'Polar' Cub 90 rides through Hell (Norway)

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by stickysidedown, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. stickysidedown

    stickysidedown Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    661
    Well It's under two weeks until I depart now, an idea that was stewed up in the sleep starved mind of mine on my return journey from Mongolia as I attempted to ride 900 miles through the night into Moscow (that ride report is coming too)

    You know how it is on those long rides, your mind wanders about, and I got to thinking about how lucky I had been to just fulfil a long held dream in the last few months riding.

    I decided I wanted to do something positive when I got home, something for others, and in the middle of that night I started to think about a friend of mine who had just gone through the ordeal of a kidney operation after being diagnosed with cancer, here was a great guy having to explain to his daughters all about his condition, operation and consequences, that upset me to see in a way that surprised me (I have no children) and thoughts went to him throughout my Mongolian adventures

    And then it came to me like a bolt, I was going to make an improbable journey through the town of Hell in Norway and on up to the Arctic circle from my home in SW England, and I was going to try and raise some sponsorship for cancer research along the way.

    So who would sponsor the charity if I was just going for a ride up to Norway? I mean that's a slice of biking heaven right there surely? I had to make it a challenge suitable enough to inspire people to

    A) not take today for granted but to strive for their dreams
    B) to be interested by the efforts and risks of my undertaking and be interested enough in the story itself to feel like it was worthy of a donation

    So heres me, 33 years of age, putting my KTM990 Adv 'S' away and wheeling out the 'Polar' Cub-90

    A little bit of fettling, packing some camping equipment (no way can I afford accomodation in Norway) and on the 19th of January I leave England bound for the Arctic circle in Norway through Hell

    so to start let me introduce this brave little bike

    [​IMG]

    and here is the web page we just finished for the purposes of blogging and donations www.throughhellforcancer.com

    I will share a full report with photos also here with the inmates of ADVrider
    #1
  2. tbird649

    tbird649 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    179
    Location:
    West Sussex, UK
    Sounds good to me! Looking forward to it.
    #2
  3. stickysidedown

    stickysidedown Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    661
    The weekend involved a little spannering, firstly to make sure the slightly oversized knobbly tyres would clear the front mudguard.

    A cursory prod around revealed a leaking inlet rubber which was obviously sorted in 15 secs flat and then from the bin of an associate I pulled out a used 2010 KX250F rear fender and chopped it up to make some handguards

    I have to say the lurid green clashes brilliantly with the metallic red of the Honda :huh

    clutch needs replacing, and is on order, and apart from the filters, plug and oil is all that remains to be done before departure.

    [​IMG]

    www.throughhellforcancer.com
    #3
  4. England-Kev

    England-Kev Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,769
    Location:
    England. Somewhere on the Canal.
    I'm in... :lurk
    #4
  5. nomadwarmachine

    nomadwarmachine Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    12
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    In....
    #5
  6. stickysidedown

    stickysidedown Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    661
    So working hard in the last week to get everything done

    Officially leaving from two places I think, one for my cousins from across the pond

    The Mayflower Steps as per the Pilgrim fathers

    And one for the UK bikers

    I will be leaving from the Ace Cafe in London on Sat 19th and will be there around midday

    So please share that info and feel free to come down, point, laugh, and maybe even wish me well:wink:

    Oh and whilst the full and thorough ride report with pictures will be coming up here, you can get the scoop from the website

    www.throughhellforcancer.com

    I'll be texting updates back to the UK to go on the site as I wont have data, and given that I saw someone quoting a -28.6C today batteries are going to last minutes rather than hours.

    What could possibly go wrong :evil
    #6
  7. Jim pedley

    Jim pedley Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    105
    Location:
    Cheshire uk
    Sounds fantastic what you are doing and wish you a safe journey ! I met 2 guys last year from Doncaster who rode c 90's to the elephant rally (Germany) then they were off to prauge then Amsterdam .
    I'm going try get down ace cafe Saturday to see you off ! And just thought here but will you be putting bar muffs on your bike ? As with those temperatures you will need them !!!
    #7
  8. stickysidedown

    stickysidedown Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    661
    Awesome, be nice to meet you, there will be the option to make some muffs along the way, it's one reason I made such substantial handguards ;)

    Much will be modded using my best penny tech solutions as the needs develop, friend is reporting below -30C today :eek1
    #8
  9. Eagletalon

    Eagletalon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    417
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    I'm in!:deal
    #9
  10. livetosail

    livetosail Wayward Traveler

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Pensacola, FL
    Hey Mark,

    I love your idea. The design is great, the website is sexy, the concept is attractive, and I am most definitely motivated to contribute to this very worthy cause.

    There is only one thing lacking, and that is an RSS feed on your website. I love to read travel reports and follow epic journeys like yours is certain to be, but I prefer to use a reader which sends all of these feeds to my phone where I can read them throughout the day, rather than trekking all over the interwebs.

    A small, but potentially helpful suggestion: enable RSS so we can track you through means other than ADV or surfing to your website directly.

    Looking forward to your big send off in a few days. Safe travels, and God speed.

    Eric
    #10
  11. stickysidedown

    stickysidedown Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    661
    Thanks Livetosail, thats a helpful suggestion and appreciated though I'll confess I know nothing about web pages or RSS feeds, so I will pass these comments on to my ever patient friend who has built me the site as his way of supporting my venture. Hopefully we will be able to accommodate this!

    Meanwhile I have had a new clutch arrive that needs fitting and a few little bits and bobs to do before departure :evil
    #11
  12. gueroaero

    gueroaero Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Oddometer:
    11
    Location:
    Houston
    Cheers for using the cub to do it :freakyLooking forward to your adventure :)
    #12
  13. kyotoviking

    kyotoviking Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Kobe, Japan.
    Awesome idea. I'm in.
    If I can recommend something, (I'm Norwegian) look into some smart lube for your cables. (Clutch and throttle). Normal stuff might turn into the consistency of candle lights with the temperatures they have there now. Just my memory from bicycling to school back in the old days.
    Good luck.
    #13
  14. stickysidedown

    stickysidedown Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    661
    Tusen Takk!

    Brilliant advice, I'd planned to fit new cables and just give them a light spray with a PTFE based lube rather than oil, however I appear to run out of time as off tomorrow, thankfully no clutch and a pull rod rear drum brake, throttle, choke and front brake on the other hand:huh

    Will be making various changes en-route

    luckily it's particularly cold there now with one friend posting -30C on Facebook
    #14
  15. stickysidedown

    stickysidedown Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    661
    Right lets get this show on the road :D

    This is me, Im a normalish sort of a bloke, I work on a building site and apart from my exceptionally large penis and tendency to tell outrageous lies I'm just like you (probably)

    [​IMG]


    Officially the start of this event was to have been on the 19th of January, but that didn't mean there wasn't room for a little adventure on the way to the start.

    I chose London's Ace cafe as a start point simply because it was a known point to say goodbye to the UK and I'd never been there!, my own home was some 250 miles to the West of here so there was a not inconsiderable distance by Scooter, in the summer lazily crossing the UK would have been awesome, and just the week before departure I was out taking rides in the winter sun just for pleasure

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    However there had been a cold front blowing in from the East, and as it's a little unusual for us to get Siberia's used weather the country was plunged into Chaos as we dealt with a little snowfall that had the schools closing, roads closing and nice normal people battening down the hatches until all would be well in a few days time.

    I didn't feel I had that luxury, and still eager to get out in it off I went into the darkness to cover half the miles to London before stopping over with my good travel buddy Ed in Bristol, he couldn't make it on this journey on account of the fact he had a note from his mum or something, and his girlfriend needed some urgent advice on wallpaper patterns and err something else, I forget :lol3

    It was a hard haul up to Bristol, not least of my my issues was the fact dressed like the bastard child of the Michelin man and a radioactive tellytubby I ran out of petrol on the Motorway and so ran the bike the last mile up the hard shoulder to the services.

    I'd only covered 70 miles on one tank and as this is filled from under the seat it meant going through the rigmarole of loading and unloading everything on the bike to top up the tiny 3.5l tank. but this was a good few miles less than I had budgeted for, a worrying sign to start as the bike was still relatively unknown to me having been in my possession just a few short weeks.

    Coming into the city I made my first mistake in my impatience,I tried to overtake a very slowly moving 4x4 using a bus lane, I had assumed the black slush like ice would be soft and wet in the centre of the lane, and once upon a time it had been, but now refrozen it caught me completely off guard, I wrestled with the impossibly overladen bike for a few seconds before crunching down hard into the asphalt.

    This helped to draw my attention to the fact that I had not reinserted the armour into the knees of my textile trousers which had scuffed through down to the kevlar underneath the cordura outer.

    So with a rapidly swelling knee, a broken front brake lever and indicator lens, not to mention a massively dented pride I picked myself and the bike up, gave it the cursory once over and before the adrenaline wore off I was covering the last few miles to Ed's place not realising my pannier had popped open losing a pair of goggles and my trusty North Face Tent had ejected itself from the luggage bundle.

    It wasn't until a night of catching up with friends and sofa surfing that I came to realise that the list of reasons why I was on a fools errand that included cold,lack of money, no front brake and injury had grown to include homelessness!!

    At some point, and despite considering myself a fully fledged member of the grown ups club I received a text from my mother, Matt the weathers hopeless, please come home

    And so naturally I carried on my way determining that it was part of the riddle of life on the road, and that something would figure itself out!

    <IFRAME height=400 src="http://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=10152463548440473" frameBorder=0 width=226></IFRAME>

    Ed very kindly filmed me before I set off the day before I set off
    #15
  16. Circle Blue

    Circle Blue Here and There

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    59
    Location:
    Middle of the USA
    I followed you all the way on the other site. Yay!

    I've been eagerly awaiting the "rest of the story"...

    And, the photos.
    #16
  17. Eagletalon

    Eagletalon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    417
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    More!:clap:clap:clap
    #17
  18. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,065
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    Cool!
    #18
  19. stickysidedown

    stickysidedown Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    661
    Hell by C90 - The Beginning

    It had been an odd series of things that had brought me to the conclusion that this would be a good idea, but here I was on a dark wet night in West Devon looking at a reasonable example of Honda's legendary C90 Cub, it seemed clean, had covered a reasonable mileage before effectively being mothballed, save for its annual MOT run to the local dealer, and it even had a working battery and E-start, Luggage, and it was all backed up with a healthy wad of paperwork.

    I put down a deposit and promised to return at the end of the week with the balance, I drove away smiling, but it was a nervous smile, ahead of me lay a great big unknown, I had absolutely no idea what to expect, whether what I hoped to do would be achievable by me? whether the consequences of failure meant freezing to death someplace and whether or not it would be worth the effort

    I had basically taken stock of my tattered finances, worked out I should just about be able to raise the necessary funds to complete my trip and just had to hope that my efforts would be stupid enough to motivate people to show their support by means of a donation to the charity I was raising sponsorship for.

    I had a fixed window of time based around two weeks in which I basically didn't have any work on site.

    I was fearful of two things, outright failure, giving up, or lacking the grit to carry on but more worryingly - spending my small resources to fund a trip that cost me more than I raised for the charity in question, I sought assurance for the latter, I promised myself that if I didn't reach a certain limit, I would sell off the Honda and give the proceeds myself directly.

    Some people thought I was insane and it was impossible, others thought it was a cakewalk and a holiday, but universally nobody else wanted to come along for the ride, the fact of the matter was I just didn't know!

    In an age where we can get all sorts of information at the stroke of a keyboards keys there was a surprising lack of information as to what was involved in operating a motorcycle in very cold conditions and deep snow, let alone on a mini budget, then there was the fact I'd decided to camp or couch surf to keep costs low.

    I was terrified, but I hoped I would at the very least have a faithful little companion in the guise of Honda's tough as old boots utilitarian motorcycle

    Two great Icons of engineering

    [​IMG]

    As it purred away neatly I almost felt guilty for what I was about to put the poor girl through though
    #19
  20. stickysidedown

    stickysidedown Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    661
    I had a couple of weeks familiarisation with the little bike, and time to make some modifications, I also had the same time to try and figure things out like,

    What would I eat? (I certainly couldn't afford to dine out) as I was thinking cold weather might require a few more calories
    What should I wear? (I don't own any real cold weather gear)
    How cold could it get?
    At what point would the oil in the bikes sump start to solidify?

    I needed to put on my thinking cap

    [​IMG]



    Of course with a big budget solving most of these issues would be relatively easy, but whilst I was making a big thing of keeping costs low in the spirit of the trip the fact was my funds, and chances of success were marginal at best, everything had to be balanced out as costs vs benefit

    I am therefore forever indebted to a few wonderful folk for giving me a helping hand and I'd like to name them now before I get carried away with my story

    I was given a cold weather suit by a submariner

    [​IMG]


    The double walled goggles were bought due to a timely Lidl's (budget supermarket) offer for £7.99!

    I received a whole bunch of ration packs from another group of serving personnel who all had a rummage around their kit lockers and supplied me with all manner of sustenance and also a whole bunch of isotonic drink whilst educating me to the fact that dehydration is a big deal in very cold conditions

    I received some technical advice from a local company Opie oils about what to run in the C90 as the standard oil had a good chance of solidifying

    A rather nice chap I met through this very forum sent me a hand warmer, which was amazing and unexpected
    [​IMG]



    Snugpak were also absolutely awesome, I've always used their products, they are great value for money compared to other outdoors brands but there was just no way I could afford the right sort of 5 season sleeping bag for the trip so I pinged them an email that went something along the lines of

    Dear Snugpak, I am doing this trip, I know that you would advise me to take this product but it's just not possible for me to do so due to being horribly poor, however luckily I have always used your products and so have both a 3 and a 2 season bag made by yourselves already, I know its a slightly strange request but in your opinion do you think using both of these might afford a similar or appropriate degree of warmth to make sure I don't become a popsicle, love n kisses n all that Stickysidedown

    their reply was something like this,

    Dear Stickysidedown, as the technical director for the company and specifically involved with our sleeping bags development over the last 17 years I am probably best placed to answer your question, the answer is it might work, but there are too many variables and so you might have to wait until spring before you thaw out, you are obviously an idiot and that is why you are poor, as a large successful organisation we get asked for freebies all the time and we would be poor like you if we obliged but I have a cunning plan, if you can get the finances to buy the correct bag at a trade price from us I will personally ensure its sent to you in time for your departure and if you fling it up on ebay after your trip it should easily be worth at least what it cost you,
    firm manly handshakes and all that, The Big Cheese - Snugpak


    OK, so the correspondence was a little more formal than that and I may have paraphrased a little but what is correct is that despite being a very large uk based company managing many millions of pounds of orders for both our own and the US military for example, they not only read my letter that basically said their was no money in it for them but could I trouble them for information, escalated it to the highest level appropriate, and came back with a completely personal response and an excellent solution to my dilemma.

    Given the offer being made, and after speaking to my family a little whip round for an early birthday present from my dear old mum and my brother secured a 5 season sleeping bag that promised a comfortable night to -20c and survival to -50c

    This was an enormous relief (and an enormous sleeping bag for that matter!)


    My old school friend Jonathan and his wife were incredibly supportive, built a website for the project and knowing a few handy people from his line of work as a freelance race team manager managed to get us a donation in the form of screw in tyre studs from one of his race engineering contacts based in Sweden, he was also the one updating the website and twitter feeds as the journey went on.

    one thing that did crop up was that if the weather swung to the very lower side of things there were a few complications centred around the business of breathing, basically your Arctic explorer chaps now all use breath boxes with heat exchangers, as big gulp of extremely cold air causes freezing and subsequently scarring of the throat, It seemed a lot of cold weather campers actually slept in builders nuisance masks!

    Anton, the amazing Russian we had met on the Russia/Mongolia trip had already got behind the project by publishing a magazine article for the Russian Moto magazine all about the proposed adventure, but finding out my concerns actually offered to buy the appropriate apparatus and although the kindness of that offer deserves thanks here I couldn't accept, it was touching that someone should be so genuinely concerned for my well being though

    There are others I should thank, probably too many to list, but I hope that I did so at the time, you know who you were and that I am humbled by your support!

    [​IMG]




    Back in the real world I was quite enjoying the C90, we had a little bit of icy weather and the humble bike was proving it's light weight, gentle power and easy kick start made it a pretty useful tool, I made a point of trying to ride it everyday to find out if all was well, it even got pressed into service for work when the van needed to be off the road for a couple of days for welding work


    [​IMG]


    After a week or so I found some suitable(ish) tyres and had them delivered to my door

    [​IMG]



    A bit of skip diving at work saw me recycling some powder coated box section into a crude rack to support extra fuel cans


    [​IMG]



    The front fender had to be cut to allow for the extra width of the knobbly tyres, being 2.5 rather than 2.25 in width, there was always a concern that the snow and ice would build up in the mudguard so a hacksaw blade was packed in case further modifications were needed en route


    [​IMG]



    Some enormous green handguards were made from some old KX fenders I pulled out of the bin where I'd managed to borrow a workshop for a night


    [​IMG]


    The clutch had started slipping the week of departure so as well as an oil change it was necessary to swap out the clutch, it was actually quite involved compared to doing it on a motorbike being a strange semi auto set up, quite a lot of the bike needed to be stripped down, but the very rudimentary toolkit seemed to hold most of the needed tools which was reassuring

    [​IMG]
    #20