Sunday, 22 July 2012

Two Chinese Woman Ride DR650’s ... The Road Is Two Dangerous

Two Chinese Woman Ride DR650’s ... The Road Is Two Dangerous
Two Chinese Woman Ride DR650’s ... The Road Is Two Dangerous ... The meeting of two of the same minds.

You would’t believe it, just after I claimed to be the first Chinese Woman riding from Prudhoe Bay to Ushuaia, Ken and Carol Duval told us they meet another Chinese woman riding in in Bolivia last year! I started to wonder who is she?

Anyway, we think we might be able to find out at some stage. While in Edmonton, we got an email from Griff, he was the guy rode DR650 last year with his wife Lisa to Argentina, Andi had some correspondence from him on our bikes setting up. They had just come back from England, now back home to Banff, they’d like to catch up with us. We are only couple of days away. Great timing!

After going through the worlds most beautiful icefield road, we got to Banff. It reminds me about Queenstown, New Zealand, busy and commercial.

Griff and Lisa met us, they said you have to meet Micheal and Jing, they were travelling together in Argentina last year for a while, both rode DR 650 too and Jing is the Chinese girl I was looking for and they are only 20min away in Canmore, what a small world!

Saturday 14th July in the afternoon, we went to Micheal and Jing’s home for BBQ. He didn’t know I was from China, so it was a little surprise for him too. Jing was working that day, didn’t get home until nearly 10 pm. She and I have so much in common, we are both from North China, both short, both learned to ride for the trip, most importantly, we both hate to stop! Instantly we become best friends.

Mike gave us headlight protector plastic for our headlights and marker lights, something that will be great further down the track, as no monetary exchange was allowed we traded a nice bottle of Red wine, thank you to Mike and Jing.

We also talked about our D Days, all of us had the same experience. It goes like this: “where are you going?” “I’m going to the airport to send you home.” Jing also told me she finally mastered the art of travel on gravel road, the secret is to ride a little bit faster, then the bike will be more stable. I was also scared to go too fast on the shingle, Andi has been telling many times to go a little bit faster to use the advantage of the gyroscopic effect of the wheels, but I just can’t do it. Now from a fellow rider who has the same level of riding as me, I will give it a go next time.

Michael also told us they had a big sorting out day in the trip, every one was crying, but finally, he realised he was doing his dream trip with people he loves, he would rather not continue if their relationship was going to be destroyed. We also promoted Andi as our team leader, now he has all the responsibility to keep all team members happy ;-)

All four of us.

The two intrepide travellers

In the end, Micheal gave me a big hug and said: “ I know what you have been through, what is hard to us (men), it would be four times harder for you ( being a woman with no experience). But the trip will make you so strong, going through this, you can go through everything in you life. I’m so proud of you.”

It was so great to meet Griff, Lisa, Micheal and Jing, they gave us not just general information of the direction we are going but also moral support from fellow travellers’ point of view. Huge thanks for you guys, we know there is a long way to go and we will face more difficulties while we hit the South, but with the support from you guys and others, we will make it happen.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Banff To Kaslo And Vintage Motorcycle Rally

Banff To Kaslo
Leaving from Griff and Lisas and back into reality we had a nice ride with good weather, we started on the back road 1A before rejoining the rat race over to Revelstoke.

It was our plan to stop at a waterfall called Takakkaw for lunch however the the park warden wanted $19.80 so it is twice the price of a car for two of us, we only wanted to go in for lunch and at $19.80 I would expect a steak or burger and drink (and extras)  etc thus we canned that idea and carried on to a beautiful pull out with a river and small creek.

Earlier on a van with an old BSA on a trailer overtook us, they also were there having a comfort and snack stop so we got chatting as you do.

They were heading to Vintage motorcycle rally (my eyes lit up) in Kaslo just over the hill from where we were staying, how cool is that I am thinking planning ahead with deviant ideas on cungering up an epic plan to see all the oldies.

We said our goodbyes and grabbed our lunch bag, both picnic tables were taken so we went to one of the tables and asked the people if they minded if we used the other end to which they welcomed us, quick chat and all interest in the Kiwis .... something about our dodgy accent 

The lady had made a huge bowl of Thai noodles, they said they had far too much and gave us some for lunch so a totally unexpected bonus, it was so nice and even Ellen head chef extraordinaire was very happy and full of praises, thank you to the two (nice) strange people who fed us well.

After riding out of the pullout fed and watered like Kings and Queens we rode on to Revelstoke, a quick tank stop was had, we then left to our next destination just over the hill from Kaslo.

Us on the ferry over the lake, nice scenery in the background

Mrs.Garmin had somewhat of a mixup and we fell short of the target until common sense kicked in and human intervention found our camp.

Game on, beautiful location, groovy setting and a perfect hideaway.

Interesting shed clad with everything on it

Dutchman and Chinese self portait with authentic frame and all ... saved a few bucks bro!

Outside shower with 2.1256 walls 

I met up with Ken from Nakusp who has a 77 Honda, 860 Ducati 450 Scrambler and 61 Trumpy plus a whole bunch of Japanese bits and pieces, he is in the final stages of setting up a shop with access to all sorts of oldies, he is also a very talented restorer having seen his work first hand.

Kens bikes,

860 Ducati

450 Scrambler

61 Triumph

So shiny ... me waving at me

He is setting up for common size tyres with a tyre machine too so make it known a local petrolhead motorcyclist in Nakusp is creating better facilities for riders, well done Ken and best for the venture.

Ken and I rode over to Kaslo to the Vintage motorcycle display, fantastic road that I would love to have had my ex KTM 990 SMR on, superb!

On arriving in Kaslo it was stinking hot and perfect weather and the main street full of old lusties from yesteryear, I was like a kid in a candy shop, I had not seen so many Indians gathered in one spot, there where Harleys, Triumphs, Nortons, BMW’s etc.

So below is a collection of photos, can’t name each year and model tho, for any non petrolhead types this bit won't interest you, for the petrolhead types go grab some tissues and e n j o y .

Vincent, check it out Cag!!!

An east/west Indian with shaft drive, quite possibly one of the most beautiful bikes I have seen IMO, never seen one before

A Harley Knuckle

Indian with side car

And Indian showered with Indian stuff 

Check out the grenade

Pull start 

Highway pegs

Three D Murals

Another Indian

BMW R90 with sidecar

More Indians

Bobber Indian with white walls, very nicely done

The Mighty One in amongst to old lusties 

Finally me, sitting on the Ducati 450, could easily take this home, absolutely love it, it would be the only Ducati that I would ever own again, it felt like a scoota next to the DR

Friday, 20 July 2012

Gear Review - What Is Good?

Gear Review
Gear Review

ARAI XD 4, mint, perfect for road, adv riding, keeping rain off.

The adjustable height peak making life easier, in the low sun pull in down as a sun shade, same in the rain, you can still have the front vents open in the rain with the peak down and you won’t get wet, great design.

Lift the peak up for better venting and looking at HUGE mountain tops.

The only thing I don’t like about the XD4 is having to take it off as that means we have stopped.

KLIM gear, Keeping Large Insistent Mozzies out, this gear is outstanding, the only grizzle I have is my Adventure Rally jacket does not have great inlet venting at the front so I had the two front pockets opening on the inside and meshed so I can use them for a pocket or vent, these work incredibly well now.

Across the board extremely happy with it and believe it will more than do the distance.
Icebreaker, the best, nothing short of excellent whichever way you look at it, we have 100 % icebreaker and for hot or cold it is a winner, wear a T shirt for 5 days straight rinse and wear again without stinking, perfect adv gear for the undergrowth.

Forma ATV boot, great boots but my right hand boot is coming apart, I wrote to Forma and nothing !!!!! not a sausage back from them so a little disappointing to be fair.

First Gear, Ellens, Kilimanjaro jacket and TPG Escape, very good gear and very nicely cut for female riders, they are waterproof so far and Ellen love the inner pants can be warn as normal pants so dual purpose. The only complains from Ellen is the black pans getting too hot in the sun, a lighter colored ones would be just perfect.

Barkbusters, a must, nothing more to say than they are the best, we had tortured them in New Zealand on my bikes and now Ellen has taken them to the end and back, her last spill she went down heavily, they are straight and although looking slightly second hand from being road bashed and rashed they are still fully functional and in remarkably good condition.

Screens For Bikes, again another mint product for ADV riding, the shape and height across the board makes these very nice to sit behind.

Having a screen is a subjective topic, when it is sunny and warm you don’t want one, when it is pissing down and blowing it needs to be twice the height and width and preferable with a roof attached.

All is all they work very well and we are stoked with them.

Garmin 660, we have had trouble with my GPS sending us down goat tracks that go no where causing us up to 1 hrs turn arounds, we have contacted Garmin and at first we given the brush off, I persisted with a stronger email and to be fair they are trying to sort it out, same GPS, same model, same firmware, same updates, same settings two vary different directions given, hopefully with the reinstalling of the new updates my will start to behave the way it should.

The Bikes, we after a big scrap (see above) with Alaska Pshyco Centre the bikes are running well, mine has a hesitation in the middle still but not enough to haul it all apart for, next service with tank off I will raise the needle a notch and think this will fill the hole.

Sargent Seats, bum saver supreme, they have softened up over the course of the travels thus have become more comfy, the shape is superb compared to the stocker shocker and after 8500 miles they are pleasure to sit on.

Hilliberg, Keron 4 GT, nothing more to say other than get one, strong, quick to put up, great space and vestibule, my only grizzle is the pegs are poorly engineered, will email Hilliberg on this and give them some suggestions.

Coleman 508B, pooed itself three weeks into the trip, still heats ok but the lower or simmer settings have gone so it is all or none.

Yoda Star Wars Chair, kids chair and my bum fits in OK, very lite and looks cool as, compact to take on the bike, we have the power of the force with us so thatmust be a good thing.

Ellens Pink Walmart Chair, looks nice and girlie, small and lite and cheap which is what we want, not as cool as Yoda tho.

AME Heated Grips, we are both on our second set having both sets fail within a week of each other, love the feel and good heat but think the electronics is a bit fussy, I would recommend not six settings individually programmable but one central mounted decent switch with off, med, high on them. AME, you have nice feeling grips but I can’t help but think fussy electronics will survive the test of time, heat and vibration, watch this space.

Safari 30 L Tanks, simply the best for the Long Haul, with a theoretical milage of nearly 700 km these are a must, for the most of the time you could get way with less but the one time you don’t and having to push your house and contents to a petrol station would leave me wondering why.

For us it is one fuel cell, no extras or jerry cans, we have our Motion Pro fuel tap on the side to fill our cooker, perfect.

The only grizzle is the Acerbis locking fuel caps, again both of ours failed on the Dempster by causing a vacuum lock, my bike stopped right in the middle of a huge thunderstorm so I had to undo my cap to equal the pressure, they are also a sod to line up to avoid cross threading and these have large threads!!! very unimpressed with these to be honest so it is back to the std caps.

Happy Trails Highway Pegs, best $50.00 you will spend (other than on booze), to be able to rest the legs in a new position, also opens your trouser leg for venting on the hot days.

Very happy with these to say the least.

Delis Tools LED marker lights, through Delis Tools (bro), visibility is king and many people have commented on these, they are not driving lights, just marker lights on our Barkbusters and they are visible from a long way past the DR candle.

Kincrome Cases, (the big visible yello ones) these are great cases for strength, the full length hinge we believe is stronger than the Pelicans at two hinges, they are waterproof at this stage, all cases have had a beating so far and they are standing up well.


The Pelicans though we believe had better locking handles, not stronger but easier to use, the Kincrome Cases are sharply finished which has led to a coupla cut fingers.

Home Made Tool Tubes, Delis Engineering Wanaka Division, these have worked out great, they don’t hang below the bashplate line, they have had some pretty harsh conditions thrown at them and stood up unscathed.

I did make the end cap waterproof and the door has butyl rubber seal for waterproofing which is waterproof enough to let the water in and hold it!!! ... not sure how that works, so each tube now has a 6 mm hole drilled in the bottom on the left so it can drain when ever on the stand.

GP Custom Bashplates, a must and well made, very happy to be running these, seem to be better built with more protection that one you buy over here.

Wallmart 38 cent glue bottle, ditch the glue, used for daily chain lube, simply turn the top and lace the chain with a nice thin strip of oil, we are using chainsaw bar oil, nice and thick mixed with a combo of spare new engine oil from oil change leftover.

Motion Pro fuel tap, used for filling our multifuel Coleman cooker, makes it very easy to get fuel for the cooker, no spare bottles required, neat and simple, no pulling fuel lines off and on.

Ricor Intiminators, these are brilliant, we put in 5wt oil and 500mls per tube, stock spring and teh combo works very well with the intiminator reducing the dive and the 5wt oils allowing the wheel to be very supple over corrugations or washboard.

YSS rear damper, great shock, the stock shock is pretty soggy in the damping and this works a treat, I machined the collars to fit a factory spring, I have used my factory spring against some advice from other RTW travellers.

I prefer my wheels to do the dancing rather than the bike and me, Ellen at 52 kg this works out perfect for her.

We also have to remember we are not seeking 6ft jumps, rough single tracks and racing circuits so we need to hit the happy medium between weight carriage and a nice suple ride on the rough, I believe we have accomplished this.

Icebreaker, nothing else to say other than superb, the Merino Wool is an Adventure bikers buddy, we go for days at a time without a shower (uwh I know :evil) and the Icebreaker holds it own and simply does not smell, even after a few stinking hot days I simply dumped my shirt and gruds into the water for a quick rinse and bombs away .. good for another year :eek1 JK 

Also the warmth and also the ability to keep you cool on hot day we simply do not wear anything else.

Pictured here with Naomi and Alberto from Salt Spring Island, Vancouver, even they are total converts.

T-Mobile it would be fair to say the coverage we have had is very very good, even in Prudhoe Bay I rang home to New Zealand to tell family we have fulfilled the Arctic part of our trip and that we were in Deadhorse, the reception was very good, also on the Copper River near Chitina, I couldn't believe we were able to get out from there so T-Mobile get the huge thumbs up, thank you for a good usable product.