VENTURIDE Newsletter #4 - August 2016
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1 Month to Go!!! A dream about to come true

Welcome back to my Fourth Newsletter. I hope you are well since we last spoke in April. 
The great news is that the start date hasn’t changed and I still aim to depart from London on September 3rd. I will then stay overnight in Paris before going East towards Germany (Lake Constance) on the 4th. The Parisian stop will be very short as its sole purpose is only to say goodbye to those of you who will be in town. Oh, Ok, it’s too eat some tasteful French Food before I start my diet of rice and dry bread.

The other great update is that I will be riding with my dad Christian across Europe. Dad has been instrumental in the preparation of this trip and has spent hundreds of hours helping me out. To be honest with all of you, this trip couldn't have happened without his input. He has helped me by sharing this address book with me and assisting me with the preps when I was based in Glasgow for 9 months. I am so excited to share this experience with him and he is too. We have been going to the gym together to make sure we are ready physically. After Europe, I will continue on my own. 
Since we last spoke, the itinerary hasn’t changed much. Despite the recent events in Turkey, I still aim to spend a month there. If Erdoğan suddenly decides to close the borders or if the level of risk increases, I will have to reconsider my route. Generally speaking, I need to remain as flexible as I can with my itinerary, even if I am “constrained” by having a motorbike as I can’t just take the next bus or plane.

However, one thing I’d like to share with you is that I will no longer conduct the R.E.A.C.T survey because of the lack of interest from corporations; so to the 44 kind donors out there, I’d like to invite you to claim back for your kind donation if you are against this change. To do so, please reply back to my email and I will transfer your money back. 


What has happened since we last spoke?

Many of you kindly made fun of me when I started describing my fitness preparation so I will skip that part! The only thing I will tell you is that I will go twice a day this month and will do a combination of weights, running and cycling. I’m still waiting to see some muscles pop up…but maybe I should blame my parents and my family genes.
From a sponsorship perspective, there isn’t much positive news to share – I have contacted over 380 companies, individually, with an updated proposal but none have signed a cheque! Times are tough and they probably receive a considerable amount of sponsorship requests so I can only accept and progress. However, I have managed to secure some partnerships with a couple of companies who have either offered some gear or some discounts.
I’d therefore like to take the opportunity to thank:
  • BMW Vines (for a free mechanical session and some discounts on parts)
  • BMW Motorrad UK (for a free Off Road Weekend in Wales with some ex Dakar experts)
  • Gallimard (for free tourist guides)
  • WeeMoto (for discounts on parts)
  • Metropolis Motorcycles (for discounts on parts)
  • Hammock Bliss (for free camping gear)
Since we last spoke, I’ve received some great questions from some of you…so I’ve decided to populate this newsletter by answering some of the most frequent questions I’ve had to date.
Visit the site
Discover the itinerary across 40  countries!
Please click on the following link or check the image above. 

Overall, if everything goes according to plan, I should now travel across 40 countries, 5 continents. This will represent a minimum of 60 000km on the ground (Distances travelled by boat or planes to cross oceans have not been factored in).

What type of equipment am I taking?

Packing for a year is not easy, especially when you go riding. The place I have on the bike is very limited and I aim to be the lightest as possible, to make it easier for me to pick my bike up when I fall in the muddy roads of Tanzania, but also to spend less on fuel and preserve my suspensions. My target is to carry 35 - 36 kg of gear and here is a high level breakdown of that total figure:
  • Camping Gear – 14.6 Kg
  • Clothing – 4.3 Kg
  • Electronics – 4.3 Kg
  • Health – 1 Kg
  • Mechanics & Spare Parts – 10.7 Kg
  • Admin – 1 Kg
The above doesn’t include my set of off road spare tires I will take with me (+10kg) and doesn’t include the water I will carry with me (+6 Litres). If we want to be very precise, my full riding gear (helmet, boots…) weighs just under 10 Kg and this is not included in the 35 Kg target. I weigh 74 kg (maybe 70 by the end of the trip) so if we add everything up, that’s a lot on the suspensions and tires.

What is the type of admin work involved when travelling with a bike?

Preparing for such a trip involves a considerable amount of admin work. To make it even more exciting, most of the online sources are either not up to date or contradict each other. On numerous occasions, I simply decided to speak to some riders from the online communities I’ve joined ;) and it has been super helpful. I’ve met people who have been on the road for the last 5 years…crazy no?

Here is the list of paperwork I needed:
  • Carnet de Passage: The Carnet de Passages en Douane (CPD) is a customs document that identifies my motor vehicle. It is required in order to take a motor vehicle into a significant number of countries around the world. It costs a small fortune and depends on the value of the bike and the countries I will travel with the bike. The UK have stopped supplying them, so I had to find an agency in Germany
  • International Driving Licence: In addition to my normal UK Driving Licence, I had to apply for two separate International Driving Licences. These allow me to drive in certain countries. You can get them at the Post Office.
  • International Certificate for Motor Vehicles: It is a translation of my vehicle registration document (V5c) and is required in some countries. You can get it through AA
  • Bike Insurance: However, all the insurances didn’t want to insure me in some countries, so I will have to find some local insurance companies at the borders (Wish me luck on this one).
  • Green Card
  • MOT Certificate
  • Letter from Employer

I’ve also obtained a second Passport so I can apply for visas with greater ease. To do so, I had to submit a special application at the French Consulate. I also managed to get a letter from the Managing Director of BMW who asks for all BMW dealerships around the world to support me as a VIP customer. Like all travellers, I am also taking with me all the necessary papers for the 10 Visas I need.
How will I go from one place to the other?

As you probably know, it can be a nightmare to set up the GPS in a foreign country as the alphabet or the postal system can vary. To overcome this issue, I researched all the GPS coordinates of the places I want to see. These include the Longitude and Latitude equivalences. For example, instead of typing Paris in my GPS, I would put “48.856614” as the Latitude and “2.352222” as the Longitude.

In the aim of reducing my costs, I’ve also downloaded all the maps I need for free on a legal website (similar to OpenOffice). It is quite a tricky process and may not be as accurate as the ones sold by Garmin or TomTom but I’ll try and you’ll quickly find out if I get lost…
Where will I sleep? Could you Please help me?

To reduce my daily costs, I aim to sleep in the wild, for free, in 40% of the cases and I’ve planned to do one third of them in Africa. I have identified where I will not be able to do wild camping, and this represents a total of 240 nights. In these instances, I plan to stay in hard accommodations and this could include hostels, at friends, at friends of friends, at friends of friends of friends…you get the idea. If you know people who happen to live in the cities I will visit, I would very much appreciate if you could put me in touch please!

Thank you.

What modifications have I made to the bike?

The previous owner had invested a lot of time and money on the bike and had made it Dakar Ready (even though it is no longer possible to ride a 650 cc in the Dakar). Excluding the full service check on the bike, I’ve changed to chain with one which is supposed to be stronger but also easier to maintain. Indeed, on standard chains, if they break, you have no choice but to change the whole chain. This can be tricky if it breaks in the middle of nowhere as you would need a spare chain. With the one I have fitted, it is one where you would only need to change the link of the chain that is broken and not the entire chain. 

I’ve also changed the sprockets and the bearings. Moreover, I’ve also asked BMW to install a second clutch cable and a second throttle cable, ready to be used if one breaks. They do this in competitions to avoid wasting time and I think it will make my life easier. I’ve also installed a locker on my spare tank so my fuel doesn’t get stolen.
What type of additional preparation have I completed?

As you may remember, I’ve only obtained my Motorcycle driving licence in December which means I have very limited amount of experience in riding a motorbike. I am not afraid about this as I am confident I will get better as I ride along. However, to experience long distance riding, I went to France in July with my bike and drove +1500 kilometres. The objectives were to test the bike, get to know the bike and acquire additional riding skills. Everything went well apart from the fact that I managed to get a flat tire on my way back. Interesting event…!

I’ve also managed to get some data on my fuel consumption which is helpful as I don’t have a consumption meter on my bike so I can only guess when I need to put more fuel in my tank. I would have thought it would have been more than natural for German engineers at BMW to design a motorbike with one…but apparently no!
How is the Brexit impacting me?

My itinerary is not impacted but my budget predictions are. To accommodate for the Sterling being down, I’ve had to multiply my total budget by 1.1…Not ideal but hopefully things will evolve over time.
What types of tool and spare parts am I taking with me?
  • One Engine Oil (3 in 1)
  • One Fuel Hose
  • One Duct Tape
  • Two Tire tubes for off road + 1 for normal road
  • One Set of Rear Brake Pads
  • One Set of Front Brake Pads
  • One Clutch Cable
  • One Throttle Cable
  • Two Oil Filters
  • One Brake Lever
  • One Clutch Lever
  • One Front Sprocket & Rear
  • One Air Pump
  • One Set of Wheel Bearings (front, rear, left, right)
  • One Chunk of 520 o-ring chain
  • One New Set of Tire #3
  • One set of Wrench (6,7,8,10,11,12,13,14,17,19,24)
  • Three Hand Drivers
  • One set of Allen Wrenches Used Anywhere On the Bike
  • One Tire Removal Set
  • One Hammer
  • One Cutter
  • One Set of Pliers
  • One Brush for Metal
  • One Tool for Spark Plugs
  • Two Spark Plugs NGK
  • One Analog Multi Meter
  • One Set of Plastic Stripes / Zip
  • One Set of Rubber Bands Made From Inner Tube
  • One Set of Jubilee Clips
  • Ad-hoc Electronic Parts for the electronic system
  • One Set of Max 325 Watts Cable
  • One Set of Motorcycle 5m Booster Cable
  • One Set of Ad-hoc Parts for Tire Tubes
  • One Set of Nuts & Bolts
  • One Chain Riveter - ATV Drive Cam Chain
  • One Tube of Fast Metal
  • One set of 30 Punctures
  • Scottoil to grease the Chain
What's next?
  • Apply for some of the visas
  • Improve my mechanical skills
  • Learn how to use my new camera
  • Read the touristic guides and learn about the local customs and history of each of the 40 countries
  • Eat well and sleep well
  • Spend quality time with friends and family
Thank you for your interest and let's stay in touch!
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Contact Jean Malissard on + 44 (0) 7880 173 666


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