Tour of Europe 2013 – Episode 1

Featured

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…

IMG_8098

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…

IMG_8100

IMG_8102

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…

IMG_8104

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:

IMG_8107 IMG_8108

 

After a quick lunch in Pontarlier…

IMG_8113 IMG_8114 IMG_8116 IMG_8117 IMG_8118

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!

IMG_8120

 

 

Transylvania tours June 2013

Here are some thoughts from Woody Daniels after his self guided 4 day tour in Transylvania…
********************************************************************************************************************
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

SAMSUNG

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.

castelul-bran

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.

Enhanced by Zemanta

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

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!

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…

Adventure Motorcycle – Jindabyne run

I took this video of my mate Eric on our way to Jindabyne. The trip was 1,600km return from Melbourne so it was an overnight ride…well it was for me anyway as Eric fell in love with the place and stayed an extra night…

I put one of Eric’s fave song, “Army of me” by Bjork since that dude’s a One Man Gang (bang)…according to him.

Stay tuned for more rubbish that makes no sense whatsoever, except to those who were there.

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!