The bike is ready to go!
Just got back from Brissy on R & R late Friday 15th June. 8 hours behind, and it always takes me a few days to get the sleep pattern right. Woke at 4.00am Saturday to start the day. Today (Sunday) I woke before 3.00am. Tried to force myself to sleep for a while, but gave up - and decided I would do my final trial pack, weigh all the gear one more time, and have a bit of a run to check the handling of the whole system.
Bare bike: 230kg (full of fuel)
Panniers: 18kg empty
luggage in 3 bags: 28kg (only 8kg of clothing in that)
my riding gear: 5kg
me: less than 100kg now & still targeting to drop some more
By first light at 6.30, I was ready to ride - all packed, weighed, and into the early morning - boy it's cold as you just get out of Jo'burg to the north, past the cradle of humankind, it hit -2C!!! I hadn't really dressed warm enough - but it was only going to be a relatively short ride - but those BMW hand grip warmers were on full & really appreciated!
I stopped on the way to Hardebeesport dam (the Sunday breakfast run destination for several hundred bikes), and took a few shots of the bike - in the rising sunlight:
Notice the stickers have started:
the AUS id - seems this is a must for the carnet
the must have - Aus flag
the "right thing to do" - RSA flag - seeing the "Black Mamba" is a South African after all
and a Mountain Designs shop sticker - because its my favourite toy shop - and I am carrying alot of gear from them (maybe I should try for some sponsorship??)
Also - note I now have installed the essential Touratech stuff:
2. Headlight protector
3. Oil cooler protector
4. Much better bash plate than the original
5. Side stand enlarger (essential for the big pig in soft ground)
6. Handlebar risers (just right hight now for standing & riding comfortably - for long periods - see the Botswana entry).
7. Note the sweet exhaust system - full race Akropovic - the cows (and everyone) are well aware of my coming - waaay in advance!
I've also put some 3M black adhesive sheet over the knee pad areas, and under the tankbag - I could already see the paint scuffing from the trips I had already done.
Other stuff strapped on the bike:
small hand pump (to supplement the 4 x CO2 cylinders I will carry in the tool role)
gaffer tape - on 2 "easy dispensing" rolls on the rear carrier
spare keys (suitably "hidden")
I have installed a motion detector alarm system (see the remote on the ignition key?) - to deter keen tamperers when its parked in exposed locations overnight. I also had to install a "secret" kill switch for this system, because eventhough you turn it off with the remote - it automatically re-arms in 30 seconds. This was becoming a real pain on a long day's ride - with frequent stops.
Also - perched on the lid of the top box is a packed bike cover (see it installed). I plan to use this to also deter interest in the bike when parked overnight. I figure that this trip will be fantastic - imagine if I wake up one morning, and find the bike has been stolen - guess what - holiday over!!
So the security plan is:
1. Electronic immobilizer ignition key(standard)
2. Steering lock (standard)
3. Flouro yellow front disc lock (with a "don't forget me" flouro yellow tether)
4. Motion detector alarm (I mean REALLY loud & piercing!)
5. Bland grey bike cover (now sporting a big "ALARM" sign on it)
Think that will do it?
A quick ride to the dam - a stop at a favourite bike haunt for breakfast - and then a "way too fast" run back to Jo'burg - just to get in the groove with the typical breakfast run group (where most remove their number plates - so any speed cameras, or entusiastic metro police try to hinder their Sunday fun).
So - I think the bike is ready now. Going to Botswana next week (with a good set of knobbie tyres) - so I better not have any serious "lie downs" and jeodardise the bike readiness!!! Well that trip is another episode - see a separate entry on "The Pans".
Final preparations took place after that trip.
Get the bike serviced one more time (including a new front wheel - somehow I got a buckle in the wheel from enthusiastic riding over rocky ground at perhaps a little to crisp a pace!) - anyway, I tried for a warranty claim, had some fun haggling, but ended up with a free new wheel - due to an ordering mess up by BMW.
New tyres - knobbie for the front (Continental - TKC80) and dual purpose for the back (Metzler - Tourance) - I am assured these will be fine for the dirt roads in Alaska, and will last me to the planned service/ tyre change in Tuscon Arizona - about 10,000kms into the trip.
Finally on Monday 2nd July - I delivered the bike to the freight company. Thanks Jeff for letting me christen that fancy trailer - as the bike had to be somewhat stripped for crating. By Wed 3rd it was wrapped & crated:
It flies with KLM on Friday 6th July to London, joins the 8 or so other bikes coming from the UK, and should arrive in Anchorage on 18th July. I get to Anchorage on 26th July, and have a couple of days to recover the bike, and look around Anchorage before we officially start on 29th July - heading north! That should be the prompter for the next entry!
cheers for now
Ron (and the Black Mamba)
Posted by Ron Markiewicz at June 18, 2007 01:05 PM GMT