As the market in my part of the world makes it difficult to actually have a look at products before I buy them I have to rely on the internet for information on what to buy – also what people tell me, but as we’re not all the same, I sometimes have to rely on people who might see things differently.
I have for year been using hard panniers (aluminium boxes), but due to getting a different bike (BMW g650 xChallange) it was advisable to switch to soft luggage – based on the broken bone theory, and also if an alu box is dent it’s leaking and it’s difficult to fix on the road…. I’m not sure I’m a strong believer of the first theory, the other one I know all about. After hitting a “small” rock in Bulgaria in 2012 I spend 6 hours getting my panniers waterproof again….
Then enter the soft luggage, there are a number of producers, and due the exploits of Walter Colbatch (who can nearly walk on water – or so I’ve been told), everyone rave about the Adventure-Spec Magadan Panniers (mk2), so after seeing them first hand (they look right way), I decided to just in with both my feet pointing downwards…. right…
What I discovered after getting them on the bike was:
Now I have a pair of Wolfmans Teton’s they are too small for use for much more than a long weekend, but they are so much easier to deal with, strap them to the bike, and they stay there
And at the price they charge for them, one start to wonder what one is actually paying for
Now they have an Cordura 500 outer shell (fabric), then a kevlar layer which is supposed to make them secure to be cut open with a knife (someone told me that this is not the case … can’t remember who, so I say that is a verified fact), and then an inner shell (fabric) of Cordura 500. Cordura 500 is very resistant, and should not wear through, but it did…
Getting some Sea to Summit, or Ortlieb bags is the only option to fix this issue, but that is even more money on top of the extra straps, and with the initial price of +400€ this is starting to become a very expensive friendship
Velco, who ever came up with that idea… it rips very easily, that is one thing, the other one is that with that idea out goes the idea of using proper straps and buckles (someone might have a brilliant idea)
The pockets for the fuel bottles I can live with, but pockets for 1.5 liter bottles, that is just plain … (I’m not even going to say it out loud), I drink a lot of water, and it comes in 0.5, 1, 1.5 and 2 liter bottles, not I have to remember not to buy the 2 liter bottles again, which is silly. They could have thought that through a bit more….
I bought them because I was convinced by other people that they were the right thing, after had them on the bike, I am just very annoyed that I ever bought them as they are very expensive and not very vell thought through.
Due to this and other things, I am probably not going to use my xChallange on my upcoming vacation trip, I know that the Magadan’s will drive me insane and that will ruin part of my vacation.
I am not saying anyone should not buy them, but be sure you know why you spend your money on.
So, my sleeping bag reached the end of it’s life, and this time I decided to spend a bit of money to get a Down bag, and and I like space for my feed I was specifically looking for a blanket model.
After some time I found and decided on a Lowland Ranger Lite, sizewise it was perfect 220cm long, and 80cm wide, and reasonable cheap.
So I get the thing, 20 minutes before I’m about to leave for a long weekend in a tent, perfect.
Later that day, I crawl into my new (very nice) sleeping bag, and it’s a bit tight…. like I lack a bite space around my shoulders, hummmm.
When I get home I decide to messure it, and it comes to 71cm, not 80cm.
Right, something is a bit strange, I contact the shop where I got it from, they are a bit taken aback, ok, I go there, and they have a look at, yes, very strange, and compare to other Lowland Sleeping Bags… non of them are 80cm wide.
The end of the story is that they will take it back, and I’ll get a Yeti instead.
In the mean time I contacted Lowland Tends, am more or less told (when I ask why the specifications does not add up) to go somewhere else, and they cannot be bother about false marketing.
Now, I liked the Lowland sleeping bag, it was nice, but there are limits, they know that their specifications does not add up, but continue to use these specifications. And when one ask why, one is told to bleep off.
I suggest to stop buying from them….
This can only happen in The Netherlamds
I always talk about this thing I really want to do, which is travel the world, specifically on the back of a bike (that is motorbike). I think that while writing this, most of my family and friends would give a great deal of money for me to actually do it so that I finally would shut up (or that they would be happy to see go away for a few years)
I just by accident stumped over a blog by a guy not too far from my hometown in Denmark, who actually have done what I would like to do…..
This guy Paul Randa Jensen, is from 1944 and circumvented the globe, and still is talking about doing Oz….. man how I would like to do that….
I don’t know if you have had the great enjoyment of traveling with planes lately?
Well first, if you don’t know; our people elected representatives in Brussels did come up with what they call a ‘great’ idea, which means that we (that is us who normally do use planes on a regular basis to go away for one or two nights) are no longer allowed to do as we normally do (or at least I do). That is I normally fill up my toiletbag with what I need, and dump it in my selected pice of luggage (which either is a trollybag or a backpack), go to the nice lady in the airport, get a boarding pass and enjoy my days away…
Not any more, no we cannot take anything with us which contain more than 100ml of fluid, and all off the tubes, etc. have to fit in to a plastic bag which is 1000ml in size – great… Not!
I’ve been thinking about going to Brussels airport (that is the one our elected representatives use every week) to see if they actually have to do the same, but then again, they all have an apartment (or something more fancy) where they can keep these thing, and therefor do not need to carry it with them.
Now, the week before last I had to goto Zyrich (that is in Switzerland), and I was in a hurry, so I had to get some stuff in the tax free so that I could get a shower the next day, that was fine, at the shop they did put it in a sealed bag, which made it possible for me to carry it with me on the plane….. That is next day flying back it was confiscated, as it was more than 100ml (taxfree shops will have an exelent time).
Then whole thing comes down to, someone in England got a great idea, which non of us liked too much (as they played around with chemestry), but then our elected representatives in Brussels went over board. I for one do not enjoy flying anymore – I don’t know what is worst; having to show the people around me what I have in my bathroom, or just the idea of stupidity……
So what would make one drive 2550km (aprox. 1700 of these in pissing rain), cross 3 countries, I don’t know how many mountains, etc. on a motorbike?
Well [stag]Triump Motorcycles[/stag] German decided to throw a small party in Austria which included a bit of drinking, eating, bike driving, sleeping (and I suppose that other thing which cannot be mentioned also happend). This small party is/was called [stag]Triumph Tridays[/stag], and with a bit of luck it will happen again next year.
The highlight was a group drive to the [stag]Grossglockner[/stag] (which I’m told is the highest mountain in Austria), the group I was in was lucky – we did not have snow, but that did not stop the rain (every kind of it which exist….)…
What else, except for food, beer, and … oh, yes [stag]Kevin Carmichael[/stag] was there to show us mortals how to drive a bike (he is actually quite good, and a nice feller).
For me the road home too me over some more mountains to Zurich, Switzerland, and then up through Germany, still in rain;-)
Will I go again next year, probably….
So what would one do if one had a week of [stag]vacation[/stag]? see that is a good question. I tend to belive that one should go a see thing (preferable thing which one have not seen before).
So starting Saturday June 17th somewhere in [stag]France[/stag], to be precise in Saverne, at 9am (torture btw), this years [stag]Triumph Raid[/stag] of France was started…. well not exactly it was closer to 10am as the person who was responsible for the coffe had misplaced the key to the room where it was supposed to be served:-)
So everyone ready we set off, I have to admit I did not have an idea of what to expect, I kind of knew the distances (as was told that it would not be a race…. ya right).
- Day 1 (441km):
As said earlier, we started from Saverne, and went out on the longest and for me the toughtest route (probably be cause I was nervouse, and had not really a hugh experence in driving in mountains). 480km later and very very wet (for some odd reason the weather gods decided that on top of the nice weater we should not get too cocky…) we arrived to our first destination, Hotel Auberge des Lacs, don’t ask me where it is as I have absolutly no clue (which would not be the last time I would be lost that week).
- Day 2 (371km):
We started early, on a slightly damp Sunday morning (great no gas for non-french – you need to have a French creditcard to get gas on Sundays), oh well half of our small group where French so let us attach us to some French bike drivers… not the easiest thing in the world. I successfully lost my fellow drivers, but we did meet up again on the top of ‘Col du Meraillet’ (I think – I was lost again), arrived at Hotel Glacier des Evettes, and was ready for a very nice sleep…. btw was way too tired to have the desert, it was probably very very nice.
- Day 3 (332km):
Nice day, not too warm, and not too cold. Got distracted by my GPS as it decided that the route only was 42km long, and having to play catch up did not wote for a good day. That was sorted out, and finding some more ‘normal’ people to drive with (that opinion would change:-)), the whole day actually was quite nice, I got a bit of a suntan on one mountain (can’t remember which one, there was a few of them, actually the Frence have a whole bunch of them). We ended in good manner (without getting lost to many time) at Hotel Moulin de la Salaou at Castellane. btw does any one know why Frence people think that a shower means that you have to hold the showerhead while you’re having the shower.
- Day 4 (374km):
Some time ago I read about an area in France which is a small perl, not that many know about it, and it is absolutly beatifull. I’m talking about the Verdon, if you have a chance go there – I did, followed the whole thing and ended here
Also we saw [stag]Mont Ventoux[/stag] – highly recomended. The clime up is about 20km, and slightly more down (all included). Perfect tarmac, and incedible long bends which can be enjoyed on a motorcycle. 253
We got a bit lost on the time issue, and when we finally arrived at the hotel we where actually so late that people where getting out to look for us. All ended in happiness, and we had a good deserved sleep at Hotel Le Petit Calbertois.
- Day 5 (417km):
Humm, shitty roads, and rain, was what started that day. But apart from that nothing really bad, lots of driving, roads with gravel (stange this was a bad day in my memory). And btw very hot.
We saw Navacelles which is really nice, if one have enouh wather, by G.. that was a hot place. For once we where not the last to arrive at the hotel, which this day was Hotel de l’Eveche.
- Day 6 (265km):
What can one say, short day with lots of long stops, and more photo stop than I want to remember. btw one of the most unpleasent places to be when the blatter is full is on a motorbike driving on mountain roads:-)
Cannot really remember the hotel which was Hotel de La Chartreuse.
- Day 7 (275km):
Last day, actually already to go home, but we had to have this last day which saw us with roads with gravel in a way which I do not want to try again for a while. Very long lunch, a few stops for refreshment, and so on. We ended at Magny Cours, in Hotel de la Seygliere. The funniest thing which happend that day was when on of the French drivers jumped in, in the middel of the dinner yelling ‘oui’ when the French won their 1/8 in the worldcoup.
At that point I had 850km home, and I left the next morning at 6am, and yes finding gas was yet again a problem……
Will I do this again? YES!
More photos can be found here
click on image