Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Ride Tales, Trip Reports and Stories > Ride Tales
Ride Tales Post your ride reports for a weekend ride or around the world. Please make the first words of the title WHERE the ride is. Please do NOT just post a link to your site. For a link, see Get a Link.
Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #31  
Old 27 Sep 2010
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Coleraine
Posts: 41
20th August - disaster strikes

We were relieved to be leaving Moscow. Not that it’s an unpleasant place, because when it’s empty and there’s a nice relaxed vibe in the city, it’s not. But we were on a bike trip, and what with the train ride and the stalling in waiting for the clutch, everything had become more static than we were used to. I found that on a trip of this longevity, something switches in your mind; your focus becomes the road, passing scenery, the feeling of movement and progress. You make allowances and even, by necessity, build in times that aren’t like this, whether to be to recharge the overland batteries or absorb more of a place you’ve entered. If you get stuck, particularly where the people, like you, aren’t locals and are there on their own personal missions, and the environment isn’t indigenous, it feels contrived and inauthentic. I felt this after a few days in the hostel. Normally I’m a pretty sociable guy, but in this instance, I wasn’t concerned about hearing the stories of other travellers, or to answer questions regarding my own journey. I was supposed to be moving, and to that perpetual motion I wanted to return. Having said that, I knew that it was the home straight, and very soon the perpetuity would grind to a halt. I was under no illusion that, on my return, the simplicity of bike travel would be overtaken by questions of finances, occupation, accommodation, and other humdrum responsibilities which a sabbatical of this nature allows us to temporarily leave behind, in order to make space for us to address other questions in our lives.

By way of illustration, my main concern that morning was trying to find chain lube. About half an hour after we had navigated our way to the main road out of Moscow which would take us into Latvia briefly, then Lithuania to Poland (passage through Belorussia would be quicker, but requires a $100 transaction for the privilege), I caught site of one of Moscow’s BMW Motorrad dealers. Knowing from experience that they always make their highly branded punters welcome with coffee and whatever else, we pulled in. As well as chain lube, I was hoping to pick up a right hand wing mirror replacement from the accident as I knew that when I got to the UK and moved to the left side of the road, it’d be more important for passing. As usual, we were ushered to the cafe for refreshments and I told them what I needed. A wing mirror they hadn’t, but my usual Motul chain lube they did…at Moscow prices. What normally costs me £7.99 at home, was priced at a difficult to believe £20 here. Asking if Dick Turpin was the proprietor of this particular dealership I said ‘I’ll run the chain dry, thank-you very much’, and hit the road again.

It felt good to be back in the saddle with ground to be covered and places to be reached. That feeling was short-lived, for 20 minutes later we were hit with the biker’s worst nightmare. Blasting down the dual carriageway, I was aware of some commotion on my right, but a bike lying on its side in the grass in the central reservation caught my attention. The closer I got, the more the thought ‘I recognise that bike’ registered. When I was right up on it and saw the Polish plate, I knew it was either Pawel or Aga’s Yamaha. About 50m beyond it I saw the other bike of the pair on its side stand parked in the central reservation. I hit the anchors hard, jumped off the bike, and ran back to where the people had gathered at the side of the road. To my relief I saw Aga, who was running towards me. She put her head on my chest and was weeping. ‘Where’s Pawel, where’s Pawel’ I asked, while trying to comfort her, in what I had already surmised was a pretty awful situation. ‘He’s been taken to hospital in an ambulance, but I think he’s ok’. What a relief, as the number of people around indicated that it was more serious. In time, I came to realise it was more serious. It transpired that there had been a car accident an hour or two previously, with two cars involved. No one had been hurt, and one of the cars had already been transported away. The one that remained had been put on the recovery truck and there were obviously two guys – one the owner of the car, and the other the owner of the truck – securing this car on the back of it. Pawel had been riding along on the inside lane and on doing a shoulder check over his left shoulder to move into the fast lane to check for Aga, noticed a car passing him. As he looked around again, his metal pannier on the right side, caught the two guys standing on the road at the side of the truck. In the mayhem of what was taking place, I could see clothing, belongings, blood and more, belonging to the men on the road. After the impact, Aga narrowly avoided hitting Pawel who was sliding up the road. She parked up, ran to him lying prone in the middle of the road, and managed to ascertain that he wasn’t too bad, so pulled him off the road. She then went to one of the two men, and could see that he was very badly injured and struggling to breathe. She tried to comfort him in her best Russian while the wife of the other man was leaning over her husband telling him to not go to sleep. A whole 25 minutes later, the ambulances arrived to take them all to hospital. Aga was left, helping the police and detectives make sense of the scene. We then pulled in.

I knew that Pawel and Aga had thought about freighting the bikes back to Moscow as he’d been texting me to find out prices etc, when they were in Mongolia and I was in Irkutsk. I turns out that they’d put them on in Ulan-Ude, but we didn’t know that they’d reached Moscow that morning and that we were all setting out at almost the same time. As it turns out, they must have passed us while we were sitting in the BMW dealership only moments earlier. That we happened upon this was a pure coincidence. The convergence of all these events turned out to be awful, for as we stood there trying to communicate to various people, the phone call came through to one of the bystanders that the two men had both passed away.

I got my camera out and started taking photos of the scene as I knew that when this goes to court, Russian road traffic legislation might not be terribly objective when a non-national is implicated. At least if we had some independent evidence, we might have a leg to stand on. For obvious reasons I’ll not show the photos of the scene, but it wasn’t pretty and it’s actually incredible that Pawel when we arrived walked away from this. After a couple of hours when details had been taken and the detectives had done their measuring and evidence gathering, we were given directions of the hospital. Aga had rightly decided to not tell Pawel anything at this point, but for us to just go and make sure he was ok. One of the victim’s family’s had already shown up and in their understandable anger, was threatening Aga. They followed us to the hospital to identify the bodies and as I sat at the back of our little convoy with Aga in the middle, I was not a little worried about having to pick a Land Cruiser out of my rear, so I kept a close eye in my rear view mirror for this brief run.

Pawel's bike being inspected

Aga and I, leaving the scene for the hospital

On getting there, I was glad that no surgery was required for Pawel. The hospital was truly awful and the staff were less than helpful. He was lying in a little room on his own with his jacket over him to keep warm. Still pretty gaunt and in shock, he was utterly surprised to see Gesa, Kris and I, walk into the room with Aga. In fact, since he hit his head, he thought he was seeing things. According to him, while he couldn’t raise his right arm and was in quite some pain, nothing was broken and they were happy to let him go. I was sceptical, but anyway. I understand that normal precaution at home would be to keep someone in overnight who had delaminated one side of their helmet when their head hit the deck. The police then arrived and we all made our way to the police station. We went to the head of the police station’s office where all kinds of languages were being spoken to communicate what was happening. Aga told Pawel that the two men had passed away, and he, understandably, fell apart. So much so that nothing more would be achieved in us being there, so they suggested that we all stay in a nearby hotel that night and come in and do statements the next day. Aga and Pawel wanted us to stay and so they put us up in the hotel. We had dinner and tried to process the day and then went to bed. Since she was so tired, emotionally drained and in need of a good night’s sleep before the next day, I agreed with Aga to set my alarm for 4am to check in with Pawel and ensure that the was ok.

In the morning our Police escort arrived and took the three of us back to the station. We spent the day giving statements (Pawel’s and Aga’s) and then I was taken out to the compound where Pawel’s bike was temporarily stored in order to ride it back to the station, where they’d keep it for up to 6 weeks for him.

I have to say, the police were brilliant. There was clearly an affinity between us all. They went out to the local shop and bought us food and drinks. Anything we needed, they provided. As a thank-you, we took two of the main detectives out for dinner the evening we left. How we’d get Pawel home was an urgent question. None of us particularly wanted to put him on a plane on his own and leave him with a 500kms train ride from Warsaw to Suwalki. So we all agreed that we’d split my luggage up a bit and he’d ride home pillion on the back of my bike, subject to him even being able to get onto it. After a couple of trial run and a few grimaces, he was able to clamber on behind me. At last, and with a wave off from the police, we hit the road for an hour prior to camping that evening. Pawel was still lost in his own world, and would be intermittently until we got him back.

The boy in pain

The side of his suit that he wasn't injured on

Camp that night
__________________
http://www.awayfromhere.org
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 27 Sep 2010
Charitable Foundation
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: on the road less traveled
Posts: 20
Wow. Really sorry to hear about your friend's accident. No words can really speak to that.

Thank you for sharing your trip, I have really enjoyed reading the rest of it.

Again, sorry for the bad experience.

Brian
__________________
Brian C, -Traveler Relations,
The Muskoka Foundation -Volunteer Programs For Overland Travelers
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 27 Sep 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Posts: 252
hi Si

Sorry to hear about your misadventures..... Im sure you must all be shocked by it

Looking forward to my next read

Cheers
Geordie
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 28 Sep 2010
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Coleraine
Posts: 41
21st-22nd August - the Baltics and Poland

Morning came and with it, the ritual sounds of stoves. A communal pot of porridge was prepared, eaten, and we got down to the business of packing up and heading off. Bound for Latvia, we soon made it to the border. This exit from Russia took longer than we had hoped as a coach load of Poles arrived after us and yet somehow were processed before us. We sat around, glad that this would be the last border crossing on this trip. All hereafter would be the gloriously invisible and highly permeable borders of the European Union. Knowing that fuel is ridiculously cheap in Russia compared to a few miles down the road in Latvia, we all stopped at a local fuel station and filled up. As we had a coffee and sat outside, it was funny watching Latvians who, obviously having loads of time to wait their turn in the queue, felt it worthwhile as they shook their cars to get air pockets out of the fuel pipes and even jacked the cars up to allow them to get the last cubic mm of fuel into their tanks. Some even had the entire boot area converted into an auxiliary tank so that they could carry 180 litres of fuel??

Breakfast

having a break

riding with the wounded


Map reading in Latvia

We got into Latvia and found the roads to be excellent. It definitely had a more European feel to it. Even though we were still a good distance off home, it very much felt like I was riding in my own back yard now, relative to how far we'd gone. Owing to the lengthy border crossing, we didn't make it as far as we'd wanted, so we pulled off by a river and set up camp again. It turned out to be quite a subdued, and indeed submerged, night. Everyone was quite quiet and yet in good enough spirits. We knew that we were in for a deluge that night, so battened down the hatches and turned in. Sure enough, the next morning, Pawel and Aga were floating on their thermarests as the water had streamed down the hill straight into their tent. Apparently Aga was so tired she hadn't even noticed and slept through. Pawel, still in a lot of pain and now becoming immune to his painkillers, was up most of the night anyway.

After some tinned fish breakfast, we made it through the rain to Lithuania. This was a country with utterly exceptional roads, a complete absence of any traffic on them, sunshine, and stunning river and forest scenery. I did think to myself that if anyone wanted somewhere a little different than the usual France, Spain and Alps ride in the summer, the Baltics would be a great place to come and explore.

On exiting Lithuania we were heading to Pawel's mum and dad's place in Suwalki, a short way across the border into Poland. We pulled into the parking area behind their apartments and enjoyed a warm welcome from his family. He had to explain to them that he'd had an accident and hence was riding home on the back of my bike. The precise details of the accident would be saved until we'd all left the following morning. In the meantime, his mum had prepared a feast for us, including the traditional Polish dish of 'Kartoshka'. It was really a fantastic evening with some faultless Polish hospitality. After being reunited with his son Tytus, we were all really glad to see Pawel laughing again. Pawel and Aga had been on the road longer than the rest of us, and had gone through Iran (which was their favourite country) and had some many great stories to tell. I just hoped that the experience of this trip and the sharing and memory of stories wouldn't be marred by the final chapter.

Pawel and his parents

Polish hospitality

going through photos of our trip

Tytus getting a taste for it
__________________
http://www.awayfromhere.org
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 28 Sep 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Posts: 252
Another brillaint read :-)

I did UK to Finland and return via Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and back thru Europe. It was a great ride but just wished I had done more stops to do some sight seeing

Cheers
Geordie
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 29 Sep 2010
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Coleraine
Posts: 41
23rd-25th August - Back through Europe

I awoke at 5am knowing that we had a long ride all the way across Poland to Berlin. It wasn’t long before the others surfaced too. Aga, in her own inimitable style, threw together a plush breakfast to send us on our way. Tytus, who definitely had the biking bug, wanted a little scoot out on my bike before we departed. I took him to the end of the street, returned and loaded up. I have to say, I didn’t for one moment mind having Pawel on the back of my bike for a few days, but it felt great to have the whole saddle to myself again. I really wondered how Kris and Gesa had achieved what they achieved.

Unfortunately it wasn’t all motorway to Warsaw, and in fact, the road had us going through every little town and village possible. This made for slow progress and the ride was largely uneventful…which is good given how eventful things had been of recent times. In the early evening we were passing out of Poland and into Germany. Kris and Gesa were understandably excited, so I went ahead of them and shot some video of them riding home, past the German border sign. We all stopped and marvelled at the sunset and they wondered if the architect of the heavenlies had laid this on especially for their return. Our destination would be the apartment of their friends ‘Danijel and Sylvie’.

It goes without say that the Berlin Wall information centre/museum was top of the list of places to visit, as well as the historical buildings, Brandenburg Gate and the Jewish memorial. I have to say that it was sobering being at the Berlin Wall. I have vivid recollections of my mum setting me in front of the TV on the 9th Nov ’89 and saying ‘you have to watch this, it’s history in the making’. As a 13 year-old boy, I was more intrigued by the graffiti on the wall than the political significance of the circumstances. However, it all came home when I stood there and pulled up those memories. On reflection, this trip was a comprehensive education on communism, nicely rounded off here, in Berlin. I spent a good deal of time wandering the city and thinking about walls and their use in segregation; from my own homeland, to Israel, to E/W Germany, to Korea etc. I was particularly fascinated with this church, ironically called ‘The Church of Reconciliation’, which stood alone in the death strip. If walls are metaphors for segregation, I thought, what would be the equivalent metaphor for unity and reconciliation? I wondered if it was the very thing that this church and other churches like it render impotent by building walls around and thus preventing its true transformational power from taking effect in society: the table? At table, eucharist, communion (or whatever your tradition calls it), our own dinner tables etc, barriers are dropped and everyone sits, together. A level of intimacy, otherwise unachievable, is experienced, as strangers are welcomed and our humanity encounters ‘the other’. Perhaps this is why most of the successful Protestant and Catholic reconciliation work was done over dinner? These reflections were taken further when I visited the impressive Jewish Memorial, build on the site which hosted Joseph Goebbel’s bunker.

Arriving in Berlin

Kris and Ges in the morning

Checking that the bikes are ok

Breakfast, and no canned fish in sight

One of Berlin's cool cafes in the background. I chose to focus on the Guzzi though.

Berlin has great Graffiti. A salutary reminder that...nobody is perfect. This city is proof of it.

at what's left of the wall

standing alone in the death strip, the ironically named and soon to be destroyed 'Church of Reconciliation'

The Holocaust memorial

When in Germany...

far too talented and cool for their own good

Excited to be in Berlin as I’d only heard good reports about the city, we rolled in in the dark and parked up under their balcony. It wasn’t long before Danijel was down and welcoming us. I knew instantly that these were good people and it was going to be a good couple of nights at their place. The plan was to spend the whole of the following day sightseeing around the city, have dinner in the evening when Gesa’s sister Adja would come over from Hamburg, and then break for Cologne the following morning.

Even more impressive were Danijel and Sylvie. Dan is Croatian but speaks fluent German and English and is pretty good in French. Sylvie is from Hamburg but her mum is French, so she’s fluent in French, German, English, and Croatian. They have a 2-year-old son Mijo whom she converses with in French, he converses with in Croat, and he’s obviously learning German, as well as English when people like me come through. It’s not often 2-year-olds can make you feel educationally challenged! As it happens, the day after we left, Syvlie gave birth to a Marie Yvonne. Congrats you two!!!! I’ll be over to give English lessons next month;-)

D and S's, just who you want to be with and where you want to be after an epic adventure

It was time to leave these new friends. I had a deadline to be back in England for, and wanted to spend at least one night in Cologne again, but with two people whom I didn’t know on the way out when I visited, but would share some rich life experience with in the weeks following. Kris and Gesa were understandably excited about this final run home along the autobahn.

After a final farewell to D and S, we made it to the famous German autobahns with some alacrity. I’d say that normally, Kris was quite a conservative rider, partially owing to the fact that he had his missus on behind him. Not now though. They were maxing every drop of hp out of that R100GS that they could muster. Their excitement was vicarious, because I could feel it too. I’d no idea what or to whom we were returning to, but when you’re friends are this stoked, it’s very hard not to feel it yourself.

Kris was texting that we’d be back at a certain time, but with loads of road works, and torrential torrential rain, we were delays by some 2 hours. It wasn’t helped by the fact that my fuel reading sensor in the tank, replaced x4 by BMW and guaranteed by Hursts Motorrad before I left, went on the blink twice. On both occasions it showed in excess of 70 miles left and then here I was on the autobahn freewheeling. Not good. With the smallest hard shoulder in the world, I’d pull in, Kris would detach his fuel hose, and gift me some from his voluminous tank.

Perilous refueling

The closer we got to Cologne, the more I could see them getting excited. Kris passed me at a speed I had not yet seen him go, and then I tailed them into the city on this horrible wet evening. We pulled down into the street his flat was on, and there standing in the rain, was a gathered throng of expectant family. Just as they had all gathered to send them off some 4 months ago, here they were, suffering the rain, to welcome them home. The shouting and whooping was great craic as Kris and Gesa pulled up and tooting the horn. Then began the hugs, and then came the little s and pizzas from his local pub underneath his flat. It was a good evening and even though a stranger to all of these people, I felt incredibly privileged to be part of this and was made to feel welcome.

Father and Son. Kris' dad rode from India on a motorbike 30 years ago, so he knows the score

Reunions

I stayed the night and would leave the following morning for the final run home.

Tomorrow should finish the ride report.
__________________
http://www.awayfromhere.org
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 30 Sep 2010
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Coleraine
Posts: 41
27th-31at August - To Greenbelt and home

It was the sort of morning you know you have to face, but will take little pleasure from. I could hear the incessant rain all night, and there was still no let up by the time I was getting ready to leave. Gesa put on a spectacular breakfast for me, and then they helped me carry my stuff down to the waiting bike. I got everything set and braced myself for a wet ride to the port. Goodbyes were said, and these splendid people waved me off until the next time.

Cheerio to Kris and Gesa in Cologne

It was about 500kms in total, during which you exit Germany, blip through a small part of the Holland, then Belgium, and finally France. Again, there was nothing to report about this leg of the journey, it there was little of any interest to me, and presumably anyone reading this ride report.

I got to Calais and attempted my check in at SeaFrance. Apparently my booking hadn’t worked, so instead of the £27 fare I had expected to pay when booking online, I was now looking at £84. Fearing that SeaFrance had seen me coming and wouldn’t hear of my accusations that while I tried to book online, something happened their system preventing me from doing so, I walked out and tried the neighbouring P&O office. They were £10 cheaper, but their sailing was much later. Angry but without much choice, I went back to SF and bought a ticket for the sailing leaving in 50mins. This, I thought, would be my last sailing with a company whose customer service was distinctly, let’s say, French!

I jumped on the ferry and settled down for the crossing. I remembered that on the way out I had a photo taken up on the deck and so decided that it might be interesting to have a ‘before’ and ‘after’ shot. The ‘before’ shot is at the beginning of this blog but I’ll repost it here. With all of the gear on, it’s difficult to tell, but I’d shed 6-7kg in body weight, and maybe picked up a few grams of embedded dirt.

Before

and after

In any case, I rolled off, switched riding mode to the other side of the road, refuelled in Dover, and took off towards Cheltenham for the Greenbelt Festival. I was looking forward to this knowing that I had many friends who’d be at it as well as my brother-in-law who’d be arriving on the Saturday. On arrival the first person I saw out of 20,000 people was my friend Ivan from Belfast. It was fantastic to see a familiar face, and this would be the start of 4 days of catching up with old and new friends.

The hoods

From expansive landscapes of no one, to being in the middle of 20k people



Fellow rev and biker, Ivan with daughter Lucia

Ryan 'rimmer' Mcanlis

Friends

Fellow Bangor lad on centre stage - Foy Vance

an adopted Bangor lad, biker, and always brilliant - Gentry Morris

Port of Holyhead

With the festival finishing on Monday night, I awoke early on Tuesday to pack my tent and load the bike for the final time. It was a strange feeling to know that tomorrow I’d awaken in a bed and not have to clip down any boots, or secure a tank bag, or lube a chain.

Fearing that I’d left things a little late and knowing that my folks had prepared a little welcome home for me, I knew that I’d have to average around 90mph to make it to Holyhead for my scheduled ferry. Wales has a burgeoning amount of speed camera traps etc, so I knew it was risky business. My sailing was at 12 and I pulled in at 11:45 fearing that I’d missed the boat, literally. I had. My pleading to let me on was in vain, and so I was rescheduled and had to make the not-so-interesting port of Holyhead my home for a few hours. This delay had a double whammy in terms of my time. Not only did I have to catch a later sailing, but it was on the slow boat, so it’d be later into the evening before I’d arrive home to the waiting family. I felt bad.

I pitched onto the boat, fell asleep, and woke up in time to unroll. On getting off the ferry, there was a brand new Triumph Hypermotard beside me, a 1200GS, and a few custom bikes. Pietro sporting his grime and war wounds, looked for all the world like he was on his last legs next to these polished machines. Still, I think the other bikes cowered before his achievements and even though I now had to spend some money on ‘righting’ him, I wouldn’t have swapped with any of them.

Here I was, back on Ireland’s soil. I took a right out of Dublin and pointed my front wheel towards Donaghadee for the final 150 miles. Sitting on the main road from Dublin to Belfast, I remembered the day I left the driveway of my parents house and revisited the stand-out moments of the last 3 months. To be sure, it was the best experience of my life thus far and the days ahead would give me the space that I needed to process all that I’d experienced.

Hearing an exhaust in the distance, my dad and sister had come out the front door and were first to greet me as I pulled up onto the spot from where I’d left. They’d put together an amusing banner for my return, which on saying ‘Welcome home from there Simon and Pietro’, had the neighbours all wondering if I’d ‘come out’ on my travels and was bringing home my gay Italian fella. I got off the bike went inside, and the return of the prodigal celebrations began. Thanks folks! Indeed, thanks to everyone who made this trip what it was. There are too many to mention, but most of them are referenced along the way in the story recorded here. Only time can tell what sort of impact a trip of this nature has, but I know that going ‘away from here’ was exactly what I needed after 5 years in business. Now that I’m ‘back from there’, I’m not sure what is next, occupationally speaking. Perhaps I’ll post it on here in a couple of weeks, should the epiphany happen.

Back to the start

with dad

thinner, but still intact...just about

welcomed back

a toast to the return by my sisters

In the meantime, to those who have tracked with me, thanks for coming. To those who’ve not simply lurked but have managed to find the ‘post a comment’ button or emailed, a big-thank you for the encouragement in letting me know that the nightly ritual of journal updating wasn’t to no avail.

This site is going to be redesigned soon and might be used for whatever is next. In the meantime, after 4 years, I’ve reactivated my facebook account, so you can come and find me on there to stay informed.

nb., A quick update on Pawel is that he’s doing well. He’s got a small problem with his neck and his shoulder is healing up. There’s been no word back from the Russian authorities and can’t get through when he’s tried to contact them. His plan is to head up in a van in a couple of weeks to pick up his bike.

Briefly and in answer to a few questions that have been pm’d or emailed to me:

1. Trip cost: £3500. The £500 was for the clutch, freighting bike, and trans-sib tickets. If you’re planning a trip budget on £1000 a month. No carnet’s needed for this trip.

2. Group size: my favourite riding was done solo. I really enjoyed the freedom of blasting out through Europe to Volgograd on my own, and I didn’t enjoy the first few days of riding with the Estonian/Finnish guys as their pace and stops were away off what I was used to. Having said that, they were all really good guys and I immensely enjoyed the craic around the fire in the evening. I would day that two people is the ideal for a big trip. I met other riders along the way who were riding in two’s and it made me a little envious. More than three is slow going. Three is a crowd and preferences and alliances can still form. Two is good from a safety point of view and company when not riding, while one is wonderful but is lonely at night and lacks the safety element. The other bonus of riding alone is that you enter into your immediate environment more and will get many more opportunities to experience local hospitality etc if solo (or as a couple). Also try and find people of similar experience if not going on your own.

3. Best kit: Soft panniers. I personally would urge caution in using hard panniers. Every single rider in the big group we had said that they wouldn’t bring them again. We lost days in trying to reattach them when the bikes went down. I would’ve bust an ankle at least a couple of times if I’d had mine on. They’re great for European touring on tarmac, but beyond that, bin ‘em.

4. Do again: as usual, bring less gear. I stripped everything down several times before I left, and realised that I should’ve been more ruthless again. Of everyone, I had far and away the least stuff with me, and still had too much.

5. Favourite country: Russia. The people, the land, and the language were all wonderful. Mongolia is obviously like nothing else on earth and is perfectly enchanting, but there was something about Russia that really got me, and I think everyone felt the same. Most of us are wanting to do some language training in Russian and will certainly be back.

See you on the road. Over and out.

Simon
__________________
http://www.awayfromhere.org
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 30 Sep 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Posts: 252
Thanks Si for taking your time out and keeping us all up to date.... going to miss my daily read !

Take care and I might just see you out on the road some day

Cheers
Geordie
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 18 Oct 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Jyvaskyla
Posts: 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by sijohnston View Post
Anyway, Sami eventually pulled on all of his training in the Finnish army, and got enough of a fire going to heat a small marmot. He then went to sleep, leaving me to ponder my canine induced afflictions.

Sami and the fire that wouldn't light
Hey i know this guy

Sami
__________________
www.samiv.org - My webpage
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 29 Nov 2015
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 5
A great adventure, I really enjoyed reading that, good man!
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
ATMs, Travellers Cheques or cold hard cash? (North/East/South Africa and Middle East) huwandrosie Trip Paperwork 2 12 Feb 2010 18:51
middle east and east africa, help needed desmo666 Route Planning 5 8 Nov 2008 19:24
Rtw from Ireland 2005 (going east) Laurence Travellers Seeking Travellers 5 8 Feb 2005 21:18
Ireland Freek Europe 27 19 Mar 2004 19:58
California for Ireland & East Coast U.S. Kpick Bike Swap or Rent 1 25 Nov 2003 04:46

 
 

Announcements

Thinking about traveling? Not sure about the whole thing? Watch the HU Achievable Dream Video Trailers and then get ALL the information you need to get inspired and learn how to travel anywhere in the world!

Have YOU ever wondered who has ridden around the world? We did too - and now here's the list of Circumnavigators!
Check it out now
, and add your information if we didn't find you.

Next HU Eventscalendar

HU Event and other updates on the HUBB Forum "Traveller's Advisories" thread.
ALL Dates subject to change.

2024:

2025:

  • Queensland is back! Date TBC - May?

Add yourself to the Updates List for each event!

Questions about an event? Ask here

HUBBUK: info

See all event details

 
World's most listened to Adventure Motorbike Show!
Check the RAW segments; Grant, your HU host is on every month!
Episodes below to listen to while you, err, pretend to do something or other...

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

"Ultimate global guide for red-blooded bikers planning overseas exploration. Covers choice & preparation of best bike, shipping overseas, baggage design, riding techniques, travel health, visas, documentation, safety and useful addresses." Recommended. (Grant)



Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance.

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance™ combines into a single integrated program the best evacuation and rescue with the premier travel insurance coverages designed for adventurers.

Led by special operations veterans, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, paramedics and other travel experts, Ripcord is perfect for adventure seekers, climbers, skiers, sports enthusiasts, hunters, international travelers, humanitarian efforts, expeditions and more.

Ripcord travel protection is now available for ALL nationalities, and travel is covered on motorcycles of all sizes!


 

What others say about HU...

"This site is the BIBLE for international bike travelers." Greg, Australia

"Thank you! The web site, The travels, The insight, The inspiration, Everything, just thanks." Colin, UK

"My friend and I are planning a trip from Singapore to England... We found (the HU) site invaluable as an aid to planning and have based a lot of our purchases (bikes, riding gear, etc.) on what we have learned from this site." Phil, Australia

"I for one always had an adventurous spirit, but you and Susan lit the fire for my trip and I'll be forever grateful for what you two do to inspire others to just do it." Brent, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the (video) series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring!" Jennifer, Canada

"Your worldwide organisation and events are the Go To places to for all serious touring and aspiring touring bikers." Trevor, South Africa

"This is the answer to all my questions." Haydn, Australia

"Keep going the excellent work you are doing for Horizons Unlimited - I love it!" Thomas, Germany

Lots more comments here!



Five books by Graham Field!

Diaries of a compulsive traveller
by Graham Field
Book, eBook, Audiobook

"A compelling, honest, inspiring and entertaining writing style with a built-in feel-good factor" Get them NOW from the authors' website and Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk.



Back Road Map Books and Backroad GPS Maps for all of Canada - a must have!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80G/S.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events all over the world with the help of volunteers; we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, or ask questions on the HUBB. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 09:05.