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Old 06-18-2009, 06:40 AM   #31
tserts OP
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Day 6 - The Route

A total of about 200kms on the menu today, 130 of them on the A3 autobahn. To Regensburg and back...

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Old 06-18-2009, 02:51 PM   #32
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Day 6 – Let’s do some shopping

One of the organizers’ major shortcomings was the fact that they hadn’t translated the official route descriptions to any other language. Subsequently, anyone who didn’t speak German (more than half of the participants), could not decide on which route to choose (from the 12 available, if I’m not mistaken). Under the fear of public unrest, a simple handwritten English translation was posted on the board, but late at night. The Greeks (the vast majority of them anyway), most of us already worn out by the previous days, decided to wake up a bit late, head to Regensburg, some 90kms away, visit the two motorbike gear megastores (Polo and Louis), do some shopping, walk around the city, and return early enough for the evening buffet.

After breakfast, a group of about 20 bikes left for Regensburg, and stopped at the first gas station to refuel. Me, the other 3 bikes from the first part of the trip and another fifth bike (also Greek), left the others in order to refuel at the next gas station, so as to speed things up. Naturally we got separated, so, after waiting at the other station for a while, we left for Regensburg independently.







A little later we were entering the autobahn for the second time. I went berserk once again and I got separated from the other 4 bikes (save it, I know how it sounds), as I was pushing the bike and rode pretty fast (I knew the others had gps as well). After I had enough, and about 15km from the exit, I slowed down to about 120km/h, in order to regroup with them, but still, when I got to the exit, there was still no sign of them, and, as a bonus, it started to rain, heavily this time. I later found out that “Regensburg” means “Rain City” and it did live up to its name. I had my rain-proof gear in the back, but, as the temperature was high (~20C) I decided to test the cordura jacket and pants. Luckily, they didn’t soak. I also put the rain cap on the tankbag, and secured the camera in the topcase (I always have it hang around my neck to take pictures on the go, but I bet you’ll have realized that by now)…

I reach the center and start to look for a bike parking spot, to call the others and tell them to join me, but they arrive shortly after me (the 5th bike had left their rain gear at the hotel and they were soaked) so we stop somewhere on the side and decide to call the first group to give us directions for “Polo”. After a while we get the address, punch it on the gps and leave again towards the suburbs. From there we leave for the second store, “Louis”, and the shopping spree continues there. Both stores are turned into Bagdad Bazaars for the duration of our visit, with hysterical Greeks running around the aisles with various merchandise put on, asking the others how do they look… Besides the revenue, I bet the store owners and staff were a bit relieved to see us leave…

All I got was a pair of enduro Alpine Stars pants and some socks, as I found the prices not as low as I was expecting compared to the Greek market. Nevertheless, both stores had an impressive variety of gear, and it felt nice to be in a “bike-supermarket”…

We head back downtown (I went separately again, since I went back to Polo to get the pants) and we meet again at a café. I got a beer, and I was a bit hungry so I asked the waitress if they had any sausage related treat, for hungry tourists… She says no, but across the corner there is a restaurant called “Wurstkuche” (sausage kitchen), which is very famous and adored by the locals… The buffet at the hotel was not bad, but it was nothing special, and not traditional, so I suggested we go there and get some German scent into our stomachs.

The restaurant is at the river bank, next to an old bridge. The weather was getting better (it had started to rain another 5 times in between, Rain City and all), and the mood was just as good. The restaurant has been in operation since 1320 (one thousand three hundred and twenty, no typo there, it is actually older than the bridge!) and only serves a special kind of sausage with sweet pickled onion, a mustard/ketchup sauce, and beer (or any other beverage). That’s it. I love Spartan menus, they usually have few but very special dishes, and this was no exception. We were supposed to eat lightly but we had to have an encore on these heavenly sausages, and some more beer, until we were full.















We went for another stroll towards the bikes through the town, which was wonderful and very well kept (this goes without saying for Germany; everything is freshly painted and well maintained, it is just insane how organized and tidy everything is). I later found out that Regensburg is actually a unesco world heritage site (the old centre), and it is definitely worth visiting, if not for the amazing gothic cathedral, then for the sausages alone!!



















Back on the bikes and another 68kms of autobahn await us (the A3 east-bound this time). It’s just the 4 original bikes again and the same scenario happens: The capos leave to collect bug-slime on the windscreen, while the transalps follow at a slower pace. Again I enjoy the whole section in average speeds of about 200km/h, but Yani (capo), stays a bit behind and just before the exit he goes full throttle and reaches 225 (I only managed to reach 213 on the gps because of the traffic). Immediately after that we exit, we turn off the bikes, start screaming like girls with excitement, and wait for the others.



The others eventually come, and Teo (TA650) signals me to enter the next gas station and takes the lead as they didn’t stop. There was a gas station only 100 meters ahead, and I see some bikes, enter the station, only to realize that those were some other bikes and that Teo and Yani had missed the station. Anyway since I had stopped, I fill up my tank, go and pay, and as I come out I notice that neither Yani (I know you ‘re still confused, I mean the capo one) is at the station. I hear my cell phone ringing in the tankbag, I take the call and I hear Yani (capo) shouting and telling me that he has no ignition and why didn’t I check on my mirrors when I left. I walk to the side of the road and I see him where we had stopped after the autobahn. I ride back towards him, and he shows me that indeed the capo seems to have no power to turn the engine; the ignition button makes a single click when it’s pressed and the bike is dead. I fear that these are symptoms of a failed regulator, which I have a spare, but at the hotel! There is a small downhill section where we are, so I push him and the bike comes alive when he releases the clutch.

I tell him to ride straight for the hotel (he should have enough gas for that), and we will look into it there, where I have more tools and a spare regulator. We reach the hotel, having again lost the others (they went to the next gas station), and we get to work.

First thing we notice is that the bike now starts normally! I check the battery’s output and the numbers are slightly off, the regulator fails to pass 14V throughout the whole spectrum of rpms. It should give up to 14,6, so we conclude that the regulator is at fault. Just to make sure, I take out my seats and check my own battery’s readings, and our assumption is verified. I start replacing the regulator, which involves cutting all the wires (5 points of contact, 10 wires in total), connecting them, and then insulating them. It seems easy but I don’t have the right tools. Thankfully a German guy who had driven with his van (with his transalp inside) to ITT had a fully equipped toolbox, which he brought us and that made all the difference.



Now remember this is an international transalp meeting. 90% of the bikes are transalps, africas, and varaderos, and these people think that only Hondas never break down (I call it the Honda universe, it is an isolated place where people believe that when a Honda breaks down, it’s bad luck, but when the other bikes break down it’s a sign of inferior build quality).



We are parked by the road next to a swarm of Hondas, and two capos with the seats off and the open toolbox placed nearby are an easy target for mockery and sarcasm…

- Italian bikes, what did you expect…
- I told him to get a honda…
- Japan, I always say…
- What’s wrong with the espresso machine?

You get the drift…



Anyway, despite the adverse conditions (I think every single participant walked by that spot in that hour), I manage to replace the regulator and the bike starts giving the right electrical readings. It has gotten late, and we manage to eat only because Teo and Yani had kept two meals for us from the buffet.

Before we return to our rooms for the night, we sign our names to the participant’s list of tomorrow’s route no10. It enters the Czech Republic via small country roads and some people who had ridden it today said it had been an interesting ride…

Next up: Multiculturalism on two wheels, the tower of Babel, and the glorious re-emergence of potholes…
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Old 06-19-2009, 05:04 AM   #33
quicktoys2
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Enjoying your ride report ...... can't wait for more.

The famous Caponord Regulator rectifier problem ....... I replaced mine with an aftermarket model I got from the USA, but many guys are using a Honda Goldwing rectifier which is cheaper and charges like a bomb.

Look forward to more.
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Old 06-21-2009, 02:10 PM   #34
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Thanks Soto, I now have a Greek made regulator from SX electronics, which is supposed to be good. I also have an identical spare next to the toolbag under the seat, and it's ready to be clipped on, as I have attached the same connectors. IF it happens to my capo again (it had happened to the prevous owner), I'll be on my way in 5 minutes...

The only thing I want to add is a voltage meter, in order to be able to constantly monitor the regulator's output.
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Old 06-21-2009, 02:12 PM   #35
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Day 7 - The Route

241 kms on the menu for the day, to the Chech Republic and back, via small, secondary roads:

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Old 06-21-2009, 02:45 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tserts
Thanks Soto, I now have a Greek made regulator from SX electronics, which is supposed to be good. I also have an identical spare next to the toolbag under the seat, and it's ready to be clipped on, as I have attached the same connectors. IF it happens to my capo again (it had happened to the prevous owner), I'll be on my way in 5 minutes...

The only thing I want to add is a voltage meter, in order to be able to constantly monitor the regulator's output.
I installed this voltmeter on my bike ........ http://www.themeterstore.com/datel-v...nitor-44-c.asp

Soto
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Old 06-21-2009, 02:51 PM   #37
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Day 7 - "Can we pay in Euros?"

We woke up the next day, had breakfast, and prepared for the ride. It was departing at 9.30h, and the Germans stuck to the plan religiously, so we tried hard to be on time (no small feat for a Greek) and managed to be at the right place (a specific section of the front parking lot) with a couple of minutes to spare.





There is a group leader who has a gps device with the whole route programmed, and the convoy is secured by the last bike (tail), who also has the complete route and makes sure no one gets left behind. Both leader and tail wear reflective yellow vests to stick out. Strict rules apply in order to minimize accidents and breaks of the line. Personally I have grown tired of this type of riding, but in large non-homogenous groups it is the only way to go.



We left on time but were guided to an open area, joined by all other groups, to get some group photos, which were to be burned on cds and were handed out for free to all participants the next day. Yani (capo) was the only one who hadn't filled his tank due to yesterday's adventure, so he went to do that, given the opportunity. We finished our modeling obligations, and left in an orderly way, under a clear sky.










We started to ride through the forest, on beautiful open twisty roads, and we were shocked at how chilly the air was in the dense forest. We stopped a bit later in the middle of nowhere for some pics, and us Greeks put on an extra layer of clothes since we were a bit too lightly dressed. A bit later we made our last stop before entering the Czech Republic and had coffee at another beautiful and scenic village in Germany.













Shortly after that we entered the Czech Republic (the border control booths are there but are not in use anymore), and immediately, we could notice the difference in the tarmac, which was in much worse shape with occasional potholes, which called for a more careful driving.





In all fairness, the Czech Republic has a very well maintained road network, but those areas near the border were strikingly worst than the German part. Another thing we had forgotten existed were the power and telephone lines which are exclusively subterranean in Germany... The scenery is equally impressive though and spirits were high once again.

We stopped at a small village to eat (breakfast for us, lunch for all the others, we were laughing with the different time habits between us), and relaxed a bit more.. At around the time for departure, another ITT group stopped at the same place, coming from the other direction. We took some photos and went on our way.



















Next stop was at a supposed "duty free" market which was in fact an Asian run market with b-rated stuff and hardly “smokable” cigarettes, we stayed there very briefly and continued our tour.







From there we rode back, after managing to break the convoy and get separated, as some riders failed to keep an eye on the following bike. I should mention here that we made 4 u-turns by the leader's missed turns, but, in general, Pete (the German group leader), did a good job navigating through the forest.









Back at the hotel, we sat at the front balcony with some other Greeks and exchanged stories from our day, as we waited for the day's barbeque dinner to start.



At some point I saw Dave, a lovely and friendly Dutchman, who I had met at last year's ITT in Parga, and was one of the few people who I was looking forward to seeing again this year, as we had an immediate mutual friendship, in the few hours we had spent together. He, among another 1000 people, had walked in front of the outdoor repair shop I had set up last night, but as I had my hands full, we hadn't been able to sit and chat.

We started catching up, then later went at the campfire where the barbeque had started. After dinner, the Germans had prepared a mini show, with some Bavarian folk dances and then some undefined dance show to entertain us. I was introduced by Dave to the entire Dutch crew, who were all very sympathetic and joyous. It was funny how (almost) all of them had Africa Twins, and some more than one, so we joked about that for a while.







The music was getting too loud (and not to my taste) so me and Dave went to my room to copy some photos which he had brought from one of last year's official routes, which we had done together. While copying we had a nice chat (with the gentle snoring of Yani Capo relaxing us), and a bit later he headed to his tent as he had to ride 800kms next day.

By the time he left Theo had also returned with some photos of a fireworks show, which had closed the curtain of this ITT.

We went to bed almost immediately.

Tomorrow, the capos head their own way, while the majority of the Greeks run for the ship…
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:46 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quicktoys2
I installed this voltmeter on my bike ........ http://www.themeterstore.com/datel-v...nitor-44-c.asp

Soto
Pretty cool, I'll get it!
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:33 AM   #39
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Beautiful thread.

Thank you so much for sharing it
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:45 AM   #40
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Beautiful thread.

Thank you so much for sharing it
I'm glad you're all enjoying this as much as I do! Next episode is coming up tonight!
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:49 AM   #41
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Day 8 - The Route

From Bishofsmais to Brno, via secondary roads, with an extra toping of Brno racetrack along the way... 378 scenic kilometres...

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Old 06-22-2009, 02:58 PM   #42
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Day 8 - CapoMania!

For most of the participants that Sunday was the end of the journey, and all that was left was the sad task of bringing the bike home, wherever that was. You all know you how that feels, even if your home is still 3000kms away, the “good” part is over… For me and my companion, however, that was not the case.

We had planned for an extra week off, and we still had 5 more countries and 3 capital cities to see before getting back home!! Most Greeks, as I mentioned earlier, had two intense days of riding, before boarding the ship from Ancona to sail to Patras. Only a handful of bikes would visit Prague before heading back to Greece from the mainland, but we had a different plan (which will unfold in the following daily reports)…

Back on the story, today’s breakfast had a bitter-sweet aura. Every couple of minutes, people were saying goodbye to new and old friends and were getting on their heavily loaded bikes to start the journey home. Me and Yani (capo, from now on you’ll be expected to assume that) were in no hurry. We had no particular plan but to reach Athens by next Saturday and have a relaxing day off before going back to work. We saw all other groups head off, said farewell to all our friends, and sat for another lazy cup of coffee at the large central balcony.

At some point we decided it was time to leave, we said goodbye to the last Dutch who were also slowly preparing to leave, got on the bikes and started the second part of our adventure.





It was just the two capos now, and the rule was simple: enjoy the ride.



We crossed into the Czech Republic from the same border station we had the previous day, only this time we stopped to buy some tobacco as we were running dangerously low. We got going again, fresh and relaxed, as the weather was once again our ally. The road was getting increasingly better, and the best was yet to come.













We stopped again briefly near a lake, took some photos and went on.





We got to a point where the tarmac was brand new and spotless and the twists just right, surrounded by beautiful scenery. Suddenly the number of bikes on the street increased and we knew we were at a bikers’ favorite route. We let the capos do their thing once again, and we were rewarded… It’s all a haze, but I think that this area was somewhere near Jindrichuv Hradec, if any Czechs are reading tell us about it, it was a lovely bike ride.











We stop to refuel with 300kms on the clock and still one bar on the fuel meter. Now that is pretty rare for a capo, since we were not riding slowly, but we didn’t pass 120km/h so that kept our consumption pretty low.





We made another stop to grab something light to eat just before the Brno racetrack, at a restaurant-hotel (motorsport hotel), and headed for the highlight.





We missed the entrance on the first pass but after a u-turn, we found the right way in. It is hard to explain to someone who’s not into it what an official motoGP racetrack means to us, but I bet most of you can see the whole picture… I’ll let the photos do the talking here…



























Charged up by what we had experienced, we left for downtown Brno to look for a hotel. We first went to the castle as it was shown as the center on the gps, took some photos there and then after some asking around, we booked at the Slavia hotel at the center for 90 euros a double.











We took a shower and went out only to realize that it was a bit late and, since it was Sunday, the place was especially dead… What was shocking was the behavior of the locals; nearly half of them wouldn’t even stop to look when we asked for directions or help. I remember in Prague this wasn’t the case, neither on the countryside, so I still don’t know the reasons but Brno was the most unfriendly city we visited.

We ate a burger across the rail station (all restaurants were closed, I miss Greece blahblahblah), went for a beer at a pub called Charlie’s and we got to the hotel and agreed that we would leave after a morning coffee at the main square (we had an extra day to spend if we felt like it was worth it).

Getting to sleep wasn’t hard, as usual, so soon we were peacefully snoring and dreaming about how that racetrack will be come August…

Tomorrow, a pleasant surprise, Bratislava…
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Old 06-22-2009, 03:15 PM   #43
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That beautiful part of the road I mention above could be near Trebic as well, when I saw the pictures I noticed that it must have been after our gas stop and my gps track file shows that we stopped just before Studena (which is past Jindrichuv Hradec)..

Anyway I'm confused about this, any help would be apreciated...
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:18 PM   #44
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Would of been even better if you could of done a few laps around the track
Surprised that the people were unfriendly, since they should be some what used to foreigners flooding the town. .......... maybe you only stopped to ask ladies and they felt intimidated


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Old 06-23-2009, 12:32 AM   #45
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We were clean, well dressed and polite, and we asked both young men and women. Some didn't even give us a glance, we actually managed to find Charlie's with the help of some Portuguese students (and it's funny because when I suddenly heard that guy turning to his friends and speaking in Portuguese, I started to speak as well and they were shocked). The locals (a lot of them anyway) were strangely hostile against us, and there is no other way of putting it…
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