Underboning the World - 2 Symbas, 1 Couple, No Sense

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Underboning, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

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    Back in PDX again!
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    Monday morning we rode the mighty Symbas through Mississauga morning rush hour traffic to Pack-All Crating. This crating company was recommended to us by our contact at British Airways Cargo. We arrived around 8:30 am and met with our contact who directed us around to the warehouse. We rode in, and the foreman found us a safe spot to park the bikes. We had to explain our plans a couple of times before everyone understood how we wanted them crated. Everyone was very friendly and helpful and let us get to disassembling the bikes. While I removed the front wheels and fenders from each bike, Re disconnected the batteries and also acted as a counterweight. We then unbolted the handlebars and folded them so they were parallel with the front forks. The handlebar mounting bolts are partially hidden below the speedometers and were a pain in the ass to remove. I then zip-tied the handlebars in place, and we arranged the bikes as they would be fitted in the crate. Once we had them arranged, measurements were taken and the crate size finalized. The whole process took about 1.5 hours. The good news of the day was that due to the small size and light weight of our bikes it was determined that we could use a lighter weight crate (apparently the depleted uranium option wasn't required). Our crate will now only weigh 212 pounds instead of 275 and at $3 CAD per pound, it adds up rather quickly. We left our bikes in their capable hands and walked the 3 miles or so to the airport terminal where we picked up our rental car. We are out of the habit of walking so far, especially carrying all of our riding gear in hand. We drove back to the hotel and collapsed. The shipping issue has been the most stressful part of the trip so far and getting this far was a relief.



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    Tuesday we wrote some blog posts and RRs and generally hung out. We did go out for a really delicious thali lunch at some Indian restaurant and sweets shop in a strip mall across from the airport. They were doing renovations so we had to get our food to go. We tried to find a park to eat in but settled for the bleachers at a ballpark next to the Powerade Centre. I always take Re to the nicest places! At least the food was excellent, with one of our favorite taste treats, soan papdi for dessert. We called the crating company later in the afternoon and were told that we could come by the next morning to put the last few items in the crate.


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    Wednesday we headed back to the crating company early in the morning. When we got there, we found our bikes loaded in their crate and the top waiting to go on. We put our helmets and riding gear in the crate and then watched while they closed it up and stenciled on all the appropriate markings. Shortly thereafter, the cartage company arrived and loaded it into their truck for the 3 mile ($100 CAD!!) ride to the British Airways Cargo facility. We followed in our car and met with Desmond Green who was filling in for Savio that day. In less than 20 minutes, we completed all the paperwork and paid for the shipping and were on our way to lunch. Our crate came in at 70x44x38 inches and 301 kilos, which meant that we had to pay for 320 kilos since that was our weight by volume (length X width X height in inches /366 is the formula to calculate volume weight in kilos, and they charge you whichever is heavier, actual or volume weight). Including the $250 CAD dangerous goods fee and $25 CAD in paperwork, the total was $2364.60 CAD. Add in $389 for the crating and cartage, and our grand total was $2753.60 CAD. Since we have an address in the US to invoice, we are not subject to the 13% HST, which saved us a little bit on the crate cost. More than I hoped for but less than I feared, my original guesstimate was around $2400, but after we heard the crate weight and HST when we were in NC, I was figuring closer to $3000 CAD. . This is still far better than any quote we could get out of the US. We were offered our own 20 foot container by sea to Durban for over $4000 or airfreight from New York for $8300!!


    Our flight for Cape Town leaves at around 11 pm on 9/15, so between then and now we have laundry to do, and we have to completely re-pack our luggage for the airplane.


    Our trip so far has covered a combined 10484 miles. We have used 113.25 gallons of fuel over that distance for an average of 92.6 mpg. We also averaged 327 miles per day of riding, which ain't bad for 100ccs!
    #81
  2. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

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    Back in PDX again!
    I have been avoiding the threadlocker as long as possible but just broke down and bought a tube of blue this afternoon. I know its the right thing to do but I have been a little nervous about the quality of the bolts on our bikes. Grade 8.8 they ain't... I briefly considered the purple but I'll just use the blue sparingly and hope for the best!
    #82
  3. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

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    There have been more than a few times on this trip so far that I have wished for more horsepower, 15 sounds great. I would be interested to know if the increased power would have a meaningful impact on the fuel mileage. more hp should require more fuel but perhaps not having to run WFO all the time would help minimize the loss in fuel mileage? It will be interesting to see what you find. Just replacing a wounded or dead motor along the way sounds like an interesting idea, I just don't know how that would effect our Carnet. Hopefully we never have to find out!
    #83
  4. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    I wanted to thank you for this thread and wish you a safe and happy journey. You two are a freaking inspiration to those of us who love the simpler side of motorcycling. :clap


    Cheers and have a great trip. Looking forward to the rest of the RR.

    Dave
    #84
  5. nathanthepostman

    nathanthepostman Been here awhile

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    Ah, I didn't consider the Carnet implications. That could be an issue. As for MPG, I'm actually expecting it to be a little better than the original engine. I'm sure I never got close to 100mpg out of it but talk is of this 125 doing at least that. We'll see. It sounds a simple switch in principle but I'm sure in practice less so. Anyway, great to see the bikes packed and crated. By now I'm sure you're almost about there, in South Africa, on two American registered 100cc mopeds. How cool is that! Safe riding to the both of you.
    #85
  6. vintagespeed

    vintagespeed fNg

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    loving the RR so far, can't wait for the next chapter!
    #86
  7. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

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    We can't wait either. We are sitting in the airport in Toronto rIght now, waiting for our flight. The bikes leave around 9pm and we follow them around 11pm. Then we have like 20 hours on the planes before we arrive in Cape Town at 8am on the 17th. Our bikes are scheduled to arrive on Sunday the 18th so hopefully we will be picking them up on Monday morning. Then off to Hermanus to see some whales and then...
    #87
  8. DaBinChe

    DaBinChe Long timer

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    Good to see you well on your way.

    Besides a few fastener issues on my AK trip the other main thing that got me was the dreaded flooded engine. Once I got back to CA I took off the evap system which I think was the main cause of the flooded engine. Seems like the float needle was acting up too when I checked. Also the auto petcock wouldn't close so I ended up putting on a inline petcock. Never had an issue afterwards.

    I'm surprised you didn't loctite many of the fasteners that are coming off. I loctited every thing except the swing arm and exhaust nuts, which were the only two that I had issues with. Not a single one that was loctited came loose.

    The clutch on down shifts was always more jerky then up shifts. What I did to smooth out the shift was to let the engine rev down a little before I down shifted.

    Seems like you rear tire lasted a little longer then mine did...guess those gravel roads wears out tires much faster then pavement.
    #88
  9. CDNbiker

    CDNbiker Lost in Space

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    All the best with the flight and looking forward to the "re-assembly" at the other end. BTW, I was at a trade show today on Dixon Road in Toronto, right on the airport strip. My guess is you were somewhere in that general area too. Small world, but a little bigger when your traveling across it on a small bike like the Symba!
    #89
  10. Circle Blue

    Circle Blue Here and There

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    Been thinking of you today and am glad to know when your flight is scheduled to leave. Hope you have an uneventful flight. Looking forward to hearing about whales and . . . .
    #90
  11. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

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    Back in PDX again!
    I finally picked up a tube of blue loctite here in Toronto and plan to use it from now on. Anything that loosens up is getting a squirt. I had a bad experience once with loctite and have been kind of leery of it since. I used the blue on a rear suspension bolt on one of my TZs many years ago, not realizing it was actually an aluminum bolt. After I sheared off a 4 inch long shouldered bolt, It took more than a month to get a replacement from Japan. After that I just stuck to safety wiring. I had originally planned to do some safety wiring on the Symbas but decided against it as I didn't know what bolts I might need frequent access to and didn't want to carry wiring pliers as well. I've also been unimpressed with the durability of some of the bolt heads on our bikes, which also made me a little nervous about loctite. But no more, I hear the wisdom of the masses and will be using loctite (sparingly) from now on!

    I haven't removed the evap system but did disconnect the fuel line from the canister to prevent the flooding from overfilling. I suspect that the issue on Re's bike was the petcock, I tried to find an inline petcock before we left but couldn't in the short time we had. We haven't had another problem since but we are keeping an eye on it.

    I have high hopes (but low expectations) of the tire life on the Gazelles, I haven't heard too much good about their longevity. We had a replacement tire for the front also, but didn't put them on in Ohio. So we still have a spare each, we'll see which wears out first.
    #91
  12. Packer

    Packer Been here awhile

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    Heat is your friend. Heat gun and about 120 degrees centigrade, it all melts and lubes the bolts on the way out. Admittedly a bit difficult in the middle of the Veld but a magnifying glass (spare spectacles in your bag?) and some African sun will probably do the job as well.
    #92
  13. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

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    Made it to Cape Town yesterday morning, spent the day getting to our accommodations, doing a bit of walking around and sleeping for 13 hours last night. we are just glad to be off of the planes. 22.5 hours on a plane with only a 3 hour layover to break up the flights is too much. The bikes are supposed to arrive today (fingers crossed) and we should be able to pick them up tomorrow (Monday). It is raining a bit today and is only about 60 degrees, who knew we'd need our wool baselayers for Africa? Now off to find a couple of gas cans.
    #93
  14. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    amigos I wish you the best for this trip, I have been reading and I am now up to page 5, I have to stop sleeping and/or working to read faster!!!!

    I all ready mention to my wife that maybe I will not be buying that v-strom but might go for a 100-125 cc bike, and it is your fault!

    Keep it safe!!! and keep writing! and we will be reading along!

    damasovi from Mexico
    #94
  15. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    Woohoo!! Good luck on procuring the gas cans. Looking forward to the Africa updates. :freaky
    #95
  16. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

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    9/15 and 9/16

    Thursday morning we got up and repacked our luggage for the plane. We stuffed our Ortlieb duffels into the Pacsafe sacks for the first time in anger, and they fit! We had to return the car by 1pm, but our flight didn't leave until 10:45 pm. We hoped to be able to check our bags at 1 and have the afternoon to visit Toronto via public transport, but no luck. Instead, we sat in the Toronto airport for over 10 hours. Our flights were relatively uneventful, just long. From Toronto to Abu Dhabi was 11 ½ hours in flight followed by a 3 hour layover. Our flight to Cape Town went via Johannesburg, so it was 8 hours to Joburg, a 1 hour layover, and 2 more hours to Cape Town. This was our first flight on Etihad, and overall, we were impressed. The seats have good leg room, the food was excellent, the flight attendants wear cute hats and tight little skirts.


    9/17
    We arrived in Cape Town around 8am, breezed through immigrations and customs, hit the ATM, and hopped the MyCITI bus into downtown Cape Town and arrived at the Cat and Moose Backpackers' Hotel by 10am. This is the place that Fishfund and company spent a month earlier this year while waiting for their bikes. Hopefully we will have better luck. When we checked in, John remembered Nick and Luke and laughed about their misadventures. They apparently made quite an impression here. While we dozed some on the plane, we were still very tired, so we took a 3 hour nap before heading out to see some sights. Cape Town is a strange place. The poverty, high rate of unemployment, and racial tensions makes for an uncomfortable mix. Some areas of the city are very beautiful, but I feel like I have to be constantly aware of our surroundings, which lessens the enjoyment. Still tired, we hit the bed early and (accidentally) slept for 13 hours. The biggest surprise is how chilly it is here. I thought Africa was supposed to be hot! Today's high was only 65 degrees and the overnight low was in the upper 40s.


    Accommodations and food also seem like a poor value compared to southeast Asia.


    9/18
    After a long night's sleep we woke to a gray , rainy, and chilly morning. We are glad we brought wool base layers and fleece pullovers. With our Marmot rainjackets over top, we are staying reasonably warm (but I thought this was Africa?!?). Originally we had wanted to tour some museums, but most of them were closed since it was Sunday, so our quest instead, was for a gas can. The staff at the guesthouse made some suggestions, but we had no luck at the 3 stores we visited. We can't seem to find either an auto parts store or the equivalent of a Wal-Mart. We really need a gas can for tomorrow because, after signing up for the shitty wifi, British Airways cargo website informed us that our bikes had arrived at noon today!!!! We spent the rest of the day consulting the maps and guidebooks while planning our next week or so of travel. In the name of science, we retired to our room in an attempt to determine if, like water in the sink, anything else spins in the opposite direction now that we are south of the equator. The results were inconclusive, so we have planned further testing!
    After dinner we stopped out at a local bar to enjoy our first Carling Black Labels before hitting the bed early, as tomorrow will be a busy day.


    9/19
    We got up early this morning and gathered all the tools and paperwork we would need for our trip to the airport. Re found the number for Swissport Cargo, who handle British Airways cargo handling, and called and confirmed that our cargo was ready and waiting for us. John was finally back on duty at the front desk and pointed us to apparently the only store in Cape Town that carries gas cans. We walked the ¾ mile to the store, then another ½ mile to the nearest gas station, then another ½ mile to the bus to take us back to the airport. With 4 liters of gas in our new can, we rode to the airport. Around 10am we arrived at the passenger terminal, and Re got directions to Swissport, and we walked another ¾ mile to the cargo building. Along the way, we collected a number of strange looks from the workmen and passersby as we trudged along the highway with our backpacks and our gas can. We found our way to the counter at Swissport Cargo and procured our paperwork. Our next stop was the neighboring Customs building, where our journey was almost interrupted. The guard escorted us to Room 39, where we met Susie, who looked none too happy to see us. We passed our paperwork through the slot in the counter, and after examining it, she told us we would need a broker to complete the transaction. Luckily I was in the process of pulling out our Carnet documents at the time, and upon spying these, she asked whether we had Carnet. After finding out that we did, her mood changed entirely, and she said it would be no problem. She filled out some paperwork for us to take back to Swissport and told us to bring the bikes back when they were uncrated. We returned to the Swissport counter with papers in hand, turned them over, paid the 195 Rand (about $26.50 USD) handling fee, and took the papers to the warehouse. Here is where we met several of our new best friends. Chief among them was Karim, a supervisor in the warehouse. He immediately took us under his wing, due in no small part to Re's charming ways and quick humor.



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    For insurance reasons, we could not uncrate the bikes inside the warehouse, so Karim brought our crate to the parking lot and proceeded to help us uncrate the bikes. Over the next hour and a half or so, we had a rotating cast of at least 7 helpers who “assisted” us with reassembly.



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    Apparently we were the funnest thing going that day, as we attracted new friends from the warehouse and from the customers who came to pick up their own freight. The bikes went back together relatively easily, but it may have been faster with fewer people involved! Both bikes fired up immediately and don't appear to be any worse for their trip. We were a little concerned about how to dispose of our crate, but one of our helpers asked what we were going to do with it and was overjoyed when we told him it was his for the taking. After a quick test ride around the parking lot, we rode over to Customs, where Susie came out to do her inspection of the bikes. Back inside to have our Carnets stamped, and we were on the road by 2pm. We were surprised how easy and pleasant an experience this was: we cleared Customs ourselves and reassembled the bikes in less than 4 hours and had a good time to boot!


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    It was exciting to actually pull out onto the main roads on another continent. We got a lot of bewildered looks from people in passing cars as we made our way down the N2 into the center of Cape Town. A 100cc bike may not be much in the kingdom of motorcycles, but as we cruised down the roads we'd walked earlier today, I realized it's a hell of an upgrade from walking. Back at the Cat and Moose, John held the front gate open for us as we rode down the hallway and into the courtyard, where our bike sit safely tonight. Tomorrow we plan to hit the museums we missed on Sunday before we head south to Hermanus on Wednesday.
    #96
  17. petefromberkeley

    petefromberkeley -

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    You've done it now :eek1 Let the good times roll!
    #97
  18. Packer

    Packer Been here awhile

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    Warning, aliens in Africa:D

    The cold may have something to do with the fact that the only thing between Cape Town and Antarctica is the Southern Ocean!

    What a great adventure. Remember that a charging elephant can achieve 25-30mph, a rhinoceros can manage around 35mph and a cheetah 60mph so don't you folks upset the local quadrupeds.

    Hope you have a massive amount of fun, I'm envious.
    #98
  19. engineer1984

    engineer1984 Adventurer

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    To think that right now you two are in S. Africa travelling on two 100cc motorbikes is surreal. I write this from a cube farm in Houston between working as an engineer and waiting to take a welding class. : )

    I wish you all the luck. You two seem to be the perfect match.

    Cheers,

    Andrew
    #99
  20. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

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    Back in PDX again!
    Made it safely into Namibia today. Checking e-mail using the gas stations wifi. No wifi to be found in northern SA. Will hopefully post more RR when we reach Windhoek (or sooner).