gps tracking of C90

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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