Bulgaria and back on a WR250R to join the ABC/BBS crew

Where you've been and what you done
catcitrus
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Bulgaria and back on a WR250R to join the ABC/BBS crew

Post by catcitrus » Sun May 14, 2017 8:26 pm

Late last year at a Wales ABC meet Mr Beddows and Dave (Nethan--BBS) mentioned that a week in Bulgaria offroading was being planned. Bikes would be crated and shipped and the base would be Matt's hotel near Samokov--see the Bulgaria braaaaap thread. I decided , as I had the time, to ride out and back on the little WR250R--simply a "smell the flowers " road trip. I set out on the 17th April from home north of Peterborough at a very early hour to catch the 11.00 ferry from Dover. A bit cold and grey, but dry. I never planned anything except a vague route off any payage and the first night was a campsite in Cambrai (I think!) --taken over by an advance party of TA helpers preparing for an onslaught of kids on a battlefield tour--and they looked after me as well!. That first night was COLD(see below). It then rained as I was packing up--not the best of starts.
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First a little bit about the bike and kit--skip this if not interested--I will add the next stage soon:
2007 Yam WR250R
IMS 12 litre tank
Gearing slightly lower than stock ( I normally run a lot lower than stock for trail riding)
Mefo explorers, Seat Concepts seat from the US and resprung a revalved suspension, and my own bashplate (carbon) and screen extension.
Fresh oil, filter and chain.
Pannier frames for the US (brick built)
Ortlieb dry panniers, GL tank bag, ATV tank pannier bags from Moose and a Crane roll bag
3 man tent--Blacks ripstop 3 hoop at 2.9 kg, Downmat, down bag (British)
basic cooking and the usual wash stuff etc
Just 3 tops, 3 sets of underwear, Husaberg enduro jacket, freestyle MX trousers--both to cope with warm weather.
German army goretex top and salopettes, waterproof boot covers and goretex overmits.

Then a whole load of spares--tubes, tyre levers, electric pump, hand pump, spare reg/rect, spare fuel pump (been caught before), Li starter pack, multimeter, epoxy, wire, usual spanners etc, Sugru, Garmin Montana , two phones and chargers, LED mini floods, first aid kit, wheel bearings, oil, chain lube--and it goes on and and on!!--its a mental thing really--and the thought is that if usual things go wrong I can fix them in any garage as I have the parts.
The Yam is very good for a modern bike as you can check faults, cycle things like the fan, headlight, check the throttle position sensor, temp senders, atmospheric pressure sender and so on all from the dash--I carry a crib sheet and also a workshop manual CD!
I suppose to sum up its 3/4 camping and spares and 1/4 clothes--and after nearly 4 weeks on the road I think I got it right--but only needed to adjust the chain once--as I said in the main thread--Murphy's law applies.

The route will continue down through France and follow as far as possible the "Route Napoleon"

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beddowsm
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Re: Bulgaria and back on a WR250R to join the ABC/BBS crew

Post by beddowsm » Mon May 15, 2017 6:36 am

Nice one Chris, looking forward to the rest.

Respect for riding all that way. Wish I had the time to do something similar. Only option for me was to ship with just a week off work.

catcitrus
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Re: Bulgaria and back on a WR250R to join the ABC/BBS crew

Post by catcitrus » Mon May 15, 2017 8:27 am

It wasn't that difficult--just a day at a time--and no "race to a hotel" as I simply ride until about 5 pm each day and then looked for a campsite--quite stress free apart from being totally alone on Greek roads--and 16 km of the Gotthard tunnel--pass was/is still closed--the Tunnel is VERY HOT and intimidating on a bike. I am of an age where I do have the time, but perhaps not the money--and the 65 mph pace of the WR means that you are forced to take your time and take in the surroundings. However, getting going and not faffing about in petrol stations and cafes means that you can cover good distances--a big advantage of solo travel. No sound, bluetooth or other crap--just your own musings and mental calculations and so on---Zen!
Hopefully the next instalment this evening with more scenic pics.

I even took the Yam to the MCN show yesterday--not even washed yet--and my son swapped his R80G/S with it on the way back--it goes well and he reckons the motor is fine---just checked--its got 17k on the odo now. The CCM guys had that funny "bobber" on display for the "hipsters"--I had my beard first!-seems like its still a way off production with lots of 3D printed parts including the fuel tank (solid!). I also asked about the new SWM powered model--thats also a good year off or so--not that I would spend that much on any bike--simply not good value-if you can afford it of course then go for it. I reckon KTM have lost the plot on quality control and electronics apart from their stock in trade EXCs etc, and maybe the new Japanese middleweight "adventure bikes" will take over. Price is key to new, or secondhand and farkle.--I note that the even the Honda CRF250L has crept to over 4k.--add a decent travel kit and its getting very expensive.

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Re: Bulgaria and back on a WR250R to join the ABC/BBS crew

Post by boboneleg » Mon May 15, 2017 10:10 am

Oooooooooh, crack on Chris, this should be good Image

I know what you're saying about spares, my tools/spares bag seems to get bigger every year, do you think that we worry more as we get older ?
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Re: Bulgaria and back on a WR250R to join the ABC/BBS crew

Post by tea007 » Mon May 15, 2017 10:34 am

Glad to here your home safe Chris
Catch you soon

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Re: Bulgaria and back on a WR250R to join the ABC/BBS crew

Post by 92kk k100lt 193214 » Mon May 15, 2017 11:33 am

Nice trip and a nice thread.

As always proof you don't have to take a big bike, just as important to be at one with whatever bike you take. I have done big trips on a 125 and they were just as memorable as any others. Just stay off motorways.

Your kit sounds like a man of experience too.

I must admit the for me the most important stress free part of a trip like that is just going along and finding some place to stop and camp and no hassles looking for the hotel you booked or being under pressure to ride late to make an hotel.

Tent size is tricky because in colder weather smaller tent is warmer at night. I have a small 2 man dome, 2 man tunnel with a big porch and a 3 man tunnel with a bigger porch [Coleman Coastline 3 Plus] that came new this year and has been out twice with excellent results. All pitch outer first or pitch all in one so you can set up or decamp in rain keeping everything dry.

I also love travelling solo but have been very lucky to have found a like minded travel mate and its still much like travelling solo, best of both worlds.
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Re: Bulgaria and back on a WR250R to join the ABC/BBS crew

Post by RichP » Mon May 15, 2017 11:51 am

I'm currently half way across the Bay of Biscay on the Portsmouth to Bilbao ferry. First trip on my WR250R. Bought it as a bit of a stop gap as I sold my KTM 690 a few weeks back but haven't finished building my 500 exc. The little Yam sat at 65-70 quite happily for the 160 miles down to Portsmouth. We are heading for Zamora in Spain, then riding a 500 mile circular route around north Portugal, a mixture of roads and tracks. My mate is on a CCM 450. So far I've been pretty impressed with the 250.

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Re: Bulgaria and back on a WR250R to join the ABC/BBS crew

Post by johnnyboxer » Mon May 15, 2017 12:39 pm

Spirit of Adventure Biking

Following with interest
We buy things we don't need



With money we don't have



To impress people we don't even like

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Re: Bulgaria and back on a WR250R to join the ABC/BBS crew

Post by catcitrus » Mon May 15, 2017 5:42 pm

Instalment No 2:
Decided that I must head south for(hopefully) better weather. keeping to the N44, D977 and the like (the numbers seem to randomly change!) I headed past St Quentin, Laon, Reims, Chalons -en -Champagne, Troyes and finally hit Dijon--vines everywhere. I managed to find an obscure campsite south of Dijon--its early season and I was the only one there--until a couple of Dutch campers turned up--a beer, sausage, cheese and a good chat--and after I had scurried off to the local supermarche for fresh food--and after pitching the tent of course.
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Sorry about another camping shot--but you can see whats on offer.
After Dijon it was down past Lyon, then heading for Grenoble (now subject to an emissions sticker if you "go in"). I was hoping to do the full route Napoleon but the road to Briancon was shut for some reason. So on to Gap (lovely little city), Sisteron, Digne les Bains, Castellane and finally Grasse (perfume centre and very steep and picturesque with narrow winding streets.
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Finally, after going in and out of Grasse, I found a nice campsite on a hill in an old Olive grove--a long but very enjoyable day with superb weather.
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The next day the plan was to head past Cannes, Nice and Monaco--but the coastline is so difficult I eventually resorted to the "motorway" after that to get around the coast to Italy.

Starter for 10


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Re: Bulgaria and back on a WR250R to join the ABC/BBS crew

Post by halfpint » Mon May 15, 2017 8:32 pm

keep going sounds like a perfect ride .

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