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Photo by Hubert Kriegel, of Jean-Louis Grauby, Dades Gorge, Morocco, during the 8th year of 'thetimelessride'. Ten years on the road on his 2008 Ural Sportsman

Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Hubert Kriegel, of Jean-Louis Grauby, Dades Gorge, Morocco, during the 8th year of 'thetimelessride'. Ten years on the road on his 2008 Ural Sportsman.



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  #1  
Old 16 Sep 2015
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Obsessions and Morocco again

Two years ago a crazy couple went all the way down to Morocco, with a just obtained motorcycle license and without any experience. In only four days I'll be eating cous-cous and drinking mint tea again. This time on my own.

There were months of preparation (and for sure there will be things to do the day of departure): tools, camping gear, paperwork, bike prep...

Almost all the stuff I will carry:



But what defines this trip are my obsessions, each day I have a new one. Let's go by parts.

New Shoes

In my previous trip to Morocco, the bike had a set of Michelin T63, a good 50/50 tyre, they did it quite well both on and off road. Once the Michelin were worn out I found a good deal for a set of Avon Distanzia, I hadn't planned a new trip to Morocco (but to Switzerland instead), so the Avon looked like a good choice...
And the tyres were one of my obsessions. My first thought was to do the trip with the Avon, practically new (only 1500 Km), they are not a 50/50 but a trail tyre anyway... why not?
Finally my wife convince me: if I'm going to Morocco would be stupid not to enjoy at maximum because the tyres are not the best for the trip. It was decided, I'll change them for knobby tyres... but what tyres?
I spent hours and hours diving in internet forums, I need something good for dirt tracks, a little bit of sand, maybe mud... I couldn't decide, everyone has their opinion. Finally I opted for the following combination: Michelin Desert Race front and Mitas C02 rear. I'll tell you my opinion when I'm back

Before and after, I hadn't ever seen a tyre like the Mitas C02, looks extreme:



So happy with her new shoes...



Flat tyres

This is my main obsession, what if I find myself in the middle of nowhere with a simple flat tyre. What a waste of time to solve the situation if I don't carry the right tools to fix it! One of the things I was looking to choose the tyres was that they were hard enough to prevent easy punctures. And almost all the tools and spares I'm carrying are to fix a flat tyre: spare 21" tube, C02 bottle, air pump, etc.

Camping

Is it worth to camping in Morocco? There are plenty of hotels and they are inexpensive. But if I am in the middle of nowhere and the sun is hidding? (what if I have a puncture? eh? eh?)
But camping gear add means more weigh and less space. Light tents and sleeping bags are expensive, and cheap gear is heavier and larger...

I was determined to risk and go without tent, but finally I found an Arpenaz 2 in the Decathlon, 2 and a half Kg, 57x16cm and 22€. It's half a cm larger and a little bit heavier than I'd like, but you can't have any better for that price.

Stuff I'll leave at home and things I'd like to have

I'm not carrying a lot of tools that I don't know how to use, clothes probably I won't wear and that mosquito repellent that I didn't use in the previous trip.
What I like to have? A better camera for better pictures and an action camera to film while riding, but I don't have the money for them (I accept sponsors BTW ). And of course a lot of improvement for my bike, the only things I did were the tyres and change the rear brake pads.

Let's see how it goes
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Old 16 Sep 2015
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Changing tubes on a Tenere rim is a life-shortening experience and two levers isn't enough. I'd stick in a third, small, tyre lever to help. I would also take a spare tube for both tyres.

Refitting the rear wheel back together with the spacers is very difficult. Stick the spacers on either side of the hub, then find a thin branch and break it so it's just long enough to go through the rear wheel hub plus the spacers to support everything whilst you lift it into place. You need to be sitting on the ground behind the bike to be able to raise the wheel with your knees to the right height, then mount the wheel and drift the branch out as you fit the hub bolt.

You may want to find a thin branch and stick it into your panniers before heading off into the treeless void...

Of course the above assumes you have a centre stand. Not sure how you go about it if you have to lay the bike down.

Important: are you carrying the 14mm hex key that you need for the front wheel removal?

You'll need sun cream at least for your nose/face. Have fun!
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Old 16 Sep 2015
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Important: are you carrying the 14mm hex key that you need for the front wheel removal?
Yes, I'm carrying the 14mm key.

Very useful info, thank you Tim. Now I'm not sure if I should carry an extra tyre lever and 17" tube or leave all the tools and spares at home because I won't be able to fix a puncture anyway :P.

Sun cream is on my list
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Old 17 Sep 2015
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That tire looks like it means business!

Just curious, what were your reasons for picking that combination? Why not 2 x Deserts for example?
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Old 17 Sep 2015
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Originally Posted by PropTP View Post
That tire looks like it means business!

Just curious, what were your reasons for picking that combination? Why not 2 x Deserts for example?
Just because there isn't desert in 17".

Today it was quite frightening riding on tarmac, I hope it will improve after few km.
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Old 17 Sep 2015
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Did it feel like it was dropping into bends? It will soon get better.

(Well, actually it won't, what actually happens is that you get used to the feeling and then it's weird going back onto road tyres.)
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Old 18 Sep 2015
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Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
Did it feel like it was dropping into bends? It will soon get better.

(Well, actually it won't, what actually happens is that you get used to the feeling and then it's weird going back onto road tyres.)
It's not just that, it feels like the rear tyre is sliding (and it actually did yesterday). So 0% confidence, I don't know what I'm going to do in a twisty road!.
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Old 18 Sep 2015
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The Mitas rear you have chosen need scrubbing in before they are any good on tarmak... There is loads of stuff on web about them.. here are a couple...

'I run a C02 on my CRM. It took a while to scrub in. Until it had, the bike would spin up the rear, let go mid-corner and genarally misbehave - and that was on tarmac! Now it's scrubbed in it is miles better. I'm not sure I'd like one on an AT.'

'I run C02 and C17front on my AT.
They are great. Love them offroad.
About tarmac:
Belive me that C02 will become stable after 500km.
At the beginning C02 misbehaves rapidly.... '

Cheers
Bones
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Old 18 Sep 2015
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The Mitas rear you have chosen need scrubbing in before they are any good on tarmak... There is loads of stuff on web about them.. here are a couple...

'I run a C02 on my CRM. It took a while to scrub in. Until it had, the bike would spin up the rear, let go mid-corner and genarally misbehave - and that was on tarmac! Now it's scrubbed in it is miles better. I'm not sure I'd like one on an AT.'

'I run C02 and C17front on my AT.
They are great. Love them offroad.
About tarmac:
Belive me that C02 will become stable after 500km.
At the beginning C02 misbehaves rapidly.... '

Cheers
Bones
Yes, I've read something, but some people say 100Km, other 100 miles, 500 km.... I hope to still be alive after those 500Km.
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Old 18 Sep 2015
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Take it easy and you'll be fine

PS... if it's sliding now without luggage.... you will be riding speedway style when ur fully loaded
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Old 18 Sep 2015
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Take it easy and you'll be fine

PS... if it's sliding now without luggage.... you will be riding speedway style when ur fully loaded
I'm much more relaxed now, thanks Bones667. :P
Seriously, I think I'll be fine. It's just I feel like a total novice on the bike.
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Old 20 Sep 2015
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First day and already fell twice. Nothing important, it was at very low speed.

It's been a hell, the fery had 4 hours of delay It's raining and a lot of fog, I hope the weather improves tomorrow.

I'm in M'diq (only 60 km today) about to have dinner. I think I need some rest.
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Old 20 Sep 2015
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M'diq used to be paradise on earth. I remember parking up my TriBSA 750 cafe racer in 1972 and parting the fronds of tamarisk to see this marvellous totally unspoilt crescent beach that extended for many km towards Ceuta.

Somewhat different nowadays!

Anyway, I'm sure everything will get better.
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Old 23 Sep 2015
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Hey Choutos,

absolutely know what you're talking about when it comes to the tyres. I got TKC 80s on my twin (had Heidenau K60 Scouts before) and they need to be ridden very carefully for the first few hundred miles. Fell off once in light rain near Tetouan as well... didn't take much at all... especially since the dust on Moroccan roads can make them super slippery once they get a bit wet. The good news is, once the thread on the tyres is rounded off a bit things do get MUCH better and now I have a lot of fun with them.

I'm in Imilchil in the High Atlas (Chris Scott's MH1) at the moment and will be going down towards Dades tomorrow. So, should you be anywhere near, it might be good to join forces. I'll be in the country till mid October. Just PM me.

Best of luck, and don't give up...the scenery further south is some of the most beautiful I have ever seen!

Paul
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Old 26 Sep 2015
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Absolutely! The tyres improved after 200 Km and now behave .

I had a lot of fun riding through the plateu du Rekkam.
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