Last day in Paris

Today is my last day in Paris.

Tomorrow I will leave with my motorbike to Erik in Amsterdam.

The last 3 days I did a tour with my friend Rob through the Belgian Ardennes, Luxemburg and North Eastern France. Last checks of the bike, does everything work well, how do I pack my stuff, what is practical, what do I have to change.

One thing I need to change for sure is my saddle. I am not a tall guy (178cm) and my legs are relatively short too.

So sometimes I feel that the R1200GSA is a bit too high for me. Especially when I try to maneuver it when at a stop. But for me it is the best bike for this kind of trip. So no question about taking a different one.

When I bought this bike, BMW offered me to scrape out the saddle and make it lower. Big mistake! For me this saddle is now so uncomfortable that I won’t go on this trip as it is now.

Luckily, I did this test weekend to find out in time. I still have more than a week in Holland to change it. And I had many tips, hints and propositions thanks to the Facebook pages of Horizons Unlimited and the GS Forum in Holland.

Today I have signed some last things in the office, said goodbye to the team, bought a tent and some other goodies, went to my hairdresser Vee (she is also a biker) and did the last packing, unpacking and repacking.

My emails have been forwarded, I don’t receive any copy anymore. I don’t want to see any work mail by accident while checking my private mail.

Carolien and Ichraf in the office are taking care of it all, together with the rest of my team. Thank you team for letting me live this adventure!

So, this is it, 3 months of holidays. That’s a first…. Should I call it a sabbatical leave? I did, in my out of office reply.

It is a weird feeling. I know I am going on this great trip, people are wishing me lots of fun and are telling me to be careful.

There are Facebook and Instagram messages and likes left right and center, and still, I don’t realise it completely.

I guess I will only feel the true extent of it, when I cross the Bosporus or so.

Can’t wait…

New photo by Paul Schim van der Loeff / Google Photos
New photo by Paul Schim van der Loeff / Google Photos
New photo by Paul Schim van der Loeff / Google Photos


It’s coming close

Today is the last day at the office for me – I’m saying goodbye to my colleagues and I hope to see everyone back in September.

And it’s just little over two weeks to go before Paul and I head off east. We have already done a lot of preparations, from planning the route to preparing the bikes. To give an impression of some stuff we have done so far:

  • Arranged visa’s for Russia, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Tadjikistan and Azerbeidjan. The rest is either visa-free or can be done at the border.
  • Figuring out insurance and other formalities for the countries we will be visiting
  • Got inoculations: Hepatitis A, B, Yellow fever, japanese encephalitis, rabies
  • Got medication against malaria, height sickness etc
  • Spoken to a host of people who have done similar trips about the do’s and don’ts – where to go , what route to take, what to prepare, what to bring and what to leave at home. Thanks Wolfgang, Marco, Peet!
  • Countless hours of reading up on ride reports to prepare for local circumstances
  • Countless hours of debating what tools to take and what to leave
  • Together with Olivier from the Motorzaak prepared the bikes – Olivier let us do the work so we got quite familiar with the bikes
  • Installed extra USB charging facilities on the bikes
  • Prepared off-line and on-line maps, navigation, compass
  • Arranged for tyres to be ordered in Russia so we can change them before going into Mongolia
  • Training: Medical + first aid, more bike mechanics like plugging tires
  • Training: Off-road driving with those heavy bikes
  • Built this website
  • Figure out how to make movies with a GoPro and a drone (stay tuned!)
  • Arranged for transport of the bikes back from Vladivostok to Hamburg
  • Prepared laptops with information, maps, e-books, navigation software
  • Trying to learn some Russian

And many many things more…

New photo by Erik Dooper / Google Photos
New photo by Erik Dooper / Google Photos
New photo by Erik Dooper / Google Photos