Tour of Europe 2013 – Episode 1

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The perfect opportunity came up late last year: Gorgeous Dave Milligan from Get Routed offered to take my Multistrada to Europe for this summer. Over 2 months of no bike, while in transit, sounds painful enough, however it was eased somewhat when I recalled my last Euro bike trip in 2011 and knew what was waiting for me.

The Big Red left Australia late May and arrived in Felixstowe, UK mid July and was stored there until I arrived on August 1. The reunion was sweet…

Here she is waiting for me impatiently to ride her just the way she likes it…

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I changed into my uniform faster than Superman in the phone booth! Packed the panniers and the top box and I was ready to go!!!

IMG_8099then I realised I left my shoes out…fuck! I guess it is better than leaving your jocks out and be forced to wear it over your pants like Superman…

Soon I was away to Folkestone for my Channel crossing. I pre-booked my time for 2:00 pm and I just missed it…could it be that I did not go fast enough? Surely cannot be! After a mixture of pleading and crying, they put me onto the 4:30pm train…

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This time of the year thousands of UK bikers head to mainland Europe to escape the UK “summer”. Here I am sharing the 30 minute underwater journey with some of them…

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Once on the other side, I still had almost 700kms to go before bedtime. Most of the day was spent cruising at around 150kms/hr on the freeway and eating roadhouse food.  I must confess, this would have been usually boring but I still had an ear to ear smile…I was back on my favourite playground! And the roadhouse food in Europe is actually quite nice!

I did have to phone ahead to the motel that I will be late. I arrived sometime after midnight and I was so exhausted barely made it to bed…

The next day, after breakfast (served by the farmer’s daughter…) I got on the bike straight away…I knew the real riding fun would start soon as I was at the foothills of the French Alps…I was not disappointed:

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After a quick lunch in Pontarlier…

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I was in the saddle again. Riding the French countryside is absolutely divine! IMG_8119 IMG_8121 IMG_8122I could not enjoy it as much as I wanted to, as I had to be in Italy by night and I still had to cross the Alps…in the distance Switzerland awaits!

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Transylvania tours June 2013

Here are some thoughts from Woody Daniels after his self guided 4 day tour in Transylvania…
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Hi Arpad,
Sorry for the delay in getting this too you.

Thank you for all your help and assistance with my ride through the beautiful country side of Romania and especially the Transfagarasan.

For me the quality of service you provided was great. Your information was well structured, prices I thought were very good and your suggestions and ideas were a great help.

I found the accommodation you had organised for me to be very good. Both Hotel Gonduzo and hotel Capra were nice clean and comfortable to stay in. Also your friend who runs the bike shop ( sorry I cannot remember his name .. Joseph I think? ) was a lovely guy, very helpful and he made the experience a lot easier.

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My only suggestion would be in making sure that any emails or queries sent to yourself are responded to in a shorter time frame. I personally didn’t have a problem with this as I was planning well ahead but I do know a lot of people get very turned off an idea or company if they feel they are not getting a response quickly. ( not that I am the quickest responder either )

I have written a little review for you below  I hope this is useful to you and please feel free to use any and all of it including my name on your website.

Earlier this year I decided while in Europe Iwould like to take the opportunity to ride the Transfagarasan while I had the chance. After spending some time looking into motorcycle tours and bike hire in Romania I contacted Arpad at twisted planet. Having recently returned from my Holiday I can say I am very happy that I did.

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As I was not able to be in Romania at the right time to join a guided tour Arpad went out of his way to assist with organising a bike, an itinerary, maps and accommodation for a four day solo ride.

The bike I hired was a Triumph Street Triple R and the four days I spent riding through themountains and countryside were fantastic. While I do have to say the road surface of the Transfagarasan isn’t great, the outstanding corners and scenery more than make up for this. There is not a huge amount of traffic in the mountains and in beautiful warm sunnyweather it was easy to spend the day riding up and down the mountain. I am already thinking about when I can go back and do this again. The last day of my ride was spent touring through the country side to see Bran castle and then back to return the bike. Even on this day a lot of the ride was spent winding my way through glorious mountain roads and long sweeping bends.

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The accommodation organised was great. I stayed in the Hotel Gonduzo two nights and in Hotel Capra in the mountains for two nights and both hotels were clean and warm. The staff in both places were lovely, especially in Hotel Gonduzo.

If you  are thinking of riding through Romania or just want to Tick the Transfagarasan of your bucket list I highly recommend you do so and I highly recommend you give Arpad a call first.

Woody ” pasta pastor ” Daniels

Adventure Ride – Australia for Dec 2012 – Jan 2013 is READY, yeay!!!

Thank you to those who helped me with the survey to prepare the Australian Adventure Ride in Dec 2012 – Jan 2013. Here is a summary of the findings:

1)  In terms of timing for December or January – almost 70% did not care about the timing as long as there was sufficient time to prepare. Well over 6 months of prepping should be enough for a 10 day ride…

2)  About 63% wanted 10 days to 2 weeks. I will make this a 10 day ride, but you will be able to hire the bikes for additional time. Its also worth noting that almost 25% wanted more than 2 weeks. I will look into this for the future…perhaps a ride up to the tropics, Cairns, Port Douglas, Great Barrier Reef…hmmm sounds tempting! Let me know your thoughts…

3)  For the length of daily rides, about 70% wanted either more than 350 kms or a mixture of short and long riding days. We will tackle this by staying in some places more than one night. The Great Ocean Road and The Victorian Alpine country are the perfect candidates for this. This way you can just chill, explore on foot, go the the beach, cafes, etc. Or come for a ride with us or go on your own / with your partner.

4) Whilst we are on the topic of riding with partners…only about 16% of you will bring a partner. Over 80% are either coming alone or just maybe bring a partner…maybe? I guess those partners need to accumulate some more points with you then hey! 🙂 Naturally, partners are welcome!

5) In terms of which bike you’d like to ride, about 70% chose either the Monster or the Multistrada…Hmmm ok, but I thought the Hypermotard would be more popular. The Multistrada has proven to be the most popular (42%) and over 25% of you will be riding your own bikes…Cool!

6)  Doing a bit of cost benefit analysis, over 75% of you told me that you do not want to pay for luxury accommodation. We will stay in 3-4 star places and I have to agree with you, its just a place to sleep at. That said, if some of you want to stay in luxury, contact me and I will make sure you will be accommodated, but that will cost extra of course.

7)  I am relieved that almost 80% of you do not want to pay for carrying your luggage. Hiring of a car, driver, fuel etc would have been way to expensive…Luckily though this is not as much of an issue for the Transylvanian Tour. We will make sure that our bikes have ample luggage carrying capacity.

Again, thank you to those who helped with the survey.  If you have registered your email address, and most of you have, you will get a further 5% off the tour price. This could result in up to 15% or almost $600 off the full price.  If you have any questions, issues, contact me.

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Running in the Multistrada – Episode 2

With some 3,000 kms on the odometer, the Multistrada was nowhere near run in…The motor was still tight the suspension not as compliant as I’d like…It was time to address the issue…

Great Ocean Road (GOR) is one of the best places on Earth to run a bike in. For one its seriously twisty: no constant throttle…just the ticket

And the scenery? Ah it’s OK…observe:

The day’s excitement started when I hit Lorne…

a place for many triathlon events. Great coffee and great food. It can get a bit touristy especially during Summer weekends, however nowhere near as busy as, say Southern France!.

Most stop up here and do not venture further along the GOR – huge mistake! The real ride starts now…pure motorcycling heaven awaits the ones brave enough to ride this part of the world…On the left rain forrest,

on the right…Bass Stright

there are many scenic lookouts along the way where one can pull over and play tourist…

As my travels continue to Apollo Bay, I caught up with one of the locals. I almost missed it so I did a quick U-turn…

It is not unusual to see Koala bears on the trees alongside the GOR. Occasionally one can get this close, however they mustn’t be touched – you might but they do not like it…Imagine  someone 7-8 times your size fondling you because he found you cute…

Along the way the beaches are almost empty…

no need to look for a place to put your towels…

After a perfect lunch in Port Campbell (just 10 kms from the Twelve Apostles)

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12 Apostles, Port Campbell, Victoria (Photo credit: sachman75)

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Running in the Ducati Multistrada

One of the many pleasures that come from owning a brand new Ducati Multistrada is the process of running her in…

Naturally the 1,200+kms from Sydney, through the NSW and Victoria Alpine country see The New Found Love entry was not enough…

This time my good mate Dan Burmas joined the process on his Aprilia Dorsoduro…

You may remember the Dorso from my previous ride when I took it down to the Great Ocean Road with my hot friend Susan (aka GSXR Girl…)

I must confess, it was the agility and corner speed of the Aprilia Dorsoduro that inspired me to  move away from sports bikes for public road fun and get a multipurpose toy…with more power!

The ride was quick up and down on the Reefton and Black Spurs, just long enough to get me comfortable enough to scrape my toe sliders…nice!

Notice the road sign in the background…the beginning of fun overload!

BTW I will be using the Multistrada as the weapon of choice for the Australia ride scheduled for December 20012 and January 2013. I am in the process of finalising the details, so if you’d like to attend, please help me complete a quick survey under this link.

This would help me tremendously with putting together the best ride possible.

Till next time!

New found love – Ducati Multistrada

Running out of patience whilst waiting for the Gixer to arrive form Europe (it takes over 40 days on the water…), Nady and I test rode a few new models. Just “to see” of course, not going to get a new bike, don’t need one….yeah right!

Thankfully my mate at Fraser Ducati (Sydney) had a new Multistrada 1200 available. He could have it shipped down…or I could fly up and ride her back from Sydney to Melbourne. Just to make sure she runs ok, of course…

When I arrived, the hot Italian was already waiting for me…

she had some of her family members there as well, who were equally attractive…

I love this family! Slightly dysfunctional but full of gorgeousness, which makes up for it…

After one hour of introduction (Yes, I was shown how to start the bike…) I was on my way…

Getting from Sydney to Melbourne there are a number of ways to go…the most obvious is the Hume Hwy/Fwy, which is a 100-110km/hr speed limited, multi-lane road that trucks and most of the public use. Imagine riding an airplane landing strip at 100km/hr…exciting stuff. So the REAL choice was the scenic route via the NSW/Vic Alpine country…

Since the brochure said she can be used off-road, I had to give that a go…

The multi-purpose tyres handled the terrain beautifully! Since I took the long route (over 1,000 kms lay ahead) I had to go fast as I only had a day registration and no rego. plates, officer…I also had to test the range of the 20lt fuel tank…over 300kms with less than a litre left…

along the way passed some amazing scenery…

However, soon it got dark and the fun turned into an endurance event…

After some 1,200kms of Ducati lovin’ I arrived home about 4:00 o’clock in the morning. I can easily say it was the toughest one-day ride ever but it was worth every minute!

Motorbike Adventure – Australia 2012/2013

You may be aware that I am planning a few Australian rides scheduled for the end of 2012 / early 2013. Details about the ride is here

To make this the best possible event, I have created a short and anonymous survey to get your thoughts on the preferred format, such as number of days, kms, accommodation etc.

If you could help me with this survey, it would be much appreciated…Please click here to participate: Australian Ride Survey

Happy Easter Everyone!

This weekend is an excellent time to catch up with loved ones (that’s the two legged kind, not the two wheeled kind). Enjoy it people and cherish every moment! 

Ever so gently though, between stuffing your face with chocolate eggs and when no-one can notice, imagine how awesome would it be riding up this road…

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Transylvania: The Bicaz Gorge

We took off early in the morning towards Bicaz Gorge. It was still foggy in the mountains…

but no-one complained despite the previous night’s foolish behaviour in the beer garden…this ride had my adrenalin pumping so I could not sleep past 6am anyway…

Once we left the town of Udvarhely,

we rode through a few villages,

where storks nests such as this were common. It was amazing to see wildlife and civilisation entwined…

The stork is a migratory bird and every year they travel to Africa during winter but they return to their nests year after year.

As we left the villages behind, the surroundings turned green…

As we passed the peasants horses and carts it was like going back in time. That’s unless we saw them use their mobile phones which was a strange sight…This visual’s just not getting old…

As we got closer to the Gorge, and we got higher into the mountains, the landscape became more dramatic…and beautiful

before we got to the Bicaz Gorge we stopped by for a break at the Red Lake (Translated from Romanian, in Hungarian its the Killer Lake, it must be a Transylvanian thing…)

That lake and rowing boats looked too inviting for us not to try them out…

but all fun must come to an end and our gruelling task of riding to the Bicaz Gorge had to continue…it wasn’t too far…

And this is what greeted us:

This is what it looks like from the top:

Nice!