First bit of preplanned roadside maintenance required on the Honda in the form of replacement rear pads – after about 11,500km on the DCT and a lot of mountain and track work the rear pads are looking decidedly worn with less than 1mm left of the 8mm original – I have to say the bike is very balanced, but dragging the rear brake and using the DCT G mode is the best way I have found to maintain effective low speed control on the loose stuff. The job is best done early in the comfort of my present location, with a small swimming pool handy and in the shade rather than later in the next week or so by the side of the road in +33 degree temperatures. I am sticking to conventional organic fibre pads (EBCFA174) and the job is simple, a couple of torx and a slider pin to move followed by maybe a cold beer… These will see me out for the rest of this trip and beyond… and before anyone comments, apart from tubes and my puncture kit and tools these were the only parts I carried with me as I could foresee this happening looking at the existing wear rate, but they were not worn enough to change pre trip. One questions remains… why is it EBC fibre pads smell so badly of fish?
“Life on the road is hard. I talked to my bike. It’s a bit crazy, but I talked to it every day, not to abandon me, not to let me down, not to break down, my motorcycle represents my life, more than just a bike”. I though it was just me but this quote is from Cyril Neveu so I guess its normal behaviour from a solo motorcyclist in a strange far away land. If you are planing a trip, long or short my advice is just do it… you will remember the sites you saw and the things you did, they will travel with you forever and if you go… I promise you this… you will not come back the same.
This year I am returning to one of the most beautiful group of countries I have been privileged to see – Scandinavia but more importantly to me, Central and Northern Sweden – any thoughts on the route?
Continuing on my travels I am grateful of any shade or shelter from either the intense heat or driving rain, railway arches, drive through garages, shop doorways and the ever-present Plane trees all provide shelter and mental encouragement – and to quote my fellow traveller Glen Heggstad “I am not always sure where I am heading, but I am always exactly where I want to be”.
Off to Walters Arena near Abercrave today for the 2014 UK ‘Dawn to Dusk’ racing – edge of the seat action with 24 hour, 12 hour and 6 hour endurance racing, live music, food and bars – what more could you need for a UK bank holiday weekend… and its not raining!
Might have left my departure a bit late – got about 1750km to do to make the train on Sunday – the bike has been faultless and I trust her to continue the be the same – new set of tires will be required and an oil change for a treat, gearbox still rattling away but lets just call that characterful…
The deeper I go into Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary the more old cold war bunkers and military outposts I find. Wish I had more time to explore some of the remnants which are both fascinating but also exceptionally “creepy”. Without exception they seem to be in excellent preserved condition with little signs of vandalism and just succumbing to the ravages of nature with tree roots growing through feet think concrete walls enhancing the dereliction. I could spend weeks in these areas alone, just meandering through the countryside and borders, looking at these historic sites but sadly time in limited – and the west is calling me again.
Riding the mountain roads near Cerknica I came across another GS rider with 500,000km on his bike – through broken French and German we agreed that these are the best bikes in the world… and after coffee and lunch and exchange of stories and tribulations we clattered off in our respective directions leaving just a trail of dust behind…
Today I passed a personal milestone in riding beyond any eastern border in a single trip and onwards towards Kecskemet and Budapest in a north eastern arc – I did some language research before I left and learnt this phrase “Moje vznášadlo je plné úhorov” which as you know means “My hovercraft is full of eels” – useful phase book guidance can be found here…
Plans are afoot for my big 50th and the long tour I have always dreamed of – route is in early stages of planning all I know for certain is I leave the UK on 8th June and have to be back at work early September.