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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Colebatch, Oct 18, 2012.
Why them? You and Terry on strike.
Kind of ....
Bear in mind the current Australian Prime Minister started her first speech in Europe to a ASEM meeting with most heads of government from Asia and Europe by saying ... even the English speakers among you may want to access the translators, due to my broad Australian accent.
here is a good example of the speed required to make riding across Western Australia interesting
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/p1Ni0NBs-sU?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
i think its a bit quiet on the RR, so hopefully not hijacking the thread
the Schuberth looks good for off road ADV type riding, but just 25mm of plastic over that bar or a flatter bar would make it look 100% better......then it looks ideal.....and stops a face plant....
Maybe in the meantime, Rod might produce his story about coming back to UK ? Even in separate thread that might be later merged into here when the others reach Magadan ? Would be nice, wouldnt it ?
I miss your Scottish sense of humor here, mate. Although Geir's own is not that bad - something that I wouldn't expect from a Viking
After a couple of days rest and repairs on the bikes in Tynda it was time to get on the bikes and head north. While staying in Yakutsk I had ordered a set of new tyres from Moscow to Yakutsk and hopefully they will be there before me. The tyres I've got on have been heavily worn at the BAM road. :eek1
Max picked us up at the hotel around 8 o'clock and the rain were pissing down. Combined with temperatures at around 6'C this was going to be a wet and cold day. Max took us to his garage where we had parked the bikes the last two nights. Thanks a lot for your hospitality Max!
After a quick photo shoot at Max's place and a quick fuel stop we started the journey heading north. It was still pissing down and I drove with my shoulders lifted all the way up to my ears. Trying to avoid water and cool winds from entering my neck. Within the first 15 minutes my feets were completely soaked and I guess they would not dry for the next few days. Luckily the roads were not too bad and the first tens-of-kilometers and we drove on pretty good asphalt roads. After an hour or so (Walter know the numbers) we finally hit the gravel roads and it changed everything. I guess the guys in the front did not notice too much, but in the back the dirt were flying and it was hard to get good visibility through the visir (Windscreen) of my helmet. I tried to use my glove as a windshield wiper, but just smeared it all out and after some few seconds of OK visibility they were just as bad again. I tried to change to my goggles, but it ended up having a similar effect. Especially while catching up and passing trucks it was quite bad.
It also seems like some of the dirt get thrown off from the front wheel flying forward and fly over the front fender and ends up in my face. I guess if I still had kept my big front windscreen it would be something I could somewhat hide behind. This was now in a DHL box on the way back from Irkutsk to Norway.
At the next fuel stop I noticed that my front rim had got some new dents in them. I had now been riding slower and more taken it more easy than on the BAM road and it seemed like it were weaker than before. Maybe the heat treatment in Yakutsk had made it even softer than it was. A borrowed a large hammer from a truck driver at the gas station. I banged it as hard as I could to try to straighten it. (Any footage here Geir?). Not that I care to much about the looks of the RIM or that it is a little bit bent, but it is a good idea to keep the edge of the rim to seal against the tyre to avoid sand, water and dirt to enter. That will only give punctures and troubles.
We continued the journey north and it was the most muddy, wet, cold and miserable day so far. We took a early lunch and got some warm drinks, foods and got some dry wool socks on the feet. Some of us added a extra layer of clothing to try to keep warm. Some places the roads were so muddy it felt almost like driving on snow and you had to watch the bike and where it was going. Especially at some places with roadworks all of us had some troubles and a hard time keeping the bikes straight in the deep mud. With this 15cm deep mud the rear were moving around like the tail of a fish. Luckily we all came well through with no accidents!
At this time I was wondering what the hell are we doing here - what is the rush? It would be so much nicer to be home now with a nice girl, something red in my glass and fire on my fireplace. At this stage I was really homesick. I think some of the rest of the crew also had the same idea.
After around 450kms of driving we stopped in Aldan we had to find a place to stay for the night. We were all cold and miserable and needed warm showers, dry clothes and a bit of rest. We found a small place which had a garage were we could park the bikes. Perfect! They only had a 5 man room and all five of us were cramped in on this small room. With 5 set of wet clothing the room became quite humid. We grabbed some food and a couple of beers and all went to bed quite early. With 5 tired men in the same room it became quite a spectacular snoring concert that night.
The next morning we packed up and some of the guys had to replace the rear brake pads on their bikes. These conditions with wet mud flying around can easily wear down a set of rear brake pads in one day. Even without using the rear brake. So always bring spares! We drove out of Aldan and hoped to reach the banks of the Lena river within the end of the day. It was still raining and it seemed like we would have the same conditions as the day before. Luckily we got less rain than the day before, but the roads were still muddy and the dirt were flying around like yesterday. With the mud flying around everywhere and no rain to wash it of the bikes and riders were just packed with mud everywhere.
My front rim did not hold up very well and it started to look more and more like something you would expect to see in a flintstones cartoon. It was now starting to look really really bad and this rim really need to be replaced. Preferably before entering the road of bones. Let's see what we can do about it in Yakutsk.
Suddenly the warning lamp for the engine started to flash on my F800GS, Fu.. what is this? Here I find myself in the middle of nowhere hundred of kilomteres away from the closest village and thousands of kilometres to the next BMW dealer. I pulled over and stopped the bike immediately. The engine and radiator were quite packed with mud and I suspected it could be either a overheating issue or something wrong with the oil pressure. I found some water and tried to wash the radiator as good as I could. I started it up and the light were gone - thank you dear god - it was that easy!
After a couple of kilometers the light started to flash again. This is more severe than I had hoped for in the first place. What now? I picked up my instruction manual and it suggested the bike should be checked out by a BMW dealer. Fu.. here I am miles away from any civilization, the rest of the guys were ahead of me and did not see me stopping. What now? I started to think that I should stop a truck and see if I could get the bike aboard and get it to Yakutsk. It was turning dark within a couple of hours and I really did not want to stay here.
Than my phone called, it was Walter. "Where are you mate? We are waiting for you". I explained my problem and I tried to check if I could see my oil circulate which were quite hard since the clutch is throwing things around down there. We decided that it was propably a faulty censor or similar and decided just to keep up driving and hope it was not an oil pump issue. I caught up with the guys with the light flashing like hell, but it were still running so we figured out that if it was anything serious it would already had a breakdown. Things got dryer and when we hit the banks of the Lena river we felt almost dry. My warning light were still flashing, but we hoped to get the bikes washed and sort out things tomorrow.
Now waiting for the ferry to cross the Lena river it was starting to get dark and we had to wait about 30 minutes for the ferry. We looked like a couple of hardcore dirt bikers covered in mud from top to bottom. The bikes almost beyond recognition.
Walter had to reveal some big news!
Vast; yes. Thinly populated; probably more so than the route we're following here. The big difference is there's no regular towns with cafes, fuel and accommodation. You have to be far more self sufficient in the outback, with massive fuel reserves if you want to see it all.
To give you some idea of how remote parts of the country are, Anna Creek Station (a ranch if you're American) is the same size as the European country of Belgium. Out bush, the stations can have driveways 100km long.
Due to bad weather we did not take too many photos on this part. Here are some of the ones I've got - can you fill me in here guys?
I would not recommend the Roof Boxer as an offroad helmet. It's a bit heavy and way too clunky for offroad riding. Visor up the aero loads are killer. Cool helmet but not recommended for long range riding.
Thanks for the update, Steve!
Good to see you guys are still smiling after a very heavy day .
thank you for the update
i hope next year i will be on the same road,
and i will be prepared
guys you are realy hardcore
Ugh, the Lena highway is not a fun road in the best of circumstances, I can imagine in rain and cold. At least you missed the dust, which is pretty bad when the road is dry. No big deal except when you're passing a truck and can't see a damn thing...
I'm off to Baja for a 10 day ride. I will miss this thread, I will catch up when I can. The Sibersky team inspire me. As always, hardcore is the common denominator with this thread.
105 km north of Aldan, on the infamous gravel Lena Highway to Yakutsk, Terry and I were taking our turn to ride at the back of the pack. The others were several miles ahead, but we figured we could speed up and catch them if we needed to. It was, as Steve mentioned, cold and rainy. I guess about 7-8 degrees C (45F). The weather was miserable and the road was miserable ... and as Steve said, it was the kind of day that makes you ask the question - what am I doing here?
Then in front of me, near the apex of a gradual corner, I saw Terry gingerly slow down and gently come to a stop. He was swinging his handlebar from side to side, but the front wheel wasnt moving. He had snapped a handlebar riser bolt again. We worked quietly together, strapping the bar up with luggage straps - fixing to the forks as best we could. As we neared the end of this operation in the shivering rain we began to talk. I mentioned he was very lucky - we had been travelling at above 80 km/h (50 mph) when it happened. If it had been on a sharper corner, with a big tree on the apex, it could have been disastrous for Terry. He agreed, and said that he felt like he had just used up all his luck. I mentioned we better catch up with the guys ahead, then went to jump back on my bike. It was then I realised my rear shock had lost its oil. Pressing on my seat was like pressing down on a pogo stick. I thought the ride this morning was way too bouncy.
Both these issues could be fixed properly in Yakutsk. But to fix my shock I would need replacement seals sent out from Holland. That will take two weeks and potentially a lot of customs fees. From Yakutsk to Magadan is less than a weeks ride, even via the Old Summer Road. Theoretically I could make it without a shock. I was in a group of five. I knew the road. But why? I had done the road before. I had completed my mission for the year. I had mapped a dirt track from Europe to the Pacific. I was hanging on now only for Terry. I turned to Terry and asked him ... mate what do you think?
I didnt have to elaborate. He knew what I was thinking. He said back, "Walter, you know I havent done the Old Summer Road yet, and I really wanted to this year, but I dont have to prove anything to anybody. I have had a really good ride this year. I am happy to leave it here." With Terry having lost all confidence in his handlebar bolts, and my bike now a pogo stick ... one look was all it took. After 3 month together across Eurasia, we had reached that stage. One look, or one raise of an eyebrow was enough to convey 1000 words. And he certainly didnt need to prove anything to anyone. Terry is one of the most seasoned adventure riders there is and a fantastic riding companion. There was just a week to go to Magadan, but we had had enough. We were exhausted. And now the bikes were telling us they were exhausted too.
I thought about the Norwegians ... They had done well on the BAM Road. They were 3 times fresher, their bikes were 3 times fresher. I thought I could sit down with them and brief them thoroughly on the Old Summer Road, and they would be fine to ride it - as long as they stuck together as a group of three.
As Terry and I saddled up, we decided we would ride nice an easy up to Yakutsk. I suggested we both think about it during the rest of the day, in case either wanted to change our minds, and if not then we would break the news to the Norwegians that we were calling it a day, once we reached Yakutsk.
The ride to Yakutsk was cold and wet and miserable. My summer riding gloves were soaked through and my hands were freezing. EtronX lent me a spare set of handlebar muffs. We stopped several times at roadside cafes just to warm up, Up here, the roadside cafes were never more than wooden shacks. Sometimes they were just kitted out shipping containers. But at least they were warm, and had warm lemon tea. It was early August, supposed to be the warmest time of year, but instead we were all freezing. None of this of course did anything but confirm to Terry and myself that we had made the right decision. But still we kept quiet. We had agreed to give it a full day on the bikes to see if our minds changed.
As we approached Yakutsk, or more specifically Nizhny Bestyakh on the opposite bank of the Lena River, we passed a police checkpoint. There was a cafe here. Terry and I parked up the bikes and went in. I mentioned to the police who had waved us through that there would be three more guys coming shortly.
Five minutes later, we heard bikes, and Erik and EtronX rolled up and came in side for a cup of tea and a snack. But 15 more minutes went by with no sign of Steve. Eventually I called him. He was close enough to have mobile phone signal. He said his oil light was on and was thinking about sticking the bike on the back of a truck. I have had experience with my own oil pressure light on my Rotax powered BMW. It comes on sometimes when it gets wet. A faulty sensor issue. I discussed the issue with Terry, far more of a mechanical guru than me. We thought that there were several mechanical oil pumps in the engine, and its unlikely they could just fail. If the oil pressure light was on for a good reason, then it was probably because he was out of oil. I asked Steve to check his oil level. oil level was good. I asked him to try and see if the oil in the oil tank was circulating when he idled the bike, If he could see that it was then it would be a faulty sensor. Unfortunately Steve could not see clearly enough to make a call on that.
But with full oil, and it being quite unlikely that the mechanically driven oil pumps would fail, I told Steve that while I cant guarantee it, I was pretty damn sure that it was just a faulty sensor, that I have had that issue many times before, and to ride onwards and catch up with us at the cafe. If it wasnt just a faulty sensor then his ride to Magadan was over one way or another anyway.
Steve took the advice and rode on to meet us at the cafe. From here it was just 10 km to the ferry across to Yakutsk. The 10 minutes he had ridden to the cafe, without the engine blowing up gave him confidence that perhaps it was indeed a faulty sensor. We tried to look into the engine to see if we could see oil circulating, and while it wasnt clear, it did seem as if there was circulation. We all breathed a sigh of relief
We rode on to the ferry to Yakutsk ... its a half hour journey across 7-10 km of river, and it was here that Terry and I broke the news to the gang, that we would be leaving them at this stop.
Woaah!!! What a great video!!
As is the rest of this RR, thank you guys & girl!
Though days you had now.
But I imagine the feelinig at this point.
Its one of those moments on one trip when you know and you feel you are really far from your home.
It give you the feeling of completeness of the trip.
Thanks for making it interesting for us.