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Sunday, 13 February 2011

day 5

When we woke up in the morning I don't think Glenn or Ladie were prepared for the scale of the rally. 4500+ pretty much constantly pissed bikers camping in the snow setting off fireworks, riding while drunk and some Czech guys were even firing pistol signal flares at each other!!

Not my first choice of motorbike to ride in the snow and ice. But it looks quicker than the 90's haha

A little 20cc pedal and pop popped over from Czech.

While walking around the site we got talking to some Germans on 600's and when the saw the 90's they (like most other people who saw the bikes) started filling us up with beer to congratulate us having " big balls" as they put it. Everytime we passed they called us over for more beer and we taught each other swear words in eachother's languages haha. Vixers all the way haha

An elephant for the Elefantentreffen

This tyre was being sold by Antony (the guy who gave me a lift in his van last year with the 90) it costs €1800 and when used on ice can turn tighter than any bike on tarmac!!

Then we discovered the pub

and then some more litres of beer

and then the coolest hat I've seen in ages.

And then what happened was a series of some of the funniest and stupidest things I've done in ages. The 6 pints in the pub and the other god knows how many pints we had earlier are crutial to why it happened.

We left the pub and had to push the bike up the road until we got to the rally approach road where anything goes, you can ride backwards while drunk and on fire if you want haha. Well I decided that pushing was for loosers and that I reckoned there was a short cut across the snow covered field to the rally. I tried a run up, got a tiny bit air-born as I left the road and things seemed to go alright riding through 8 inches of virgin snow. So I did what any sensible drunk person would do: go back and get my two mates and give it a go three's up. So we positioned ourselves with a rather large run-up and started gathering speed. The air-born part worked but the landing was unexpected: the weight of three blokes full of beer on one little bike had affected the handling somewhat and after hell-of-a wobble on for 10 metres we all hit the deck like a sack of spuds. We were all laughing so hard I thought I was going to wet myself, me and Glenn were trapped under the bike, Ladie got thrown clear but all of a sudden I heard the words "STOP POLIZEI" and saw the German policman running towards us. Time to run me thinks. Glenn was still laughing so much he wasn't going to be much help so Laddie had to lift the bike off me. I then fired up the bike and with a push from the guys we sped across the field (upright this time) until we got to the road (yes my drunk idea short-cut worked, no idea how haha) where we all went three's up again and down to the safety of hiding amongst 4500 other bikers.

When we got to the rally I noticed someone had taken a section of fence away that was right next to our tent so I sensed another drunken short-cut was there so I took it. There was a little kicker ramp as we left the road but that was fine, it was then that I realised that in about 15 metres time there was Fritz, Udo and Plong sat around the fire having a nice calm drink with three bumbling drunken retards crammed on a C90 heading staright towards them downhill on ice/snow at a rather alarming rate. This was not going to end well, I managed to steer round our tent and guy ropes (just) but this was only a temporary solution as that had now lined us up perfectly with the centre of their fire. I couldnt use the rear brake as my feet were the only thing holding us upright so my only option was to grab a hand full of front break on ice (why did that have to be my only option haha). Their nice relaxed drink was thus disturbed by about 5 seconds of three guys shouting"ARRRGGGGHHHHH" before low siding the bike and what looked like Dumb, Dumber and Officer Doofy re-enacting a Mission Impossible style bike slide before stopping just in front of the fire with everybody in hysterics.

We then settled down for a couple of quiet drinks around diffrent people's fires. Once again free drinks were always being given to us for riding the 90's from England ans after a couple we went back to see Fritz, Udo and Plong. But the 90 was calling, no matter how many times I crashed her she would keep calling me; to try and take her places that no other bikes would go. Eventually I gave in and went for a victory lap of the event. This time I chose Glenn's ass as the ballast the give traction on the ice and we went exploring.

I found the ridiculously steep downhill footpath that people couldn't walk up earlier on and decided to give it a go. Glenn was on the back repeatedly saying "uh-oh" "woah woah" but after a little wobble we were down safe and sound. Then we tried the ice hill climb:

This was the hill climb during the day and this is a bike and sidecar attempting it and actually making it (a lot couldn't)

Me and Glenn did it two's up and manged it quite well with a couple of cheers from people and we went back to collect Ladie and try it three's up, oh dear.

We picked up ladie and did the same downhill footpath again but this time with Ladie going "uh-oh" "are we gonna make that" Glenn had now realised the true capability of the 90 haha. Then we got to the ice climb and hit it three's up with about 75% beans but all quite far back on the seat. As we started to climb I realised the front wheel wasn't actually touching the ground very often because of the weight on the back. As the hill got steeper the front wheel wasn't touching the ground at all and as we started to slow but still keeping full throttle I can remember seeing ground, ground, sky, uh-oh more sky, i'm upside down now, uh-oh the ground again. We had managed to backflip the 90 and were now all trapped underneath it with quite a large amount of people laughing at what just happened. A friendly German walked over and picked the bike off of us and we did what any sensible person would do: turn round and go to the bottom of the hill to safety, and take a much longer and faster run up :) this time we all slid as far forward on the bike to help the front wheel stay down, composed ourselves and shouted in true Jeremy Clarkson style "POWER" and made our ascent on maximum beans. Quite a crowd had gathered now after seeing the first attempt and as we went round the ice bend sideways with the front wheel in the air for most of there was some "oh, oh, ooo" as we made it round and as we finally plodded up to the top there was a round of cheers and clapping as the poor little 90 that was a 1000 miles from home made it three's up on road tyres where other much bigger and faster bikes couldn't :)

After all that drunken motorcycle riding (my mates must trust me quite a bit) we retired to our tent, and in the morning woke up to having ice formed on our hats and me having a rather large bruise from one of the woopsies haha:

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

day 4

When we woke up and got over the fact that it was €115 for the night in the hotel (and we checked in at 2am) we got suited and started riding. Myself but especially Glenn found out the dangers of sweating before a 12 hour motorcycle ride in -10oC. We stupidly put our gear on 10 minutes before setting off (I should know better) and then froze for the first couple of hours riding but luckily it was warm in the day so no hyperthermia (I've had it once before on a bike and it isn't fun).
Anyway, we had 270 miles to cover so the riding wasn't too bad. Had the chance for some nice photos every now and then but just kept on plodding.

so we rode until about 9pm when we made it to the rally. It was the same as last year in that there were no signposts to the event in the middle of the Bavarian forest but it's a rally for proper men so who needs directions haha. This year 4500+ bikers came to the rally, nearly half of last year's attendance but it was because they've just passed a new law in Germany to say that any vehicle (including bikes) needs to have winter tyres if there is any snow on the road. So many bikers who have to ride for 100's of miles didn't come because their tyres wouldn't make it there and back on the Autobahn.

We had a swift couple of litres of beer and then went back to meet Fritz, Udo and Plong from last year. They're the guys who let me stay in their tent for the first night of last year because I couldn't put my tent up in the blizzard. We got a good night's sleep and were ready to see the carnage of 4500+ drunk bikers the next day (including us deciding it was a good idea to go threes up on a C90 on an ice hill climb after 8 pints or so) more on that in the next post haha.

stay frosty

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Day 3

Well, the idea of keeping the blog up to date didn't exactly go to plan (this trip was a bit hectic and a lack of wifi) so I'm now doing the blog as more of a story.
Anyway, day 4:
The three bikes started fine and we set of first thing towards the colder temperatures of south Germany. Glenn and Ladie were still blissfully unaware of how cold it can get down there in January but I thought I'd let them find out for themselves. We just kept hitting the miles and stopping for fuel when needed. I changed the oil on the Glenn and Ladie's bikes in a little French village and the local garage took the old oil for free. At about 5 we had our first ride with it snowing and it was rather pretty actually. The temperature was about 1oC in the evening. We all decided that a kebab was a good idea and got laughed at by the restaurant owner for riding bikes in the snow at this time of year but we've come to expect it now haha. Other than the kebab the only highlight was the hotel which was €115 EUROS!! But we treated ourselves. Total miles covered on day 4: 290, bed at 2am, -5oC at night. Slept 20 miles West of Stuttgart

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Start of day three

The first 2 days didn't exactly go to plan. The first 300 mile run up to Dover was going well until when just going past London, Ladie's engine failed, the inlet tapper had turned to cheese and collapsed. I managed to do a temporary bodge by jamming it partially open but it only lasted for another 75 miles before it gave up totally. Then someone (me) decided it would be a good idea to tow the bike (behind another bike) into London. Where it could get fixed. Needless to say towing a fully loaded c90 behind another fully loaded c90 with two pilots who really should have been more carefull was definatly interesting. At one junction Glenn pulled away two fast after the rope went slack, did a huge wheely (his cocktail sausages flew out of his basket and acros the road) both legs were out and shouting god knows what. Anyway somehow we got to a Travelodge and rested. The next day went really well, down the road was a Honda garage and he had a box of c90 bits. £2.91 later and stripping the top end of the engine down in Travelodge car park all was well. They didn't have a new head gasket so I'm using the old one but 150 miles later it's still good.
Oh yeah, THE VAN: while we were riding in a 30 in Croydon doing 30, a horn starts beeping from behind, I look round and a White van man is signalling for us to all move over so he can go past, bearing in mind that there is a car 50 metres in front we keep going doing the speed limit and stay in the correct position. More tooting happens and he tries undertaking but can't fit. Anyway, while we're still following traffic so decides so overtake in the 30 across double whites and then pulls in and CRASHES into me. He was obviously a twat but luckily I had my helmet camera running and will be sending the footage to the police. It'll be interesting to see what they do :)
Anyway, then we just road to the tunnel, got it and then rode 100 miles into France, now we're setting off again, got to do 350 miles today because of Ladie's bike breaking.
Laters, stay frosty

Saturday, 13 February 2010

trip finished, what an experience

sorry for the wait but it's been so strange being back home and using an alarm clock that i completely forgot to sign off this blog.

Last I updated was about 115 miles outside of Cherbourg in a McDonalds. from there the ride was fine, just wet and cold really. i found a cheap youth hostel in Cherbourg where i dried all my gear and bought i nice dirty greasy kebab :)

that's pretty much it really, woke up in the morning, boarded the ferry and then 4 hours later arrived in the UK.

Customs pulled me over but only to chat for about half an hour about what I'd seen, what was camping in -20oC like and what was it like riding through the mountain passes in the alps etc.
then i just bimbled my way back from Poole, got distracted by the pub in Torrington and then home.

anyway, the trip was like nothing else I've ever done, it was so amazingly humbling to be at the mercy of the elements and finding somewhere to sleep in a hedge where mother nature couldn't get you.

but more than that it was the people i met; language or actually knowing someone really is no barrier to a genuinely nice person. I had mechanics do full services and work for days and you couldn't even give them money. people would take you into their home and give you hot meals and a shower, or drive you to the nearest cities just to help you find parts for your bike. and they do all this just because they want to help someone who is raising money for charity.

The strange thing was what my bike became, it wasn't just a machine anymore, it was my legs, when i was cold the exhaust heated my hands and melted snow so i could drink it. sometimes just sitting in the snow and watching it tick over when it's 2 in the morning and no-one is around was almost emotional. and when the mechanics at the elefantentreffen worked for the entire day with me kicking it over and she finally was finally running, i don't mind saying that a tear came to my eyes, my best friend who was carrying me all this way was alive again.

Sometimes it was hard work (riding for 28 hours in one go) (or having ice form on your sleeping bag) but the pain was almost nice, really pushing my body and mind further than it's been before and wondering where i'll be tomorrow.

And knowing the human race still has some hope left in it was worth any amount of shivering.

Thank you to everybody who donated to the air ambulance, sent me nice texts while i was away, took me in an gave me hot drinks or food, worked on my bike for free or was just genuinely and without prejudice a nice person, no matter what country i was in (except Switzerland, what a pathetic excuse for a country)

thank you

Ed March signing off

Stay frosty

Monday, 8 February 2010

nearly home

i'm now only 115 miles from cherbourg but it was a bit of a mission getting here.
the alps were amazing, some of the snow and ice covered mountain passes were a bit fun, doing a two wheel slide when there's a 1000 foot drop just over a crash barrier keeps you awake haha.
snowboarding was awesome, just about got the hang of it and doing the off-piste runs through the trees in the blizzard was amazing, although some of the trees are quite painful haha.

when i had to leave the honda wouldn't start because she was so cold so i lit my stove underneath the engine and she ran fine and i was on my way.

however 20 miles later she came to a stop on a long hill and wouldnt go again no matter how much i bumped her. i rolled into a very small village and asked two old men where the nearest garage is (i thought the spark plug was gone) and they said 10km away, this was bad. i pointed to my spark plug and one of them checked in his shed to see if he had a spare and he didnt :(.
then in one of the nicest kindest acts of compassion i have ever seen one of them took me and his friend in his car to the nearest town to buy a spark plug. all the garages were closed so he took me to the nearest city (Grenobles) where we just caught a bike shop before it closed. Bear in mind also that they don't know a single word of english and my french was getting quite strained now.
finally got back to the bike, new plug and she still wouldn't run. all the family of one of the guys came outside with torches to help and finally after changing the coil, she ran beautifully. not sure why the coil failed, but it did.
they then invited me inside for a hot meal, a coffee and cigarette (all mine got wet in a blizzard because i forgot to do up a pocket).
if that wasnt enough they then gave an enormous bag of cakes and a bottle of water for breakfast.

below is the family of one of the guys who helped me out so so so much. thank you.

these are the cakes, which were a very nice breakfast the next day.

i rode for another 80 miles after i fixed the bike before spotting this lovely shed at 1:30am, which made a lovely bedroom for the night.

the next day was fairly boring really, just kept riding. i had 300 miles to do so there wasnt much time to have a look around. finally stopped at 2am and hid under this hedge fior the night. try and spot the C90 hehe.

anyhow, i've got to ride to cherbourg now, only 115 miles and i'm, gonna treat my self to a hotel tonight.
peace out

Thursday, 4 February 2010

finally got wifi and got to Grenobles fine

Jesus this should be a long post but there's drinking to be done with the West Boys so i'll try to cover everything.

last thing i posted was that at the Elefantentreffen to c90 was being a pain in the ass and wouldnt start.

This was the guy Antony who very kindly took me and my 90 to Deggendorf to find a bike shop to fix honda. anyway thye bike was closed so after a call to his mate they took me to a pit bike specialist about 20kms north of Deggendorf. he took me to the shop but it was closed so i was waiting outside untill the next morning. anyway as i was shivering outside a lovely German woman gave me a cup of hot coffee which was lovely. anyway the guy who owned the shop turned up (he lived next door and was wondering why there was a shivvering Englishman and a c90 outside his shop on a sunday) and put my bike and gear into his garage and i would come back at 8am to help fix it.

this is the guy Antony who took my bike in the van:

On the right is his son and on the left is his son's friend
they followed us in the van on a dt125 and a gs500 i think:

anyway, when i wake up in the morning (late) i went to the bike shop at 9am and by the time i got there he had fixed the bike, sorted out my brakes, and re-bolted my exahaust and i think even topped up the oil. anyway the main problem was the cdi unit, so he took one off a 2-stroke chinese moped and she started firing up first kick again. if it was any other bike i would have been stuck but cos it was a c90 you can use any electrics off any cheap chinese bike. and i was off.
this is the very kind mechanic who wouldn't even let me pay him for fixing the bike:

once i was on the way at 11:00am i just kept riding with only stopping for fuel, a warming cigarette and the occasional mcdonalds to get some more calories (was still about -10oc). basically all was going fine untill at 2am the next morning i got pulled over by the swiss police ,yes i had been riding for 15 hours at this point! anyway they wouldnt believe that my bike wouldnt do 50mph and as such decided to arrest me, take me down the police station and fine me £230 for being on the Motorway when i shouldn't. they didnt even seem to care that i am doiong this for charity and afterwards when i posed the question "i was told before my trip that the Swiss are very horrible people with no compassion but thought that they were lying, now that i have found that this is true. Why are the Swiss so cruel and dont care if you are raising money for charity and it is genuine mistake?" he just replied "i think you should go!"
so i said "goodbye marmite miner" and left.

I just kept riding to get to my mates in Grenobles to go snowboarding. i just kept riding and riding. if anyone was following my gps tracking then they would have seen that i rode without a break for 28hours (exceot for being arrested). By the end i was feeling like i have never felt before, i had gone past cold, it was just by energy levels that were shot. at one point i partially feinted and just managed to pull over without crashing but i couldnt walk or stand up properly. so i found the last of some chocolate i had, eat that and had to keep going. i was only 45 minutes away from my mates, only had one more mountain pass in the alpes to do, and half way up found that it was closed, brilliant, had to turn round and ride for another 3 hours. but i made it (somehow and got to have a nice beer, a fag and a warm bed that didnt leave my sleeping bag covered in ice in the morning, which was amazing.

28 hours riding was worth it, the views are amazing, little honda still runs perfect at 6000 feet.
sorry for the wait but ive only just started feeling human again, ive never riden a c90 for 28 hours before and hopefully wont have to again, but it's for charity so the risk was, and is still worth it.

stay frosty
peace out