIIIIIIIIVESSS!
+The bike being fine in general after the crash. It truly amazed me. Thank god for Japanese engineering.
+Having a watch on my handlebar.
+Having a compass in my tank bag. Saved me a few times.
+The way everyone responded to the trip and the project.
+Riding back into Harwich



The Bad

-Seeing the 'Welcome to Suffolk' sign three times in 1 afternoon, all on separate locations. I swear, somewhere around Cambridgeshire is a second Bermuda triangle.
-Midges
-Dropping my bike at two camp sites (just a piece of advice - if your bike is sitting directly straight upon the sidestand, don't stand behind it like an ass but move it, because it *will* fall over.)
-Crashing in Scotland
-Severe downpour on my way toward the Lake District. Thanks to the spray from the cars in front as well as my fogged up visor, I couldn't see more than just a vague dark blob in front of me which I clinged on to, praying no-one would be half-witted enough to make any sudden moves.
-Midges
-Junctions in Britain. Seriously, what is up with not-building a proper onramp or offramp to a services, so you don't have to do 70 to 15mph in 4 feet (or the opposite, even)?
-Trying to move a 450+ pound fully-laden motorcycle on loose gravel, whilst three (and when I say three I mean four, as the winter-lining in my biking-coat technically is also a layer) layers of clothing make my insides boil, an entire death squadron of midges blitzes me from all sides and the rain makes my visor fog up (which, ofcourse, I can't open to de-fog because it'll let the frigging midges inside)
-After the subsequent escape, realize I'd already paid for my breakfast at the camp site.
-My compass going into 'F*ck-you'-mode (i.e. pointing in all possible directions), when I was looking for the proper exit somewhere in the Lake District.
-Waking up as Shrek in the Lake District
-Soft ground in Harwich, the second time I got there. My side-stand just sort of...disappeared into the ground entirely, forcing me to lay the bike down.

Pieces of advice:

>If you're going to camp in Scotland in summer and there isn't any wind, move somewhere else.
>Really, just move. I don't care if there's an armada of Swedish sunbathing models staying there - it isn't worth it.
>Okay, maybe that's a bad example.
>Just because you're allowed to go 60mph everywhere, doesn't mean you can or should.
>Don't ride more than 200 miles on a day. Not only does it drain you if you do (one time, my left leg even fell asleep on the bike), it also eats away at the time you have at each destination - this trip, riding usually started at 10am, and stopped at 6 pm.
>Be patient with the way Northerners speak English.

Further HD pics are to be found at the project's Facebook page. For now, enjoy the compilation of the trip's best footage



Only 6 months to go till Greece.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:19 AM   #18
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These last few months before the trip are just gonna be terribly expensive, I can feel it already

As I mentioned in the last blogpost, my trusty Drift HD170 was set for retirement after a few repairs had compromised the waterproof seal, and subsequently messed up the electronics. It still works, but it was obvious its impeccable reliability had gone, forcing me to buy a new one.

Yesterday I got my hands on its replacement, the Drift Ghost. It's basically taken every good thing from the (discontinued) HD170 and taken it a step further - it's waterproof to 3 metres, it's easier to use, it's more robust, has a bigger & stronger screen, a replaceable lens, and, as you can see below, it's also quite a bit smaller.



It takes a 1700mAh battery as standard (similar to the long life batteries the HD170 took), which makes it the only real long distance cam on the market today. One feature I especially like however is that it's got a light right above the lens, telling you whether it's on and/or recording - this makes it way easier to check this on the move.

Looking forward to ride with the thing... just have to wait for the frost to end. It should do brilliantly in looking over my shoulder this Summer



The bike is going to get the steering stem bearings replaced half February, and a week later I'm probably purchasing the helmet for this Summer as well. I still have to order a few things with Touratech, as well as taking care of finances for the countries that don't carry the Euro. Just a few of the many things to do before Greece awaits...

Good thing is though that I seem to have surpassed the phase where the items added to the to-do list outnumber the ones ticked off, so that's nice... now I just need to find the time to do the remaining items, hahahaha

As I'm very likely to encounter some serious heat, I'm not only adding a cooling vest to my apparel, but also thinking of incorporating a drinking system to the helmet. However, as I don't like riding with a backpack I'm not sure whether a Camelbak is going to be a suitable solution or not. To be continued.

Oh, before I forget - the project is now also followable by Twitter - if I find the time to post updates on the road to Greece, I'll do so by tweeting; these updates will then automatically be posted to the Facebook page as well. Makes things easier for me, as well as for you... so ain't that awesome!
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Dekatria screwed with this post 01-26-2013 at 07:24 AM
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:37 AM   #19
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If you need any help or generally if you come to Crete Island you can send me a PM.

Keep on!
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:06 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeTheMechanic View Post
If you need any help or generally if you come to Crete Island you can send me a PM.

Keep on!
My time in Greece is limited, but I'll see if I can do it

Even though riding has been pretty much at a standstill for the past weeks due to the amount of frost passing over the Netherlands, the preparation is still chugging along nicely. I've got a cooling vest in, the replacement of the Drift has earned its first stripes, the first provisions for the trip are in as well and tomorrow the Alp is going to the garage to get the steering stem bearings replaced.

Luckily, the frost seems to have entered a 3 day lapse which is perfect to bring the beast back to life and get it to its garage appointment.



The beast itself had some trouble waking up after a 6 week nap (who wouldn't - 't was probably some moisture in the carbs), but eventually it fired up and all was well. I took the liberty of shooting the first on-board images with the new cam, and the Ghost is doing a top job. The sound is way better (you can hear alot more with alot less windnoise) and the images themselves seem alot crisper too. I'll put a up a short clip on the Facebook page tomorrow give you an idea

There's a few things I keep thinking about when it comes to this Summer's trip, apart from all the things that still need to be done.

Ever since the project took off in 2010, I've been thinking about how it would feel like riding off the ferry into the country I'd dreamt about for my entire life. A moment which will probably stick with me for the rest of my days.

I can only really compare it to the moment I rode back into Harwich this Summer after a harrowing 2200 mile journey through Britain; I can't really describe what happens to you - you just feel that everything you sacrificed, everything you had to endure up until that moment was completely worth it... and you cannot help but be overcome by a strange ecstatic mix of emotions. Last Summer I subsequently had to do my very best to keep the beast on the road.

Seems to me then that the eventual disembarkment this Summer will probably result in a crash of some kind, hahahaha (*knocks on wood*).

Five months to go. It goes quicker than I thought.
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The Hekla Project - Riding to Hell and back (Scandinavia 2014 - Iceland 2015)
Thousands of miles, two wheels, and thirteen reasons.
Follow my project at www.thirteenreasons.nl or on Facebook!

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Old 02-26-2013, 08:14 AM   #21
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These past two weeks I was on the search for some extra information regarding Greece, but what followed exceeded my wildest expectations - I have been truly overwhelmed by Greek people not only supplying me with new sights to see, but also willing to lend a hand, spreading the word as they do so. This true testament to the Greek hospitable nature has quite left me speechless, and leaves me wondering what awaits me when I arrive there.

Now even though it will still take months for the journey to start I thought a sneak-preview was in good order, so here's a glimpse of the helmet I am to wear. It bears an appropriate quote from one of my favorite books, Petrarch's Canzoniere.

I salute you. Glad you're here.

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Thousands of miles, two wheels, and thirteen reasons.
Follow my project at www.thirteenreasons.nl or on Facebook!
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:41 AM   #22
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The final piece of nav has arrived!



As you can see, all of the navigation I do will be based purely on a map and compass as opposed to a satnav. Now, I know that the benefit of having a navsystem is that you don't have to lug around all those maps and whatnot, but to me that's just another piece of equipment that could possibly fail. On unknown ground, I just like my stuff as reliable as possible... and no matter how advanced navsystems get, you can't beat a trusty paper map for reliability.

This could make checking the map as I'm going along a bit of an issue , but in Britain I figured out a good way to deal with this - figure out the route before setting off, write down the roads (and/or cities) on a piece of duct tape and stick it on my left sleeve or tankbag.
When in doubt, the compass can always guide me in the right direction. The image of the route is always in my head, so I know where to go.

Ofcourse this won't guarantee that I won't take a wrong turn, but the way I see it, that's also part of the adventure - figuring out on the fly how to go to the next destination, and when going wrong, trying to figure out how I could solve it. It's almost like a treasure hunt.

As it is, how you get from A to B is just as interesting as the destination itself...

The beast's surgery to the steering stem went perfect (they even saw fit to mend the indicator-button which dislodged in Britain), and now it's just waiting till a good rainfall washes away the plethora of salt that's smothered all over the Dutch roadsystem. Then, riding can commence again (and not a moment too soon, sheesh...)!

Lastly, here's a thanks to all the Greek and Italian riders who have embraced the project over the past weeks. I went looking for information (I still am by the way, so all suggestions, tips and whatnot are welcome!), and the hospitality I got in return exceeded my wildest expectations. This Summer's helmet is currently covered up atop a cupboard, waiting impatiently for the trip... and I must say that, despite the amount of work still to be done, I'm just as eager.

See you soon guys.

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Thousands of miles, two wheels, and thirteen reasons.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:18 AM   #23
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Fundraising the roof!

How's that for a horrible pun?

With four months until lift-off, I thought it would be nice to make the fundraising a little more concrete. Henceforth, I opened up a 'Donate'-section on the site. Amongst other things, it shows you the way to the all new StayClassy fundraising page where you can already contribute with some of your precious hard-earned cash. When the Ebay auctions start in September I will put all the respective Ebay links on the Donate page as well. So spread the word!

Speaking of which, I've also made the decision to make the helmet auction an international affair, and put it on Ebay alongside the other auctions. This way, all of you followers abroad will have a chance to pitch in as well, and maybe earn yourself the helmet. How awesome is that?



In other news, riding has sort of resumed the past week... the only bad thing is that the Spring here in the Netherlands seems to have trouble waking up. Temperatures continue to balance around zero degrees, making the riding a tiptoe kind of thing as one of my golden rules for riding safety is not to bother when temperatures get below zero. Too much risk for slippery surfaces and road salt. I can deal with rain, hail and everything else the weather throws at me, but freezing temperatures are just a big no-no.

So I expect some rising temperatures the coming days. This has gone on for long enough!

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The Hekla Project - Riding to Hell and back (Scandinavia 2014 - Iceland 2015)
Thousands of miles, two wheels, and thirteen reasons.
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Dekatria screwed with this post 03-19-2013 at 01:24 PM
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:15 AM   #24
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In the latest update I'm giving a rundown of my apparel for the trip to Greece. If you have any suggestions to make, feel free to let me know
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:07 PM   #25
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With just over 2 months in the countdown left, I saw fit to add a new poetic Youtube installment online. Enjoy

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Old 05-07-2013, 10:49 AM   #26
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Nice vid!

Looks like you're missing one of the best roads in Croatia? You're pretty much avoiding the entire coast... Not sure how many days you have planned for your trip, but you may want to (re)consider riding along the coast.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:53 AM   #27
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Thanks! I spoke with a Serbian colleague of my dad's a few weeks back, taking me through the entire Balkan route... and the idea was sorta the same as yours

When it comes to that, I'm likely to stick to the coast as the air will be cooler and the sights will be better, but I leave it up in the air. Destinations are set, the roads inbetween... those depend on the mood of the day
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:41 AM   #28
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Here's the second part on equipment; this time I'm taking you through the gear on the bike. Suggestions are welcome! :)
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Old 05-29-2013, 12:22 PM   #29
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The itinerary is nearing completion! From Greece on I'm leaving it pretty loose - it could very well be I want to stay somewhere longer etc, so I'd rather not force stuff on myself, and take my time to soak it all in.

Thus far, the ride is planned as follows:

19/7 Bastogne
20/7 Schwarzwald
21/7 Zürich

Italy
22/7 Dolomites
23/7 Lucca
24/7 Montefiascone via Florence
25/7 Sulmona via Rome
26/7 Venosa via Pompeii
27/7 Brindisi
28/7 - resting day -
29/7 Ferry > Igoumenitsa

Greece
30/7 arrival Igoumenitsa
31/7 Patra
1/8 Kalamata
2/8 Cape Tenaro
3/8 Athens
4/8 Lamia
5/8 Thessaloniki
6/8 Ioannina via Meteora

In mainly Italy I could still use a hand or two with accommodation, amongst other things. So if you want to help out, just let me know!
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Thousands of miles, two wheels, and thirteen reasons.
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Old 05-29-2013, 12:44 PM   #30
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Good thing it's still on. Can't wait for the ride report this summer.
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