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Old 01-12-2014, 09:15 PM   #46
kuyaoli
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Originally Posted by TechnomadicJim View Post
Thanks man! I'm always glad to hear of other smaller bike fans. Where about's in Thailand are you ? I've spent a few months over there myself and done a bit of biking there. I lived on Koh Phangan for a month and did the Mae Hong Son Loop.
just in Bangkok...
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Old 01-13-2014, 12:32 PM   #47
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KM's so far 9400

Leaving Tsumeb I drove north and after about 20 km's I came across Otjikoto Lake. Its estimates to be over 142 meters deep!



The retreating Germans chucked their guns and a "mysterious safe" into the lake.



A very boring drive for about 230 km's up the B2 highway took me to Ondangwa where I setup my hammock camp at Ondangwa Rest Camp.



I was snoozing in my hammock when 3 noisy bikes drove in next to my camp. Meet Thomas (Germany), Florian (Austria) and the famous "deaf biker" Istvan (Romania). Very cool guys to hang out with for the evening!



By coincidence these guys met Mat and Jaap on the KTM 990's in northern Africa but decided to come down the west coast (Mat and Jaap took the easy coast).



The next day I said farewell to the guys and headed on a day trip exploring the local area off away from the B2. Lots of small villages and people just staring as I rode past on my bike. I don't think they see many bikers up here.

Where am I ?



Tomorrow I'm going to head east towards Rundu along the Angolan border. I'm not sure if I will camp on the way and make it in 2 days or just go for the whole 460 km's in one go. Even with my 10 litre jerry can on the side I think I'm going to need to take a few more litres just in case. AFAIK there's no petrol on this road. Should be an interesting day!

---

Side note regarding my new GPS tracking I mentioned where you can track my exact position and speed / altitude etc... There was a bug causing it not to update. Now fixed it shows my location properly. Updates every 5 minutes. Im interested to know if anyone uses it :

http://www.whereisjames.com/#gps
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Old 01-19-2014, 06:16 AM   #48
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So I have had my first major problem of the trip :(

I'm in Katima Mulilo right in the north east of Namibia on the Caprivi strip. I changed my oil today and tightened the sump plug too much and snapped off the outer collar that holds the rubber ring in. Its now dripping a drop of oil every 2 seconds. Damn it! So annoyed with myself.

Here's the collar that snapped off :



Here's what is should look like only snapped :



Here's the rubber ring exposed dripping oil :





The sump plug was really tight when I undone it so when I noticed what seemed like a spot of oil after having run the engine for a few minutes I presumed I hadn't tightened it enough then SNAP!

Its a Saturday evening here so nothing will be open until Monday and my visa expires on Tuesday. So I have to act quickly. I have several options as I see it :

Ideally I need a replacement so I will try and find one here in Katima. There is at least one decent mechanics here. Failing that I will see if it can be repaired and perhaps have one shipped somewhere from Windhoek Honda which is AFAIK the closest honda dealership to me. I can't get there because of my visa expiring on Tuesday.

Visa-wise I'm close to the border so I can cross even with a broken bike. Perhaps go to Livingstone which I think is the biggest city closest to me and therefore most likely to have a part or possibly be my shipping address for a shipment from Windhoek. Its not ideal as I wanted to go to Botswana first.

Perhaps I should just cross into Botswana and try and get to Maun and hole up there until I can get the part sent... It would allow me to then continue on my original planned route at least.

Any ideas or suggestions welcome!
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Old 01-19-2014, 06:19 AM   #49
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I got some advice from two uses on the wild dog forums. I'm going to go to the local mechanics / spares shop tomorrow and hopefully pick up a replacement. One of the many reasons I chose the CTX was because its such a common and standard (GY6) engine. I'm hoping I shouldn't have too much difficulty replacing it.

Quote:
Sometimes some PRATLEY STEEL GLUE will work until you get *a replacement. *Wash it good with degreaser and try the glue.
Find a farmer.. they should have some pratley steel glue

Hope you come right.
I did manage to pick some of this up but I held off using it yet because as it stands I do have a bit of a seal and its not leaking too much at the moment. If I keep the oil topped up I think I might be able to make it to somewhere I can get a replacement plug or at least get one sent.

It seems to depend on the oil temperature but its dripping anything from every 3 - 15 seconds. Even in the last 20 hours or so my oil level is about 50% between min and max level's (it was at max before) and I've been driving around town a bit to test how much it leaks.

I spoke to my dad this morning and he raised a very good point. By undoing the sump plug and trying to repair it I may well make the problem worse. Its better to add to the seal as it stands. I can only lesson the amount of oil dripping out.

Quote:
Find a nice big washer. Looks like there is somewhat of a collar left. Fit washer. The broken piece. And then O-ring. Get some gasket maker. Glue everything up. And get to the next service station for next oil change. And buy a extra sump plug as i advised in the begining of the trip. A broken or lost plug can mean you srfander in middle of nowhere. Last but not least.
My dad use to have a champaign cork in his cubbyhole. He used it as a gearbox plug one day. Im sure a wine bottle cork will work aswell.
The washer idea might be another idea too if the putty didn't hold. I'm going to pick up some gasket maker tomorrow and try and improve the seal I have. Now I wish I had bought a spare but to be fair if I had taken everything everyone had advised I would have most of a spare bike. I'm still learning and your previous advice is well appreciated now :)

My plan (after seeing what I can at the local mechanics / spares shop in Katima) is to still head to Divundu (Popa falls) tomorrow and try and cross the border there. I will load up with an extra litre of oil and cross my finger's I don't leak a litre and a half of oil during the 320 km's.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:33 AM   #50
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Jim if you decide to go to Livingstone, try and stay at Fwaulty Towers Back Packers, within walking distance up the road you have a DHL office. You can have parts sent there.
Just an idea.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:38 AM   #51
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Jim if you decide to go to Livingstone, try and stay at Fwaulty Towers Back Packers, within walking distance up the road you have a DHL office. You can have parts sent there.
Just an idea.
That's good to know. Thanks man! The part is a pretty standard 24mm drain plug use on lots of bikes / quads / scooters.. I'm hoping I can source one locally :

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Old 01-20-2014, 04:38 PM   #52
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livingstone is good

fawlty towers doesnt do camping anymore, i was there last camper ever , lol, but there are other options ,i think jolly boys is the go, there is a big shop on the top of the rise in the main drag that sells engineering stuff ,pumps tools etc, the guy there was clued up on things , he should be able to help , go do high tea at the royal livingstone , it was a bit of a treat , glad the trip is going well
also a place called livingstone adventures has honda quad bike tours so they may be able to help
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:14 AM   #53
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fawlty towers doesnt do camping anymore, i was there last camper ever , lol, but there are other options ,i think jolly boys is the go, there is a big shop on the top of the rise in the main drag that sells engineering stuff ,pumps tools etc, the guy there was clued up on things , he should be able to help , go do high tea at the royal livingstone , it was a bit of a treat , glad the trip is going well
also a place called livingstone adventures has honda quad bike tours so they may be able to help
Thanks for the tips man :) I will certainly have high tea in Livingstone. As a British guy I think its pretty much required of me! See below for updates on the sump plug saga :

---

I'm going to get my ride report up to date as it's out of sync with my recent sump plug issue.

So I left Ondangwa on the B10. It was a LONG 467 km stretch. The road has lots of villages along it and I came across this old rusted VW shell and stopped for a photo :



After about 300km's I was feeling pretty tired and noticed these looming clouds that I was headed to. I had a small down poor to drive through which wasn't too bad but enough to soak me. The sun then came out and I dried myself out only to come into a BIG storm which lasted about 30 minutes and after that I was completely wet through. It started out with some small wind and then it was a real storm and I had to slow down to 40 km's and was nearly blown over. I could barely see anything.



I arrived in Divindu and checked into The Okavango River Lodge. Being soaked through and tired I paid 420 NAD for a single room rather than trying to find somewhere cheaper.

I was going to stay two nights but at the last minute I decided to head to Divundu. The D3402 road which runs parallel to the B8 is a must. Lots of villages next to the river and much more fun than the tar road.





As with yesterday clouds started to appear and I was ready to be drowned again.



Fortunately I made it to Divundu before it really bucketed it down and took shelter outside one of the two supermarkets in town.



I checked out most of the camp sites but decided to camp at Shametu River Lodge. Its run by a South African couple called Cheryl and Mel. They even offered for me to join them for dinner so I didn't have to have my standard pilchards and beans. :) Very nice people!

I just strung my hammock up in the kitchenette area. The ablution facilities were really nice too and all for 120 NAD per person.



The view towards popa falls from Shametu. I wasn't going to pay NWR 150 NAD just to go and look from their resort!





I spent a couple of nights there and then headed off the Caprivi strip to Katima where I was going to meet some red cross volunteers I met in Swakopmund. I decided to take the C49 instead of the B8 tar road. Unfortunately (or fortunately depends on how you look at it) they are working on tarring the road.



Came across this big fellow crossing just behind me. My first wild elephant!



I arrived in Katima after driving 400 km's and camped in my friends garden. Seeing bikes is rare in Namibia but whilst wandering around town I came across this Honda Trail 11 :



The next day (Saturday) I washed the bike, cleaned the chain and decided to change the oil. This is when I broke the sump plug as mentioned in the previous post. :(

I had to wait until Monday as everything was obviously closed on Sunday. I trawled round all the local mechanics and even outboard motor shops trying to find a replacement sump plug and ended up meeting a mechanic called Eddie who was happy to jump in and help me out. First he tried the Partleys steel glue and it looked promising but as soon as he tightened it up even a little its just broke again. So next he used some tape on the thread and then sealed it with some sealant :





Eddie then replaced the oil and only charged me 150 NAD for the emergency work. Thanks man! I immediately left for Divundu checking the seal regularly of course and thankfully it held and got me to there.

The next morning on the last day of my Visa I exited Namibia after spending two whole months there.



I entered Botswana via the Mohembo border crossing. Both posts were very friendly and quick so no problems and no accusations of spying! I paid 150 Pula for the Botswana fee's for the bike. They accepted namibian dollars too.



I followed the A35 south on a very boring road full of pot holes and strewn with cattle and donkeys. I stopped for lunch at Dijo Deli where they recommended I visit a crocodile farm on my way down. I arrived in Sepopa where I stayed at Sepopa Swamp Stop. I was the only guest there and the dinner was very good. The place was a bit run down though and could do with an overhaul to be honest especially the ablution facilities.

After a nice breakfast I headed south again towards Maun and stopped off at Krokovango Farm as recommended by the Dijo Deli. It cost 25 Pula and was quite interesting. I recommend it. You can spot it by the giant painted crocodile by the side of the road :









At the end of the A35 where it joins the A3 is Lake Ngami which I thought I may as well try and cross. Not going to happen but the scenery is quite unique with all the dead tress.





The A3 is just as boring as the A35 and after riding about 350 km's I eventually end up in Maun where I'm currently staying at the *Old Bridge Backpackers.

I just got back from trawling all the local bike / spares shops and although everyone was helpful it appears I can't get a replacement plug here. Getting one shipped will probably take a long time too as it will have to go via Gabarone for customs. I think I might just head down to Francistown and try my luck there.
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:15 AM   #54
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Here's the current status of my sprockets and tyres at 11,600 km's.

Front :


Back :


Front (Headenau K60) :


Back (Mitas E07) :


I've got a bit of a seal that's leaking too but not enough to really worry too much about I think :

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Old 01-24-2014, 05:15 AM   #55
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Great stuff. To extend driveline component life, try fitting a new front sprocket about midway through, and perhaps flip the rear one over. Brand new pitch on the driven face almost when it's flipped over. Your chain life will be greatly extended. Keep the half worn front sprocket for later. Keep up the great report.
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Old 01-26-2014, 07:31 AM   #56
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Great stuff. To extend driveline component life, try fitting a new front sprocket about midway through, and perhaps flip the rear one over. Brand new pitch on the driven face almost when it's flipped over. Your chain life will be greatly extended. Keep the half worn front sprocket for later. Keep up the great report.
Thanks for the advice :) Will do.

I think I can explain the small amount of leaking oil as the previous mechanic had over filled the oil level a bit. Must have forced some oil out under the pressure. I think this is what would cause it.
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:40 AM   #57
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Great to read your new adventures
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Old 02-04-2014, 03:37 PM   #58
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Great to read your new adventures
Thanks man! This next report is probably my best adventure of trip yet :)

----

Soon after checking in at the Old Bridge Backpackers in Maun I met Dave and Marly who are riding two Honda Dominator (250cc) bikes. They come from Amsterdam and spent the last 3 years (with 1 years break in between) travelling down the east coast of Africa. It was really cool to hang out with them.



The 3 of us decided to hire a 4x4 (Toyota Prado) and head into Moremi national park for a couple of days. Dave and Marly took turns at driving as I actually don't have a car license only a full bike license :) As you can imagine at this time of year there was a lot if water so we took it way and weaved our way through towards the third bridge camp. After a while the Prado started to overheat and we could hear the coolant boiling so we let it cool down for a while and proceeded but after a little while the engine began to have a knocking sound which did not sound good at all. Dave checked the radiator and it was pretty much empty! We filled it up with almost 10 liters of water and some coolant which they had with them from the bikes. After that the Prado was fine. They hired us a car empty of coolant!!!

Moremi is full of game and definitely my best national park to date. We didn't see any lions but other groups did. We did see a Serval though which was pretty cool. Here's some of the photo highlights :











We camped at third bridge for 234 pula which is pretty expensive but ok for one night. During the night the hippos were so close I could hear them breathing. Obviously I didn't leave my tent all night after hearing of how dangerous they can be!

The next day we took a different route out of the park which was very difficult driving (top work Dave!) with the main tracks being completely flooded. We had to blaze a fresh trail many times just to make it through. There was the added concern that we were running out of fuel and couldn't afford to back track the way we came. Fortunately we lucked out on our diversions with a little help from our GPS's and the low fuel light came on 10k's outside of Maun. Nice!

To cap off the Moremi experience we found 4 more backpackers and organised a 1 hour scenic flight for 640 pula each which I thought was a great price (Top work Dave + Marly again!). There really was some spectacular views including a giant herd of about 60 elephants! Awesome :)











It really was cool hanging out at the Old Bridge Backpackers with Dave and Marly but I had to get moving as I needed to get my oil drain plugs from Gaborone. They did mention that they drove across the Makgadikgadi Pan and camped on Kubu island on their way to Maun so I decided to do the same on my way. The Makgadikgadi Pan and Kubu island appeared on the Top Gear Botswana Special episode where they have to cross over in non 4wd vehicles of their choosing. Pretty funny episode.

Anyway... I packed up and said my goodbyes to all the cool people I met and headed for Gweta where I had some lunch at Planet Baobab and had a chat with one of local guides. He told me no... its not possible to cross this time of year. I mentioned that Dave and Marly made it through and one of the managers said it would probably be OK so I thought I would give it a go anyway. I drove through south through Gweta and out the other side where it was very sandy tracks through lots homesteads. The road became firmer but soon I arrived at this :



I started to make my way around and nearly got past until I broke through into the mud and just wheel spun digging myself in deeper :\



Fortunately a nice farmer was passing on his donkey and helped push me through the last part. It wasn't long before I got stuck again and had to drag the bike sideways to get out of this :



Fortunately the CTX is so light that even with my luggage I can haul it out of situations like this by myself without unpacking my luggage. I spent about an hour and a half making very slow progress through heavy mud and only managed to make about 30 km's of the 130 to kubu island via this route so I decided to turn back at 4pm as it was obvious I wasn't going to make it this way. I retraced my track and headed back to the main road defeated by the mud.



I camped back at Planet Baobab where I had lunch. It happens to have a giant concrete Aardvark just next to the entrance off the main road. :)





The next day I headed to Nata where Dave and Marly mentioned there was another (main) way in to Kubu Island which I hoped would be easier going. Surely enough it started out good and I made progress across the plains with the odd startled ostrich running away from me every now and again.



I passed some hore homesteads and started to come across the mighty Baobab tree's. They are very cool.



As I neared Kubu island the road started to get more waterlogged and I began to worry that I might not make but I pressed on as it wasn't so muddy like before and the ground was quite firm underneath the water which wasn't so bad. I reached Makgadikgadi adventure camp with about 20 km's to Kubu island and stopped off to have a coke and chat to the manager about the road conditions. Again he told me no I would't make it. He said two Kiwi's in a 4x4 tried and turned back the day before and stayed at his place. He told me the water level was above knee height in a lot of places but I suspected he might be exaggerating a bit in order to get me to stay at his place rather than Kubu island so I set off anyway. I was so close!

The water was deeper the closer I got but it had firm ground underneath and wasn't so slippery which was the main problem that stopped me before. Finally I could see Kubu island but I had to cross about 200 metres of mud to get there. It had also just began to rain. I took it slow and made it across to the staff house where I managed to get under their porch just as the rain came down. Nice! The manager there was quite surprised to see me and impressed I had made it this time of year. I picked a camp site by some baobab's and as soon as I put my tarp up the rain came down even heavier and I had to scramble to keep everything dry and ensure the tarp was tight and secure. It lasted about an hour so I made some video and prepared my standard standard cold beans and pilchards in a mug for dinner. I watched an episode of Bear Grylls on my phone in my hammock and fell asleep happy I had made it.





I got up just after sunrise and it began to rain so I got back in the hammock and began to fall asleep again until I noticed that water was soaking down the webbing and into my hammock. I remembered a little trick where you tie a piece of string to each end before the hammock and it wicks the water to the ground before it gets to the hammock. It works too :)

I packed up and went on a short drive around the island and took some photos. Its a very cool place! It would have been nicer to have been able to drive on the pans but it was way too wet. Very different from the pictures i saw of a week previous when Dave and Marly had crossed it.







As I left two of the staff members mentioned that if I did have any trouble there would be a 4x4 coming from the south on the same path I was taking in order to relieve them. They also said I should back track 20 km's and go round rather than taking the direct route south. As I left I got confused about where the path I came in on was and ended up heading down the short cut. Realizing my mistake I just decided to plough a path through the mud and water which was a bit touch and go when the bike ended up in water so deep it was nearly over the exhaust! Fortunately I made it back to the correct track and made my way. It was definitely deeper than the day before after all the extra rain.



There was long stretches of water where you couldn't see any sort of dry exit so you just had to go for it and hope there was no unexpected trenches under the water.









After a while the dreaded mud appeared. I skirted the edge the best I could and tried not to make any turns on area's I had to cross. It was slow going but being by myself I had to be careful not to mess up as I didn't know how long help would be or if there would be any at all!



I was getting tired and I still had a long way to go. I really didn't know what to expect next. I did come across a pan that was mostly dry and decided to have some fun for a bit and took some cool video speeding past the camera.







After the semi-dry pan was more water and mud for a few kilometers where I had one of my more artistic slides :







Eventually there was less extended areas of water. It was soon just large puddles. I wasn't wearing my helmet as i was sweating so much working to keep the bike upright. The inevitable happened and it fell off the back and into a puddle :(*doh!



Very tired at this point I only had about 30 km's until I was sure I was going to reach some much anticipated tar. Unfortunately this last stretch was a maze of deep rutted muddy puddles surrounded by thorny bushes. I was shattered when I eventually made it to Serowe so I checked into the first decent B&B I could find and slept in until late the next morning.

The A1 road from Serowe to Gabarone was mostly uneventful apart from crossing the Tropic of Capricorn again :



I'm currently staying at Mokolodi Backpackers*and have the whole dorm to myself and some half decent Internet at last. Sweet! I've been buying some supplies from the "Game City" shopping mall including a new Buff neck scarf, two new K-Way shirts (They have a Cape Union Mart here!) and a new 1.5 meter mono-pod for the cameras.

I dropped the bike into the local Honda dealership this morning for a service and clocked the brand new clean CTX in the window. I call this photo "Beauty and the Beast".



Will report on how the service goes next.
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Old 02-06-2014, 12:45 PM   #59
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Just a little update on the service :

I put the bike in for its 12k (actually 13k) service at Honda Gabarone. They were really good and even organised me a lift back to the hostel and picked me up the next day. The driver even took me to some other bike shops so I could get some replacement gloves as I lost mine on the pans. Nice!

When I arrived the bike was ready and looked brand new again :). Here's what was done :

Spark plug replaced.
Engine flushed and cleaned, Oil changed.
Sump plug changed and spare (with O ring) supplied.
Rear swing arm cap bodge replaced with original cap.
Chain replaced as mine was very stretched (some wear some my fault for now lubing enough).

As I was next heading to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique I also bought replacement brake pads and shoes as they would probably go soon within the next 10k's. As far as I know this will be the last official Honda dealership before i get back into SA in a few months time.

Here's Allan the service manager (also an MX rider). He was impressed with my journey and the fact I made it across the pan's. So impressed he didn't charge me any labor for the service and gave me a 20% discount on all the parts! Wow!



Thanks Allan, very much appreciated mate!

I also bought myself a mono pod (pictured at the bottom) for using with my GoPro and camera. Should make for some different / cool shots. Will have a play when I hit the road again. I also bought some CO2 inflation canisters and the valve as I really don't fancy using my bicycle pump to inflate after a flat! Incidentally I checked my spare tubes and one had a hole in it from being attached to the bike for the last 13km's. I fixed that up with my kit. Here's my new stuff. Its like Christmas!



So the plan next is to head up to Francistown and cross over into Zimbabwe. I'm interested to see what its like as I hear VERY different views from people. Depending on the weather I may leave Gaborone tomorrow or perhaps the next day. I'm interested on any recommendations for Zim apart from Vic falls. Im tempted by Greater Zimbabwe Ruins and Lake Kariba.

Feeling good I have everything sorted and new supplies.
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Old 02-06-2014, 10:08 PM   #60
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Great, thanks for sharing

Loving your RR, thanks for sharing your great pics and entertaining story line.
Brilliant that more and more people are touring on smaller bikes, not that I have anything against bigger bikes but as I'm touring on the little brother of your bike (CT110) I really appreciate seeing how others cope.
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