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Old 05-06-2015, 04:58 AM   #1
Lenaxia OP
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Germany to Albania and Back: An abrupt end to a 5,000 mile journey.

Hey adv riders,

A while ago i had posted briefly and rather vaguely that I was going on my first long trip ever and it would be through Europe. In going to start this first post with just the background of my trip. If you want the details of the actual trip, skip to the second post. Updates will be a tad slow as will become clear later.

I set off on April 15th for the days in Iceland before picking my bike up in Heidelberg, Germany from the well loved Stefan Knopf. On the 19th I arrived and took stock of the bike. Pretty much as described and what I expected for a 1990s bike.





I had one month set aside for this trip and I wanted to see a lot. The route I had ended up picking was to first head to the Nurburgring for a night. Do my obligatory lap and then head off on the first part of my trip exploring the motorsports history of Europe. A stop in Stuttgart at the Porsche museum. Then visiting a friend in Freiburg. Zurich then Milan for Motoguzzi and Alfa Romeo. Then over to Bologna for Ferrari, Lamborghini and a very special personal tour through the Ducati factory with their museum curator.

A stop at the Dainese factory would mark the end of my first stage and start of my second stage as I toured through Slovenia, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, and Albania. I wanted to see the Adriatic coast. Then I would turn back around and go through Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The last leg would be wandering back into Austria to explore the Grossglockner and other Alps passes that were closed when I went by the first time.



The whole time I was staying in hostels. Most I did not book ahead and just showed up and asked for a bed. Partly I could do this because I was there during off peak season but also because I could just go to another one if it was full because I was so mobile on my bike.

After all this I was to return for a week scuba diving in the Turks and Caicos.

A bit about myself. I've been riding almost everyday for the last 2.5 years commuting through downtown San Francisco on my trusty 2006 naked SV650. It has been an unbelievable joy and motorcycling has become a passion for me. I started riding rain or shine, the rain was never an issue. So when I got two months off from work for a sabbatical it was only natural it include a motorcycle trip. I do a lot of light weight travelling and am used to calling and other activities requiring self sufficiency so I wasn't concerned with being unprepared or the duration of the trip. The only real unknown was the motorcycling portion.

Previously I had never done an overnight Moto trip before and at most had done 300 miles in a day. I had no idea really how much I could do on this trip while still achieving my goal of sightseeing and meeting people. But as far as I was concerned, my estimates of 200 miles per day average was accurate.

Over the previous months I had purchased some new gear and prepped some of my old gear for the trip. My primary great consisted of (from top to bottom):

Seven Zero Seven Vendetta helmet with gopro on the chin
Dainese Talos Goretex touring jacket
Alpinestars Valparaiso Drystar gloves
Knox Orsa V14 gloves
Dainese D-Explorer Goretex touring pants
Alpinestars Roam Waterproof boots

And with that I set off on April 20th for the Nurburgring.

Here's a little teaser of me riding through the German countryside. https://youtube.com/watch?v=N57gbr6Pmgkl.jpg[/img]l.jpg

Lenaxia screwed with this post 05-06-2015 at 02:09 PM
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:37 AM   #2
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Sounds like a great trip... let's see some pics!

What's there to see at the Dianese factory? Any tours?
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:34 PM   #3
Lenaxia OP
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So those with a keen eye will notice that most of the goals in my last post are in the past tense. That is primarily because I am writing these posts from a hospital bed in Villach Austria.

On April 28th, the eighth day of my trip I left Bled Slovenia to meet a friend in Graz Austria. It was slightly drizzling and my first time in this bike in the rain so I was extra cautious but I was familiar with the rain I ride in it regularly back home. I made it to Kranjska Gora and crossed it's mountain pass twice for fun. It is a fantastic road for anyone in the area. I finished up and headed for Austria. I planned to take the highways all the way there to save time.



I got to the onramp of the highway and it was a cloverleaf with a sweeping right turn.I took it at a cautious 30mph, it was still raining after all. Halfway around it the last thought to cross my mind was "Something's wrong..." That was it. I woke up to the rattling of my visor. It had popped off one side. It took a second to realize but it was rattling because I was still sliding on the asphalt. Feet first, on my right side. My right hand hurt. A lot.


The yellow pin is my crash site just outside Villach, Austria.

Before anything else I knew I had to get out of the road. I knew there was something wrong with my right hand so I crawled to the side of the road and collapsed against the concrete barrier. The shoulder was only 6 inches wide but there didn't seem to be any traffic thankfully. I waited there for maybe a minute before a truck came screeching to a halt after seeing my bike still in the middle of the road. It was just enough time to check that I could still, kind of, move and feel my fingers in my right hand.

I was pretty much awake for everything else save the surgery which I asked for general because I was so sick of pain at that point. When I woke up the doctor told me I had severe compound fractures to my right forearm, it was broken in four places as well as compartment syndrome so they had to leave an 8" cut open in my arm to relieve the pressure.

Three surgeries later and I speak significantly more German than I did when I arrived and I am preparing to fly back to the US to get pendant plates in to replace the pins and rods currently holding my arm together.

I was on new tires(1500mi) taking it very cautiously even on the good roads that Austria has. I was completely puzzled why I went down. Right now my best guess is that the poor suspension of the bike (and I can assure you it was atrocious) lost traction, potentially in conjunction with some oil or a pool of diesel and the bike lowsided. I can just say that my fascination with old bikes is pretty much over. I much better appreciate the advances in suspensions we have made since the 90s and how much safer modern bikes are.

After speaking with the officer on scene I certainly hit the concrete barrier arm first. Other than my arm I came away completely unharmed. If that barrier hadn't been there I would've walked away without a scratch. It's frustrating.

Here is an album of my great post crash. The jacket was cut off and I have not seen the bike or my helmet yet. http://imgur.com/a/guEDR





Through this all the nurses and doctors have been incredibly helpful despite the language barrier, the police have been non judgmental, and Stefan Knopf has made sure that I'm okay and all the proper arrangements are made to get me home.

This isn't the last of my updates as I still had quite the adventure for the preceding 8 days plus three in Iceland but for now I'm signing off. My left thumb is getting sore lol.

And here is a pic of my arm after my third surgery

l

Lenaxia screwed with this post 05-06-2015 at 02:49 PM
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:35 PM   #4
Lenaxia OP
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Saving for more trip updates.

Will add photos as I can but doing all this by phone is hard.

I'll be back in the US this coming Monday and will have access to a real computer at the point

Lenaxia screwed with this post 05-06-2015 at 02:01 PM
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:35 PM   #5
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Also saving for more updates
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Old 05-06-2015, 02:19 PM   #6
Lenaxia OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
Sounds like a great trip... let's see some pics!

What's there to see at the Dianese factory? Any tours?
The Dainese factory does not have any tours but it is still worth a visit. The whole store has a constant 30% off everything because it is over stock. And when I was there everything had an additional 10% off. Then you get a 19% VAT refund upon leaving Europe. I purchased a race suit and in total I got 49% off of it.

I saw jackets for half the price I had paid even on discount. E.g Aspide textile jacket for 124 euros.

They shipped my suit to Germany for 15 euros so I wouldn't have to carry it.

If you're looking for new gear and can make it to northern Italy, Dainese is the place to go.
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Old 05-06-2015, 04:54 PM   #7
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Geebus.. that's awful!! I hope you're making a full recovery..

Thanks for sharing your trips with all its ups and downs...

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Old 05-06-2015, 05:10 PM   #8
BillUA
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Sorry to hear of this..I wish you the best in recovery.
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:33 AM   #9
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Speedy recovery.
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:12 PM   #10
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I am really sorry to hear that your trip had to be cut short. Motorcycling is dangerous, but usually fun...except in this case.

Heal up, and hope to find you back on the road sooner rather than later!
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Old 05-07-2015, 03:30 PM   #11
Comrade Art
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Wishing you a speedy recovery
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Old 05-07-2015, 04:58 PM   #12
yamalama
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man. that sucks.
wishing you a speedy recovery.
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Old 05-07-2015, 05:09 PM   #13
garfey
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Man! That's rough!
Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.
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Old 05-07-2015, 06:01 PM   #14
Roland44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenaxia View Post
So those with a keen eye will notice that most of the goals in my last post are in the past tense. That is primarily because I am writing these posts from a hospital bed in Villach Austria.
I hope you recover soon man. Keep it up!
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