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Vstrom Chassis Inspection

Posted by TravellingStrom on August 7, 2012

Mayan Prophecy Countdown

Not much happened yesterday, I stayed another day on the promise the wifi would be back up, in the end they lied. I guess if I had followed my GPS to the hotel I had originally chosen, maybe things would have been different. Never mind what’s done is done. So, I got lazy and just read a book πŸ™‚

Today however, still no wifi and I had told them I was booking out at 7am as I had a fair way to go, from here to Astana is 750km or so. There may be an option to stay at a small town on the way, but probably not.

So, off I go heading again into the rising sun, something I guess I will have to get used to from now on, but better than riding into the setting sun at the end of a scorching days ride πŸ™‚ The first few hours pass quite fast, the road was good, not much to see or look at except for the odd village here and there and these pink huts which I think may be dunnies for the sheep herders πŸ™‚

The scenery did change a little bit from rolling steppe to small forests, but these were isolated and the bleakness soon took over again, which is a shame as those trees looked mighty handy the way my stomach is boiling!

It was harvest time as well for the grain crops and on many occasion I would see a multi line up of combines, waiting for the word to start.

I was looking way ahead and I could see what looked like rain and there was plenty of evidence to show that major cells had dumped a lot of water around here very recently.

I was a few kms from a massive grain silo complex when I decided I needed to put the liner in my jacket at least, when the sun went behind the clouds it got very cool. The funny thing was, once I had done this, and watched all the truck traffic I had just passed get in front of me yet again, the road turned to the right away from the storm. You would think that is good, but now I am hot and immediately thought about taking it all off again. Lucky I didn’t, because the road went away from silo town for about 10k, found a massive roundabout, then went all the way back to silo town and passed it on the other side??? WTF, that was the strangest bypass I have ever seen! Going by the map I have, you would think a direct road past the town would have been easier and cheaper, but maybe the river crossing was an issue.

So, by the time I got to the other side of town, the storm cell had passed and was heading south while I was heading east and all I got was the fringe of the storm, just some light rain but enough to be not cold and not hot, this lasted for about 30 mins then it was hot again!

This driver must not have been paying attention, it happened on a curve and from what I can tell he over corrected after under steering into the corner, then tried to straighten and it fell over, no body hurt and it did not fall on an oncoming car luckily!

Not long after this I filled up the tank and found a cafe near a major road junction. There were a lot of trucks parked up which is usually a good sign for food, but where I ate there was not much action? I had these rissole things and mashed potatoes, seems to be a common thing, it tasted OK, but I am not sure whether my guts can handle it as I am still getting ominous warnings.

It was about an hour later that the roadworks started, the road turned to crap to start with then we had to take a side track. The side track was hard and bumpy with many sharp rocks sticking up which started to concern me with ripping a side wall out of my tyres. So, after a short while I decided to follow everyone else(except the trucks) and hit the steppe where they had made their own roads around the construction site. This was a big mistake in the end, but see for yourself!

Well, as you can see I fell over, but I did get a chance to look at the bikes underside and do a chassis inspection πŸ™‚ And if you look at the second last photo at what is ahead of me, it is probably lucky I fell over where I did. The following footage will show you that going slow through big ruts is not good, well nor is going fast either, but when the bash plate hits the ground it robs the bike of more forward momentum and eventually it just stops!


Basically it was stupid of me to move off a flatish path and enter stuff my bike is too low for. Being lazy I waited until the next car came along and he helped me with the bike πŸ™‚ Then some cops turned up and told me to follow them, I pointed back to the rough road the trucks use, but they said no, follow us so I did, a police escort into town πŸ™‚ It was another 5km or so of dodging waterholes and trying not to get caught in big ruts again, I even waited until the dust settled at one point so I could see what I was running into, here is a bit of what happens when you use a detour in Kazakhstan, our Roadtek guys are miles ahead πŸ™‚


As you can imagine I was glad to get out of that stuff and onto normal bumpy road again. It was another hour until I reached Astana and then had to find the hotel. That was a bit hard as it was nowhere near where the google maps place showed it was but a kind soul that I asked said follow me and I was soon booked into a cheap morel on the outskirts of town. This is where I summed up the damage, once again the unbreakable Buell indicators were trashed, these are great for sliding crashes as they are flexible and bend, but when the full weight of the bike lands on its edge, then something has to give!! Plus I had destroyed one of my lower tool tubes and bashed my leg, even with knee high boots, I still copped some damage when the bike fell on my leg. Lucky I have tall boots, it could have been worse.

Later on I got a message from my Almaty friend Anton, he had spotted my crash picture on facebook and asked if I needed some repairs, I said yes and within an hour along came Max πŸ™‚ He was a top chap and very helpful. I showed him what was needed, a welder for the broken bracket on the bash plate, it was broken before, it was destroyed now and the tool tube etc. He said tomorrow he would come around about 10am and sort it all out with me πŸ™‚

There was another biker here, a French chap who was also riding into Kyrgystan, he has been getting a visa and was trying to sort out an oil leak from the back of his beemer, sounds familiar!

And I must not forget the lovely teacher from Omsk who was staying here, she spoke excellent English and was very helpful with the translations. Max spoke good English but he is a bit rusty πŸ™‚

Of course, being relaxed and with beer and food, the evening got a bit rowdy. There was also an American family staying here who also had some drinks later, it was a great ending to an eventful day, but I should be able to stay here a few days and maybe sort out some things and fix the bike for the next section of Kaz roads πŸ™‚

Cheers from Astana, Kazakhstan

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