It’s Saturday 28th April and we’ve set up camp just outside of Bratislava, Slovakia. Despite the campsite not yet being open to this years holiday makers, sticking with it and dealing with not having any running water has had it’s advantages. We’re not paying to be here and the hotel next door was last night hosting a Miss Slovakia beauty contest.
We set sail a week ago today and the departure was equally as stressful as we expected it to be. I was running 30 mins behind schedule, standard, I was dripping in sweat trying to get to grips with my new riding suit and Jon’s Mum, Sue, was expressing her concerns over whether she had packed enough baguettes for the ferry. It quickly dawned on me I was nowhere near ready to ride around the world, but it was far too late now. After trying my best to look happy and relaxed for the farewell photos, we headed off on our way. No further than a mile down the road we stopped to pair the intercom units and configure the sat nav. After a quick u-turn we were on our way to Dover.
We made some decent progress managing to clear France and Germany in the first couple of days. It’s almost as if those roads had been designed with a sports bike in mind. We will without doubt be revisiting that part of the world in the coming years, but for now the focus remains on getting into the thick of it in Russia and Mongolia.
The Czech Replublic was next up and we found ourselves pitching up camp in Prague. Despite agreeing we had over-packed and brought far too many electronics, we still decided to go all out and buy a new laptop to complete the set. Without an ounce of space left in our luggage, amazingly Jon was adamant on also buying an SLR big lens camera. All the gear and no idea that boy! I have never travelled tech’d up to the max like this before.
We’re still getting to grips with the European biker salute. In the UK it’s a slight not of the head, out here it’s a full on, off the bars hand wave. The first time I saw it I thought the guy was coming in for a 40 mph high five. In my opinion Jon isn’t making enough of an effort, I’m getting right involved.
After Prague we pushed on to where we are now, Slovakia. Having a technical fault with one of the intercom units, we are now waiting for the latest G4 Powerset to be delivered.
In an effort to de-bulk the luggage, we set up a workshop in a dis-used toilet block. We’ve cut back on both clothes and spares and strapped a number of items directly to the bikes. Now we feel like we can’t leave the bikes anywhere, but it does mean that the daily packing process is a lot more straight forward and stress free.
The bikes are running well and we want to again say a massive thanks to both of our Dads and my Dads mate Paul for all the time and effort they put in towards helping us to prepare the bikes for this trip. Mine has developed a slight ticking noise which we are still investigating, but running perfectly other than that. Coming in at €1.90 in places, fuel is costing us a lot more than we anticipated. We’re also going through a lot more oil than we expected. We’re really pleased with deciding to opt for the Bridgstone road tyre to cover this first part of Europe, the bikes are so much more stable at high speed, but we’re still excited about flipping back to the knobblies when we hit the dirt.
All in all, everything is going well and the weather and roads have been superb.
The Bill Mayor saddle has been a life saver and even covering 400 miles in a day, the seats have not been the cause of any discomfort. Also, without the Safari oversized fuel tank, courtesy of Core Racing, we would be stopping for fuel far too frequently.
After all the modifications the bikes now look excellent, however they are receiving a lot of attention, which makes us a little concerned about having to leave them unattended. I guess it’s just something we’re going to have to get used to.
For now, let the Tough Miles keep rolling.
To find out more about the Tough Miles project, click here.