Travel with athletes

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Travel with athletes

Travel with athletes
Polar round

Oslo, Trondheim, Mo I Rana, Helsinki ?? 6000 kilometers in 10 days through the wild north of Europe. Also there: a Honda CBR 900 RR and a Kawasaki ZX-6R, athletes with broadband interests. Is this kind of travel fun? We think so!

Monika Schulz, Annette Johann

05/02/2001

We don’t drive, we fly. The asphalt surface sweeps away below us. 180, 190, 200 km / h. Cars, gas stations and exits sweep past. Wurzburg, Fulda, Kassel ?? the autobahn does its best. Forms curves as if entering the Hockenheim Motodrom were to be simulated. Pure Adrenaline. The 600cc Kawasaki plays along enthusiastically, guiding me, wrapped between a tank bag and an Ortliebroll, as confidently as an ocean liner across the train. Traveling with athletes ?? so it has to be. The Kiel ferry port suddenly seems as close as the regular cafe around the corner, but when you stop for fuel, it becomes clear that things are not that fun on the Honda. Annoyed, Monika shakes her pissing hands, tramples her feet, digs for the earplugs, complains about nasty, high-frequency vibrations, the lousy wind protection »and anyway ?? the LSL handlebar stubs: If only we had never installed these things «. What brings a significant increase in comfort on country roads takes revenge on the A7. Barbaric noise, roaring wind. The sticks, which have been raised by around two centimeters, take their toll, and we plow on with familiar roles. Gottingen, Hanover, Hamburg. Kohlbrand Bridge ?? The sea atmosphere begins. Cars with Scandinavian stickers branch off with us in the direction of Kiel. At the Norway quay, “Prinzess Ragnhild” is already under steam. The CBR rolls on board with a rumble. The hectic park pilot points in the direction of the upper deck. “Quick, quick!” A steep climb, a tad too much gas and ?? ooooah ?? the 190 already stands sideways on the wet steel plates. Fortunately, the Honda catches up at the last second. Then she climbs up to the lashing. A brief vibration and the mighty bow of the Color Line turns north. We’re in Oslo tomorrow morning. But the next morning nothing works. The ZX-6R is stuck to the ship’s side as if it were held in place with an anchor rope. Flat! A metal chip the size of a fingernail pokes out of the rear tire and has slashed the carcass an inch and a half. With all our strength we maneuver the now heavy motorcycle to the hatch. A difficult case for the repair kit that was thankfully still taken along. The Dunlop D 207 needs three hours, two rubber stoppers, three gas cartridges plus a full load of tire pilot on this Sunday morning to hold its breath again. Motorcycle workshops will probably only be found again in Bergen or Trondheim. Nevertheless we leave. Chug carefully towards Honefoss. Better than sitting around in Oslo until Monday. The air pressure gauge reports a pressure loss of 0.3 bar after 50 kilometers. It is best to spend the night next to a compressed air column. But the exuberant weekend mood of the Norwegians blows all concerns to the wind. This is where people live. Now! You can enjoy the last hours of a brilliant weekend, speed across the Tyrifjord in pleasure boats, soak up the sun in front of the summer houses, load cars with kayaks and bicycles. We let ourselves be carried away, drive to Hemsedal, where there is both a gas station and a “single Hytter”. A slightly crooked house, in which it has apparently been raining in the back right for a long time, but equipped with a wonderful old Jotul cannon stove with sofa set, jammed kitchen cupboard and flower dishes from a young girl’s trousseau from the 50s. Norwegian comfort, very personable. The next day, the first route leads to the Kawasaki, which has been parked as a precaution behind the gas station and proudly balances on her bulging D 207. Almost no more air loss. Brilliant. For the best of things, we swing out of the green Hemsedal in long bends, high on the fjell, the remains of snow are within reach. Shortly before Sogndal the first fjord crossing. Like the tram conductor once upon a time, a girl with a belly cash comes to the checkout. Six marks for once xxxxxFjord. Not bad. Next destination: Jostedalsbreen, the largest glacier in Europe. Briksdal has a box seat on the eternal ice, but the 24-kilometer-long branch path from Olden there is 17 times more beautiful than the small town itself. The street is lined with bright purple foxgloves, spraying waterfalls and fluorescent green glacier tongues. In Briksdal itself, on the other hand, bus to bus, the bars are packed. Let’s get out of here. Back to the campground kiosk down by the fjord, where the young, motorcycle enthusiast owner shares coffee cups and exciting stories. »Olden-Briksdal ?? ten minutes, ”he recalls,“ no problem with the CBR 600 on Sunday mornings ”. It was crazy. Now he’s sold the Honda. With a new price of 40,000 marks, motorcycling can hardly be financed through a 100 percent luxury tax. Back in Olden (half an hour …) we set course for Styrn, apparently the base of all glacier travelers. Abba revival music echoes across the street, people feast on “varme polser” and free scratch cards. Norwegians love hot sausages and games of chance, and there are great curves up to Dalsnibba. It gets really cold there. At around 1400 meters, the snow from last winter is still thawing in July, and the thick ice cover is only just beginning to break away on the lakes. We shiver through this unexpected onset of winter. Then the highest point has been passed and the road works its way down to Geiranger in a never-ending curve formation. Geiranger ?? Mecca for all travelers to Norway, whether by axis or cruise ship, from Japan, Leipzig or Minnesota. On the narrow, almost non-existent banks of the fjord, there is hardly any room for hotels or campsites, and visitors crowd like pegs. Not even a dog house could be accommodated here. Too bad. So we thread our way out again in north direction, enjoy one last, wistful look over the vertical rocks that plunge hundreds of meters into the lush green water. A white ferry boat is loosening the lines in Geiranger and steaming away with a tiny wave of nutshells through the mighty west curve of the fjord. After a short plateau, the next arm of water appears in front of us, the Nordalsfjord. It is already 10 p.m., but life is still pulsating on the quay. Shops and desert vendors are very busy, children play at the landing stage, a couple of young BMW drivers are cruising around the harbor. Arrived on the opposite bank, we start looking for a place to stay. Camping would be good. And a campsite is actually signposted. At the end of the Talfjord. But the half-hour drive turns out to be wasted time, the place as a turn-off permanent camper reserve next to a stinking fish factory and a substation. 23 o’clock. And it is slowly getting dark. The meltwater streams gleam silver on the steep flanks of the fjord. It really is time to find something. We turn around, pass the small orchard meadow for the second time? why not? Under the apple trees up there. You can camp anywhere in Scandinavia for one night. The bikes stay on the bank, tents, sleeping bags and mini camping kitchen hike up with us. When we wake up, the fjord sparkles deep blue, a stream provides coffee water and a car comes by every half hour, otherwise it’s quiet. Because the main route turns off a kilometer beforehand, up to the Trollstigen, a huge waterfall with a spray-sprayed road next to it, which rises in innumerable loops into high alpine heights. Up here the vegetation gives up completely, bizarre granite compositions and deep black lakes open the scene, the rugged mountains let off steam one last time in unbelievable perspectives, only to expire in gentle waves north and east into Romsdalen as if exhausted. In Andalsnes, the scent of strawberry fields already billows in the air, colorful lupins replace the hard-boiled thimble, and on the house walls yellow, green and blue shine against the classic reddish brown. The country throws around with color. You continue east past the Isfjord, on the E 64 and E 660 along Lang-, Eres and Sonndalsfjord, in Rykkjumen over the Stangvikfjord and finally from Kvenna on a direct course Trondheim too. Phew, what a route! But it runs like clockwork, the athletes drive point by point on the well-developed, grippy curve routes. Nonetheless, the glowing red midnight sky calls for demolition. We find a campsite by a torrent. Eight huts, three tents. Hut number four is still available. Two bunk beds, a table, four stools, a hotplate, refrigerator and a note on the door, please clean up when you leave ?? finished. In the middle of the square a community house with showers, washing machine, sink ?? and two huge freezers packed with fish of the one-meter class. Neatly wrapped with small name tags. Fishing is a popular sport: outside, bait is sorted, new casts are practiced and the night hours are spent up to the stomach in the ice-cold torrent. Meanwhile, we ponder the map. In four days we should be at the WIMA motorcycle meeting in Iisalmi, Finland. The simplest and most boring option: turn right after Trondheim to Sweden and take the Umea-Vaasa ferry to Central Finland. 855 kilometers. First alternative: take the Arctic Circle with you, then to the ferry. 1155 kilometers. Or drive over the Arctic Circle and overland to Finland. 1455 kilometers. That’s it! When we crawl into our sleeping bags at 2:30 am, it is already getting light outside. The anglers are still standing in the stream. We are now dragging a solid sleep deficit with us, and an orderly daily routine is no longer possible. It doesn’t look any better with the locals. In the summer months between June and September we live what is possible. A few hours later we drive west past Trondheim to work our way north behind the Stjornfjord on the coast. Peninsulas and islands make you lose track of where the mainland ends and the island begins. The streams gurgling gently over pebbles, salmon jump through the air in front of a small waterfall, children bathe in the rapids, the doors and windows of the houses are wide open. The weather is still cloudless and we are changing our bikes more and more often, as the sportier seating position on the original ZX-6R puts more strain on the back and arms than expected. The Honda, on the other hand, rolls comfortably over the straight line like a Chevrolet. Almost 800 kilometers to Narvik. Mamson, Grong, then she’s in front of us ?? the E 6. The Dempster Highway of the old world, so to speak, the North Cape Route. We drive a column between East German mobile homes, Norwegian forty-toners and motorcycles from half the world. The E 6 is the only road to the north. If you want to go to Narvik, Tromso or Hammerfest, you can’t avoid them. In the middle of it all is an ancient Czech Tatra bus with a trailer and a huge diesel cloud in tow. He barely manages 30 km / h on the inclines. The young inmates strainedly look out of the windows, they have to be on the way for weeks to the North Cape. Immediately afterwards the next moving house. Bring at least 65 things. 80 are allowed, you need 97 to overtake ?? as I can read minutes later on the blond policeman’s radar display. 500 marks! I catch my breath. He smiles: “Sorry,” but speeding is very expensive in Norway. At the next gas station we pull hamburgers for 15 marks each. Saving doesn’t make sense anymore anyway. Happy is the one who forgets … In addition, at 27 km / h it would have been 2000 marks, he said. On July xx at 6 p.m. we reach the Arctic Circle. A museum, a small monument with a globe on it, all around only treeless tundra and the oblique light of the north. We feel like we are in the Artiks. Forests are sprouting further north, but here already 689 meters of altitude cause subarctic nothing. It is the most moving moment of our journey. A little later we turn to Sweden. Behind the border sign ?? the first mosquitos and the road only seems to fall, down between lakes, forests and hills. Reindeer territory begins. The deer-sized animals appear again and again at the edge of the forest, seem completely without fear, sometimes only cross the road at the last moment. The cars have powerful headlights, and residents say it is extremely dangerous, especially at night. We drive all day without anything changing. Trees. Water. Occasionally a gas station. Despite the 30 km / h higher speed limit, the motorcycles have reached their absolute minimum consumption of less than five liters, and the reserve lamps just turn around in bed at 290 kilometers. Shortly before the Finnish border in Tornio, we spend the night again by the sea. Suddenly everything is different. We are fixed instead of greeted, the doors are locked, so are the faces. The campsite owner explains: Russians. All over. Somehow they got to Finland, made their way through the woods, secretly slipped into campground kitchens and washrooms. A few of them also live in the camping huts, darkly watching the place. As a Russian, Finland is obviously not funny. Behind the border it gets much poorer, old Ladas are displacing the Volvos, the paint is peeling on the houses and the joie de vivre of neighboring countries seems to be wiped away. In a pretty garden tavern on Kuivamini Beach, the few guests brood in silence at the tables, and we too become quiet when the landlady, sullenly, drops the coffee in front of us. It is as if you have come straight behind the Urals. We head south over small paths and gravel roads. Around us a lake landscape almost as beautiful as in Canada. Again and again signposts to lonely homesteads in the woods, somewhere a village festival. The attraction: boat regatta, club bowling, rubber boots throwing. Russia begins in 100 kilometers. The second part of the journey could actually begin now: via Stankt Petersburg, Tallin, Riga and Warsaw home.

Athletes as tourers?

With the Honda CBR 900 RR and the Kawasaki ZX-6R, we have chosen two popular sports motorcycles, which are also used by many owners as »holiday fliers«. Both machines are considered to be well-engineered and reliable, so that the motorcycle technical holiday luggage was limited to optimized on-board tools, tape, chain spray and a tire repair kit for tubeless tires. Since Kawasaki athletes inherently offer a fairly comfortable seating position, only the Honda with around two centimeters higher handlebar halves has been ergonomically modified by LSL. Despite the mentioned disadvantages at high speed, this is a good idea that would also have been advantageous for the ZX-6R on long stretches of country road. For as much freedom of movement and wind protection as possible, only the flat upper parts of the divisible Pro-Sport tank bags by Hein Gericke were mounted on both machines. Incidentally, when comparing magnet or belt fastening, the fumble-free magnet solution clearly won. Small tubular steel luggage racks from Hepco were attached to both vehicles & Becker and Five Stars were used for around 100 marks, which offered optimal support for straps and luggage. There were no compromises when it came to storing it, but rather a set of ugly, but highly functional Ortlieb saddlebags plus a packing roll from the same manufacturer. In our opinion, with a total price of 380 marks, the perfect travel clothing for athletes. It is 100% waterproof, offers a lot of flexible storage space, and the luggage can be lashed compactly to the machine. Negative chassis reactions are kept within narrow limits due to the vibration-free position of the ballast close to the center of gravity. An adjustment of the suspension tuning should not be missing, however, since otherwise the heavy load would be in surging motion with every curve: So increase the preload on the shock absorber and fork as well as the rebound and compression level of the damping. While the Fireblade already put away the ballast in the middle setting range, the Kawasaki demanded full preload and completely closed damping screws until it went cleanly around the corner. Then, however, both motorcycles offered a simply inspiring combination of lightweight athleticism and unswerving touring sovereignty.

Info

Anyone who would like to get to know Norway, Sweden and Finland will find good conditions with this Nordic combination, as it includes almost all landscapes. And road construction in a class of its own makes Norway especially an ideal destination for the big summer tour.

Arrival and departure: For the Oslo-Helsinki round, optimal connections are possible from Kiel and Rostock. As far as Kiel it goes via Hamburg on the A 7 and A 215 to the signposted Norway quay. There Color Line offers a 20-hour transfer to Oslo. The high season tariff, which is usually valid in the ideal travel months of July / August, starts at xxxx marks for a person with a motorcycle. The Silja Line rushes back from Helsinki to Rostock in just 24 hours, costs xxx marks and should be booked in good time, as the ships only run xx times a week. From Rostock you can either go via Berlin and A 19 to southeast Germany, or via Schwerin, A 24 and the A 7 to the west to the west. The ferry special from page 110 onwards reveals further possibilities. The route: Of course you don’t have to ride all three northerners at once. But one can. In order to keep the whole thing within a manageable timeframe and kilometers, we did not expand southern Norway, for example. A three-week holiday between Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim is easily possible and is therefore a tip for expanding the tour. In addition, the North Cape can easily be included via the E 6 (from the Arctic Circle still xxx kilometers) and from there Lapland can be explored in more detail. Accommodation: Since Scandinavia is extremely expensive, we have limited ourselves to camping or cozy huts, which can be rented from around 60 marks per night (usually with four beds) on the tent sites. A sleeping bag and cooking utensils are required in many simple huts. Information: Finnish National Tourist Board, Lessingstrasse 5, 60325 Frankfurt / M, phone 069 / 719198-0, fax 7241725. Norwegian Tourist Office, Neuer Wall 41, 20354 Hamburg, phone 040 / 229415-18, fax -88, Internet: www. norwegeninfo.comSchwedenwerbung, Lilienstrabe 19, 20095 Hamburg, Phone 040 / 325513-55, Fax – 33, Internet: www.schweden-urlaub.de. Literature: Travel guides about Scandinavia fill whole meters of shelf space. Due to its good background information, we have limited ourselves to the Apa guide »Norway« and also the Finland volume from Martin Velbinger Verlag for 44 marks each. »Scandinavia« from the Unterwegs edition for 29.80 Marks is also ideal, as the six suggested routes fit the tour perfectly. Also very exciting: Geo Special “Norway” for 14.80 marks. Despite its terrifying scale of 1: 1.5 million, the best overview is provided by Michelin’s Scandinavia map. In the north it is even enough for driving. Up to Mo I Rana we also recommend the Scandinavia sheets from Kummerly + Frey in 1: 325 000.

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