Preparation (alertness, anticipation, arrangement, background, base, basis, build-up, construction, dry run, education, establishment, evolution, expectation, fitting, foresight, formation, foundation, gestation, getting ready, groundwork, homework, incubation, lead time, making ready, manufacture, measure, plan, precaution, preparedness, preparing, provision, putting in order, qualification, readying, rehearsal, rundown, safeguard, schoolwork, study, substructure, training, tryout, workout)
We didn’t have much time for all of this and in our opinion it is way overrated. We decided from one day to the other to just do it. Kerstin and I just knew we go with our motorbike, go far, how long we really didn´t thought about. There are people who plan for a one year trip three years, which can be fun to do but we do not think it is really necessary and we have a hard time now where we got the time to plan ;) When we made “plans” on the road they changed sometimes within hours, sometimes so much that we actually decided to stop making any plans at all.
So what was our preparation then? Quit our jobs, sold in Prague what we really don´t needed anymore, asked good friends if we can store some things in their basement for a year or so (THANK YOU ANSGAR!). We moved back to Germany and stayed two month with some other good friends in Cologne (THANK YOU SVEN and JOE!!!) and with some other friends at their farm close to Münster, Telgte (THANK YOU Anne and Olli!!!!).
And then the D-day came and we left.
Preparation is an ongoing thing meanwhile, get information about the next border crossing/requirements, maintenance the bike constantly (e.g Kerstin is just tailoring our new Sheepskin for our saddle), look in the morning where we go this day, get the shopping done and the drinking water for the next two days or more, check where the gasoline stations are on the way and so forth…
The usual preparations which you just have to do we do as well; like getting the Carnet de Passages en Duane for the motorbike, Kerstin did her Driving License, Health Insurance, Insurance for the bike, GPS, Maps, Medical stuff, our Camping gear, a new tent, new tires, new chain and sprockets, new brake pads, oil change and some small stuff. Here we had a lot of help from the Horizons Unlimited Forum (www.horizonsunlimited.com). HU is a great community for travellers on two or four wheels. The HUBB is a great source of knowledge, let´s say you are crossing the next border in South East Asia somewhere you just have to know if it is 5 or 50$, because sometimes they will just ask you for 50$ first ;)
Kerstin doing her motorbike license:
So, where to start? Maybe with our “Big Lady”
The motorcycle and what we did (not much ;-)
Facts: Honda RD07 AfricaTwin from 1993, 70.000km at day of departure.
As-is state: crash bars, Engine protection, case rack for Givi cases, two Touratech Zega-cases which you have to screw on (therefore we rarely used them as chairs etc., but as bumpers in some countries…
What we did/built/bought: General maintenance (oil change, brake fluid, water, chain check), new brake pads, new tires, a spare clutch cable bypassed (which we never used, but it´s still there), a new suspension (we knew we will be around 450kg all in all), a screwed metal plate to strip a bag on in the back, two drain pipes (1x under the engine cover, 1x the back) as toolboxes and they were working well and cost only 4-5 EUR each, a new tank bag with 2x 10l side bags (TOURATECH VP45, DO NOT MISS!!! A Must have, a really really useful thing for water, vine, oil, shopping etc.)
Tools we had already:
Leatherman (one thing for all kind of repairing, cooking, building…), never go without somewhere
Restraint assemblies (A MUST! Not only to fix the motorcycle during transports, they saved us many times when something broke down to bridge over)
Common tools like: ………………………………….
Spare parts: Spare tubes, tire pilot… ähh, that’s all?! Yes! Stop, a little bag of diverse screws we took as well and we restocked it along the way all the time, you always loose lose screws, better to have some spare ones.
What we would take again:
Merino wool: shirts 1x long armed, 1x short-armed and 1x long underwear trouser (good to wear at cold nights as well)
Hiking trousers where you can sip off the legs and you have shorts as well
Kerstin worshipped her shorts. She could undress her motorcycle clothes asap without being “naked” in underwear – a real benefit when it is HOT… or use it as swim cloth.
Fleece jacket (instead of thermos inlets – more flexible and nice as a pillow)
Useful/helpful things and tips
Motorcycle garage: The shield that makes your bike invisible! In some countries people are interested in your bike. Let them have a look, let them touch, spend some time with it; afterwards you say “good night” and cover it. Everybody is satisfied and folks who haven’t seen it yet will not recognize it anymore. Very useful as well to sit on in the dust for breakfast or dinner or to sit under it using is as a shade. (“Golden Rule” you remember ;-)
Cable retainer: Handy in many occasions to fix anything; get some in different sizes and strength.
Tension belt: Beneficial if anything breaks down, as clothes line and of course fixing the bike for transports.
Tape: Did you know that you can construct nearly everything out of tape? You will experience…
Plastic bags: We were all the time were happy to have them; for rubbish, to carry with you, for fruits you may buy along the road, for wet clothes (or stinking!) which you won’t have along with your other clothes, to cover fast anything when it starts suddenly to rain, or just to carry anything extra for a time period. OK, sometimes we may have looked like garbage truck with all the bags stripped around the bike – but who cares! It worked ;-) And the best of it we do an active recycling, we still got some bags which we brought from Australia or Indonesia, and we still use them.
Dental floss: Not only to clean your teeth! Hence it is very strong and resistant so you can fix/sew/hang many things with that. And it does not need much room.
Shampoo/soap/washing powder: Forget about buying little bottles or container to refill them with all kind of these different cleaning things. Anyhow you cannot buy the right amount to fill them up again. We for example bought only ordinarily shampoo: One bottle for all and everything. Sometimes it is good to use real washing powder but you will find it along or buying it occasionally – be careful with carrying it, it “eats” aluminum ;)
Sanitary tampon: Be aware that you cannot buy them everywhere. In Islāmic countries for instance you will hardly get them. If you don´t like to use sanitary napkins make sure you carry enough with you.
Thin cotton clothes/Pareo: Use it as towel, blanket, shade ceiling, skirt, head cover, bag, dress…
We start with Kerstin’s jacket and step by step all the things will follow which we found useful or which we didn’t quite use so much. We hope you can drag some information out of this.
If you have specific questions please let us know!
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