These are the local back roads where I live in Eastern Slovakia. This is an improved video from the last one as this time I’ve attached the Dazzne P2 to my helmet rather than on a chest rig. I’m still working out angles and stuff.
That blue car really annoyed me when it appeared – I hate busy traffic 🙂
The bike is Feisty, my Mk.1 Aprilia Pegaso 650.
The Dazzne P2 is good for the price but constantly produces a slightly out of sync square in the centre-right of the image. I’ve noticed that this is far worse whilst filming in a forest and it makes viewing a headache.
This is what I do most evenings when I’m at my house in the summer, take my old Aprilia Pegaso 650 out for a ride on the broken back roads of the Carpathian Mountains of my region, Eastern Slovakia.
It quickly becomes apparent why enduros are so popular out here.
Don’t ask me why but OpenShot loses the audio when converting. Play your own background track whilst watching….
Each year we visit the remotest village, Lesnica, in Slovakia as it’s where my wife’s father’s family is from. Whilst there we usually visit graves, visit her father’s log cabin home and compound where her uncle now resides, and then check on our little plot of land on a hillside just outside the village. This year we decided to go on Feisty and take the bare minimum camping equipment with us.
The weather switched between extremes – 35 degrees centigrade plus meant leather jackets, helmets, kevlar jeans and boots were a nightmare to wear, and then torrential rain and storm made the road all slick. Try as we might, we just couldn’t find one part of our land level enough to erect a tent – it’s a steep hillside which will need excavating if we ever get around to building a cabin on it, so we ended up camping near the Red Monastery, Cerveny Klastor, at the best campsite in Slovakia, Goralsky Dvor. I’m not a fan of paid, public campsites as I prefer my privacy in the bush but it was nice to have a bit of luxury and level ground for once. The amount of thought and effort that have gone into that place is astounding – they even have an onsite chainsaw carver who continually adds to the decor of the place.
Feisty is definitely not the best choice for long distances and the seat makes my arse hurt. I really need to get a new king and queen seat made for her.
The weather at the moment is going from one extreme to the other – hurricane winds, frost and monsoon like rain, to boiling heat and blinding sun. As such, it’s extremely hard to get my bike, Feisty, up and down my garden as the grass and mud is very slippy. I really need to do a long ride but it’s impossible to plan one at the moment.
Finally, after a month of stress and sleepless nights, I’m on the road again. Feisty passed her MOT, second time round after many repairs. Riding home from Bardejov in torrential rain and heavy wind, gravel, oil and mud slides covering the pitted and twisting back roads, I had Canned Heat playing again and again in my head.
It feels good to be officially back in the saddle. I don’t care what the weather’s like.
Presently, the irony of the mythical image of motorcycle ownership as enabling one to be wild and free is making me groan. Sleepless nights, vastly depleted bank account, dealing with corrupt and vindictive officials, begging friends for favours, trying to find mechanics or a tyre service who will actually deal with motorbikes in my region, the list goes on….
I had wanted to learn about basic motorcycle mechanics when i bought Feisty, and my gods I’m learning the painful way. Something as simple as changing tyres requires driving to end-of-the-world villages (picturesque but remote) in a convoy of bike and car in one direction, hoisting Feisty up, removing the wheels and then driving to another end-of-the-world village in the opposite direction where I must then find a service which will exchange rubber. Then, hopefully if i manage to do so, go back again.
Every little thing on my bike requires ordering via the internet from far flung countries. Every time I fix something, another thing goes wrong (just replaced the rear brake switch and now the temperature gauge has stopped working). Sometimes i feel like giving in, cursing myself for not buying an old, locally produced (Czechoslovak) Jawa 350 where parts are aplenty and virtually every villager over the age of 40 can fix them in their sleep – they’re even basic enough for me to fix them alone.
But then, when I start Feisty up and hear her roar, and I sit in the saddle with arms outstretched and tear arse down the pitted country lanes, I discover I have a huge grin across my face and I remember why I put myself through all this. And, for a brief moment, I can hear the opening bars of Steppenwolf’s classic ringing in my helmet….
Four wheels move the body, two wheels (although not in her current state) move the soul….
What a day! The Spring Equinox, a Supermoon and a solar eclipse… none of them compare to finally getting Feisty, my motorbike, back on the road after a long winter. Three days this week we’ve spent messing around with batteries, finally I ordered a new one and then discovered we had to fill it with sulphuric acid and then charge it overnight. We changed the front brake and air filter and cleaned the spark plug as it was black and wet. Under a darkened crescent sun, Feisty finally roared back into life.
It’s still well below zero here at night and the cars are frozen in the mornings, and the day time temperature isn’t exactly balmy, but blue skies after months of grey called…
I took Feisty out to the village to check the house and then, on the way back, stopped for half a litre of draught Kofola at a traditional socialist krcma, a village bar. A couple of years back I came close to taking this exact same bar in rent, and had even negotiated the buy-out price for the former lessee. Thankfully, I backed out at the last minute or I’d now be spending every single day and night in a remote village, serving the locals. A little shop came with the property and I just couldn’t imagine selling chunks of bread or cartons of milk day after day, especially as most would go out on credit as no one there has any money.
Instead, I drank my drink and watched the stream gurgle past, then mounted Feisty and rode off. Not quite the Best Bar in America but it’ll do for me….
As it’s such a beautiful Autumn day, we decided to take a ride on Feisty across the border into Poland, into the Magura national park. I’ve been wanting to do this ever since I heard about the bears crossing over. The area is beautiful with many old wooden houses still lived in. There are signs warning of wolves and bears and this just adds to the feeling of riding a motorcycle around twisty, hilly roads.
We’ll definitely be going back.
Today was the first chance I’ve had in over a month to do some repairs to my Aprilia Pegaso 650, Feisty. It had taken me months to find a replacement rubber intake manifold for my carb and I’d been preparing for visitors, plus the weather has been awful. Despite the freezing temperatures and it taking almost an hour to get her started, I took Feisty to a friend of mine in a remote village where he and his father could help me change the part.
I dressed in full leathers and Long Johns and it was still cold. The road there was stunning, with autumn colours, winding Carpathian single roads around forested hillsides – through bear country. Erik and his father spent all day taking her apart, replacing the manifold and doing some maintenance in preparation for winter. I’m extremely grateful to them for giving up their Saturday, again, to help with my bike. Why Italians make their bikes so complicated I’ve no idea – even the smallest task becomes an arduous feat.
I then rode on the backroads to my house with the sun shining and the icy wind biting my extremities. Feisty can now, finally, go up to 6000 revs and I could feel the huge difference in power, acceleration and speed, and it made me feel good to be alive. Back in black and on the bike. Sometimes life just makes you grin….