Wednesday, 23 April 2014

one month on a CRF250L



It has been exactly one month since I waved goodbye to my friends, family and a whole host of bikers at the Ace cafe,  and hit the road. It seems a lifetime ago that I was standing on top of the roof of that iconic building and waving to the crowds below! Did that really happen?

"Look at me ma! Top of the Ace!"

In the space of around 3 weeks I travelled 3,500 miles on Rhonda and, if you count the UK, ridden in 10 countries.

The last week has been spent in Istanbul, waiting for my Iranian Visa amongst other things and I must say, despite enjoying my time here, I am really looking
forward to hitting the road again tomorrow.


This chaotic city is really quite organised once you get used to it and is really far more beautiful than I expected with its tulip gardens and stunning architecture. You even get used to the traffic after a while.

One thing that did take me by surprise was how well they seem to care for their stray animals here. Most of them are tagged after being spayed, treated for ailments, vaccinated and released again. On several occasions I witnessed people, including shop keepers and restaurant owners feeding the cats and dogs. There are small cat houses dotted about and they even look after their pogeons. 

That said, I am now keen to move on and see some more of Turkey.

The visa is in place and in the nick of time as I was one of the last from the UK to have it granted before the new rules came in stating that all British passport holders cannot enter the country without a guide. This is like China and aside from the considerable extra cost of paying for a guide, I cant imagine anything worse than having to specify exactly where I am going to be at all times and have someone babysit me all the way through! It would change my whole experience. Let's hope this is a short term thing and people wishing to travel after me don't have to go
through this for long.

Rhonda the Honda has been a great companion in all this time and I am glad to say that I have not once regretted my decision to ride her. I had high expectations of her in the first place but I  have actually been pleasantly surprised by a number of things. For example, her fuel efficiency has been impressive considering she is carrying an additional 5 stone of luggage. I am getting on average around 70 miles per gallon if not a little more. 
I have made a conscious effort to avoid taking her above 60MPH when cruising. However, there have been
moments, like on the autobahn in Germany, when I had to make up time after dropping the bike and having to fix a sticking throttle, when I took her to 75. Despite having all this extra weight on the tail she got on with it without complaint. Clearly this is not ideal and certainly not something I would wish to do often but it is good to know you have it there if you need it.
The only adjustment I have made has been to tighten the chain as I found it to be a little lose in Romania. I would expect to see this on a new bike. I haven’t even had a problem with the seat, although most would say it is uncomfortable.Perhaps my mind is just elsewhere but I certainly expected far worse. I wouldn’t say it was exactly comfortable, just not a problem. She has started first time every time and has used no oil to date.

If I could add anything it would be a centre stand. 

My choice of tyre was the Meztler Sahara Enduro tyre and I am pleased and a little surprised to report that there are still a good few miles left on them. I am comfortable that they will see me through the next 1200 miles through Turkey and safely in to Iran where I will pick up a second set when my path crosses briefly with Nick Sanders on his Machynlleth to Mongolia
trip. Nick has promised me lunch in Iran and has kindly agreed to carry a spare set of tyres
on his support truck. His support truck driver happens to be by dad! I may ride with them for a day before heading our separate ways.

My combination of hard topbox and soft panniers has worked beautifully, my clothing system has kept me dry, warm and cool where required and my helmet has not only kept me safe but also entertained with my bluetooth sound system. My only complaint is that my Sidi boots are STILL squeeking!! They are very comfortable but squeek like mad! 

Rhonda and I have been through snow and rain, hot and cold so far. We have ridden cobbles, dirt, pot holes and smooth tarmac. We have ridden cities, villages, twisties, and straights together and at no point have I felt let down or wished I was on something else. We have even ridden with fellow bikers who have been riding from Vespa’s to MT03’s to Goldwings and she has done me proud every step of the way. So far so good on the first few thousand miles. 

Tomorrow Rhonda will be serviced and checked courtesy of Mototal Honda, Istanbul before we head out and then, not before time, we get some more miles under out belt and finally get out the camping gear. Let's see how that works! 





19 comments:

  1. Ride ride ride. Sounds great.

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  2. Enjpy iran ,great blog graet trip.

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  3. One month down, many to go :-) . It's good to know your gear is reliable. Looking forward to more adventure stories & pictures of Turkey and Iran. Take care, Steph!

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  4. I hope your dad has brought you some sandwiches and pocket money as well as the tyres.

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  5. Great write-up. Long may they continue. :D

    Sidi squeak is a common issue...try a few drops of chain on on the ankle 'joints' as these are usually the issue

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  6. Now if I remember correctly that tent's got a big hole in it.......Only joking lol, glad you're doing wl !!

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  7. Great to hear Rhonda is performing well for you. It's a good bike for sure. Just watch that sub-frame. I enjoy the way you do your write ups here. Looking forward to lots more. Be good, ride safe, and have fun :-)

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  8. I read somewhere that a spray of WD40 around the squeeky area works. Happy riding.

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  9. Good old Rhonda the Honda - sounds like you made some fabulous choices Steph. Going well so far, stay safe and be happy x

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  10. Great post and it is gonna get even more interesting now as you move on from Turkey. Keep your eyes peeled and stay safe. A great blog and make sure you enjoy the ride....

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  11. Keep the posts coming Steph it's a real pleasure reading about your adventures and I spend some time at work telling people how you are getting on. In fact the other day someone at work asked how you are getting on and I told them how to log on to you, so there is probably more people following you than you realize.

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  12. Hi Steph thanks for the update on the bike it sounds like its perfect. I wear a textile suit so dont feel the seat although its not brilliant in jeans. I have been looking at some videos on you tube about modifications I will try and post them on your face book page. Take care
    Travis

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  13. What a fantastic adventure something us lesser mortals can only dream of. Ride Safe

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  14. Don´t put WD-40 on your Sidi boots, it will destroy the plastic, try with some wax o mineral neutral oli

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  15. good luck, will you be riding through the Philippenes ?

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