Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Got a decent 180 km of riding this weekend

I'm getting more and more comfortable on the new bike and I think we will be pretty good friends by the time we get to Africa. The handlebars feels a bit lower compared to my 400 even though I have risers on but maybe thats just imagination. Anyhow, I don't want to put any higher risers on than I already have so I'll just have to get used to it.

They told me to use
engine ice in the desert...
My plan is to continue to focus on riding all throughout February and then I will service and modify the bike and pack my rallybox in March. The truck with all the bikes and luggage leaves for Spain on March 20 so I have about three weeks to get everything sorted. The rally box contains everything I need for my bike during the rally. Filters, oil, spares etc. I also need to fit all my food and sleeping bag in there as well. That combined with a weight limit on the box means the packing of the box is a project in its own and it will probably get its own blog post later.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Some info about the Tuareg Rally

The Tuareg Rallye has been around since 1999. Last year it gathered more than 200 motorcycles and 30 cars. It starts in Almeria, Spain and continues down through Morocco and then turns around and finishes in Mojacar in Spain.

The rally track stretches over more than 3000 kilometers and the competitors will have to navigate their way from the port of Nador in the north, through the impressive Atlas Mountains and the city of Missour, and then continues down to the massive sand dunes in Erg Chebbi in the vicinity of Merzouga in the south close to the border to Algeria. Once in Erg Chebbi, which is part of the Sahara desert, the competitors will have to face long days with nothing but sand and dunes that can reach up to 200 meters high.
After conquering the desert, the competitors finds their way back to the northern parts of Morocco through ravines, river crossings, and rocky donkey trails to finally reach Nador again where a ferry awaits to take them back to Europe where the rally ends with a final special stage between Almeria and Mojacar.

Early morning at pre-start
I personally think that the Tuareg rally is the most affordable desert rally that is currently out there. It is relatively low cost and the organization is very good. Plus, the regulations are very forgiving in the sense that if you fail to finish one day, say you have some mechanical problems for example, you can still start the next day. Of course you will get the appropriate time penalties (which can be quite heavy) but they will not kick you out. So you can still have a lot of fun and get a lot of riding and experience even if your chances of a top position is gone.

Another good thing about the rally is that they don't require you to put on a lot of required extra stuff on your bike, like sentinels and iritracks and whatnots, which also helps in keeping the costs down for the individual rider.