Sunday, January 29, 2012

Starting to get organised.

So now that the silly season is well and truly over it's time to seriously get organised.
I've booked the flight from Australia to UK for 8th August using my frequent flyer points. Great idea but it cost around $500 in taxes. I shouldn't complain really I've booked seat 1A for most of it. OK its a bit flash but I had way too many FF points and they weren't getting used.

I also heading over to UK in March to finalise the bike. At the same time Im heading over to Portugal for a week off-road training with Simon Pavey. Well why not, I was heading to Europe anyway.
I have arranged 12000miles service in Manchester (not cheap) and will be fitting some new lights and all being well new tyres. I've been trying to get more off-road style tyres for the Tiger but there wasnt any available. I was overjoyed to see that Continental website shows TKC80's for the Tiger wheel sizes but when I tried to get some I'm told that they're still in development. Ah well, heres hoping they'll be well developed by August then.

iphone app for fat people
I've also been on a get fit regime for the past two weeks and have cut down on wine & food. Im at gym 3-4 times a week and so far have lost 3 kgs. Another 3 to go before Portugal in 4 weeks and I'll be happy.

I have my list of things to prepare and perhaps the biggest one will be visas, carnets etc. These will be arranged in April & May. I've just about sorted out what luggage I'll be taking. The Tiger panniers are crap but I'm going to use them anyway. I've ordered a rear rack and will be buying a top box to house other bits and pieces.

The hardest thing for me was dealing with camping, or rather sleeping on hard ground I should say. I simply cant do this and manage to stand up next day due to my dodgy back. I need to have comfortable bed and most camp beds are simply not that good. However I have found one of those self inflating bed thingies, this one expands to 100mm or 4inch in old money. I've tried it out and it works well. Downside is, its bloody huge. I've mastered the best way to get it rolled up but it is clearly the biggest thing Im going to carry with me. It can sit on back seat or on top of panniers, or probably both at same time. Anyway I've got this rolled up and it fits inside on of my ever increasing collection of dry bags.

I'll buy a tent in UK. One of those ones that has the poles on the outside. Might arrange that this week.

As far as route is concerned, I believe I have most of it sorted although the Iran/USA relationship seems to be deteriorating even more and I may not get entry, even with Australian passport. If that happens plan B is into China and down the KKH or the Karkoram highway into top of Pakistan. Then I will really need those TKC's so stay upright. Time will tell.

Lorraine is arranging a big send off in UK. As I wont be with her for her 50th in November its a sort of 49 and 3/4 birthday party as well. This will be organised in Yorkshire, well we seem to spend more time there than my home town of East Kilbride north of the border os it makes sort of sense.

I've been looking for interesting things to do along the way and have managed to find of all things a kiltmaker in Pakistan. I have to go there now. Might even get myself a new kilt as well. Also there is a village in Italy where its residents are mostly Scottish. Might add that to my route as well.

I'm going to video this along the way and have on board some good equipment. It's not easy to film your own adventure but some people have managed to do a remarkable job. Gaurav Jani has filmed a few bike trips in India. This one shows you what you can do although I know hes put a lot of work into it

Look up Dirt Track Productions for more

Anyway, I'm off to film a short piece to put on the website.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A lot has changed since last time

Since last time, the planned trip through China has fell on its arse. The people organising the trip have cancelled due to lack of interest or the plight of the economy or both.

So back to plan A then. Iran - Pakistan - India and with a bit of very good luck ... Burma perhaps.

The Tiger is not the best bike for this route so change of bike might be needed too. Lets see.
Now to make serious plans for the trip. The route goes through Europe at the end of summer, India in the wet season and hits Australia when its silly hot. Getting the timing right through Iran and Turkey is a fine balancing act I'm told, too cold across the mountains if left too late, too hot in Pakistan if too early.

My fitness is another issue. I was in Wales earlier in the year for two days off road training in Wales and really felt exhausted half way into second day. A recent trip to do the same in Thailand left me overheating and out of breath after some exertion on a small 250. I need to get fit to be able to cope with the heat and stresses of the desert so reluctantly I will be returning to the gym this year.

Im still working on the format of this site so it will probably change a few times as I get it together.
Back to new year celebrations for now.