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  • 1 Post By thammasat

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  #1  
Old 4 Jan 2013
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25.000km from Malaysia to Germany - Interactive Road Trip

Dear motorcycle enthusiasts,

I still can‘t quite believe it but in 10 days I‘ll start the biggest adventure of my life: I‘ll ride a Suzuki DL650 ABS from Malaysia to Germany on an interactive charity road trip .

In 2011 I did an exchange semester at the Thammasat University in Bangkok and after this had two months off before my business studies in Switzerland continued. So I went to Vientiane (Laos), bought a crappy motorcycle and drove it more than 5.000km all across Laos. This experience changed me more than I ever thought was possible. Memories of incredibly friendly people - especially kids - keep coming back and I still draw lessons from it almost one year later. However, I also saw the poverty and especially the UXO (unexploded ordnance) situation that literally destroys lives and makes farming impossible in vast parts of Laos.

Now I find myself being 23 years old, having finished my business studies, two years of NGO (Aiducation International) work experience, obsessed with motorcycle trips - and little money So i put it all together, wrote a marketing concept and was able to convice Suzuki and MOTORRAD (Europe‘s largest motorcycle magazine) to support me. Together we will pull off the world‘s first interactive charity road trip!

Many people successfully drove from SE Asia to Europe, but never on an interactive road trip. You can actively become part of my journey by changing my route, suggesting restaurants/hotels/food to try, activities to undertake and so on. You know a spectacular mountain pass in India? You know a speciality that I jost got to taste in Cambodia? Tell me about it and I‘ll make it happen. Whatever is on your mind! I will fulfil the most interesting requests and shortly later post pictures/videos online. At the same time I‘ll blog about my journey to keep you informed.
I‘m particularly happy about the charity component of the road trip as it enables me to give something back to the locals. My Laos trip changed me quite a bit, I‘ve learned so much and really fell in love with the country and its people. So I don‘t want to ignore the poverty in the places I‘ll travel and support local NGOs to help the people a little bit. More about this later...

How does it work?
Facebook:
All the interactive requests should be submitted via Suzuki Germany‘s FB page (Suzuki's FB page). This will make communication way easier for me and you can get inspired by other user‘s ideas and really be creative. Also I‘ll post short updates, pics and videos there (in German and English).

Blog:
I‘ll blog about my journey on MOTORRAD online (I‘ll post the link soon) and tell you all about my experiences on the road. Also there‘ll be lots of pictures and videos

HUBB:
Last but not least I will keep you informed here as well. Whenever there‘s a new blog post or anything interesting happens, I‘ll let you know and will publish a short preview including some pics here. Of course you can ask me anything in this thread or via private message and I‘ll gladly reply. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I should answer them within max. 2 days normally

That's me diving in El Nido, Philippines


And my beautiful Suzuki DL650 ABS. Actually it's not my bike I only saw my bike once so far and forgot to take a picture... Next week you'll see the true beauty of my bike


So let‘s hope all works out and I‘ll hit the road in 10 days - can‘t wait!!

Cheers,
Steven

Last edited by thammasat; 5 Jan 2013 at 09:39.
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  #2  
Old 4 Jan 2013
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My route

Completely forgot to post the route... Of course I did some rough planning but hardly any details so far. So there's plenty of room for your creativity
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  #3  
Old 4 Jan 2013
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Good luck

Dude I wish you well
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  #4  
Old 5 Jan 2013
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As Steve says, we wish you well! It's going to be an amazing trip and we'll be watching.

Tip - Wow, that's a HUGE image (the map) - wondered why it took so long to come in, and checked the size: 215KB! It could have been 40 or 50kb, or with effort 20. Worth checking that the images you post on various sites are of a suitable size. For us, 800 wide is good max, and try to compress as much as possible to users on slow connections don't wait forever to get the images. Your diving image is 150kb, also huge.

Best of luck!
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Old 5 Jan 2013
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hope you have great travels.

where does that charity money go? are you supporting more then one?
how are you supporting them???
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Old 5 Jan 2013
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@Grant: Sorry, I'll try to better compress my pictures next time. How do I do that? Is there a website/program I could use? I simply uploaded the pics to one of the sites recommended in the FAQ and then used their links.

@ozranger: Good question. It all depends on how many sponsors we can find until end of January and how big the budget will be. As I said above I worked for an NGO for two years and wrote my bachelor thesis about biases in private donor behavior and their effect on NGO efficiency. So my focus clearly is finding suitable, reliable and efficient NGOs. To me proper evaluation is really important to see if what their doing actually works and how it could be improved. Pratham in India for example is famous for their evaluation efforts and their cooperation with scientific organizations like JPAL. Also we need to pool our money to get more 'bang for the buck'. So I focused on the poorest five countries (Cambodia, Laos, India, Nepal and Pakistan) I'm crossing and preselected one NGO each. Once we know our budget we'll decide whether we'll support 2, 3 or even all 5. It will most likely work like this:

1) Decision how many NGOs will be supported
2) All NGOs will be introduced in a short presentation/video or sth like that so that everyone understands why the respective NGO is important and what they're doing.
3) Via FB people can decide which NGOs are supported. E.g. in step 1) we decide to support three NGOs. Then we'd introduce all five and have a poll on FB; the top three get support.
4) I'll personally drive to the NGO's headquater to hand over the money. Also I'll present their work, goals and ambitions in detail, interview them, maybe even help them for a day or two and post a video on FB. After this we keep their website linked to the FB page to increase awareness and to raise some more funds.

It's not 100% worked out so there might be small changes to the plan but most likely it will look very similar to the above 4 steps.
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Old 5 Jan 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thammasat View Post
@Grant: Sorry, I'll try to better compress my pictures next time. How do I do that? Is there a website/program I could use? I simply uploaded the pics to one of the sites recommended in the FAQ and then used their links.
The site you're using - photobucket - should offer options of different sizes, just pick something smaller to link to rather than the original. Sorry I don't use any photo sharing sites, so am no expert.

There's also loads of photo editing software, depends on whether you're Mac or PC.

Any tips from anyone else out there?
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Old 5 Jan 2013
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Now that is indeed a fantastic trip you have in front of you. Will be great to follow your journey. Best of luck.

//Jan
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Old 6 Jan 2013
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Johnson View Post
The site you're using - photobucket - should offer options of different sizes, just pick something smaller to link to rather than the original. Sorry I don't use any photo sharing sites, so am no expert.

There's also loads of photo editing software, depends on whether you're Mac or PC.

Any tips from anyone else out there?
Hi you can try IrfanView - Official Homepage - one of the most popular viewers worldwide

Its free for not comercial use and easy too, don´t really know if this is "a non comercial use in their eys" but...

Good luck with your trip!

Cheers Sascha and Kerstin
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Last edited by RTWbyBIKE.com; 6 Jan 2013 at 01:21. Reason: ...
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  #10  
Old 6 Jan 2013
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Thanks guys! I'll do better next time
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Old 6 Jan 2013
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travel

Fantastic news Steven , I am sure you will do great during your trip and you did already the most difficult part of it ( finding sponsors ) no worry for the rest, riding long distance is easy ( even if many seems to make it look tough) just don't try to speed in India as thier way of driving is very "suprising" .Pakistan and Iran are superb too , the road you picked is a good one and you will most likely stay on pavement so it will be a breeze , bring some basic tools ( include front and rear sproket but no chain, a set a break pads)and a repair kit for the tires and you will be set to go . I did over 40000 miles with my DL650 ABS and no problem at all in central and south america. Enjoy your time on the road and have fun .
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  #12  
Old 8 Jan 2013
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Thumbs up Here she is...

Finally I saw and rode my DL650 for the first time - and I LOVED it!! She's a real beauty:





'RS Wolf''s mechanics were more than motivated to help. Here they're making a lighter tool to save weight:


Their precision and love for detail is astonishing. I could have posted 50 pics and still wouldn't have presented all their great ideas, changes and modifications. Simply amazing. If anything goes wrong, it's definitely not the bike's fault.
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  #13  
Old 10 Jan 2013
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First ride...

It all feels so surreal... For more than half a year I've been waiting for this moment to come and now that I'm only a weekend away from Malaysia I'm surprisingly relaxed about it. In my mind I'm running a huge check list of things that might still go wrong (being German essentially...) and simply try to think of everything.

Today my shipping company of choice "In Time" kept their subtle promise and picked up my bike in time. Also I received the Carnet de Passage after having some difficulties... Now the only thing missing is my helmet; I'd better solve this problem before I start my trip

Here are some more pics of my first day riding:
Got all the equipment


Proud owner of a Suzuki DL650

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  #14  
Old 10 Jan 2013
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Did most of that route the other way round some years ago... and I did several smaller trips around SE Asia as well. All truly amazing places to ride. And seems like you've got the tool for the job, too - I've actually got a white 2012 DL650 right now!

Traffic is the thing to be very careful of - all Asian countries, but especially India, Pakistan, Iran, Cambodia and Laos on your route plan. Otherwise it's not so hard (well, India is a tough country on a bike!) Just keep good oils on the bike, and you're unlikely to have issues with it. I had a DL650AK7, and often changed every 3000kms cos I wasn't sure of the quality,could only find 20W40 in Iran, etc. Avoid bottled fuel, but if you must use it, have an extra filter (like a "sock") that you put in the tank opening before pouring in. Maintain the chain every evening, unless you have some automatic lubricate device. (And if your gonna use those blue fastening straps around panniers, always make double certain they cannot EVER get tangled into any moving parts of the bike, like chain or wheels, that could lead to a massive get-off!)

Good luck, and enjoy, it's a great experience!

edit.
Is that Michelin Anakee II that your bike´s got? Do the bikes in Germany come with these tyres, or you changed them (at least over here we get the crappy Bridgestones from the Stone Age, that always came with the DL650!!)... I had Anakee I´s on mine on the trip, they were a very good choice, and lasted very well. I kept the pressures a bit higher than recommended (but I was going two-up). Good grip in the wet, too, and front and back finished almost at the same time.

(ok, I now see you got the chain oiler there as well)

Last edited by pecha72; 10 Jan 2013 at 19:57.
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Old 10 Jan 2013
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This, is gonna be epic...!!


thammasat....Go, and hit the road.....!!
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