XT660R and a CCM GP450 Adventure tackle the Bulgarian Trails

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Willybanjo, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. Willybanjo

    Willybanjo www.BulgariaBikeShipping.com

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    70
    Hello 1st you'll have to excuse me as i write as i speak. Northern English.. a small fishing village on the outskirts of wigan to be precise :)... Over the summer i hatched a fiendish and cunning plan...
    Well to be honest we had a few drinks and here we go....
    A couple of weeks ago me and a good friend whom you may know from other forums as Minkyhead decided to test out a possibility of using my good contacts in Bulgaria as a base to set up a bike shipping service from the UK to their base in Samokov about 40 mins out Sofia

    bikes packed and ready we waited the week to fly and meet them. A very strange experience as to not set out on the bike seems a bit of a failure, hence the post in day tripping, it was certainly an EPIC adventure for us either way..

    After a particularly heavy night at a 40 th birthday party, the bikes pre loaded on my van for the journey down to Luton to the shipping company

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    6 hours later arrived in luton for a slap up meal and a few wines ready to drop off at the shippers the following day.

    Locked and loaded as best we could they were off [​IMG]

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    as this was just a test we strapped them forward and back from the foot pegs and the stand down.
    Crates will be manufactured next time
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    Next was the flight... early morning start pick minky, get to the airport. we were stung a little on the flights £250 each, but it was half term, they can be bought from £100 upwards normally, from Luton, Bristol or Manchester.
    Minky provided the early morning snack

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    much tastier than it looked [​IMG][​IMG] cheers steve [​IMG]

    3 hour flight and a film, Road all about the Mcguinness family. epic film and a propper tail.
    we arrived to be picked up from the airport for the 40min / hour transfer to the hotel.
    Snow and Wake Bulgaria based just outside of Samokov. Sleeps upto 50 people, small pool, badminton court, etc etc etc. Very nice and a warm welcome.

    http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_...utique_Chalet_Hotel-Samokov_Sofia_Region.html

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    about 10 k from Borovetz ski resort.

    Picked the bikes up from Matt, our fixer and all round great guy, speaks the language, knows everyone, is a licensed tour operator and has been for years, loves is bikes, and is a British consulate official too. [​IMG][​IMG]

    this is the view from my hotel window, mountains in the distance. The trails start as you ride to the hotel and go off road straight out of the hotel to some of the craziest stuff we've done....l


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    Then off for a quick braaaapp to the reservoir. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iskar_(river)

    Here are some pictures :)


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    My bike - XT660R with scorpion 2 in one, kev mod, raising links, better springs, few other bits. I love it, its heavy as a .... the susspension and the breaks are not the greatest, but what it is the greatest at... IMO is being a great allrounded. roads, trails, even a little, and i mean little enduro :)

    Minkys bike

    CCM GP 450 Adventure. Cracking british engineering. Mods, cush drive, gear box few other bits. Its like my bike but better :) almost... darn, i want one... cant help it

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    After being fed and watered ( read wine ) In Matt and family's Bondesque style pad, apparently an ex milking store were the locals would bring their milk to the cooperative for distribution.
    Stunning place and a lovely warm welcome.


    Day 2
    saw myself and Minkyhead try and find our way from the hotel door to the Iskar reservoir.... off road.
    Part one was easy, as steady climb over the hill to stunning views of Samokov below.
    Then it was into the woods...... Unpredictable ruts and routes. dry and grassy to deep and boggy. Tight and twisty, wild and wondrous.
    Stunning to be in the woods in autumn. We both had an enormous sense of isolation, even knowing we couldn't be far from home.

    Finally we made the lake and after a brief rest stop, on ward to try and find our way out. left down the reservoir, right down the reservoir both ends blocked with trees, turning an Xt660r around on a steep slippy slope with a deep lake so close by is a mission to say the least. Minky on his CCM had no such difficulty. so it was back into the woods for more chaos ! After a little log jump a slippy grass covered climb, needless to say another heart pumping mission to get my bike to the top. I make it harder than it looks. [​IMG]

    Obviously another rest was called for and then on to tackle the route back. Luscious tree lined groves sprinkling the trails with their golden leaves, to thick dirty slippy rutt carnage. Needless to say i put my foot were there was nothing to stand on, slipped in the bog and over i went.

    An incredibly sweaty and exhilarating day was had.

    A shower and a pint never tasted so good.



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    We finally say day light after some serious sweating and turned a right to see if we could get out..... trees and the lake blocked our path... so it was try a right. we made good progress down the side of the lake till again large trees, shear drops stopped play so it was into the woods again for more sweat and trials riding..

    Front tyre army 644 coped very very well, rear mitas e09 struggles in so much wet stuff.
    next time army special on the rear too.

    here are some pics taken form the video.

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    No puddle to deep... well nearly :)

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    Ruts anyone? slimey ruts, dry ruts, covered in leaves ruts, all makes for a great day.....

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    then into the trees again, autumn has got to be the best season for biking off road..

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    out of the dappled trees and into the mire

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    after moving some branches we finally found the lake and FREEDOM
    or so we thought.
    .....
    #1
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  2. Willybanjo

    Willybanjo www.BulgariaBikeShipping.com

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    70
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    a little rest and onward, explore the beech, is there a tea room, with cake..... toss a coin, go right.... i wonder what odds are that rights the direction of travel usually when your not sure and no clear path, or would right hand people go right and the majority of lefties go left 1st... i digress.

    onward... right

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    oops trees stopped play, now i know what that KTM with chainsaw attachment was for ...

    turn around.. its steeper than it looks, especually on an XT :)

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    and back around the other bay..

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    #2
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  3. Willybanjo

    Willybanjo www.BulgariaBikeShipping.com

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    70
    Here is a link to a little video i made to celebrate our almost safe return.....





    More pics and ramblings to come.
    #3
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  4. Willybanjo

    Willybanjo www.BulgariaBikeShipping.com

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    70
    Day 3 of our Adventure was a full days ride to the Sapareva Banya thermal spa. Off road over the tops through the forests. The view looking down to Sapareva Banya is breath taking. Huge deep valley, with a full length runway to play on !!!

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    The spa is glorious and after a light lunch we had a did.It was real chore getting changed and when your not in the sunshine, its FFFF freeezing, but as soon as your in..... WOW, like a hot bath but better [​IMG]. We toured most of the pools and jacuzzi s, getting some strange looks as we went. Pretty standard for Bulgaria though. They have mastered the art of the scowl down to a T !!. but as soon as you smile and say hello, You cannot meet a friendlier bunch. Lovely folk.


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    As time was against us, we obviously decided to ride the trails back, in a different route. It had taken us 4 hours or so to get there, we had to get back in 2, or we'd be trailing in the dark.....

    Golden sunshine on the golden compact sandy trails to start. With phenomenal views to our right. Even better than the views from the way in. Then into the woods. Dappled sunlight was bathing the trails as we braaappped through them. Trying to stay close to Minky for some nice footage i didn't notice he'd disappeared... After a little ride back I found him after a slight off. A random muddy corner, thick claggy slime, just were you'd least expect it. Always a surprise.

    [​IMG] matt crash.JPG
    oops



    All good and we continued climbing. It just goes on, woods, open plane, more woods, rocky climbs, root filled climbs, all relatively easy, but you've got to keep your whits about you for the odd massive rutt / hole/ tree etc.

    We arrived at a small river crossing, muddy but very easy as long as you picked your line correctly... Then it was onto the descent. Open views on one side with a lovely view over the hills, nice fast trail, but again a few little puddles, followed by a front wheel eating hole. makes it more exciting.

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    down into the valley where our guide Matt showed us the hill climbs they do on enduro days... not for me... [​IMG]




    Lovely long logging road back to the main road. We'd made it, it was still light.
    As soon as the sun goes in at this time of year... Chilly is not the word,
    Deciding that the trails all the way back would be silly, we roaded the last 10 k or sop back for a welcome shower and a pint.


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    oh and heres the video i made





    few days to come yet. hope i'm doing ok so far..
    #4
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  5. eaglescan

    eaglescan Borrego rocks

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    459
    Location:
    Langley,B C
    You're doing great, carry on!
    #5
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  6. Willybanjo

    Willybanjo www.BulgariaBikeShipping.com

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    70
    [​IMG] Bulgaria - the woods off road - off piste
    Finally i've got around to doing day 5 i think it was, probably one of the hardest days.
    After travelling up to an old church via the woods, we conquered the Mobil phone mast hill. After scoping the horizon we decided to try and head for the mountain that pver looks Sophia.
    Sorry i forget its name... needless to say we took the off piste route straigh through the forest. Treacherous and very slippy, trees and drops everywhere,
    Instantly i regretted our choice ... fought the weight of my XT all the way down, no doubt a better rider would have cruised it.





    Finally we descended unto the abyss (road) we'd made it, with only a bent number plate.

    Following this we spent the next few hours trying to find our way out of the woods as all routes were blocked. Eventually asked a local, he recommended more off piste to the forest below.. I'll probably add this to another video later... Obviously we went for it. No danger and a few more, S%%T were are we moments via more

    Amazing Forests and views.

    Finally a cafe was found and MEAT from the grill and a good brew...

    Hope you guys likey.


    Braaaaaaaaaaaapppy New year

    Ps. all my other videos are on here. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHnqi2JsFoNCV6ktRGEOVXQ/videos
    #6
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  7. Mudclod

    Mudclod Mojo Moto

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    11,019
    Location:
    Killeen, TX.
    Great images. Man that is some mud!
    #7
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  8. viducce

    viducce Island Explorer

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    103
    Location:
    Hsinchu City, Taiwan
    Fantastic scenery, great fun in the mud along with a wellness treat, just what I need.
    Thanks for sharing.
    #8
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