Sunday, June 16, 2013 @ 07:28
IronButt - the Danish way
Du you fancy having a sour bag and being on the road for a lot of kilometer? Then for sure you need to consider riding an IronButt, which is exactly what the two friends Søren and Peter did. But they did it the Danish way which is called "JernBag". Just to summarize what a IronButt is about, as there are three levels:
-1610 km in 24 hours
-2000 km in 24 hours
-2500 km in 36 hours
The purpose is simply an endurance race against your selves and the clock. All you need is to do is to ride the kilometers as stated and get the proper documentation. To have the IronButt/JernBag approved you need to be a memeber of an organization who can submit the award. You either need to be a member of the american IronButt or - as in this case - you need to be member of the biggest motorcycle organization in Denmark - MC Touring Klub. The Danish version has the same rules as the American, but is much cheaper, but I can guarantee that your bag will be equally sour, no matter which organisation you choose for your endurance motorcycle ride.
After the ride is approved, you will get a clothpatch which shows you are a member of a small and though group of motorcylist. Pretty fancy?
Søren is an enthusiastic motorcyclist and he runs the web page www.motorcykeleventyr.dk - in english it is motorcycle adventure- and he runs the web page with the aim to share the good experiences he has on his motorcycle. Further, Søren is writing about test of equipment and about the motorcycle rides he had and the videos he made. Further, Søren is from Vejle, Denmark and with his partnership with the local tourist office www.visitvejle.dk, he is promoting motorcyclism in the region. Great initiative - which you can read more about here.
Why drive an IronButt-JernBag
Is an IronButt more than just exchanging fuel and tires with a sor bag? Yup, it is actually a manhood test for motorcyclists to ride an IronButt, and that challange Søren and his friend Peter too. Originally Søren just wanted to drive half the 1610 km into Germany and then make a 180 degree turn and going back. Well, that was not exactly the idea of Peter. Why not just go 1610 km straight south?
Well, it sounded more resonable, so as said as done.
"JernBag - the ride"
The Jernbag-IronButt ride went as planned. No stress and no accident - only the pre-planned sour bag. The planning has been on the way for quite a while, so the motorcycles were equipped with new tires and both Søren and Peter got new helmets and full set of clothes.
No tour without sponsors. Safety and comfort goes hand in hand, and as they wante to be sure the motorcycle ride would be a good experience, they wrote to POLO-Motorrad asking for help. POLO were very positive and supported the team with two Pharao Tour 2 motorcycle clothes.
The motorcycle ride was a good experience and no stress as there both were time for some queue on the German autobahn and stops for having coffee and what else you do in the pit..
Just to be sure, there are no reason to stop when having been driving 1610 km. The tour needs to be official approved and checked. So better to be safe than sorry, they added a few extra kilometers on the clock. The destination was the Garda lake in Italy, and to be sure they were on the safe side, they took a lap of honor around the lake - ending with 1647 km on the clock. And it only took 21 hours, so there were plenty of time left.
The JernBag-IronButt was of course planned on Tourstart and the two friends used their motorcycle gps Garmin Zumo 550 on their motorcycles.
A few pictures from the IronButt-JernBag ride.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 21:54
This TourNews edition is written by Hilton Hamilton from South Africa in Randfointain, 50 km from Johannesburg. Hilton is a journalist, photographer and author, read about him on his Facebook and he wanted to explore motorcycling in a new way, why he went off on a Chinese motorcycle – deomonstrating that a top of the range bike is not necessary to get a life time experience on your motorcycle.
For a long time I planned a trip that covers the circumference of South Africa on a motorcycle. The idea was to visit places and people I wrote about during my career as a journalist, compiling material for a book. For example, I wanted to revisit the Denyschens and van Ecks who farmed along the Limpopo river and who had the first landmines that were planted in South Africa laid on the roads to their farms. I wrote their story for the Sunday Times some 27 years ago. I wanted to look up the guy who built an atomic fall-out shelter just outside Messina and to eat and sleep in remote villages while I listened to the tales of the locals. I planned to stop in at the local pubs and chat to the locals as I searched for the real South Africa I so much enjoyed in the 70s and 80s.
But I wanted to do it differently -- on a bike anyone could afford.
After much investigation I decided the best bike for the journey was a Vuka XL110, a Chinese copy of the C-series Hondas --total price, including VAT, R5995.00 (about US$800). The trip would have to be broken up into a number of smaller legs -- I have to earn a living and cannot afford to be away for months. My 23 year-old son decided he would also buy a Vuka to use for a 100km round-trip daily commute into the centre of Johannesburg and would join me for the first stage of the journey.
We planned to travel from Randfontein, where I live, situated about 50km west of Johannesburg, to Beit Bridge, turn left and run along the sisal road and then down the Botswana border, until we once again turned left to make our way home.
At the beginning of December we set out, loaded to the gills. We carried camping equipment, sleeping bags, clothes, some spares and five litres of spare fuel
each. It looked as though we were setting off on an around the world trip -- something that is percolating in the back of my mind.
It was a cool and overcast morning and the route took us through the Magaliesberg mountains, past the Hartbeespoort Dam and through Brits as we headed towards the Waterberg. In Brits, around 100km from home, we filled up for the first time and just outside the town we ran into rain. It came down like great, fat, pregnant, liquid bullets.
The roads and surrounding fields were flooded and, though we put on our rain gear before it started raining, we still got soaked. The water was shin-deep in the lands next to the road but we ploughed on to Thabazimbi, sometimes pushed off the shoulder of the road by the giant iron-ore-carrying trucks that run to and from the town.
We stopped, looking like drowned rats, at a local steakhouse in Thabazimbi for lunch, to dry out and wait out the deluge. Then it was decision time. Do we check in somewhere in Thabazimbi -- our gear was too wet to even contemplate camping -- or do we head for Vaalwater or Ellisras?
In the end we decided to go to Ellisras. I figured we'd be more likely to find accommodation there if we arrived late. I was wrong.
There was not a single bed to be had in the town. A new power station is being built in the area and accommodation was at a premium. We rode from place to place but everywhere was full. Then we called a number we saw on a signboard advertising a place called Jan se Gat.
It was a lucky break.
Jan se Gat is a private farm with a holiday lodge on it, owned by Jan Eckhard. He is a typical Northern Transvaal farmer, complete with short pants and rugby socks and tall as a tree. A nicer guy you couldn't hope to meet. He said if he'd known we were coming he'd have got some of the local manne (guys) around for a braai (barbecue) and a few drinks but he was adamant that we come back again some time. In any case, he arranged that we have breakfast with his mother the next morning.
Jan's personal holiday spot was truly the equal of many swanky game lodges in Southern Africa. It had a semi-open-air kitchen and a boma overlooking the river. The only "complaint," and it had nothing to do with the place or the owners, was, because of the rains, millions of flying ants had left their nests and invaded the rooms. The place literally crawled an inch deep in them. They do not bite but are an irritation.
We travelled 417 km that day and each of us used around 8,5 litres of fuel.
The next morning we packed the bikes and headed off at around 07h00 to have breakfast with Jan's mother, Marieta. She was about to leave for Pretoria as she runs a little home-industries business and was exploring a new market.When we arrived at the farmhouse she had prepared a gift of homemade ginger biscuits and could not have made us feel more welcome. Her daughter, Susanna, was also there and she made breakfast after Marieta left. I guess Susanna was in her 30s. She was a tour guide in Vaalwater, a small town in the region, and had obviously gone through hard times as she talked about having living in Cape Town where a serious relationship broke down. She returned to the family farm after her father, who bought the 4 800ha property in 1948, died.
We left Jan se Gat reluctantly and headed to Vaalwater where we stopped for fuel and struck up conversation with a fellow traveller who said he admired us but thought we were - fucking crazy to do the trip on such small bikes!
From there we headed for Alldays, 205km away. The trip had been fantastic as the area is game farm country and we saw plenty of wild animals in the game farms we passed by on the road.
I saw impala, kudu, warthog, a sable antelope, velvet monkeys, baboons and almost rode over a tortoise.
In a way, it was like riding through paradise -- except the wind always seemed to be in our faces and the top speed of the little bikes dropped to around 50km/h. Along the way we passed a couple of crosses on the roadside and I wondered who those people were and how they died. I sometimes wonder if that will be my fate one day. We had a great ride from Vaalwater, filled up at Marken (just dot on the map) and continued heading for Alldays which, according to the GPS, is 205 kilometres from Vaalwater.
At Tolwe, a tiny place consisting of less than ten buildings, we encountered a dirt road that, according to the map, is 32km in length. I led the way and two kilometres down the road, riding at about 50km/h, as I tried to move off corrugations threatening to break the bikes apart, I hit a patch of thick sand, the front wheel twisted and the bike and I went down.
I clearly remember my head hitting the ground and getting sand inside the helmet. The impact on my chest and left shoulder was immense and for a while I lay there, winded and dazed. I tried to move but couldn't. I was sure my left arm was broken.
I heard Bryan saying: Dad, Dad, are you okay? and I mumbled; I don't think so.He also fallen while trying to avoid me. He lifted my bike off me and helped me sit up. Pain prevented me from lifting my left arm or removing my helmet. The top box had broken off my bike and the front peg was bent so that the gear lever could not operate without first being hammered straight.I swallowed a batch of Grandpa headache powders and we tried to figure out what to do next. Fortunately Bryan had had the foresight to pick up both bikes immediately so they were both able to start. At that point I was convinced I had broken my collar bone and there was no way we could push on to Alldays or that I could ride 30 kilometres of sand and corrugations. I knew I would not be able to handle the next, inevitable fall.
But one thing was certain, we were going to have to ride out of there. I was simply going to have to suck it up and get through it. We decided we should head for the nearest big town where we would have the best chance of finding accommodation -- or so I thought.
The trip from Tolwe to Potgietersrus was a nightmare-route of around 150km. We got onto the N11, a single-lane artery to Botswana on which drivers seemed to delight in seeing just how fast and close they could fly past us. Once I had my left hand on the handle-bars it had to stay there because, if it came off the grip I could not get it back on without using my right hand to help. A piece of duct-tape solved that problem and I was mighty glad the bikes were fitted with automatic clutches!
Every bump in the road was agony and we arrived in Potgietersrus when it was already dark, after running a harrowing gauntlet of taxis without lights, goats randomly crossing the road and pedestrians stepping into our way.
Bryans taillight had stopped working and he was leading the way and I feared someone would not see him and hit him from behind. I prayed a lot, especially when idiots came flying past me almost pushing me off the road. I worried about Bryan -- the pictures that formed in my mind were vivid and horrible and I could not shake them until we were safely in town. Potgietersrus was nothing like I remembered it from 27 years before.
Downtown it is a third world shit-hole and when you're in pain, it is even worse. Taxis cut in front of you and stop wherever they please. Music blares from crappy fast food places and, although I saw a traffic cop, he did nothing about the traffic violations taking place right in front of his nose. We stopped at a hotel and while I sat on the bike, unable to remove my helmet, Bryan went to see if he could get us a room. We just filled up at a nearby petrol station, a process that required untying the ropes lashing the sleeping bags and camping mattresses to the saddles, so the petrol tanks, located beneath the seats could be accessed.
With a 3 1/2 litre tank and a range of around 130 km that chore needed to be done often and, what was initially an amusing quirk, quickly became a major irritation. Like the Nativity story, there was no room at the inn but at the fourth establishment from which we were turned away, the owner took pity on us and phoned a friend who owned a guest house. We got a room for R550 at the Platinum Guest house that I paid for, because I felt guilty about screwing up Bryan's trip.
While he brought in the bike cargo I gulped down more Grandpa Headache powders. Then he helped me undress and I stood under a hot shower. We ordered hamburgers from a local place called Alley Cats that turned out to be the best hamburgers I have ever eaten and only cost R19 (approx $2.50) each.
After supper I watched a programme on SABC 3 TV called Cape Grape Race, a very poor mans local version of the Amazing Race, where, instead of travelling to exotic international destinations, contestants had to catch fish in local dams, cook them and then identify the best wine to accompany the fish they were too squeamish to gut and scale in the first place. They also had to assemble a barrel at a local wine farm that, in my drug-addled state, I thought strangely appropriate, as it really was scraping the bottom of the television barrel.
I did not sleep much that night and had time to think about a lot of things. Like what would have happened if Bryan had not been there to help me when I fell?
What would have happened if I had been more seriously injured? Bryan would have had to get me medical attention and get me evacuated.
These are not the sort of problems you want to heap on someone, let alone a youngster who has taken a week's leave from work to join you on a trip. Doubts came thick and fast and I wrestled with the idea that perhaps the motorcycle travel book I wanted to write was out of my reach. We left after breakfast the next morning and decided to take our chances by running straight down the N1 highway, as the road has a wide shoulder and we could keep out of the way of the fast-moving traffic.
Motorcycle journey home
The journey back home can be summed up in three words: long, sore and scary. Seven hours later we got home with the realization that, as Bryan said: on a small motorcycle you are the bottom of the food-chain! When you are going absolutely flat out, with a petrol tanker only two metres behind you, blaring its air-horn, your mind tends to become focussed! I do not think I was ever more pleased to get home and see my wife, Joy, other son, Kevin and my animals.
The next day x-rays showed nothing was broken but the radiologist suspected a torn rotator-cuff. I was given a months-worth of pain-killers and an appointment was made to see an orthopaedic surgeon at the end of January. Fortunately my arm and shoulder recovered quickly and an operation was not necessary and I had no problems since. My intention was, and still is, to find the real essence of South Africa and to write the book. Not the South Africa found in the large cities but rather to link up with people who are - salt of the earth.
It will be a pilgrimage to rediscover the soul of a country that has evaded me for many years. The dream lives on. In a way, as a middle-aged White Ou, (a white guy) one of South Africa's most endangered species, it is been forced upon me. My pickup truck was stolen recently and I decided to do the non-sensible thing and buy a bike (Suzuki DR600) rather than a replacement car. If I can sort the cash out, I plan to light up Doctor Thump and aim at distant horizons towards the end of July.
Some facts and figures about the trip:
Distance covered: 1149km
Trip duration: 3 days
Fuel used: 29,5 litres
Consumption: 43,33 km/l
Accommodation cost per person: R455 (approximately $60) Sundry meals: approx R150 (approximately $18) Whiskey: R29.50 (approx $4). Total cost not counting spares bought beforehand: R848.63 (approx $120)
The bikes performed flawlessly. They never missed a beat and could not be faulted in terms of reliability. Bryans chain seemed to stretch a little but was simple to adjust.
Pros of travelling on a small motorcycle:
Cheap to run.
Light. Can easily be recovered or carried over obstacles.
Can be locked in a room if necessary.
Slower so you tend to see more.
Cons of travelling on a small motorcycle:
Slower so you are the bottom of the food-chain.
Every journey is incredibly long.
Frequent fill-ups are very inconvenient.
Monday, April 1, 2013 @ 12:14
Tourstart is used by many motorcyclists worldwide and Tourstart is the preferred web page and iPhone app for motorcyclists to find events, tours and plan a motorcycle route. We are a team of dedicated motorcyclists who work hard to make Tourstart an attractive place where you can enjoy your interest for motorcycle tours - but we need your help.
Tourstart is something special. We are independent why we offer integration with all major motorcycle gps types across manufacures and counties.
We have only a few commercials, which is far from enough to secure the operation. Adverts are good, and we are very happy with our advertisers. But, we want to focus fully on the core of Tourstart - the pleasure and freedom riding the motorcycls on a fantastic motorcyle tour.
How is the donation used?
Tourstart is free, but we have costs like any other web page. We use a lot on servers, programs, exhibitions, marketing material and salaries. Further, many motorcyclists has asked for an Android app. That is expensive to develop.
Donation to Tourstart
We need your donation!
If all users of Tourstart would donate €10 each, Tourstart can focus on developing or free services - for your usage and pleasure also. That is the reason we ask you to help and at the same time it is to help yourselvec to get some good experiences on your motorcycle.
We kindly ask you to give €5, €10 or €50 - or whatever you find resonable and can afford. The amount assures we can continue developing a good userfriendly web page as well as continous update our iPhone app.
Click the donation button and help us.
Donation to Tourstart from Sonny Frølgaard
"Thanks a lot for the donation to Tourstart. We are very happy fo that. Please tell the readers why you have donated to Tourstart"
Sonny Frølgaard, Motorcyclist in Danmark:
"My first reason is because Tourstart is so easy to use and because I spend a lot of wonderful hours on Tourstart planning my tours. Until now I have recorded 35 000 km- all planned on Tourtart. I also use Tourstart on www.sonnytour.dk mainly heading for Harzen, Germany. More than 50 guests have so far, and it is good to know they all have the mc route on their gps, so we meet at next poi or at the destination in case we get lost from each other.
I will like to do my fair part to assure Tourstart keep up the good work - which is the main reason why I donated to Tourstart"
Facts about Sonny Frølgaard
You can see all the tours Sonny has made on Sonny´s MC tours here and to gets some inspiration for good motorcycle routes. And of course you can downlaod the mc route to your Garmin, TomTom and Navigon GPS.
Thanks in advance for your donation.
Jan A. Pedersen
Founder of Tourstart
Sunday, January 13, 2013 @ 10:27
Now we are through the darkest part of the winter, it is time to look forward towards the comming motorcycle season. At Tourstart we will do this by participating in the motorcycle exhibition Hamburger Motorrad Tage. The 2012 exhibiton on HMT was a great success, and we have the same booth again, B04EG/045. We look forward to welcome you 25.-27. January.
Tourstart exhibit on Hamburger Motorrad Tage
This is a picture from last year, and we do look forward to many guests again this year will visit Tourstart booth. Last year there were more than 53.000 visitors on the exhibition, which is the largest motorcycle exhibition in the northern part of Germany. Come and visit us for a demonstration of our web or app where you can see how easy it is to find an event, motorcycle tour or plan a motorcyce route.
Demonstration of Tourstart iPhone app
At the Hamburger Motorrad Tage Tourstart will present our iPhone app for the German motorcyclists for the first time. And on the exhibition we will release our German version, so now the app support Danish and English and German language. Visit us and get a demonstration of Tourstart free app for motorcyclists.
Plan your motorcycle tour to Hamburg
Again this year Tourstart offers - in close corporation with HMT - a planning tool for motorcyclists to plan a route to the Hamburger Messe and you can of course transfer the route to your Garmin, TomTom and Navigion GPS
We look forward to welcome you on the Hamburger Motorrad Tage.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 22:22
This edition of TourNews will primarily be about our new Iphone/Ipad app, which we just got approved by Apple. The app is our Christmas present for all motorcyclists – and it’s free!
Tourstart iPhone app
Many users have asked for an Ipod/Ipad app, and we are now very proud to present the Tourstart Iphone/Ipad app. You can download the app from the Appstore by searching for “Tourstart”.
Functions in the Tourstart app
Tourstart’s IPhone/Ipad app has a lot of the same functions as you find on the web site, such as:
Here you can find a lot of interesting motorcycle activities in your local area, including infomation about the activities
You can use this function to find all the existing motorcycle routes that has already been planned by other Tourstart users
All the things you find in Activities and Tour, you can transfer to Drive, and plan a route – just as you please
You can create a profile directly through the App – the login is also valid on our web site
Download from AppStore
You can read more about the Tourstart app by clicking on the AppStore logo, which will send you to the Appstore.
Looking back on the year 2012 - and a bit on 2013
Tourstart has experienced a positive development with many new users from across the world. The more users we get, the more tours get uploaded to our web site. That is why we are especially happy about the progress, and we hope 2013 will be an even better year for Tourstart. To help Tourstart keep growing, we kindly ask you to share our service with friends, who share our passion for motorcycles.
The users of Tourstart are very committed to our services, and we receive many interesting suggestions for improvement of out services. All the proposals for changes that we receive are considered when we try to make a better service for our users. Therefore we will present a number of new functions on our website in 2013
Our presence with our own booth at the exhibiton Hamburger Motorrad Tage last year was a great success and therefore we will be there again in 2013 – same place as last year. We are looking forward to tell you more about this in the next edition of TourNews, which will be send out in January. The exhibition in Hamburg takes place between 25-27 of January 2013. We hope to see you there.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
From Tourstart we would like to say thank you for a good 2012, and at the same time we wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year. We hope 2013 will be a great motorcycle year.