A good day

At 1.30 pm I got a text message from the Ducati garage saying that my bike was ready to be picked up and the cost was 292.19 euros. Thinking that was ridiculously cheap and way too early in the day, I was prepared for something having gone wrong with my communication and not everything would have been done. That does happen frequently with my level of Spanish. But when I picked up my bike  it all seemed fine and now the Ducati is ready to travel:

new tyre - check!
new tyre – check!
breaklight - check!
brakelight – check!

All the bits of the maintenance seem to have run smoothly, new oil, check of this and that…. I even got a new airfilter and a closed cover for free! Now I won’t have to worry about water coming through the old one which was an open filter and a cut-open cover prepared for racing silencers which I don’t use after importing the Ducati to Spain.

feels safe
feels safe

And I was told that the heated grips work now… due to +35°C I did not feel I need try this, but I will definitely be sending happy thoughts to the guys in the garage on the next rainy day!

So everything was good then! Too good! Coming home I examined the receipt and it seems like they haven’t charged me for the tyre. When I can leave work early again I’ll go there and sort it out.

back on my street and ready to ride
back on my street and ready to ride

So, this was a pretty damn good day, I even managed to get my hair cut. Only a few small things remain now. Awesome feeling – stress relief!



On my way to getting ready

Not much has happened on the blog lately but I have been busy ticking of my To-Do list. I have been contemplating the problem with my leather and how it affects my knees and I came to a conclusion. While leather is the safest option I also have to consider the importance of being dressed comfortably while riding. If something bothers me after one hour it will be horrible after one week. My Grand Tour is planned to take 5 weeks. Therefore, I was forced to go shopping. I hate shopping. Even though motorcycle stores generally are a bit nicer than other stores, it was still with great effort I went to search for new riding trousers in cordura.

Fortunately, there are quite a few shops located close together on Calle Bravo Murillo so I spent a Saturday there pondering the different options. I rather fancy having grey trousers due to the heat but they were nowhere to be found in my size and I went home empty handed. The day wasn’t completely wasted since I got a good idea of the range of clothing in stock. I followed up on the idea with another trip the upcoming Monday which resulted in me abandoning the idea of grey ninstead setteling for black. On Tuesday, I finally found a suitable pair. Unfortunately, they are not waterproof but will be nice and cool since they have sections made of mesh. Next task is to try them with my rain trousers to see how they work together… I’ll wait for some rain for that. Unfortunately, even these trousers are a bit short… they could do with a slight extension… and I could do with a reminder of what long legs are good for, seems just to be a hassle.

Other than this I have an upcoming appointment in the Ducati garage for a service and new front tyre. Almost all of my accommodation has been booked, the only one left is a night in Malmö which seems to be a challenge due to parking issues. The Britain tour came together nicely and is going to take me into Wales adding a new country to my list. I’m very excited about this! All in all, the tour around Britain covers 1800 km, not taking into account the distance I’ll ride during the WIMA rally.

While I was summing up the kilometres from the different legs of the journey I ended up with approximately 7000km. Exciting and a bit scary. This gave me a couple of sleepless nights pondering why most people don’t do things like this and why I do it. Due to the length of my journey I will have to change my rear tyre somewhere along the way. Now I’m trying to find out what distance I can expect the tyre to last, a question that none is willing to answer as it seems. Hopefully, I can be told some sort of percentage of remaining rubber on the tyre while I’m in the garage on Monday and calculate from that. Another new problem is the rear brake light which remains on after releasing the break. Seems to be some kind of glitch. I hope the garage can sort that out for me, the brake light is almost as important as the brakes.

I have also worked to complete the list of accredited Ducati garages along my route and tomorrow I plan to scan my important papers and e-mail them to myself for backup. Then, hopefully, I can give the bike a clean and try the new products I ordered from England. The PackSafe net seems good too. Left to do is to buy a compression bag for the bike cover, write to another couple of magazines, get a haircut and leave the Ducati at the garage for service and investigate the heated grips… and then it’s packing and repacking. I could do with some treatment for my left shoulder which keeps bothering me though, will try to squeeze that in too. Soon, very soon, I’m off!

Pondering packing

I was fortunate to get my hands on the British magazine RiDE which has a special on great roads in UK. Even more fortunate is that I have not yet planned the four days following the WIMA rally when I will spend four days travelling south to reach Portsmouth. Now I have some great ideas cutting into Wales and thereby adding another country to my journey, one I yet haven’t seen, neither on bike nor by other means. I look forward to some further planning and plotting to complete my plan for the Grand Tour.

In addition to the great road coverage the magazine is a super good read. I will definitely try to get hold of it again. The magazine contains quite a few readers’ contributions and actually asks for readers’ opinions and travel accounts. I’m definitely going to send them an e-mail describing my project seeing where that might lead.

Amazingly enough I even made good use of the advertisements since I found a site called motohaus.com. Since the Ducati Monster isn’t intended for touring it is almost impossible finding compatible bags and such things. During most of my years I’ve been using a waterproof sack and luggage straps. My first Monster had soft panniers fitted on to frames on the bike.

Prepared for touring Europe the summer 2000
Prepared for touring Europe the summer 2000

The panniers hardly fit anything and the frames looked ugly on their own, and when riding a Ducati, of course, you want to look good. Changing bikes I gave that up but kept on dreaming about a hard rear case. So far I have not found a way to fit that, even thought I met a fellow Monster rider last summer who had it and claimed the manufacturer was Givi. Happily contacting Givi they indeed had nothing for me so that dream faded. It’s not so much the need of bringing along more stuff, because during the years I have got used to packing ultralight. What I lack is the possibility to leave my Ducati with luggage unattended not needing to worry. I’m not implying that I bring along valuables, the thing is that I bring everything I need, and without them I will be in trouble.

touring Europe 2010
touring Europe 2010

Now back to my praise of the RiDE magazine. This add for Motohaus made me follow up on the luggage/packing idea once again. And I did find a pack safe system, called PacSafe, A metal net bag is fitted onto the dry bag and locked to the bike. This was a doubt-free buy, and even though the use of it is still to be tested I feel confident. I also added another few things to the cart, an Airpro tubeless repair kit for repairing a puncture and CO2 cartridges to fill up the tyre after the fix. I’ve seen these things before but falsely been told that I needed to remove the tyre from the rim to do this. Therefore, I thought it wouldn’t be an option for me since I lack both tools and confidence to do that. But, after searching the net I found an excellent link with information on how to do it on ADV rider. No need to remove the tyre from the rim, it all seems quite straight forward.

Now I’m confident that if worst comes to worst I can do this. So far I have had two flat tyres during my 12 years of riding. Most people I know have experienced none, but on the other hand, they don’t ride as much as I do. Lets hope I don’t need to test the tyre kit too soon though.