London-Paris-Olomouc-Warsaw on a Kanguro

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Will Rogers, Feb 12, 2021.

  1. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    In 1991 the British Council funded me a free place at a Czech language summer school in Moravia. So off I went on my 350cc Moto Morini Kanguro... First stop was in Paris at my friend Alain's place near the Centre Pompidou.
    I'm still using those 'Swagman' throw over panniers.
    Olomouc Paris Summer School 01 (2).jpg
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  2. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    Kanguro.jpg I'd had a 3 1/2 Sport in the early 80's. The Moto Morini 344cc 72 degree v-twin was fitted mostly to road bikes but the 'Paris-Dakar' inspired Kanguro was introduced in the late 80's. I rode it around London plus some green laning. It was a very capable bike - slim and handled well - but you wouldn't want to take it anywhere near sand! I think it would compare very well to any modern 'adventure' bike.
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  3. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    I headed east and kept going until I got to Vienna two nights later. All side roads and no motorways which was easier in those days - no speed cameras yet. The Morini cruised along as I followed my Michelin map across the Rhine, past Ulm and into Austria at Braunau; stopping overnight in village inns. A couple of days in Vienna staying with my sister then onto the Palacký University in Olomouc. The accommodation was a bit Soviet but I was all set up for four weeks of free food and board - plus Czech beer drinking
    Na zdraví !
    Olomouc Summer School 01 (3).jpg
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  4. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    Olomouc’s old city centre is an unspoilt gem of medieval and baroque architecture. This is the entrance to the Filozofická Fakulta where we had our lessons. An 'actual size', East German Trabbi parked up - nearly all the cars were still communist era then (this was 18 months after the 'Velvet Revolution' had kicked out the old Soviet backed regime and Václav Havel went from being a persecuted dissident to becoming President of Czechoslovakia). Olomouc Summer School 02 (3).jpg
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  5. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    I was a bit of a fraud having dropped out after one term at London University studying Czech at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, so I felt obligated to turn up for my place at the summer school. The morning classes were not too demanding between the pub nights with about 50 other students mostly from Poland, Austria, former East Germany, Spain, Italy and France - and the afternoons at the pool made it bearable! Olomouc Summer School 06 (2).jpg Olomouc Summer School 07 (2).jpg
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  6. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    Esther from Galicia came by and distracted me while I was adjusting the chain. Olomouc Summer School cropped.jpg
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  7. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum Super Moderator

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    I love these retrospective ride reports. Keep it coming! :lurk
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  8. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    The other students went to Prague for a few days and I took off to Kraków in Poland. I can't remember what needed fixing here but these Czech guys were super helpful and wouldn't accept any payment. Olomouc Summer School 03 (2).jpg
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  9. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    Olomouc - the centre of Central Europe with Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Dresden, Berlin, Warsaw, Munich, Kraków all within a day's travel. Olomouc map 2.jpg
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  10. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    It should have been an easy day's ride to Kraków but the right-hand muffler had a tendency to fall off so I had a couple of stops. This Polish garage mechanic helped me out and again was very biker friendly and wouldn't accept my money. Olomouc Summer School 04 (2).jpg
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  11. DeSelbyofDalkey

    DeSelbyofDalkey Adventurer

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    Morini!

    Thanks for sharing thus far!
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  12. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    Crossing the border for my first ever visit to Poland was like going back in time a hundred years. It was a beautiful sunny day at the beginning of August and harvesting in the fields was being done by lines of people with scythes then tying the grain into bushels and loading them onto horse and carts. It was like a Constable painting from the 1800's. A big change from the scene on the Czechoslovakian side where farms - privately owned before communism - had been 'collectivised' into huge prairie sized fields with the emphasis on mechanisation. In Poland, communism had done the opposite - breaking up the pre-war aristocratic estates into small holdings and tiny, picturesque farms. That has pretty much ended now with bigger farms and tractors. It's still a beautiful landscape in the foothills of the Polish Carpathian mountains but I haven't seen a horse and cart for years.

    The Polish roads in 1991 were the worst I'd ever experienced in Europe but now they are mostly brand new thanks to EU funding to rebuild the infrastructure. I was living in Spain in 1980/81 just prior to them joining the EU and it was the same thing there - now it's a bikers' paradise. Czechoslovakian roads were not bad. In England, 2021, the roads are the worst I've ever known in over 40 years of biking - Polish roads are now definitely better than here in Sussex!

    So, anyway, it was good to have the Kanguro's suspension to navigate the ruts and potholes on the way to Kraków. Olomouc Summer School 03 (3).jpg
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  13. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    Kraków is a beautiful city and miraculously survived the devastation of WW2. The city was still rundown and blackened with soot from the lignite coal fires and pollution from the communist era 'Lenin Steelworks' built next door in Nowa Huta. I was heading back through the Tatra mountains to Vienna and decided to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp. That was a harrowing experience. I got there at 8am with mist on the ground and nobody else there. To Olomouc Auschwitz Summer School 01 (2).jpg To Olomouc Auschwitz Summer School 01 (3).jpg
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  14. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    By eleven o'clock some tour groups were arriving and I needed to get on the road if I was to be in Vienna by the evening. It got a bit damp in the mountains but I found this cute little shelter. Olomouc Summer School 04 (3).jpg Olomouc Summer School 04 (4).jpg
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  15. Essbee

    Essbee Been here awhile

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    Love this! Bring it on!
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  16. Dessert Storm

    Dessert Storm Dances With Drunks

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    Great stuff! Thanks for posting.
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  17. steved57

    steved57 Long timer Supporter

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    Awesome - I'm in please keep it coming
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  18. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    I got to Vienna with the exhaust blowing again so I gave the Kanguro a rest and borrowed my sister's Volkswagen for the drive back up to Olomouc. 4 wheels meant the chance for group excursions to the nearby lake.
    Left to right: Alicia (Spanish), Dorota and Anna (Polish) Olomouc Summer School 15 (2)_LI.jpg
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  19. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    and Esther
    Olomouc Summer School 15 (2).jpg
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  20. Will Rogers

    Will Rogers Been here awhile

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    Olomouc Summer School 16 (2).jpg Olomouc Summer School 16 (3).jpg Summer School 1991 01.jpg
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