Winter preservation

If it looks like this when you are doing your winter preservation, you have waited too long 🙂

It was with stiff fingers I screwed out all the screws… 16 or so I believe, and removed the panels to access the battery. Of course, it would have made sense to do this back in September when I permanently parked the bike for winter but, with mum’s funeral and all, I just couldn’t muster the energy. Nevertheless, I had hopes that the battery wasn’t badly damaged but could be recharged.

As much as I like the low weight distribution and the agility that the fuel tank under the saddle gives, I hate the thought of having to do this removal procedure to access the battery for a jump start somewhere in the rain while travelling. Better keep the battery well-maintained then 😉 I was thankful for the practice session I had put in the weekend before, when connecting the cable for the heated waistcoat to the battery of my 2007 GS in Spain, it did cut own the working time considerably. That was done on the street one sunny afternoon, if you really want to know.

Now, the battery is happily bubbling away, awaiting June when I’m next going to take the bike out. I bought myself one of these posh intelligent chargers, I hope it preserves the battery well.

I run, therefore I am

For the last couple of years my running shoes have accompanied me on all my travels and I have done some amazing runs in different countries. At the end of the day, I find it quite nice to lace up my shoes and head out for a run, it loosens up my body and relaxes my mind. This summer I have run in England, Wales, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Sweden.

Happy finisher of the Penrith Parkrun
Happy finisher of the Penrith Parkrun

One of the highlights of my running season was the Penrith parkrun in north Wales where I, despite some troubles with my right foot, managed to complete on a – for me – average 5k time. Start and finish is inside the castle, very spectacular and the people were super friendly and slightly excited having a guest on a Swedish registered motorbike 🙂

Towards the finish line/ castle entry
Towards the finish line/castle entry

Following this, I gave my foot some rest and it seemed the problem disappeared so I slowly begun running again. I had no problems with my foot for a couple of weeks and I could run 10k or an hour without problem so I thought it was game on again. Our predicament due to the Brexit means that we are staying longer in the UK than we originally intended and to take advantage of our difficulties I started planning for a new Fundraising Marathon-challenge for my 40th birthday. I signed up for the Beachy Head Marathon, which is a recurring running event for my friends from the Sudbury Court Running Club and I felt that it would be lovely to join paths with them again. Ironically, the same day I signed up, my foot problems suddenly returned and I had to walk back from my run. This time, I blamed the asphalt and put myself on another week of rest and then slowly re-started my training. I had now promised myself to only run on trails and gravel roads – at my parents’ house in Sweden there are many good possibilities for this sort of running and I was enjoying myself immensely running different routes in the forest. Then again, during a fast paced 6k run the pain suddenly returned.  Following some reading up on the internet I prescribed myself with a month of no running, suspecting a stress fracture in a small bone in my foot. Of course, it would have been better to have seen a doctor but I didn’t have enough time left in Sweden to be able to get an appointment so this will have to do for now. Sadly, my foot has not improved as much as I had hoped and even alternative training is complicated. Therefore, today I made the decision to change my application from full marathon to the 10k. This was not an easy decision, I’m a very stubborn person and I always want to follow up all my decisions and reach my goals. However, I feel that persistence is not leading anywhere now and I have to see reason and not push my body further than it can recover. The planning for the fundraising birthday-event is still underway and if I can get fit for a 10k in my current situation it would indeed be a great achievement and I have to be pleased with that. Sometimes it is harder not to run than actually running.

Costal running at the end of a rainy day
Coastal running at the end of a rainy day

Sweden – at last, and now I’m stuck here

Travelling up to Sweden was lovely and I just took things as they came. Since I felt like it, I stayed one day longer in the south of eastern Germany, I had no ferry booking – I just bought a ticket before riding on to it. The price was just the same as if I would have booked early. Also, this ferry doesn’t require that one books a cabin, which saves me a lot of money since a cabin is really expensive for a solo traveller and I’m happy to sleep on the floor if it saves me money.

I just stopped to have some tea and nibbles from my top case and look who are coming to greet me!
I just stopped to have some tea and nibbles from my top case and look who are coming to greet me!

Entering Sweden, the weather was at its best. I rode up to visit Carola, our national president for WIMA Sweden. She was offering breakfast and I had information to pass on from the Presidents’ meeting in Hungary. We had a long, leisurely breakfast that continued until lunchtime. Then I rode north to see friends in Jönköping. At this point, it was nice to park the bike andnot touch it for a few days. Onwards from there, I rode to Gothenburg, where I was to spend a couple of days riding the good old roads with friends. It was nice to do “social riding” and honestly I was more interested in the coffee and chat than in the riding itself. Sweden has such beautiful countryside and the summer cafés are absolute gems. We had homemade cake at Grovare Lamm och Handel, you have to know where to find these places and in Sweden these cafes make for riding destinations for motorbikers.

Having fika - the Swedish concept when you meet for coffee at Grovare Lamm och Handel. Strictly speaking we were not meeting here, Anne was leading the way since this area is her stomping ground. Photo Courtesy: Ela
Having fika – the Swedish concept when you meet for coffee at Grovare Lamm och Handel. Strictly speaking we were not meeting here, Anne was leading the way since this area is her stomping ground. Photo Courtesy: Ela

Be aware - there might be gravel. Photo Courtesy: Ela
Be aware – there might be gravel. Photo Courtesy: Ela

The last leg, for this time, was up towards Karlstad and my home. The countryside where I come from is called Segerstad, which literally translates as “the town of victory”. When I arrive here on my bike it does truly feel like a victory, every time. Especially the last 5 years, when I have travelled either all the way from Spain, or like this year, from England via Wales and Hungary. Someone pointed out that it wasn’t the nearest way. Who wants to take the nearest way? Well, actually returning to England I do. A direct ferry would be brilliant.

Segerstad - I made it, what a Victory
Segerstad – I made it, what a Victory

Today, I’ve had a busy day, finding out information on the internet. I have tried to sort things out according to new possible plans and mainly I have found out how not the way I want things are going to happen. First of all, I have change a university course in Japanese to Spanish and investigated the time frame of the validity of my motorbike insurance abroad. Since I don’t know where I’m going to live during next year and it is likely to be too cold to return the bike to Sweden later on. Besides I need the wheels. I honestly can’t think of storing my bike away another winter. It is just too sad. As it stands, my insurance days abroad will run out in the end of February so I’ll need to have a solid plan by then. As for the Spanish course, I am now accepted but then the next problem needs to be solved – we’ll be in Scotland camping for the first bit of the course and the 4G net isn’t all that developed – will I be able to find good enough internet for the first couple of seminars?

My home town Karlstad - on my way home from the garage I did some sight seeing.The woman who stands statue is "the Sun" of Karlstad, a waitress at a cafe who had a very sunny temper. Therefore the sun is the logo of the town but unfortunately it doesn't mean that the weather is always sunny
My home town Karlstad – on my way home from the garage I did some sightseeing.The woman who stands as a statue is “the Sun” of Karlstad, a waitress at a cafe who had a very sunny temprament. Therefore the sun is the logo of the town but unfortunately it doesn’t mean that the weather is always sunny

Well, to be able to get to Scotland I must first get from Sweden to the British Isles. So, I have tried to book myself and my bike on a freight ferry for a swift return but without success. Therefore, I will, again, have to make the rather epic journey down to Hook of Holland. It seems like the best option is a ferry from Gothenburg to Fredrikshavn and then onwards, 1000k ride to the next ferry. It will take me a few days longer and cost me a lot more. I hope to be able to meet up with some friends along the way to make the trip more exciting.

Lately, I have been meditating on the idea of changing my bike for a lighter one, perhaps smaller, since we are increasingly riding small mountain roads and the Versys is rather heavy and the weight distribution isn’t brilliant. However, it is amazing when it comes to carrying large amounts of luggage and super comfy to ride far, albeit not fast due to the vibrations. Maybe I should make up my mind and decide to keep it – and then order that aftermarket central stand I so dearly want.

The chain and the suspension - how it works according to Kjell. If only I had a central stand I would be much more able to look after my chain, or so I believe. Courtesy: Ela
The chain and the suspension – how it works according to Kjell. If only I had a central stand I would be much more able to look after my chain, or so I believe. Courtesy: Ela

Well, regarding the bike I have more urgent matters. Getting an appointment at the garage here in town proved difficult. I had expected this, that was why I wanted to get the clutch cable sorted in Hungary and had the service booked in England before leaving. The local Kawasaki mechanic is on vacation and the others don’t want to touch my bike since they are busy with their brands. The bits have been ordered but there is no guarantee that there will be time to do the work when the mechanic comes back. I might have to pack them in my panniers. Knowing this doesn’t encourage me to spend dear money on ferry tickets either. Really, I should learn how to do stuff myself. Therefore, I spent some time googling for basic mechanic workshops and this resulted in a booking for Christopher and myself at the Oval Motorcycle Centre in London at the end of November. I’m cross with myself for not finding this course while based in London. To make the journey worthwhile, we are combining it with the play No Man’s Land with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart – this will be like seeing Magneto and Charles Xavier or Gandalf and Captain Picard together, or both. I’m going to be emotional. In fact, I am, just thinking about it.