Jun 10

Mad dogs & foolish men

by in Turkey

I was getting utterly sick of climbing hills when the road began to level out and the riding became easier. The hills which thankfully all seem to be behind me are really steep, in fact they’re a 7% gradient and that’s a hell of a lot to expect of a bike as old as Effie to manage, but she’s done a pretty good job. Mind you I think I’ve done nearly as much pushing as I’ve done riding these past few days so we’re probably on a par.

Right about when the road improved I was suddenly faced with a different sort of challenge…two huge wild dogs the size of Saint Bernards came hurtling towards me. Pedalling as if my life depended on it I think I barely escaped without them tearing off a leg each. I’d seen a few dead dogs on the road and can only think they must like chasing cars and trucks as well as motorcycles despite the cards being stacked against them in favour of the heavier vehicles. Today I stopped for a rest under an awning at a building site. It seemed there was no-one around so I looked for somewhere to have a pee. That’s when I noticed a huge mongrel asleep at the back of the building. Trying not to trip and fall in a panic to get out of there, it was with great relief that I made it back to the bike safely and got going before he woke and realised I might make a good snack.

It becoming much hotter now I’m out of the hills and for a short time today I rode without my long sleeved shirt on. Not a wise thing to do obviously as I’ve now got sunburnt arms to show for it. But that’s not such a big deal now I realise I’m halfway across Turkey and reckon I must have covered about 8000kms since I set off from Nepal . The back tyre is looking like it is almost due to be changed again so I can put on one of the good ones from Europe and know I’ve got plenty of rubber between me and the tarmac for a change. The bike is running nicely again now I’ve solved the problem with the drive shaft bearing not getting the grease into it. I’m keeping it well greased now and that seems to be working well.

Despite the difficulties, the loneliness, frustration and the sheer exhaustion I’ve felt at times, I’m starting to feel pretty chuffed that I’ve made it this far. Not that I ever doubted I would, but there’ve definitely been times when I wondered what the hell I was doing this for. But I can think back to when I was working on my lathe over the past years making parts for the FN and dreaming about what it would be like to ride her back to Belgium. Now I know what it’s like and while I’ve still got a good long way to go, no doubt with plenty more hills (make that mountains) to climb, nothing seems half as daunting as it did in the beginning.

I’m now only a day’s ride away from Cappadocia where I plan to spend some time working on Effie before Lynne arrives from Istanbul to join me for a few days R & R. I’ve seen fellow riders on the road here and there but most don’t stop – they’re off on their own adventures and good luck to them. I’m looking forward to catching up with my other half and sharing stories with each other. No more sleeping on the side of road this week, hopefully no wild dogs and definitely no  tinned peas! Perhaps I’ll take a balloon ride over Cappadocia, enjoy a cold beer on the terrace and have a good long soak in a hot tub. It’s good to dream.

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20 Responses to “Mad dogs & foolish men”

  1. From wal haylock:

    wal again here with more progress report clutch throw arrived this morning and all looks good will save me a lot of time making the bits i hadn’t heard from joop for some time but it all happened today he might be worth a visit if you are not far away i don’t know what he has signing off
    kind regards ron wal cheers! enjoy your adventure

    Posted on June 20, 2012 at 1:37 am #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Good news regarding the clutch throw. International post is often slower than we expect. Sounds like you’ll soon have your bike going. Keep me posted. I hope to catch up with Joop when I’m in that neck of the woods – getting closer all the time.

      Cheers, Ron

      Posted on June 25, 2012 at 7:12 am #
  2. From wal haylock:

    hi ron nice to know you are suceeding in what you set out to do and getting along o.k. qualities must be determination,persistence,resilience.i certainly could not tackle it.glad to know effie is o.k. also———-my progress report——-got pistons made in adelaide and bores honed but only 14.5mm gudgeons so will make 10mm pins and had an offer to resize the bigends i did and do gudgeon pins and rods’ i was referred to a site (www.gerdes-amc.nl) for clutch throw which shows clutch and clutch and clutch throw parts owned by joop gerdes netherlands lots of emails until i sent 670euros on june 1st but no contact since. he is in a town called “Gees” perhaps the bits will arrive? his address is J.B.Gerdes Oude Steeg 22 7863 P G Gees-NL anyone know Joop? if i can get all the engine transmission done the bike will be well on the way ron.
    your health and welfare are the main thing and i wish you all the best
    there will memories for the rest of your life won’t there? burt monroe said you can live a whole lifetime on a blke in 5 minutes.
    glad to know you are o.k. cheers! wal haylock.

    Posted on June 19, 2012 at 11:30 am #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Hi Wal

      I bought my clutch from Joop. Took a while to arrive but it reached me safely. Thanks for your good wishes. Sometimes it feels like I’ve been on the bike a lifetime!! And yes, the memories will be with me forever.

      Cheers, Ron

      Posted on June 25, 2012 at 7:09 am #
  3. From Paula:

    Well done Ronnie! Always great when you post the next episode or two and we all know you’re still on track and in one piece. Keep safe. Paula

    Posted on June 19, 2012 at 8:14 am #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Thanks Sis. I’m now setting off to Bulgaria and all in one piece! LOL

      Ron x

      Posted on June 25, 2012 at 7:05 am #
  4. From Johnny g:

    FN used to make motors many years ago, and Ron is riding his FN to the FN motorcycle rally in Brussels this September………it will be his bike’s 100 th birthday. An amazing journey for both man and machine! I don’t find much on the web about this meeting but if you seek out some riders in Liege who are into antique motors they should know more details, I would expect.

    Posted on June 18, 2012 at 1:09 pm #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Hi Johnny

      Just to set the record straight – the rally I’m going to is in Bernkastel-Kues, Germany. I’m going to Belgium after the rally because I’d like to celebrate the bike’s “birthday” in the country where she originated. Sorry if it suggests on the website the rally is in Brussels, though I do plan to visit the city for sure. FN Oldtimers website has the rally details.

      Cheers & thanks,

      Posted on June 18, 2012 at 8:07 pm #
  5. From hp2marc:

    Hi Ron,
    I am from the city of the FN factory (Liege-Belgium).
    Great adventure you are doing.
    What is the event in Bruxelles for the 100e birthday of what ?
    I couldn’t find that info.
    Thank you and all the best for the future,

    Posted on June 16, 2012 at 9:40 am #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Hi Marc
      The FN rally is in Bernkastel-Kues, Germany in Sept 2012. (See oldtimers website for info). I plan to be there for the rally & I’m going to Belgium as well to celebrate my bike’s 100 years since it was produced. Hope to visit the factory if possible.

      Thanks for the good wishes.


      Posted on June 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm #
  6. From Fi Fi:

    Ha, ha Ronnie. After the photos we’ve seen of you lately I hardly think you would’ve made ‘a good snack’ for the mongrel! xx

    Posted on June 15, 2012 at 7:17 am #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Right Fi, I am a bit on the skinny side – those tinned cabbage rolls just don’t do it for me. Maybe he’d have liked a bone to chew on but can’t guarantee there’d be much meat to speak of!
      Hope all is well on the island.

      Ron xx

      Posted on June 18, 2012 at 7:43 pm #
  7. From Paul Louis Venne:

    Ron, I’m wondering how often you clean the engine? Do you wipe it down every day? Has is changed color from all the running? Thanks and good luck, Paul

    Posted on June 12, 2012 at 1:14 am #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Hi Paul

      Yes, I clean the whole machine down every night because being so old it always has a mist of oil over everything. The barrels have a rusty patina to them now – it’s definitely lost the stove enamel finish it had when I started. She doesn’t look as pretty as the repairs are never as good looking as I could do back home but she keeps going and that’s the main thing.


      Posted on June 13, 2012 at 7:05 pm #
  8. From Di:

    Hi Ron, have just returned from China and was able to catch up on your last 3 postings. I admire your guts and determination and I do hope the Copmpany in Belgium appreciates this huge effort that you are making to get Effie back to her maker. Have caught up with Lynne on facebook and I know you appreciate having her pop up alomg the route. Enjoy your time in Turkey. Di

    Posted on June 11, 2012 at 10:59 pm #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Hi Di

      Hope you had a ball in China. I think you’d like Turkey. Effie’s resting and I’m catching up with laundry & paperwork and enjoying the break for a few days. Yes, it’s good having Lynne here – there’s no eating tinned peas and tinned cabbage rolls! LOL
      Excited about a balloon flight tomorrow – a one in a lifetime experience I think.
      Cheers, Ron

      Posted on June 13, 2012 at 7:01 pm #
  9. From Thomas Patt:


    8000 km already done on the most difficult part of the tour and only another 3500 km to Belgium on flat and well paved roads….. 😉 ( OK maybe Rumania and Bulgaria will offer you some more road adventures, but then….)

    So you are now comming to some tourist areas, which offer you all the comfort you were missing so far. Relax and enjoy. Not too much – Effie is waiting for you. 😉


    Posted on June 11, 2012 at 5:16 am #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Hi Thomas, so sounds like I’m on the downhill run…except I know there’s still a few good uphills ahead on the route but it’s all part of the challenge and the fun.Boy I had fun fitting the new much stronger tyre & tube. I had no tyre levers as they were in my gear that got nicked! I spent about 4 hours and had real sore arms the next day! LOL Still, good to know I have some serious rubber on the back now. Enjoying the break in Cappadocia and will head to Istanbul in a couple of days. All’s good with Effie & me. Thanks again for all your assistance & look forward to seeing you in a few months Thomas.



      Posted on June 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm #
  10. From GARY ,DI:

    dear ronnie and lynne we have just read your last two stories,this is real adventure stuff and makes for excellent reading.you three certainly sound as though you are having a good but exhausting time.may the roads level out and your new tyres keep you safe. love gary and di

    Posted on June 11, 2012 at 12:35 am #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Hi Gary & Di
      I’m in Cappadocia, Turkey now with Lynne. Going up for a balloon flight in the morning over the most amazing landscape. Glad you’re enjoying the blog. We’ve spent the day uploading & editing photos and writing notes. So much to always catch up with when we get the chance, but nice to relax for a few days before heading to Istanbul. It has been exhausting at times but I feel great & chuffed I’ve come so far.
      Love to you guys and all the family,

      Posted on June 13, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

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