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Old 02-28-2014, 03:08 AM   #76
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I was in no hurry to leave my pitch in the morning, after such a restful nights sleep (I had woken briefly in the dawn light to find deer making their way past) and with no means of extending my stay with giant titanium mugs of coffee as is my usual MO I took to the empty roads once again





I had managed to find a free map at the petrol station back in Funasdalen, so now I could really start to pick a route that took in some smaller roads more suited to the power of my laden 90cc's!

The number of Reindeer running around in this part of the world was unbelievable, at times the C90 was almost too fast, people on the other hand were not in abundance, and I could probably have counted their number on my fingers, there was something truly special about riding around in such marvellous isolation, If you've ever gotten up on a summers morning in the UK and ridden into the countryside as the day breaks you'll have some idea what I mean, and if not, well you probably should, it's brilliant!

As I bimbled about with just the raspberry blowing exhaust of the little Honda I failed to appreciate just how badly it was handling in the turns I took, or how much it was weaving about on the gravel, I was far more interested in seeing the ancient site of a meteor strike



On the way to the site of a meteor strike, a huge horseshoe shaped crater since reclaimed by the forest


Cool little bridges




And then finding to my delight some of the 'Grus' roads (gravel roads) as I stopped to take this picture I had recently seen tourist information signs talking about the animals of the forest which included bears, looking out across a seemingly endless swathes of trees and lakes it wasn't hard to imagine a few pottering about the place shitting in the woods and doing other bear type things, I even saw a sign that offered bear safaris, the chance to spot these and other elusive large forest predators with a guide, I do however know of a guy who offers a chance to go and see dolphins and sharks on his boat, he doesn't know anything about either, takes peoples money potters out to sea and occasionally says 'Look over there!' points to the distance and heads that way and potters about a bit before giving up on his elusive sea creatures





I drove through a quiet town called Malung, I was now in Dalarna County, flatter and less mountainous than the previous Jamtaland county, I've always liked the Dalarna County after bumping into the Peace and love festival in Borlange years before and I was racking my brain before realising that I knew why I'd heard of Malung, the sleepy little town was home to the Halvarssons brand of motorcycle clothing, If I'd had the means I would have tried to find the factory just to swing by and say thanks for making quality gear that I'd enjoyed using for years. But as I was in my Triumph leather jacket and it was near the end of the day I decided against it as I'm sure they would have thought me quite insane!

I kept on bimbling through the day and the traffic got heavier as I headed towards Orebro, I realised I was behind schedule for my date, and was keen to have a short ride the next day so I didn't appear too dishevelled and unkempt!

I found a quiet spot just off the main road for another beautiful nights sleep



And dreamt soundly of my hot date the following night
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:25 AM   #77
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Canned tourist? I hope they strained out all the camera bits before packing! Google trans claims it was pork paté with peas and that bit in small type says "can be eaten cold"....as you proved! Sorry to hear about the stove.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:31 PM   #78
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Lovely report. Hell in Heaven, and/or vice versa.

Have you seen reindeer with glow-in-the-dark-antlers yet?
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Old 02-28-2014, 04:17 PM   #79
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Lovely report. Hell in Heaven, and/or vice versa.

Have you seen reindeer with glow-in-the-dark-antlers yet?
Probably best I didn't see a bunch of them out in the woods near my tent, or I may have got confused and a little nervous



I didn't know glow in the dark antlers were 'a thing', that is awesome
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:04 AM   #80
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If I had the slightest notion how my day was going to pan out I might have stayed in my tent, but as it was I sprang up, packed away my things and got moving, I was feeling bouyant! I even treated myself to a McDonalds Coffee.

The route I was taking was through the space between the two great lakes of Vattern and Vanern towards Jönköping and Huskvarna, I took to the small roads once again, tonight I was going to have a nice evening of wine,food and good company followed by a bed in my own apartment rented from the University in Vimmerby.

I wobbled and weaved my way around but could feel the bike was really starting to struggle, and then on a gentle downhill slope I went from 45mph to nothing as the back end weaved around madly to the sound of my rear tyre rubbing against the mudguard. One disadvantage of tyres that are so easy to fit you don't even need levers is that they don't have the stiffest sidewalls, when you get a flat, you know it

Still I wasn't going to let a silly puncture degrade my mood, I had a tube and a pump that sort of worked, I laid the bike down on it's side to ease the removal of the rear wheel and set to business

except the rear tyre was full of air??

Erm

I looked at the rear wheel more closely, this was not good, not good at all

1,2,3,4,5....15 broken spokes!! just under half in fact, one 'clack' against the chainguard too many? had seemingly caused a chain reaction of rear wheel failure! the effect was that I could now move the rim up or down a couple of inches from the centreline, It was of course unrideable, I considered my options, they were limited, I could try to take a few from the front wheel maybe?

I decided that as even this would need me to deflate the tyres the best bet was to try and get to an airline, I found myself in the middle of nowhere and my pump only sort of worked so any repairs would be easier if I could find a petrol station, I also really wanted to drink some water as it was a hot summers day and I'd not had any yet (It was around lunchtime)

By standing beside the bike and pushing I could thankfully use the bikes engine to propel it, I stripped off my jacket and walked the next 10km

I arrived at a strange looking castle-esque building at a crossroads, next to it was a car park which I headed for



The building actually housed the Tourist office, which was great news, it meant there would definitely be an English speaker, so I went in with a few questions about how I could get from here to Vimmerby for my date and cheekily asking to put some battery back into my phone.

I explained my predicament to the lovely lady in the tourist office who immediately offered me her help, the internet connection, phone as well as researching times and costs for getting to Vimmerby.

The latter was a no go, realistically speaking it was not possible and frighteningly expensive, so the first fact I had to contend with was that I had come this way for no result and in doing so had lost a day on my already tight schedule, there would not be the same opportunity on this visit and although me and the lovely Frida have stayed in touch since we still have never met resigning ourselves to a long distance friendship at best

But more importantly, what of the little Honda? I already knew that the bike was not ever sold in Sweden but that the successor, the Innova was, I prayed that somehow they used the same size spokes for their wheels.

We called the nearest bike shop, they sounded friendly and eager to help, but there was a catch, they could get the parts for the bike no problem, they weren't however a Honda Sweden franchise so they got Honda parts from the Netherlands and anticipated a 2 week delivery time

2 weeks! there was no way I could wait that long, I had neither the time nor the money so I took the name they gave me for the nearest Honda Sweden dealer.

They located the machine from the UK reg number and it sounded really promising, yes we can get the parts from Honda Swedens hub in Gothenburg if we can confirm they are the same as the Innova, otherwise we can get them brought over from Honda Europe in one of their daily deliveries, I just need to check the details with Honda Sweden themselves

After a ten minute wait I was poised on the edge of my seat like a gameshow contestant waiting to see if he had won the prize

Erm not really, they could get the parts in about 4 days normally, but this week Honda Sweden is closed until Thursday (we were on a Monday) for training. doing the Math in my head I realised we were talking about ....well about two weeks

It was then I got the number for the bike shop I had been sleeping in back in January, Varberg was far away and in the wrong direction but knowing my host Uwe was really knowledgeable and connected in motorcycling circles, and had also owned an Innova I figured what the heck, If I'm out of ideas maybe he has one?

It was late in the day but I got through to the shop, Uwe wasn't available right now, but I was given a mobile number to call

I did, no answer so I left a text and waited whilst eating a bar of amusingly named Swedish confectionary




I can assure you the name is not the only reason this hasn't been a big import into the UK!

I waited into the night and erected my tent, all I could do right now was trust that either Uwe would get back in touch with me or that after a sleep I would have some genius idea about fixing the bike.

I took the tent down early in the morning, after all it had been pitched next to the main crossroads into the town and immediately behind the tourist office castle, it was starting to look like I would be needing to contact Honda Sweden on Thu, it had become a waiting game, I'm good at waiting though.

and I've learnt cake helps




That afternoon I was pleased to hear my phone ring, it was Uwe, he had in fact just come back from a Tenere rallye in Switzerland on his beloved original XT660 Tenere, I asked if he had any ideas an he said the best bet was that he came and got me in the work van and took the whole affair back to the shop, maybe he knew where to get an innova wheel etc.

He had some bike deliveries to take care off so he might be there later that afternoon or tomorrow, I was to sit tight until he got there.

I sure slept easier that night despite concerns as to how much getting the bike from where I was to Varberg was going to cost!!

Uwe is a legend and a true ADV'er
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Old 03-03-2014, 10:54 PM   #81
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ha! Plopp, its not the greatest of chocolate bars! I must have another though next time im in Sweden..
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:29 AM   #82
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It wasn't until 9pm the following evening that Uwe arrived, I'd almost begun to wonder if something had gone amiss and I'd not had a message (I kept turning my phone off to conserve battery)

But as the sun was sitting low in the sky and I was thinking about putting my tent up once again a LWB VW Crafter pulled into the car park

By now I didn't really care what it was going to cost, I just needed to be getting going and so after dispensing with pleasantries and loading the bike into the cavernous van I settled into the passenger seat tired after a long day of doing nothing except cooking in the summer sun

Uwe by contrast had been busy all day, the biking season in Sweden is short and so the guys at the shop were seemingly flat out during the 'bike season' and just as was the case in the UK the global financial difficulties had meant a lot of dealers had gone under, so now they were covering a large area of business.

It was actually over three hours van ride to Varberg, having worked a full day with an early start Uwe had stayed working until midnight effectively

Whats more when It came time to fill the van up he wouldn't let me pay anything and so for the second time his generosity had humbled me (and it wouldn't be the last)

I rolled into the familiar smell of new bikes, leather clothes and helmet polish, I was for now at least, in position to sleep soundly, knowing that tomorrow I was in the best possible situation to sort this wheel issue out

Home for the night




I think that has to be one of the comfiest leather sofas I've ever slept on, and despite not being a big cruiser bike fan (really not a common thing in the UK) I sort of view such machines more affectionately ow, having slept with hundreds of them

In the morning I said hello to the rest of the crew at the bike shop and rolled the mightyninety onto its very own ramp in the workshop





First job was to place some calls and find out how I could get some spokes, but there was something else I needed to check as it had dawned on me that there was another reason behind why they failed that needed addressing

Sure enough the rear bearings were knackered, I don't mean in 'a tad notchy' kind of way, I mean in a 'how had I gotten anywhere on them??' sort of way





I've gotten used to the pleasures of modern engineering, and I'll admit I hadn't even considered the bearings would not have been of a sealed type, the idea of wheel bearings completely collapsing at under 15,000 miles wasn't even in my scope for consideration.

We chased a few options for spokes locally but to no avail, Uwe knew of a shop that could turn out anything we needed but was geared more towards the custom wheels of Harleys and the ilk, furthermore it wouldn't be cheap.

We took a run to a local honda dirt bike shop that was very helpful, they sorted us some sealed bearings as a replacement and sifted through the variety of spokes and nipples they had for honda schoolboy crossers, but it seemed we could have length or bend correct, not both

To make matters worse we learned from Honda that actually Honda Europe didn't have any spokes for a Cub!! so the parts had to come from Honda Asia-Europe-Sweden-Varberg

I began to size up the cost of my options, although I was welcome to stay at the bike shop, and Uwe was doing a great job of feeding me I was running out of time if I was to get to Central France in order to get the work done on the house in readiness for my mother and her partner, and the stress of the thought that I wouldn't be there in time to get all the walls plastered and a floor put in the extension before they came out was great, I was all too aware this might be the one and only time Greg got to enjoy the house he'd bought before his own battle with Cancer was lost

I was on the cusp of just paying the extortionate price of a last minute flight from Gothenburg to London to meet someone who could supply me with a set of spokes before flying back, after all Wemoto had them for about £13 a wheelset, but said they could send them overseas on a timescale that equated to...Yep 2 blimmin weeks!

I put out a request on facebook for ideas and thanks to a suggestion from a friend, went and got a quote from interparcel to collect and deliver the spokes.

I pestered the poor girl Sarah from Wemoto who agreed that despite being not typical practice she would get the spokes to the reception for collection, and then complied again later when I asked her to print and attach the shipping label.

£30 for shipping, it was a bargain though I doubted the next day claims, after all I booked the shipping at 2pm

But in reality the courier picked them up at 4 pm and following the tracking number the parcel made frightening progress before arriving in the small town of Varberg by 10am the next morning!


Wheel minus broken spokes




The shops mechanic had meanwhile been staring thoughtfully at the machine, it's funny but all the engineering types that take time to consider the C90 seem to give it a thumbs up and he was no exception, in fact before I could say anything He'd changed the plug and oil, stripped the carb and ensured there was no dirt anywhere and generally given it a going over!!

And so there was not much for me to do except wait for those spokes and try and keep my work area clean, which along with putting everything back where it belongs are among the golden rules of borrowing another persons workshop I reckon





The next morning I built the wheels up with the new spokes, the shiny new spokes were perhaps not the best quality but at £13 a set I was happy despite having a need to drill the rims as the new nipples were slightly larger by about a MM

having loosely laced the spokes I was happy to let the tensioning up and trueing to be done by someone more practiced than me, as it was the wheel was slightly ovalled and the last thing I wanted to do was pull it out of shape further

strangely the corresponding metric spindle size for the true-ing jig wouldn't fit the wheel and there wasn't one small enough at the dealership, so we drove over to the local bicycle shop :-)

I also treated the girl to a new front sprocket and a new chain

we were ready for the off!

It was about lunchtime when I left, Uwe had pointed out a smaller road that followed the coast most of the way to the bridge to Denmark and me and the little Honda were flying along very happily after all those dramas, enjoying the scenery without the horrid sensation of having a lot of heavy and/or fast vehicles piling up behind me
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:58 AM   #83
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Stickin to it!!

No "can't" in you!! Thanks for the RR!
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:44 AM   #84
Blader54
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Ah, man, too sorry about you missing your date with Frida. Truly unfortunate. Those bearings were really amazingly horrible....looked like bits of shell held together by metal paste. A "plopp" chocolate bar....too funny----should have been labeled "cloaca" perhaps stead of cloetta! Your steadfastness is admirable! I'm sure there are those who would have just binned the bike and grabbed a train or plane for la belle France. Just when I think your story must be drawing to an easy ending....something new pops up. Rather like life, I s'pose. Great stuff - looking forward to the next installment!
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:10 AM   #85
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Just when I think your story must be drawing to an easy ending....something new pops up. Rather like life, I s'pose. Great stuff - looking forward to the next installment!


To my mind it's one of the greatest joys of travel by motorcycle, an enforced minimalism that in turn brings about an immediate urgency when any of your most primitive needs becomes threatened or compromised.

In those times we are humble enough to look to others for help, forced into dialogue, and an admission to ourselves that we are not an island, but that we are far greater than any individual could hope by the sum of society around us, that is abundant in knowledge and kindness not marked by lines on a map or language or religion.

We also focus on our real problems in a pure sense, giving up is never an option, and in learning there is always a way even if difficult is a great knowledge,

Also in learning about others we learn too of ourselves, and so we reach out to help those we can, when we can and that makes me enormously proud to be a traveller, a biker, and an ADV'er



If I had a safety net of a large bank balance to fall back into I would never have been so exposed on my travels, and I would have lost so much wealth of experience because of that
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:25 AM   #86
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That's deep, and moving, and has the indelible ring of truth to it. Well said.
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Old 03-04-2014, 02:17 PM   #87
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+1

Laced and trued. And I don't mean the wheel.

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Old 03-05-2014, 04:39 AM   #88
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Got to agree with all of that SSD. And a great RR (as is your Mongolian adventure).
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Old 03-05-2014, 06:20 PM   #89
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It was a really pleasant little run through the relatively flat rural landscape of this SW corner of Sweden, and the bike was a joy to ride with it's roundish wheels and something not entirely dissimilar to handling, sort of a bendy in the middle bellydancing distant cousin of handling, which in C90 terms is as good as it gets I actually kept on into the night, The Danish drivers were still venting their disgust at me by overtaking in my lane despite a good clear one to the side of me that was free to use? I tried to steer onto the lesser roads as often as I could as I made my way to my home for the night, I'd set my sights on crossing Denmark in that day, and so in the middle of the night, and positively exhausted I found my way to Flensburg on the North German border, It had been a long hard ride, no matter whether I was heading West or South the presence of a strong prevailing wind was made known to me by the innumerable wind turbines that pepper the Danish landscape like lumps of fat in a Salami, they are just everywhere, and each one seemed to be mocking my efforts from their lofty vantage point, spinning madly into the strangely strong breeze coming in from the far Atlantic ocean, It literally didn't matter which way I was heading, I seemed to have a headwind, it was eating fuel and top speed

So no messing about for a nice pitch I just drove in a straight line behind the Petrol station I'd arrived at, the grass was as tall as the handlebars and I found that there was once a full set of service buildings here that either fell into decline or were never utilised, in any event I pitched my tent and my ambition of a full and restful nights sleep came to me quickly, I was concerned that I needed to make the best possible time to France, and that meant taking the shortest fastest route across the Behemoth that is Deutschland.


I woke to a dew covered flysheet and after completing my morning rituals which always include drinking as much water as I can stomach/have available (after making room of course) I set off, only I decided I would give myself a little treat to remember Denmark by, Now albeit in good humour I have always claimed a dislike of Denmark ever since they insisted I buy a camping card membership nearly a decade ago, this they told me was valid in all of Scandinavia, only I had Just been in Norway and Sweden already and was annoyed they didn't in turn recognise my Swedish camping card! previously bought, I think I muttered a FU Denmark and drove to Germany to camp. ever since then I've joked about how awful a country it is and I was determined to turn this around.

Now Carlsberg lager is, I think it's fair to say, not regarded as a premium adult beverage in the UK, in fact I would rather quaff the warm used dishwater of a school canteen, but.... I had been told that it was quite different in Denmark, that even Special Brew, that stalwart friend of the park bench tramp back in Blighty was, by comparison, ambrosia to the taste buds

and so I bought myself a solitary beer, not for breakfast, I'm not that hardcore, but I set myself a challenge and a reward

Get across Germany mate and a nice cold beer will be waiting for you, It was to be my 'Ice cold in Alex' to reference the old ww2 film


Clearly I have a drink problem given what I did to earn that drink, but not in the same league as my bike mind which seemed to average no better than 22km per litre or 13 miles a litre if you prefer whilst on the way across Denmark, but with my little motivation I kept on trucking on the little Honda

I actually overtook some other bikes on the Autobahn, a ZZR1100 Kawasaki and the obvious BMW1150gs who were abiding by the no lane slitting/filtering rule of Germany, I on the other hand kept my same pace, full speed ahead!

I was even filmed several times by the occupants of an Audi which would overtake me several times before getting into the back of another traffic jam, who knows, maybe there is an overloaded C90 on the autobahn somewhere on Youtube?

The bike was, despite its thirst, running pretty well and actually exceeding 55mph on the speedo at times, though I had to close the throttle down a little bit as anything more than a few seconds above 53mph sent horrid vibrations through the engine in what I had to assume was some sort of seizure type thing happening, and I really didn't want to walk the rest of the way (I never have breakdown cover)

Nevertheless I crossed Germany in a single day, in fact the speedo racked up 560 miles before, after a wrong turn I found myself on the outskirts of Brugge.

However on leaving Germany I came to my last petrol stop for that day, my eyes were bloodshot with fatigue, I'd been soaked wet through by rain and was gibbering cold, the rain had at least passed and so I was surprised to find I'd been sat on a patch of wet on my saddle still?

Then I realised the horrid truth, my Danish beer!! yep vibrations in my pack had worked their way through it and its contents had been oozing out of my Kriega for who knows how long! Denmark managed to reach out to me and give me a slap all the way across Germany it seems !! I earn't myself some strange looks as I paid for my petrol wreaking of stale beer.

I didn't care, after all those miles my back was in agony, I could barely walk and I was obscenely tired, I continued to Brugge looking for a suitable place to put my head down knowing my next shower was somewhere in Central France, I found a field that had recently been harvested, I pootled across the stubble, threw down my mat and decide it wasn't going to rain so just laid down in all my bike gear less my boots and pulled my sleeping bag over my head like a blanket
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:15 AM   #90
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Wot? Ice-cold lager? Didn't think that was cricket in old blighty. Only thing I found ice-cold there were the birds.
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