RTW Trip on a Himalayan

Napom

Getting there...
Location
Northern VA
So glad you started posting again and bumped this up to the New Posts tab! I really enjoyed reading your entire adventure on this rainy January 1. How many miles were on you bike at the point of failure? Looking forward to your technical post on the rebuild. Keep going - you are inspiring us - and we are living vicariously through your travels!
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
So glad you started posting again and bumped this up to the New Posts tab! I really enjoyed reading your entire adventure on this rainy January 1. How many miles were on you bike at the point of failure? Looking forward to your technical post on the rebuild. Keep going - you are inspiring us - and we are living vicariously through your travels!
Hi Napon glad that you enjoy it. The bike had just turned 28,000 miles when it seized but I think if this had not happened that the engine was good for well over 100,000. I think it was just one of those freak happenings.
 
Last edited:

Wintrup

Well travelled
Location
Cumbria UK
That's some bad luck you had there with the bike. Then again you had some luck in where the engine failed, so it evened out a bit. Good thing you're mechanically savvy and could do the job yourself.

I think Spain is not such a bad place to be right now. I've heard that though they've adopted the mask nonsense with zeal, life goes on as normal in much of Spain. I think I'd be viewing Spain as a good geographical position right now, being so near to Africa. My understanding is that it's mainly African nations that have avoided much of the tyranny and insanity that's enveloped the world and might be a place a man can get some semblance of freedom and peace of mind. I don't post much here anymore, but I do lurk occasionally and will keep a look out for your updates.
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
That's some bad luck you had there with the bike. Then again you had some luck in where the engine failed, so it evened out a bit. Good thing you're mechanically savvy and could do the job yourself.

I think Spain is not such a bad place to be right now. I've heard that though they've adopted the mask nonsense with zeal, life goes on as normal in much of Spain. I think I'd be viewing Spain as a good geographical position right now, being so near to Africa. My understanding is that it's mainly African nations that have avoided much of the tyranny and insanity that's enveloped the world and might be a place a man can get some semblance of freedom and peace of mind. I don't post much here anymore, but I do lurk occasionally and will keep a look out for your updates.
Hi Wintrup good to hear from you again. When you own any mechanical device such things can always befall you. As you say I was lucky where it went bang. One of the reasons that I chose the Himalayan was that it was easy to work on and I can now confirm that. The only thing is that when fully assembled the engine is very heavy.

Spain is OK but it is going the way of all of the other European countries engulfed by the insanity. I am aware that there are differing views on this so for the sake of a quiet life I will not say anything else here. If you want more information as to the current state of play there, message me here.

I am currently on the road again back to Poland so once there I shall update this post with details of that trip.
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
Days 70 - 73

Spain to Poland

Part One

As you are all aware my travels, like those of many others, have been restricted by measures brought in by Governments around the world. Until now such measures have had little direct impact on my travels other than not being able to head East out of Europe. On this journey these measures directly impacted me and my ability to travel as I usually do.

The reason that I am writing about this is that as a consequence I made certain choices about my journey that I would perhaps not otherwise have made. I want to make it clear that I am not writing about this to start a discussion about these matters as I do not think that this is an appropriate place to do so, but solely to tell my story about what happened on my trip and why I made certain choices about my travels.

So that having been said, I left the home of my friend in Galicia mid morning on Thursday 6 January 2022. I was about 14 degrees and the sun was making an occasional appearance. I took my usual route from here, the N120 East and heading for the city of Leon. As I got closer it got much colder and the fog settled in. I rode for about 60 miles in fog and it was not pleasant.

As I past Leon and made my way to Burgos the fog lifted but it was overcast and still cold. Nothing much changed when I had arrived at my destination for the evening, a small hostel just east of the city that was very cheap at 14 Euros per night. It was about five in the evening and it would shortly be dark. There was another traveler waiting for the owner to arrive and open up when I got there.

The hostel was very clean but a few minutes after checking in the owner informed both of us that she was unable to get the heating to work and as it was a public holiday there was no likelihood of getting an engineer to come out to look at it. This also meant that we had no hot water for showers. Neither of us were in the mood to try to find alternative accommodation at that late hour so we both reluctantly spent a cold night in our bunks wrapped up in the blankets provided augmented by our own sleeping bags.

The next morning I set off at eight in the morning and it was minus one celcius. There was a dusting of overnight snow in the fields and rooftops but the roads were clear of it. As it got lighter unfortunately it was still overcast and it stayed cold. I rode East on the N232 and after a few hours stopped for petrol between Burgos and Zaragoza. Beside it was a small cafe that served traditional Spanish tapas. So needing a bit of warmth I had a hot cup of coffee and some Chorizo sausage for breakfast.

IMG_20220107_100150_2.jpg

As I headed further East the clouds disappeared, the sun came out and the temperatures started to rise. I then rode along the N2 East of Zaragoza in I the direction of Lleida.

IMG_20220107_111839_1.jpg

Around four in the afternoon I stopped in a small town just south of Girona for the evening. By that time it still sunny and a very pleasant seventeen degrees. The hotel was very reasonable at 27 Euros for the night and it was nice to have a sound sleep in a warm hotel room. The next morning I was again up early and I found a light frost had formed on my bike cover overnight. Again it was around freezingor just below but the skies were clear and I hoped for a warmish sunny day.

As i have been over the Spanish / French border many times I know that the roads here are heavily congested and it takes a few hours to do just fifty miles, therefore I decided to use the motorway. Along this part of the Mediterranean coast it is the only way to travel at any decent pace. So I rode from there to the town of Menton, a town that I have frequently passed through, which is located close to the French / Italian border. It was a reasonably pleasant but largely boring journey. The cost of the motorway tolls was about twenty Euros in total for about 375 miles (600 km).

IMG_20220108_162835_1.jpg

I spent the night at a small hotel in the centre of town. It was a little overpriced at 40 Euros per night as most hotels in touristy locations are. The temperatures were not rising and I do not have heated grips fitted to the bike. Despite having good Gortex winter gloves and wearing inner gloves, my hands were permanently cold and i needed to do something about it.

In the late 1970's when I was much younger my friends and I all rode our bikes in the winter. There were no such things as heated grips in those times so we used to improvise with what we could to solve this problem. I decided to do the same thing. I bought a 3 liter plastic bottle of a soft drink, a couple of long bendable foam strips and some black tape. I cut the bottom from the empty bottle and I then cut this in half. I taped the neck part of each half of the bottle to the handlebar. I then twisted the foam strips around the bar ends and bent them to support the other end of the bottle. I taped the foam strips to the bottle and Voila! home made hand protectors all for less than five Euros.

IMG_20220109_113252_3.jpg IMG_20220109_113302_3.jpg

IMG_20220109_113242_5.jpg IMG_20220109_113246_5.jpg

Again traveling along the Mediterranean coast in Italy has the same problems as in France so again I took the motorway from Menton to La Spezia. This time the tolls were over thirty Euros for 170 miles (270 km) Ouch!

I shall continue this report in Part two.
 
Last edited:

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
Days 70 - 73

Spain to Poland

Part Two

After reaching La Spezia I left the motorway and took the SS62 in the direction of Parma where I had booked a hotel for that evening. This is a nice road to ride as it climbs up in to the hills and has lots and lots of bends with a few alpine type hairpins. As I rode higher snow started appearing at the side of the road. At the highest point although the road had been cleared there were patches where snow had fallen from trees overhanging the road making it quite slippery.

IMG_20220109_132001_7.jpg

It was very cold but the views were well worth the effort.

IMG_20220109_130100_5.jpg

IMG_20220109_131101_8.jpg

IMG_20220109_134618_6.jpg

It was around three in the afternoon when I reached my hotel. As I was in the process of checking in the receptionist asked for my "Green Pass". I told him that I did not have such a thing and he told me that I would not be able to stay in the hotel. We had a short discussion about there being no mention of this requirement when I booked but it made no difference, I was not allowed to stay. I made my way to a nearby McDonald's to get a coffee and try and come up with a plan as to what to do next.

I entered and bought a coffee but then I wanted to sit down inside I was told that in order to sit inside I would have to show my "Green Pass". I had to sit outside. As I drank my coffee I realised that in this country doing anything that required to be indoors was not going to be an option for me.

I then decided to leave Italy. It was now four in the afternoon. I thought about going back to France but that was not an option. I had researched for my trip and I knew that such restrictions were in place in Austria and Slovakia but there had been no mention of this in the Italian Government information that I looked at. As I had planned to transit through Austria and Slovakia in one day I decided to do it overnight as opposed to during the day.

So I set off for Northern Italy and the Austrian border which I reached at ten at night. As I was using the motorways I knew to expect a very hefty bill at the exit toll just before the border. However, on reaching it there was a toll gate with no barrier so I drove through and saved myself about sixty or more Euros. Just over the border I stopped for fuel and bought my Austrian motorway Vignette. At the next fuel stop about 150 miles and two hours further on I went in to the service station paid for my fuel and bought a coffee but once again I was not allowed to drink it inside. I had to stand outside (as there were no seats outside)

I rode on past Vienna and towards Bratislava in Slovakia. Just as I got in to Bratislava at about four in the morning it started to snow. As the roads became more slippery I slowed. At one point my front tyre became a little squirrelly and began sliding about but it stopped after about twenty seconds. About five in the morning some 50 miles East of Bratislava I saw a petrol station and decided to stop to refuel. I braked on the slip road and as I entered the main petrol station my front end was all over the place. I got off an found that the front tyre was flat.

I checked the tyre for any obvious things like nails etc but I could see nothing. I tried putting air in it but it was not inflating.

No choice but off with the wheel to see what the problem was. So there I am at five in the morning in sub zero temperatures pulling the tube out of my tyre in the forecourt of a petrol station on the D1 in Slovakia. Not exactly like I thought my day would have gone but that's the joys of being a biker.

IMG_20220110_055232_7.jpg

Once I got the tube out I saw the problem. The valve had ripped out of the inner tube and the rim tape had also snapped.

IMG_20220110_055326_9.jpg

At that time in the morning I was at a loss to work out what had happened so I just got out my spare inner tube, put in in the tyre and inflated it. Success. Wheel back on, refueled, and I was back on the road by six in the morning.

As I headed east towards Zilina it started to get light but the temperature never rose about freezing and it was overcast. I pressed on to the Slovakian / Polish border which I reached at about nine in the morning. From there it was a two and a half hours to Krakow where I shall spend the next few months.

From Menton to Krakow by the route I just described took me twenty seven hours and I covered 1,100 miles (1,800 km) in that time. Needless to say I was glad to arrive in one piece, get a hot shower, and some well needed sleep. With the exception of the front tyre deflation I had no issues with the bike and the rebuilt engine performed well.

Having had some tme to think about it I think I know what happened with the front tyre. I use Putoline trye sealant inside the tubes and when the front tyre initially went a bit squirrelly I think that the tube got punctured and lost some air before the sealant worked to close the hole. I think the tyre also lost some pressure and thereafter I was unwittingly riding it for a distance on a low enough pressure to break the bead.

When I braked on the petrol station slip road, because the bead was broken, the tyre slipped on the rim. Now because the sealant has come out of the tube, the tube was coated with it making it stick to the inside of the trye. Thus as the tyre rotated on the rim under braking the tube went with it ripping the vale out.

Anyway, bike needs a good clean to get the road salt and dried tyre sealant off of my previously clean engine.

IMG_20220110_112059_7.jpg
 

Wintrup

Well travelled
Location
Cumbria UK
I love your makeshift hand guards. Even with mine my hands still freeze up, but it does at least cut out most wind chill. Good job on the rebuild. I'd find that very satisfying.

As for the "green pass", I will only say I wrote what the agenda was back in the CV19 thread and it's all going to that power grab plan, CV19 being the pretext. Not much we can do other than not comply wherever possible. I won't say much more than that, but there will come a point when the elephant in the room has to be discussed by bikers. I wrote a comment on a Youtube channel that the Himalayan will likely be my last bike as the internal combustion engine is being phased out. Silence.

Anyway it was a good write up showing us the highs and lows of long distance biking.
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
I love your makeshift hand guards. Even with mine my hands still freeze up, but it does at least cut out most wind chill. Good job on the rebuild. I'd find that very satisfying.

As for the "green pass", I will only say I wrote what the agenda was back in the CV19 thread and it's all going to that power grab plan, CV19 being the pretext. Not much we can do other than not comply wherever possible. I won't say much more than that, but there will come a point when the elephant in the room has to be discussed by bikers. I wrote a comment on a Youtube channel that the Himalayan will likely be my last bike as the internal combustion engine is being phased out. Silence.

Anyway it was a good write up showing us the highs and lows of long distance biking.
Hi Wintrup. I agree with what you have said. I am trying to stay on point and making it about the travel on the Himalayan. Glad that you liked it. We can only hope that things will improve and that we can all travel again, however each of us wants to do it with the minimum of interference. With regard to the phasing out of petrol powered bikes, like you I am not a fan. Having taken apart the engine I must say that I was impressed by the fact that all of the bearings in it are all roller type and with the exception of the big end which looks like shell bearings, in my opinion the engine should be good for well over 100,000 before any of the bearings will need looked at.
 
Last edited:

Napom

Getting there...
Location
Northern VA
I am jealous of your travels . . . Great job on the makeshift handguards and early morning flat repair . . . keep posting - we aren;t riding much this time of year!
 

Wintrup

Well travelled
Location
Cumbria UK
Hi Wintrup. I agree with what you have said. I am trying to stay on point and making it about the travel on the Himalayan. Glad that you liked it. We can only hope that things will improve and that we can all travel again, however each of us wants to do it with the minimum of interference. With regard to the phasing out of petrol powered bikes, like you I am not a fan. Having taken apart the engine I must say that I was impressed by the fact that all of the bearings in it are all roller type and with the exception of the big end which looks like shell bearings, in my opinion the engine should be good for well over 100,000 before any of the bearings will need looked at.
I had your blog in my blog bookmarks and read your write up from last year regarding the whole thing. It was a common sense overload. Not so common anymore though:)

I've been wanting to ride to Romania and down through Bulgaria to visit a number of Orthodox monasteries for a few years, but 2020 scuppered that. Big shame as I've got the ideal bike for the job now, with the Himalayan. I'll wait for the next lull in the insanity (if there is one) this summer to see if there's any loophole I can exploit to do the trip and get home again without being sent to some leper colony.
 

Jerk

On a long leash
Staff member
Really love following your adventure and admire your tenacity! I can't imagine riding all night in those cold conditions. I parked my old Africa Twin in Bulgaria in October and thought I had to endure some cold temps riding from southern Turkey, but nothing like yours! Hope the environments improve and we can continue to ride without too much of the BS.
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
Really love following your adventure and admire your tenacity! I can't imagine riding all night in those cold conditions. I parked my old Africa Twin in Bulgaria in October and thought I had to endure some cold temps riding from southern Turkey, but nothing like yours! Hope the environments improve and we can continue to ride without too much of the BS.
The joys of being a biker, what can I say? Glad you are enjoying it.
 
Top Bottom