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!

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Which bike for me on the Tour of Transylvania?

Wow! The number of enquiries that I have received on the Summer 2012 Transylvanian tour has been overwhelming! I have tried answering each individually but one of the most asked questions is: Which bike is best for me on the tour?

So I will try to put my 2 cents’ worth here and hope to confuse you even more, since this is really a subjective topic…After all it also depends on the type of rider you are, size, weight, are you the cruiser type or sport bike nut, etc etc…

Personally, I found the:

a bit of an overkill…yes, there is such thing…especially when smaller bikes are going quicker in tighter corners… Whilst she hauls arse like no other (220km+ in 3rd gear), I rarely had the opportunity to open the throttle to the stops.

What’s more, in certain places, such as 1st or 2nd gear corners she did not have the agility of the:

Kawasaki Z750

as their wide bars allow for quicker and easier flicking into the tight corners…

And course if you are approaching this…

a super-moto, like this KTM here…

is a motorcycling wet dream come true…

That said, when I rode this bike, at certain revs it vibrated so much I could not read the sign on the back of a truck I caught up to…(true story!)

So, instead I’d recommend small upright bike, such as:

Yamaha MT03

But if you are a cruizy kind of person with the occasional “gimme some more speed now!” kind of person…then select one of these babies…

That said, if you really must have a sports bike…

I say go for it man!!! Since the fun factor is still maaaaasive! and of course you can also pull out some tree stumps along the way with them just for fun…However in my opinion its like cracking a nut with a sledge hammer…not that it’s necessarily  a bad thing…

That said if you are 200cm or taller on a small bike you’d just look wrong…

So there, I hope I confused you a bit more and helped you towards more sleepless nights thinking about this crucial topic…

Bottom line, pick the bike that is most suited for you and when you book let me know which bike you want so I can make sure it is available for you!

Breakfast in Transylvania

My breakfasts in Transylvania were always preceded by a quick fang on the Gixer…nothing works up an appetite better in the morning than fresh air and 20 kms twisted pavement…(actually, there are a few things but you can’t stay in bed forever… back to the story)

On this video below…

I ride the hills of Hargita county as I know of this great cafe/restaurant surrounded by pine trees and mineral water fountains…

where they serve the best scrambled eggs, home baked bread and garden grown tomato salad on this planet…

This, with freshly brewed coffee…and my day’s just begun…

Does life get any better than this? No?

Actually it does… You should see the ride we went onto later that day….more of that next time…

Motorcycle Racing: Transformation – Episode 1

During my last year’s trip to
Europe

I decided to decommission my trusty GSXR-1000 Suzie. After over 6 years of service, with almost 80,000 kms on the clock she served me well. She received tough love in abundance in the form of ride days…

all weather riding

above the snow line at the Grossglocker pass (Austria)

and long tours

Raining cats and dogs in Livigno - Italy

Regardless of where and how I rode, she did it eeeeasily and I am proud to say, never let me down. To farewell her road riding career, I want to show some of the highlights over the last 6 years…

Countless rides on the Great Ocean Road, especially with my old mate Balls!

Apollo Bay

Anglesea

The Halls Gap (Grampians) rides where Balls and I did about 1,000kms in a single day. There aren’t many people who were stupid enough to do that ride with me (that is until recently, say hello Daniel).

Sadly, not long after this photo was taken, on 15 Feb 2008 Balls lost his life. Not a ride goes by without me thinking of him….

more ride days…

even more ride days….

The Tassie rides of course…

she was always centre of attention


and of course I cannot stop talking about the Euro Tour…

Provence - France

Nice...that's the town in southern France, which is nice...

Mugello Moto GP - is nice! (check out the two dudes at the back...)

Lake Como - Italy

Stelvio Pass

Transfagarasan Mountain Pass

I also should (but I won’t) include speed camera photos, however that would take up too much server space…Those photos resulting in $ ‘000 in fines, 2 times loss of license, etc etc you get the picture…She is an awesome machine but boy did she hate riding on the speed limit…(that’s another story).

So, to make sure that she never has to go below  60km/hr (except in pit lane), I have decided to make her a track only bike. The transformation will be an ongoing process as I get faster and push her (and me) to closer to the limit with parts upgraded as needed.

But first, I got rid of her worn street clothes (already on eBay), I stripped her bare awaiting the arrival of a set of race fairings…

naked supermodel...

Stay tuned, next episode, I will detail the suspension upgrade, Daniel secures a sponsor (he is a talent that guy!) and we have the first track day with the race fairings…

Small Bike Syndrome – Ride to the Twelve Apostles via The Great Ocean Road

While I was waiting for my bike to arrive back from Europe – 50 days on the sea from UK to Australia – I developed MASSIVE withdrawal symptoms, especially on warm and sunny weekends. As spring approached, it was getting worse, to the point where I was  frothing at the mouth like I had rabies at every bike that went by…

Eventually my friend Daniel took pity on me: one long weekend, I had the chance to ride one of his two bikes (either the Honda CBR 1000 or the Aprilia Dorsoduro, which is “just” a….750). As I’d already had a taste of his CBR before, it was time to try something different, so I grabbed the key for the Dorso…

Daniel's Dorso...is it a road bike? Is it a dirt bike? Is it a Supermoto hooligan mobile!

It was a warm and sunny Sunday and I was in the mood for a Great Ocean Road ride. I asked my good friend Susan, who also owns a Gixer, to come along since she has the right mixture of hotness (yes, she is a guuurl) and coolness (she can carve up most men on a race track); the perfect riding companion.

Hot chick, preparing for take off...Damit, where is my Gixer?!

Susan’s Gixer stats: 160hp std at the rear wheel,  top speed: 155km/hr… in 1st gear (it has 5 more), 0-100 in less than 3 seconds…or in short: the Chuck Norris of motorbikes…it doesn’t move forward on the road, no, it makes the road move under it. Any bike next to it develops a “small bike syndrome…” (you know what I mean).

Ok, ’nuff about the Gixer, back to the ride…

On the way to the coast we planned to ride through the Ottway ranges to the Great Ocean Road, beautifully forested hills with enough twisties to have you leaning more often than not. That plan was thwarted when the roads were closed due to a pushbike race. Yeah, I know…WTF? Options: 1.) go all the way back and try another road or 2.) about 30 minutes of riding on:

not the best road for sports bikes...

There was a good chance we would not come out unscratched on the other side since this road is possibly the worst thing you can take a sports bike on. So we took some “before shots” to remember our bikes and our faces before they were all busted up…

Despite all odds against us, we managed to get through:

Finaly we made it to the beach…hundreds of kilometres of coastal twisted fun also known as The Great Ocean Road beckoned…We did not need a second invite.

Around lunchtime we arrived into Lorne and sat down for quick bite and a coffee. I could not stop raving about how great the Dorso is: phenomenal suspension, great tyre, insane lean angle with endless traction, “did you see me take that corner?’ bs, bs, bs…

Susan, observing my obvious small bike syndrome, shared her words of wisdom…

its not how endowed your bike is, its how you ride it what matters...(really?)

Soon after the general banter and all around piss take (pun intended Susan…), our mate, Bomba arrived. Bomba is a local lad so he knows all the turns like the palm of his hand…Riding his Yamaha R1, against the 750 Dorso, my small bike syndrome grew exponentially. Nevertheless, when he invited us to show us around, I picked up my camera and ran after him like an ADHD school kid high on sugar.

after momentarily catching our breath, the foolish behaviour continued:

Eventually we made it into Apollo Bay…There is only one thing to do in Apollo Bay: refuel and continue…Ok that’s actually two things but you get the idea.

Actually, the town is really nice and if you ever get there during summer take your bathers, the beach is AWESOME!

Once we refuelled, Bomba offered to run backwards in front of me with the camera. I hate being the centre of attention but I thought Yeah why not?

We briefly stopped for a break…

when some of us put their personal safety at risk…

Susan is engaged to a big Canadian dude called Kev - and that's not him....Mate, I didn't do it!...

and to play Japanese tourist – but without the Victory sign (you know, with the fingers…that’s just wrong, what’s with that anyway?)…

Shortly after the ADHD kicked in again and Bomba continued running in front of me backwards with the camera making sweet Yamaha broom broom noises…

Eventually we endured the overload of twisted fun and we arrived to Port Campbell…this place is famous for the Twelve Apostles that has to be on everyone’s bucket list! We did not stop to wonder around this time but here is a photo from another time so you get the idea:

The Twelve Apostles - been to worse places

On the return trip, I led the troops back to Lavers Hill

and then to Apollo Bay

by then the evening started to close in so we had to tear ourselves away and said ciao to Bomba and Apollo Bay

Ottway National Park at dusk

Apollo Bay at dusk

and took the short cut back to Melbourne…

I have to say this was one of my best riding days ever on the Great Ocean Road – I wonder why not every rider is down there, especially on days like today!

Thank you for Susan and her hotness and general piss take, Bomba for showing us his playground and of course Daniel for letting me ride the Dorso like it was stolen…awesome bike mate!

And of course, to address my small bike syndrome, I had to get a bike that has the agility of the Dorso with the power of a sportsbike…say hello to my little friend:

on the seventh day he just chilled, then on the eighth day he created the Ducati Multistrada

its capacity: big ass thumping 1200!

Cach you next time!

Motorbike Adventure: Mad Dash – Tasmania Ride (Episode 3)

The following morning we woke up to another gorgeous Tasmanian day. During breakfast in New Norfolk we were amazed how accepting the locals were of us on bikes. We had a number of them stopping by, starting conversations and advising us the best roads to take….what a way to start the day!

Immediately after coffee, we were on our bikes and rode into the sunrise…

"on days like this, I feel this big....!"

We rode around the hills all morning and felt our day could not get any better…until we came across this little sign….

hello!

Eric, being the more religious of the two of us, proceeded to a quick prayer to the God of Motorcycling….

"Lord, I have no idea what I have done to deserve this...but thank you!"

Perhaps because of the excitement or because he was not sure exactly what religion he actually belonged to, he proceeded to cover off other possibilities of thanking The Bearded Fella above…

I have also joined in the appreciation but with a slightly different approach…

...insert insulting comment here............

Once we got over the excitement of a road sign, and thanked our lucky stars for not getting caught acting like two idiots, we continued on and enjoyed the twisties up ahead to their fullest extent…We also went passed some pretty amassing scenery…

Not content with the fantastic weather, awesome ride and great company I kept teasing my mate for getting on his knees so easily earlier on. Finally, he had enough and once we pulled over…

pulling the gloves off...big mistake

he came over to swiftly box me in the head…The next minute, I would have been on the ground bleeding if…

I am the Stig....

I didn’t keep the helmet on…he got back onto his bike in disgust…and with a sore right hand. He rode much slower after that…and true to form, he blamed his bike…

Eventually we ended back in Devonport where the Spirit of Tassie was waiting to take us home…our awesome weekend was over…fuck!

the sight of the weekend being over...

onboard, we caught up with other fools on bikes…

who chose to leave the comforts of the concrete jungle behind (it rained all weekend in Melbourne…) to explore the Tasmanian wilderness…We exchanged war stories at the bar over a beer or four…

So this was the Mad Dash to Tassie, we planned about 600 kms but ended up doing about 1,000, just because it was so much fun!

I want to thank Eric for his mate ship, awesome company, putting up with my shit, not letting truth get in the way of a good story…and more importantly…

no no...thank YOU

choosing to keep that fart all for himself in the cabin…

Coming up next: we convince another mate Daniel to join us for another Tassie run, Eric upgrades his bike on the side of the road, Daniel throws caution to the wind and takes off his training wheels and I ride my awesome bike again…

Will the upgrade be faster for Eric? will Daniel make it back to Devonport? will they decide not to put up with my shit anymore, beat me up and leave me for dead?…Stay tuned!

Motorcycling Europe – Summer 2011 (Introduction)

I am over the moon today as I figured out how to work iMovie!

This will help me a lot with sharing my helmet cam videos I have taken whilst riding in Europe…2 months, 14,000kms UNFKNBLVBL!!!

Here is a trailer for the upcomming blogs, let me know what you think good or bad [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eU3haA_BHQ%5D

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