Motorcycle adventure posts

I've been writing more or less regularly to this blog since 1997. Here you can find my posts categorized with "motorcycles".

cover image for First year of Qaiku, and a travel writing challenge

First year of Qaiku, and a travel writing challenge

Qaiku, the conversational microblogging service that launched a year ago had a refresh that launched today. While it hasn't yet convinced the twittering masses, it has already proven itself as a lot more thoughtful platform for the Finnish online community, and as a valuable workstreaming tool. The new version looks quite nice and fresh. Notice the privacy information on the...
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On to new motorcycle adventures

Like many years before, it is again time to head out on a motorcycle trip. This time we're traveling together with Suski on my old Triumph Legend, the bike that has taken me around Europe and the Black Sea, and has been out of commission for last three years. But now it runs again. Tonight we're taking the ferry to...
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Personal passions: motorcycle travel

Yesterday in GCDS there was a session about personal passions. First Jono Bacon gave a talk about the Burnout Cycle, and then various community members talked about what they do outside the sphere of hacking: running, cooking, building experimental airplanes and so forth. I gave a quick talk about adventure motorcycling, speaking about my 2004 trip around the Black Sea,...
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When reality meets product concepts

Yanko Design's You-SB concept: Jerry's real prosthetic USB finger storage: The story behind this is that Jerry had a motorcycle accident last May and lost a finger. When the doctor working on the artificial finger heard he is a hacker, the immediate suggestion was to embed a USB "finger drive" to the design. Now he carries a Billix Linux distribution...
cover image for Spontaneous adventures: some autumn geohashing

Spontaneous adventures: some autumn geohashing

Geohashing, as introduced by the awesome web comic xkcd, is an spontaneous adventure generator. The geohashing algorithm uses the current date and the day's Dow Jones Industrial Average to generate a new location for each region in the world. Geohashers then use various means to reach that location in search for fun and adventure. As out there was beautiful autumn...
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Volkswagen's 1 liter car looks promising

Volkswagen has released some information about their 1 liter per 100km car that will supposedly debut in 2010, and I have to say it looks cool: It provides the combination of compactness and fuel economy that usually only motorcycles reach, and at the same time protects from the elements. As I've always loved the old Messerschmitt mini-cars it resembles I...
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On motorcycling

My good friend Skoll recently wrote of the motorcycling life:
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When a holiday gets "interesting"

My holiday motorcycle trip of this summer was an interesting one, in the Chinese sense. The plan was to first ride to Switzerland to attend the first Haidong Gumdo European Championships, and then continue from there together with Juha to Montenegro. As it happens, Juha never got his motorcycle working, and my trip was filled with various adventures and misfortune,...
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Royal Enfield: Built Like a Gun

My Triumph Legend TT, which has been a trusty companion on various adventures, had an engine failure last summer. As a result, I’ve been without a working motorcycle for almost a year.
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Clearing the photo backlog

I’ve again gotten quite backlogged with publishing photos from various adventures. Today I fortunately had time to push tree sets on Flickr:
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A Motorcycle Update

While I was riding with the Monkeys, my Triumph Legend TT left a friend on the road with a broken engine. As the number of motorcycles in Finland has grown drastically in last few years, but the number of repair shops hasn’t, the bike has since been waiting for diagnosis.
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Back on duty

Summer holiday is now over, and as Tigert put it, we made it to Gibraltar.
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When summer calls...

…you have to follow. Next updates from me will happen sometime in late July.
cover image for Clearing the photo backlog

Clearing the photo backlog

I’ve been totally swamped by the number of photos taken during the last eight months of travel, and am lagging badly behind on publishing the photos. To help sort things out, I’ve now registered a Flickr account.
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Crna Gora voted for independence

Montenegro (Crna Gora in the slavic languages) voted for independence yesterday. Hopefully the split from Serbia happens peacefully.
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Motorcycles and targeted marketing

Last night I got SMS spam from Moto-Seinäjoki, a motorcycle dealer in the bothnia region of Finland, quite far from here. The message was advertising the possibility of test driving some of their new Honda range.
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That time of the year

A couple days ago the world was full of snow, but now the weather has cleared and we can ride again!

Cars and commuting

Arttu from Protie is analyzing his car habit. Up comes the environmental aspect:
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Search for a Motorcycle Mechanic

In what is becoming a regular spring ritual, the Triumph Legend is again having electric problems, this time with the starter engine.
cover image for An Afternoon with Old Technology

An Afternoon with Old Technology

After the starter engine of my Triumph Legend signed off the contract last week, I’ve been stranded without a working motorcycle. As most of the days it has been snowing heavily, this hasn’t been much of a problem. However, I thought it would be time to do something. As the bike dealership didn’t seem much concerned about the problem, I...

Che Guevara's Motorcycle Diaries

First part of the movie tells a very appealing and realistic tale of a motorcycle road trip in the third world. Many of the scenes and situations feel very familiar with my own road trips.After the sad demise of their '39 Norton the movie gets more serious, and describes the Che's Siddhartha-like enlightment through views into the poverty and plight...
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Back from Caucasus

The 11,000km trip was amazing, including diverse places like St. Petersburg, Crimea, Georgia, Istanbul and Kosovo.
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There is something special about taking a ferry trip to Italy. All the Croatian ship staff insisted on speaking Italian to me, even though I would've understood Croatian much better. On the deck the ones afraid of traveling were praying with their rosaries.
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In the Balkans

The Bulgarian border was much better than its reputation. Leaving Turkey actually took more time. No road tax for motorcycles. (2004-08-02 14:38 - Bergie)
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Through Turkey

Now in Turkey. The border was quiet but wonderfully inefficient. No carnet problems but issues with not having ten dollars for customs forms. (2004-07-28 13:03 - Bergie)
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In the Caucasus

Senaki, headed on M1 to Tbilisi. Nice weather and good road. (2004-07-21 12:45 - Bergie)
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The Black Sea

Started the trip to Crimea. First gasoline break on the outskirts of Odessa, and then on the road. Sun is shining. (2004-07-16 10:50 - Bergie)
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Ukrainian experience

Ukraine. The border was surprisingly fast and the nice border guards even warned me of a police radar trap ahead. (2004-07-12 13:52 - Bergie)
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Head out on the highway

Last morning in St. Petersburg. We're packing and wondering how Kerttu will get all her stuff carried without the motorcycle. (2004-07-10 10:38 - Bergie)
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Get your motor running

Heavy rain in Helsinki so we put on our teletubby suits. Odometer says 56084km (2004-07-03 11:53 - Bergie)

Travel preparations

This trip will be headed to the Black Sea, and possibly to the Caucasus region. Research for the Caucasus part of the trip has been going on for quite a while, but now it looks like the area might be a bit too restless for travel.

Caucasus Reading List

Now I'm reading Nicholas Griffin's "Caucasus - Mountain Men and Holy Wars".Other books I've been thinking about include:Panttipataljoona (Jokipii, 1968) - Finnish volunteers fighting for German SS in CaucasusHadji Murad (Tolstoy, 1904) - Story of a Chechen warlord fighting with and against the legendary Imam ShamilLet me know if you have any thoughts. As usual, I prefer historical accounts over...

Rides Through Ghost Town

"Motorcycling is a great hobby of mine. I ride all my life and I owned different bikes and I ended with big kawasaki ninja. This motorbike has matured 147 horse powers, some serious bark, it is that fast like a bullet and comfortable for a long trips. I travel a lot and my favorite destination lead through so called Chernobyl...
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Swazi Sauna

On thursday morning I started calling different motorcycle rental places to find a bike. Most of the rentals were out of bikes but finally I was able to find a reasonably priced BMW F650GS from Sama Tours in Hatfield, Pretoria (Darryl Berman, Tel +27825516132, Web Unfortunately the bike's battery needed to be changed so I could start my trip...
cover image for Leave Matebeng Pass for Goats

Leave Matebeng Pass for Goats

As my mobile phone had been offline during the hike, I had received a quite constant stream of text messages during the night. Again, the internationality of the whole trip amazed me. Our group included two Finns, one American, one South African and one Argentinian, and we were chatting in mixed German and English with two older couples from Hamburg....
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Land of the Basuthu

The evening around the fire was amazing. The fire circle is located on a good vantage point on the hill, with view opening across the small nature preservation area to the west and Pretorian suburb to the south.
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Struck by the drum

While waiting for the roast to be ready we visited Hogan's Irish bar quite near Wapandrand. The bar had Guinness on tap, but apparently it was African made and tasted quite different from the normal stout. We tried to fish out the beer's origins from the waitress but she didn't know it. Rumor has it they have a Guinness factory...
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First view of Africa

I left Helsinki in middle of a blizzard. It had snowed almost 30 cm during the morning and whole traffic was in chaos. Taxi call center had crashed, and it took almost half an hour to get a taxi to appear.

Bike problems in Estonia

We started the next morning with another refreshing swim in the river, and continued to the centre of Pärnu for beers and some shopping. The day was very hot so we had to stop to a beer terrace every couple hundred meters.

Go west

Tuesday morning in Pskov and not a single cloud on the sky - the first summer day during our vacation. Wearing only t-shirts we aimed for the Estonian border. We were there at about 1 pm. There was no queue, but then again there didn’t seem to be any officials either. While we waited some Latvian cars came behind us...

My friend Milizia

Monday morning in Velike Luki was the first one to greet us with sunshine. Dark clouds still covered most of the sky but that didn’t bother us. During the last few days I had noticed odd cruching sound coming from my Ural’s engine. The previous day I had topped up the oil but that didn’t help. This morning, after a...

On the Banks of Volga

The Saturday morning in Valdaj was once again gray. To our surprise the bikes were still there. Still, even when we were loading the bikes, we were instructed to take them to guarded parking area (stajanka). Despite of our plans, we decided to push on one more day and have a look a Tver. Before leaving I also adjusted the...

A glimpse of real Russia

Friday greeted us with a deprssingly gray atmosphere. After a quick breakfast we loaded the bikes. My Ural was running nicely. To our surprise the can of Binding beer was gone. We were sorry we weren’t there to see the exprssion of whoever took the beer, when he first tasted it. It had, after all, been with us for almost...

Ural problems in Novgorod

[Bergie] In the morning Skoll noticed that his left cylinder wasn’t firing. We replaced the spark plug with Skoll’s only spare and that seemed to help.

Russian hospitality

Monday. When we woke, it was rainng heavily but by the time we had checked out the rain had ceased. We went to the other rock store where Veronica and Svetlana were working that day to buy an CCCP pin to go with my Ural vest. We changed a few words and started our bikes with Staraja Ladoga as our...

On the road again

The sun was shining. It was (by the way, Henry is at the moment playing Bounce on his new Nokia) a beautiful Firday morning when Bergie came to fetch me from my apartment. I loaded my bike and we left for lunch in Atelje. Unforuntately it was closed so we decided to get the visas and eat something on the...

The road to Wacken

The next day was Thursday 25th. We started from the camping site towards Frankfurt where we were supposed to meet Juha, Jenni and Timo. The weather was sunny with some clouds here and there. As our goal for the day was to reach Frankfurt as soon as possible, we rode most of the way on autobahn. Lane splitting through the...

German campfire

Skoll awoke briskly in the morning and started the day by calling to an Ural service station in Wehr, Germany. We heared that it’s OK to bring the bike there so our target for the day was set. Also Bergie woke eventually to a call from the Italian Midgardians. We had a small breakfast with the last Switch franks we...

Just another day

The day started like just another day. The sky was somewhat cloudy, but cleared up soon. We had a breakfast at the hotel and started our trip towards Bourg-St. Maurice. I have a feeling I’m starting to repeat myself, but once again the roads were a joy to ride and the landscapes truely beautiful. And even if you are getting...
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Cultural Italy

The morning came with a cloudy sky. We packed our tent and countinued to Verona. At he first bigger town (Egna - Neumarket) we stopped at a Supermercado to get some breakfast which we ate at a parking lot. The terrain slowly started to be flatter there were still nice twisty roads. After driving by a few castles we stopped...
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To the Alps

From Prague we contiued onwards to the Austrian border. The border crossing went swiftly despite having to exchange Finnish Euro coins to the border officials. It is easy to see the power of EU, as after the border everything felt like home.
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Crash in Prague

In the morning we attacked the twisty road 11 towards Prague. At places the road had splendid hairpin turns where the Ducati and Triumph really were at their best. The Ural was also doing OK, but with the Russian tyres some of the turns were quite difficult. Scenery was simply splendid with lots of rolling green hills and forests.

Czech wedding

The star of the morning was the Ural. The previous evening we noticed that we have found the local Tattarisuo (area in Helsinki with lots of car repair etc. places), so we started looking for the velding-place there. In the first place we tried the master didn’t speak any english, but guided us to some other place. After searching the...
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Polish experience

Crossing the borders in Baltia was surprisingly easy and fast. When we arrived at the border of Poland, the queue was longer thn any of us had seen before. In the queue we met some fellow finnish bikers who had been waiting for several hours and weren’t even near to the passport control. Once again life is easier with bikes...
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Via Baltica

We left Pärnu on monday morning and started the slow progress towards Riga. The main roads here have very low speed limits, ranging from 60 to 90 km/h. Of course, anything faster would probably have been uncomfortable on Skoll’s Ural.
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Estonian countryside

We arrived to wet and dark Tallinn around 10:30pm in Friday, and started the slow and bumpy progress towards Pärnu. The effect of EU funding on the Via Baltica (E67) road we’re apparent, as road was under construction in many places. Unfortunately for us this mean removed tarmac and lots of potholes. Addition to this fun was crazy Mercedes and...
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Sinking ships

A Linda Line ship is sinking in the Baltic and our ferry was called to the rescue operation. We’re still waiting in the Tallink terminal, as we will the transferred to another ship.

Travel preparations

The first travel day has been busy with preparations, as we had to build first version of the travel portal, and manage all practical issues for the trip. We have agreed to meet at the Tallink ferry terminal at 4pm, although Rambo already managed to forget that and tried to book that time for arriving to office. This will be...