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Old 07-03-2014, 03:03 PM   #1
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Guzzi Test Ride

Today I'm heading flying out to Ireland to take a test ride on a Moto Guzzi. In order to give the bike and hones test ride I plan on spending two months riding through northern and central Europe.



I'll be arriving in Cork Ireland tomorrow morning where I'll get to lay eyes (and hands) on the bike for the first time. I plan on spending 4 days in Ireland getting the bike and myself ready for the trip.
Then I'll take a ferry to Cherbourg France and begin riding east to Denmark where I'll take another ferry to Sweden. Once in Sweden I'll work my way north until I can't go north no more and then head south-east through Finland. Originally I had planned on crossing into Russia east of St. Petersburg and then head south-west through Ukraine. My plan have changed (thanks Putin you ass). So instead I'll make my way to Helsinki where I'll take another ferry to Estonia. I'll then ride west through the Balitc States to Poland where I'll make the decision to go to Ukraine/Moldova/Romania or head directly to Brno in the Czech Republic where I have tickets for the MotoGP race on August 17th. After the Moto races I'll head to Munich to visit my brother and his family and then onto Switzerland and France before taking the last ferry back to Ireland.
I'll be posting numerous pictures along the way and hope to do a post a day but probably won't be uploading daily. Anytways that's all for now and here is the first picture of the trip.


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Old 07-04-2014, 04:32 PM   #2
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I arrived in Cork this afternoon and though I missed my connecting flight from Heathrow it turned out to be for the best. I really wasn’t sure how I was going to get to the motofeirme (aka Martin’s farm) site to pick up my bike after arriving in Cork. So I was standing in line at customs when someone behind me said “Looks like you’re going for a ride.” I replied that I was and when asked where my bike was I responded that I wasn’t really sure and it was at some guys farm. To which the stranger replied “Martins? That’s where my bike is.”. As it turned out another American (Nate) arrived on the same flight as I was on and was also going to Martin’s to pick up his bike and he knew the way! So we split a cab and I got to finally lay eyes on the little red Italian tomato.
The bike looks real good and started right up with just a little bit of help from the choke. Martin has a really nice setup for travelers with plenty of tools and space to work on the bike as well as plenty of helpful advice and he’s building a dorm next to his barn for travelers to stay in. As it turns out besides myself and the Nate which I met at the airport there where two other riders also hanging out at Martin’s place. One rider from Australia (Terry) and another from Canada (Mike) who acts as Martin’s helper when Martin is busy doing his real job.
I started getting the bike setup and getting all my paperwork collected when I ran across one minor snafu. It seems the Bulgarians I purchased my Insurance from decided to translate my name into Bulgarian on the insurance form and it bears little resemblance to how my name is spelled on the rest of the documents. I’m told it shouldn’t be a problem since I should only need to produce the document if I’m involved in an accident and the bike is still insured (tho to someone with a very odd name).
Tomorrow I plan on finishing adding my gadgets to the bike and hopefully taking it out for a test ride and getting some new tires fitted. If that goes well I’ll probably spend the rest of the day picking up some odds and ends while getting used to riding on the wrong side of the road.
The area around Kilkearny (or something it’s near Cork which I can spell (usually)) is really beautiful and I’m looking forward to exploring it in the next few days.




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Old 07-04-2014, 04:38 PM   #3
Truetorch
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I almost bought a Guzzie, Opted for the Beamer. Cant wait to follow your tour.
John
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:29 PM   #4
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The major accomplishment today was getting new tires for the bike and having them installed. I also got to take the bike out for the first time today and it's quite nice. It feels very small and light and generally runs very smoothly though there is a bit of vibration between 4-4.5k rpm.
Riding on the wrong side of the road is not coming naturally though as long as I pay attention it isn't too bad. I was thinking I was doing pretty well at it and not one minute later I made a right turn into the right hand lane. Ooops.
The speed limits in Ireland are kind of nuts in a good way. There are countless roads which are barely wider than a car and full of blind corners with 80kph (50mph) speed limits. According to a German ex-patriot I was speeking to one I was getting my tires mounted theres a short pier in Kinsale with a 100kph speed limit. I think they hate the tourists!
Kinsale and the little bit of the surrounding countryside is quite beautiful and I plan on exploring a bit more of Ireland in the next couple of days.










more pictures http://www.twowheelsgood.net/europa2014/?p=74
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:57 PM   #5
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What a great trip, safe travels and looking forward to following your report.

Cheers
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:34 PM   #6
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As a fellow Guzzi rider I say welcome to Cork ! How are the natives treating you ? Looking forward to the rest of your travels on this trip.
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Old 07-06-2014, 03:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roam View Post
Originally I had planned on crossing into Russia east of St. Petersburg and then head south-west through Ukraine. My plan have changed (thanks Putin you ass). So instead I'll make my way to Helsinki where I'll take another ferry to Estonia. I'll then ride west through the Balitc States to Poland where I'll make the decision to go to Ukraine/Moldova/Romania or head directly to Brno in the Czech Republic where I have tickets for the MotoGP race on August 17th.
Depending on whereabouts exactly you were planning to cross the RU-UA border, you could still do it. Current conflict is entirely within these two regions:


Stay clear of them and, just to be sure, of the three regions immediately bordering them and you'll be as safe in Ukraine as you'd have been this time last year.

Crimea's off-limits for foreigners, though.
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Old 07-06-2014, 04:05 PM   #8
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Envy!

I just returned from Ireland 2 weeks ago and often thought what a perfect place to ride (besides that pesky other lane thing) Enjoy Ireland, the rest of your trip, and the bike.
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Old 07-06-2014, 04:07 PM   #9
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The natives are treating me well. They seem to like Americans for some explicable reason.

If I go to Ukraine I would head to Kiev and then Odessa before heading west again.

thanks,
Hugh
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Old 07-06-2014, 04:10 PM   #10
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Today was a good day. I got the Guzzi out for a 200 mile ride around the countryside of southern Ireland including part of the Ring of Kerry. The countryside is beautiful but the weather goes from sun to cold and rainy about every 15 minutes. Norway really? Southern Spain was calling me during the cold wet portions of the ride.


The bike runs well but 4th gear makes a significant amount of noise compared to the other gears. I did confirm that the heated grips work during the cold and wet portions of the ride.


Four more riders showed up at Motofeirme and I'm currently writing this up sitting around a camp fire while everyone is telling stories of their past and future adventures.


There are no Guzzi dealers in Ireland but there are two in Cherbourg where I'll be in a few days so I'll be stopping by there to pick up some oil filters and have the bike checked out.
more photos at http://www.twowheelsgood.net/europa2014/?p=102






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Old 07-07-2014, 02:06 AM   #11
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If I go to Ukraine I would head to Kiev and then Odessa before heading west again.
Romania/Moldova after Odessa, or west through Ukraine?
The bit of Kiev-Odessa from Kiev almost to Belaya Cerkov (Bila Cerkva) is undergoing repairs now and they won't finish before autumn, so it'd be best not to plan riding it in rush hour traffic (Friday afternoon).

There's stuff to see a bit off the Kiev-Odessa road. A large and pretty park in Uman, (https://goo.gl/maps/8JvSU), an ex-nuclear launch site / a nuclear weapons museum a bit further down (https://goo.gl/maps/od3ZH).
There's also the canal town of Vylkovo (Vylkove) not too far from Odessa - built partially on the river itself with canals for streets, houses a small Old Believer community and a nature reserve in the Danube delta, all very close by.
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Old 07-07-2014, 03:53 AM   #12
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Probably west through Romania/Moldova. Still a while away. I haven't even made it to France yet. Thanks for the tips.
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Riding on the wrong side of the road is not coming naturally though as long as I pay attention it isn't too bad. I was thinking I was doing pretty well at it and not one minute later I made a right turn into the right hand lane. Ooops.
Make yourself up a big sticky label - KEEP LEFT and put it in a prominent place in view on the bike. Once you get on the continent you shouldn't need a KEEP RIGHT

I've always found the time you get it wrong is at an intersection and especially if you're making a quick turn.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:23 AM   #14
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The natives are treating me well. They seem to like Americans for some explicable reason.

thanks,
Hugh
That's because most of their relatives emigrated to America! Don't forget there's 5 million Irish in Ireland and 15 million in the USA!
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:21 AM   #15
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This day got to a late start since we were hanging around the fire till past two in the morning. It didn't seem that late since it doesn't get dark till 11pm.
The day also started out particularly grey and foreboding so I just hung around Martin's farm till the skies cleared up and then I made my to Cobh which is said to be the last stop of the Titanic. I pointed out that it was the second to last stop of the Titanic to no great acclaim.


Cobh is a nice enough town but it lacks the charm of Kinsale. The most obvious impressive feature of Cobh is it's Cathedral which I wandered around for a bit. The less obvious impressive feature of Cobh is that it is the second deepest natural port in the world after Sydney.


In the evening Canadian Mike and Canadian Steve and I did a little tour of the beaches and headed to Kinsale for a little live music.


Tomorrow I'll be riding to Rosslare to take the ferry to "La Belle France".


More pics here: http://www.twowheelsgood.net/europa2014/?p=136






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