125cc adventure through europe. 8500km

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JoppeBos, Aug 16, 2020.

  1. JoppeBos

    JoppeBos Adventurer

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    Since I graduated this year the plan to go on adventure became finally reality. It is a trip that I have been thinking about for a long time. We left the first of June and just got back from it. I would like to write it all out, get my notes and pictures and share it with you guys.

    (cool pic from the trip to get your attention)
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    The plan for the trip was to go from The Netherlands to Turkey, and back. No single highway and a lot of offroad tracks from the TRANS EUROPA TRAIL. Corona spiced the trip up along the way.
    The daily budget has been around 20 euro a day. Which seems impossible, but is super doable if you just wildcamp and don't drive a tank.

    The longer I am riding motorcycles the smaller bikes I seem to buy. It is my own counter culture against the big BMW's that I see struggling in the dirt here in the Netherlands. Just no one joins my culture yet ;)

    After selling my XT600 I bought a 125cc Yamaha. Life is just so easy on a small bike! Easy to fix and mostly dirt cheap. A mileage of 1/50 gives me a 650km range (400 miles) on this small 13L tank. From trips I have made before I just know that I prefer a buddy on the road. So I persuaded my man Jan to join me and he bought the same bike. We started preparing the bikes around April. New tires, bearings, oil, chains. Whatever was needed.

    Jan showing off the classic Charley Boorman stunt.
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    The last day before leaving we had to give a presentation to Jan's mother. She has not been very supportive so to say about this whole idea to ride around Europe in corona times. So after the presentation we where ready to leave!

    At my parents house the day we left.
    We made some custom merino sheepskin covers. Super comfy to sit and sleep on.
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    #1
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  2. Olirider

    Olirider Been here awhile

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    Subscribed ! :thumb
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  3. MYUMPH

    MYUMPH 'Ol Timer

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  4. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    I'm in. Curious to see which tracks you will be following.
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  5. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    I'm aboard.
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  6. JoppeBos

    JoppeBos Adventurer

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    Good to see we got some people following :)

    The first day we immediately had problems with Jan's bike not starting. After a quick check on the voltage we noted that the battery was 10V and not able to get the bike up and running.
    Good thing is he got a kick start (I do not, newer model). So we decided to not get a battery yet and just drive. The Netherlands was mostly rain and we arrived early in Luxemburg on the camping Moulin.

    Super excited to be on the road. Finally the trip was starting and it gave me mixed feelings. Sometimes you dream of something so much that you start to build of expectations

    Jan is an experienced wild camper. He was lived for more than a year in the bush in The Netherlands. And if you know my country, you would know that that is pretty tough and unheard of.
    I'm was so experienced so I felt good to have my first night on a camping.


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    The second day we left early to hit the France roads. We had a couch surf address where we could stay.
    France immediately gave me the vibes of vacation. Open space country side is something uncommon on the coast side of the Netherlands and the French weather is of course amazing.

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    We arrived at the couchsurf location. Very nice french girls who where living the easy live on the country side. Getting all there food fresh from the lands and serving us immediately a nice spinach lasagna.
    They were living in this beautiful old mill with a rich history. It was the oldest building in the area and was occupied by the germans in the first world war. The germans made it an headquarters and even made a small train station next to the old mill to get resources for the front-line.

    Something I found super special was this old wooden plank that hang in the Mill. When the german soldiers had time off from the frontline for a few days they came to the mill to enjoy women and wine.
    The text roughly translates into

    "Who doesn't like wine or singing is a fool for the rest of his life"
    They had tons of German items and even created a small museum for it. They told me that sometimes there are still germans coming to see the place, because family members where writing about it in there diary's and letter to home.
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    That evening I remember we had too much wine and whatever-local-liquor. The girl with the brown hair was bringing me to my room and making up my bed. Was talking a bit with her in the room, making a few jokes and were sitting on my bed. Than she went of to here room. Nothing special, but somehow I just got a weakness for girls that are so generous and older (she is 9 years old than me).
    After eating there own grown food, drinking there home-made beer and smoking some of there "medicine" we had a good taste of the French country and where ready to leave next morning ;)

    Cruising over the country side with the french girl still on my mind. Barely anyone on the road, a bit chilly but sunny overall.

    We went for some wild camping, my official first one ever. The trick seems to be to just take a double right on whatever road in France and you will somewhere next to a field where no one will see you.

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    I was getting burned so I went into my full cocoon suite while making some classic universal motorcycle dish. Pasta, tomato's, peas. You know with wine everything tastes better right?
    A friend of mine was always making jokes that we would be killed wild camping. Not one of his best jokes, but somehow when its in the middle of the night and you hear animals walking around your tent you are just not getting the optimal sleep.
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  7. squadraquota

    squadraquota mostly harmless

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    A year camping wild in The Netherlands? Must be a rare feat indeed…there must be an interesting story behind that.
    Cool couch surfing address with all those memories of la Grande Guerre. And very charming hosts…you have set the bar high for yourselves now, at the very beginning of your adventures :-)
    #7
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  8. pete3

    pete3 Adventurer

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    Great start for a RR! Keep up the good work. I am a sucker for small displacement touring. Great writing, great photography.

    On a different note: The German Imperial Infantry Regiment 132 (IR 132) was stationed in Alsace, at that time part of the Kaisers´ Reich. In 1916 it was put through the meatgrinder of Verdun, so the ferme of your pretty French hosts could well be in the Verdun area. What remained of the regiment could not be disbandened in Straßbourg which had become French in 1918. So the regiment went out of service in Celle, Thuringia.
    It would be interesting to find out wether the disbandend Alsatians went back to their homes which now had become French, and how well they were received there ... or if some chose to stay on the German side of the Rhine. Bloody damn European history of the 20th century with a lot more blood and shit to follow.

    Nevertheless, eagerly waiting for the next installment!
    #8
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  9. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum Super Moderator

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    Great write up thus far! I always love small bike road trip stories . That you're getting to travel with a friend really adds to this one!

    Not sure if you know this but that Charlie Boorman pose was a nod to the legendary land speed record holder Rollie Free and his Vincent.
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    Keep it coming! :ricky
    #9
  10. JoppeBos

    JoppeBos Adventurer

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    That is crazy! I did not know about it. insane guys those speed records maniacs from those days.
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  11. Olirider

    Olirider Been here awhile

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    I had an Alsatian work mate who told me that his great grand father fought for the imperial German army in WWI, his grand father fought in the Wehrmacht in WWII while his great uncle (grand father brother) fought in De Gaulle free French army.

    After WWII, some Alsatians drafted in the SS division Das Reich were trialed for the Oradour sur Glane Massacre ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oradour-sur-Glane_massacre)

    History can be a bitch...
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  12. JoppeBos

    JoppeBos Adventurer

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    We went to a Salt museum called "Saline Royal". Ones one of the major salt factories of the south. The design is super interesting. The idea is that people came to live inside the factory, received a home, gardens, hospital, whatever is needed. Who doesn't want to live at the office! Also you could work there day and night. They where poring salt water on hot metal sheets, and cooling down these hot metal sheets was not an option. Interesting details, women made 1/3 of the salary and the salt was mostly used to pay Swiss Mercenaries. Yes, they payed you in salt at that time since it was more stable than whatever local currency.
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    The more south we where driving the warmer it got. We decided we should at least swim somewhere once a day and give it a rating on a few scales.
    The first spot was somewhere before the city Oyonnax.

    We where close to the lake, my GPS said we could park above and then take a small footpath down to the beach. I already hear Jan in my intercom saying stuff like "I'm not going to walk this whole way, we can probably get closer man!" I see him pushing the bike over some rocks and then he disappears in the bushes. I was following him on foot and saw he just parked his bike straight on the beach (this is ofcourse not allowed, but during the trip i noticed there is a lot that is not allowed but you can do). We got some 'interesting' looks from the locals so to say ;)

    I noted down an overall score of 7/10 for the water. good view, blue, but cold and jetski's.

    (yeah it looks like I'm in Thailand at Koh Tao or something, but believe me. this is 3 days away from rainy Amsterdam)
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    The bikes where performing great on all the small roads France has to offer and we enjoyed the weather. We decided to cook and rest for a bit and continue our drive to Annecy.
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    The road around Annecy was hell. French people like to go on vacation in there own country, but now with Corona it seemed that literally every French went to Annecy. I have been here pre-corona and there where not as many people as now. The city is stunning tho and we decided to stay there for two days on a camping.

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    Lovely, just as the lake ;)
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    The good old days of Feudalism. Born in a good family and all you had to do was sit in your castle and collect the tax.
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    Regional flags. Most of the flags seem to have eagles
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    Waterscore 6/10. This was cold (I thought it could not get any colder, but you got me Slovenia) the lake floor was rocky.
    We had seen enough and where ready to get on our big bikes again! (Did you know Jan can lift his bike up? pretty cool party trick)
    The plan was to drive to Italy over the highest possible pass. I wanted to see some snow.

    quick stop along the way. You have to understand that in Noord-Holland where we come from it is all flat. Like everything except the Dyke at the coast.
    So every corner we take and we see even higher mountains we start to scream in our intercom.
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    Attached Files:

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  13. Kyron

    Kyron Onceler Inds

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    Following !
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  14. Gedrog

    Gedrog 1000 mile stare a 1000 stories to tell

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    Salary comes from the Latin word salarium, which also means "salary" and has the root sal, or "salt." In ancient Rome, it specifically meant the amount of money allotted to a Roman soldier to buy salt, which was an expensive but essential commodity.
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  15. Jim K.

    Jim K. Long timer

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    Love a report done on "inappropriate" cycles. I rode all over Europe back in '72 on a 1958 Heinkel Tourist. (only Western Europe, in those cold war days) I can't remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, but I remember almost every day of that 8 month pilgrimage. These kids are in for a life altering experience.
    #15
  16. Jedi2Rider

    Jedi2Rider Been here awhile

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    Have fun guys! Looking forward to following your trip.
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  17. JoppeBos

    JoppeBos Adventurer

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    We continue our way to Italy on our small machines. We start to get some attention from people, asking questions if we really are doing this on 125cc. Yeah man, plenty of people have driven the world around on even smaller machines. Europe has a big infestation with boomers on beemers ;) so I am really happy to talk to these guys and show them that you don't need those big GS machines.

    We wanted to go to the fort in the middle, but we couldn't find the way up. That is what I call a good fort.
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    The roads where great with loads of corners and the number of tourists became less and less. Northern Italy had in the beginning of June still a really bad corona name, so no one planned to go there.

    In Northern France I bought some fresh cheese, but it was starting to become pure liquid. The smell out of my tank bag became unbearable and I sadly had to throw it away. I didn't try cheese anymore in the warmer regions of the trip.
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    Finally we arrived at some nice snowy peaks!

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    I always heard horror stories of people going with there motor bikes through the alps. So many motorbikes, queues and a lot of noise.
    Maybe it was the corona, maybe we took a wrong turn, but there was barely anyone here.

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    We arrived after this pass in Italy and went for a stop. The heat was intense after riding in the mountains for some hours.
    I saw a guy walking next the road with a huge backpack and I came up to him to ask some questions. I am always amazed by those dudes who really just walk around Europe for years with not much of a destination. Yes, most of the time they are completely "crazy" as we would say. But they have great stories and interesting point of views I love to listen too.

    This guy was walking for more than 2 years already through Europe. He came from Berlin and walked through Italy on his way to Greece.
    He had two sticks with him. In Dutch we call them "wichelroedes", I guess in English it translates to "Dowsing rod"?
    He was looking for water and natural-energy in the world. The sticks would point and cross to each other if he was above some energy source. The energy led him around Europe.


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    So we ask of course if we could give it a try. He threw some water on the ground and gave Jan the sticks. I am not sure how this works, but it does.
    No joke, it pointed every time to the water. I guess it has something to do with the direction we focus on with our eyes. I remember i was searching for it on Wikipedia how this "trick"
    works but I could not find much about it. He went on with finding energy and we where desperately looking for a lake to cool-off.


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    After a long day we finally arrived at our camping spot for the night. Camping Haway.
    The water was amazing. I remember we were sitting still in the water and slowly small fish started to tickle my feet and whatever they could bite. Funny feeling.
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    Around 9 the mosquito's become crazy. There was just no way to sit outside anymore, so we decided to eat and have a beer in my tent.

    Starting to have a nasty beard already ;)
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    More to come!
    #17
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  18. shoeb

    shoeb Long timer

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    LOL boomers on boomers! That's half the biking public here in England!

    I love a good small-cc trip, and I've even had 2 YBR's myself. Great little machines. Great work guys!
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  19. JoppeBos

    JoppeBos Adventurer

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    If I remember it correctly, the engine in the YBR is the most produced engine in the world at the moment. In Europe nobody seems to know it, but every South-American or Indian dude I met on the road told me that its a classic overthere!
    #19
  20. Convoluto

    Convoluto Adventurer

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    Very nice ride report. Love the pictures, and the fact it was done on 125cc.

    Care to share what driving license you had for international travel on 125cc bikes?

    Also, drinking "vin d'Espagne" while in France, hmm, ce'st contre Dieu. ;-)
    #20
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