Hi, this is a very short blog, the first on a journey to Chernobyl via Holland, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Ukrain and the Czeck republic. We are a group of 12 people, 9 riders, a support driver, an interperator and a camara man. The trip is in aid of the CCP (UK) c/o bikeaid.org.uk we are all on there as is the chance to donate something for the KID's NOT us, that is important.
We aim to cover 3500+ miles in 16 days begining on the 24/08/07 from Harwich and Hull, the group is spread across the country from Cornwall to Blackpool, on machines rangeing from a 650 Transalp to a Blackbird (x2) via GS1150's, it will be FUN I am sure.
Follow us please and see how we fare when we vist various places from prison camps to factories and the orphanage in Gommel to see the children all this is about. Oh yes my name is Martin, talk soon I hope,
I'm of to PANICK now!
say's "Jone's" well Mick actually.
My 2 panniers on my Beemer R1100S are packed and I still have space left. I work on the following principle; having checked that I have all the correct documentation, anything forgoten can be bought.
Note to self, pick up wallet and credit cards.
See you in Rotterdam Martin.
Lorraine here, aka Mike's other half. (missing him already!)
Well Mick left 3 hours ago for Hull and I guess everyone else is en route now.
Good luck everyone, have fun along the way and as the French say "Bon route"
I'll look forward to hearing all your news.
Left home at 18:30and met Dave at the Tesco unleaded as arranged. No worries, We got to he premier Travel Inn to meet Mark, Dave and Tim at 20:00, no show, at 21:00 we get a call from a little chef on the A12. They are having a meal where are we, that was the way it started!
When they arrived at the correct Premier inn we set of for Harwich, down the wrong road, me in the lead, Dave takes over with the sat nav and we get to the docks well in time for the sailing. 4 in one room Dave K on his own, lucky boy!
Boat was very nice, as was the food, god rooms and comfy bed. Fine, well yes but both Dave T and I snore for England, so each kept the other awake as for Tim & Mark ho hum.
We go to bed at 01:00, they wake us at 05:00, cream crakered
As arranged we meet the other's at the services, Mick was there already. Sort out the gear and away as a group for 64miles then pull over for a break and a fill up. Mick decides to run ahead on his own, no worries we follow on behind. It goes pear shaped as you would expect. First we get split up into two groups, then 5 of us turn of to find a petrol stop, Dave and Mark T miss us, then Dave is taken unwell so they (Mike S & Andy) stop to help him out. Meanwhile Allan, John, Dave K Tim and I go in search of the elusive food stop, off motorway of course. We get politely told to move the machines if we are not going to eat at the ice cream shop, so we move on, for 40 mile's to find a mc Donalds, YEH! At last somewhere open, we ate. Refreshed we leave, I get on my stead and rock it off the main stand, it fell over, with me on it. So in my haste and embarrassment and on the advice of one of the lads I turn to leave, they follow me, only to find we have gone around the drive through and are now stuck behind the car's! Dave K and John who did not see us move of turn the right way, see us and cannot help but take photographs, for posterity of course.
350 miles we did today, the theres did around 270 mile,swell we saw more of Germany the way we went, but me the Transalp and knobleys don't do twisties. Oh no!
Tonight we sleep well in an F1, with a dodgy door lock, tomorrow we go to Berlin.
Today, Sunday 26th August.
Good night sleep followed by a fair F1 breakfast. We are all rested and ready by 09:30 (ish). Our aim to get to Berlin via Sted.......something, for a lunch break. So we all depart, fill up with fuel the intention being to have a Photo opportunity as we make our way onwards. We leave the petrol station turn right, 8 bikes 1 truck get through the lights, I stay at the now red light's. Great! Where are they? To make matters worse I miss a turn and have to do a 20 mile loop. Fine, I do all this and find myself at a junction AHEAD of the main group, how do I know this, well the camera crew are at the junction as I pull up behind them. They have gone ahead to do a shoot as we pass, the main group have stopped for a drink / break, fantastic! After I join the group (I waited at the roadside) I find myself in the #2 slot. Going through a small village my sat nav says turn right, two cars have stopped to turn right so I follow them. BIG mistake, everyone else carries on behind the lead bike, me do a U and try to catch up. Fine, 30 mins later I do. As is the way of things by diner we have separated and whilst in the same town we end up in two location's. One in Mc. D's and one in a very nice restaurant in the town center. The group in Mc D's come to the restaurant! Loverly food. From here we make our way the remaining 60 miles or so to Berlin. It was on this journey that we figure that the GPS is only good for the final search for the Hotel! We did have fun though, new roads not on the GPS old roads that end, just stop! Mmmm?
Beware the cameras, they are everywhere and not easily seen, dark green or gray and small, damned small, thankfully forward facing (if that helps?)
Still now we are in Berlin. I have removed the Continental TCK's and fit Mich' Tourance to the Transalp, 6mm of tread gone in 1200 miles. Only started with 10mm.Andy has an issue with the support truck but the consensus is “there is no issue” just the new brake's settling in. Fair enough that eh?
Hotel is fine but the AC is goosed in our room, and its 'ot! We ate in the hotel, trip to Berlin center just did not happen.
Tomorrow BMW work's then Poland.
Chernobyl Challenge Day Three, Berlin to Proznan.
27 Aug 2007
Before we start day three it is worth mentioning that one of us, Tim, very nearly started a “domino” affect when he stalled his bike whilst turning in to the parking area. He and it tippled over just nudging the next bike, a Be Ma, oops, Still thats all he did so thats ok, eh?
Right, today is Monday the 27/08/07. First stop BMW in Berlin. The hotel was to everyones satisfaction so that is good. A late night was had by some but still we all were up and ready by 08:20 as agreed. Ready to role as one, the idea we arrive at the BMW factory as a group, great idea!
It didn't happen that way though, the lead bike decided he was going to filter, ho hum, we got split up within the first 10 miles. Let the fun begin. Group one are gone, we, group two are Dave and Mark 'T', Tim, John and me, again. No worries, we got there after a “slight” detour.
The factory was well worth the visit, if you get the chance do visit, it is typically German and efficient but very well sorted in its attitude and diversity in production. We leave there at about 11:00 (ish)
There is a decision made that we will go as two groups, meeting at the border with Poland Hhmm?
Of we go Dave K, Allan, Mike 'S' and Mike 'C' leading the way, the rest of us including Andy follow on, we are the slow group? Part way along the motorway we have to pull in to a rest stop for me to fill with fuel from the spare tank's, it gives us a toilet stop also. When we get to the border, the slow group go through expecting to find the “fast” riders waiting. It didn't happen, we got a phone call, “hi Andy, we are BEHIND you we got lost in Berlin” or words to that effect. Andy in the meantime has atracted the affections of the Police, you cant park there in the forest and you will not turn round and go back to the border from here, drive 10km (ish) to a truck turn then you can go back, they tell us.
Andy tells Allan we will meet at a roadside cafe on a given road to Poznan in 20 minutes or so. Sorted. It happened!. Well 40 minutes later it happened. The tortoise and hare were mentioned briefly and Tim suggested that they would perhaps like some pie,............ humble pie!
It has to be noted that we also got to see places we did not mean to but still arrived earlier, oh, Dave K thought the roadside cafe' was the Hotel and so emptied his overnight stuff from his bike only to be told we are leaving. He was not a happy bunny, te he. The hotel we are in is very nice, not a roadside Cafe' at all.
The change of wealth as you come over the border is marked, the roads are chronically in need of care, pot holes and ruts make them dodgey, but interesting, and the traffic is fast, and dodgey! It is a single track road and so very busy.
We take a road to the North and then travel East to Proznan, Andy tells us it is a better road and one he will use in the future when he visits Natalia.
On the last part of the journey Dave 'T' takes the lead, John 'G' has gone ahead with the “fast” group. His job, Mark 'T', is to bring us in safely to the hotel. He is doing so well until he tries to follow a tram into it's station, oops, well the blackbird is a bit of a bus isn't it?. Shortly afterwards, at the same station, the traffic light having changed to green, we move forward but the traffic is stopped mid junction. We were stunned to see the tram pull forward and HIT the back of a small car that had been stopped on the line's because of the hold up, no one got out, the lights change and they both drove of, amazing!,
Thats it for now, dinner beckons me.
My recorded millage (GPS) to date is 761 miles, that does not include the distance from the A12 to Harwich.
Thanks for logging on, Martin.
Chernobyl day four. Poznan to Siedlce
28 Aug 2007
To finish yesterday. We experienced our first tiff! James and John went in to Poznan for a beer, like you do, got back got back a bit after we had all gone to bed. Jame's promptly fires up the computer to mail his other half. Mike 'C' who's room he was sharing was unhappy to be disturbed by the dulcet tones of the windows opening tune and pointed this out.......the rest well, they did make up?
We did have hells own job getting James to wake up this morning, its as well he wasn't driving.
Today was hard work, to drive in London, Paris or Rome are no worries now, we are sure these guy's drive with the will of some god we have not heard of, it is insane!
To the start. We, the “slow bunch”, left with the “Fast” boys. We filled with fuel then promptly lost each other, problem was the sat nav got dizzy as well and we had to rely on Andy and Nattalia to get us out. Which they did admirably. So much so that the “slow bunch” got ahead of the “fast boys” again, well most of them Dave 'K' and John broke away and we met them at a service station / garage. The remainders did get there a short while latter, te he (we didn't gloat..............much).
From here it went scary, from fast good roads to a mass of road building, repairs, works and some serious traffic mostly lorries. You know I am sure most of the lorries in Europe are in Poland!
Pot holes and ruts the like of which are not seen at home unless on a dirt track, the country is coming along in leaps and bounds, the money coming in must be in large numbers, judging by the investment in the road system, but for now it is SCARY! Two lanes of traffic, mainly big truck's, would open up and become three or four lanes with lorries and cars playing chicken. The road got no wider the vehicles just got closer..........aaaaaaaaaaaahh! Bonnet mascot we aint!
Andy, the lead vehicle for us “slow bunch” decided to stop and show us a traditional Polish church, nice thing to do, only he didn't tell us until we were 50 yds of the turning, from a hard accelerate to a dead stop in 25yds is dodgy (we were to do this on at least 4 more occasion's, not because of Andy however)
The actual day is hard to relay as a journey beyond the above, sorry, but Dave 'K' did give us the joyful moment of parking and locking his bike, emptying the over night gear, sorting his room etc only to be told he was in the wrong place and had to go move the machine to the HOTEL car park! It was a long day for us all.
Allan has done us proud again the hotel is grand, the town not so good. In Dave 'K's words “a bit like a scene from Oliver Twists London, dark and menacing”. We were hustled by kids on our arrival begging, that is not a happy thing.
Any way it is goodnight from him, sorry it is a bit flat today. Tomorrow Belarus and the border guards, mmmm. Then on to Gomel.
GPS reads 1038 miles covered now (+20 from the A12 to Harwich)
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