it's a lovely day out there, 7pm, i'm flatlining in NY subway. going home from a shoot
squeezed out like a florida orange and just imagining the bed with me in it
then i get a very short text from my friend who knows that i hunt for good stories, interesting people for my blog. all it said was:
'LA to NYC danish man'
i needed nothing more to wake me up. but the following text
'he is leaving upstate ny tmrw' made it clear that i have a choice to make -
A) bed waiting for me or B) screw that, hop on hemingway
and ride towards the gotham sunset to meet this guy
since you are not reading a blog post about me sleeping, you might have guessed what happened. let's ride, slovak is on a mission!
got kim on the phone and he kindly agreed to meet up for a bit.
i packed few lenses, hopped on hemingway and we rode to my meeting
kim was where he said he would be. i parked hemingway across the street from him while looking at the people talking to him already. i was thinking i don't want to bug him and his friends much but... gotta snap few photos!
the reality was - his bike, much like hemingway, gets a lot of attention. well, i'd say his bit more :))
it's a beautiful looking and rare thing in these regions. people want to check it out and the talkative ones wanna talk about it :)
kim is apparently not new to this. he writes a blog about his rides and this was not his first rodeo in the states neither. plus he did japan too but on a different bike.
(links to kim's blogs are at the end of the post)
we are talking here about an accomplished rider guy here.
AND he is ready for people like me :D he knows the value of a good trip. why
repeating every time the same answers to the same questions. he opened that beautiful
czechoslovak trailer, reached in and whipped out a nice folder with cool photos of
him and his bikes
note: the lady in red pants is a lucky charm on the inside of the trailer door :)
let's talk about this ride and at the end of the post will be links to everything else so you can check kim's rides and stories on his own blogs.
but first - few answered questions and photos. enjoy!
Q & A
Ok, I've never seen one like this in New York before. What is it?
It's an East German MZ ES250/2 single cylinder two stroke. It's from 1970. I just rode it from Los Angeles to here - a bit over 5K miles in all. Two months ago I told the guys at 'Sixth Street Specials' I'd come by, and today and right there was officially the end of my trip.
Long trip on such a small bike...
Well, it is very dependable and comfortable. Always starts on 2nd kick, and despite being down on power, it held the 50 mph cruise speed that I like to ride at. The trailer is a Czechoslovakian PAV 41. Had them both shipped from Denmark to LA.
Had you planned the route beforehand?
Loosely. I rode from NYC to LA in 1982 on a '52 Nimbus hardtail, but never got to see The Southwest back then. Figured I'd ride the other direction this time, see things like Death Valley and Grand Canyon and such. And also visit some of the Nimbus people and old friends that are scattered along the route to New York. It all worked out pretty well.
Any problems on the way?
Aside from having only 10-11 bhp on tap - interesting when crossing The Rockies - they were minor ones: a few pricey flats and a rear wheel bearing that died, all of which could be solved with money and a day's delay. No other problems worth mentioning, because people were nice, and the weather good practically all the time I was on the bike. Got soaked but once. Only one traffic fine too; $25 for riding without a helmet in Missouri - I've tipped better than that!
Will the bike go back to Denmark now?
Nope. It's been sold to the 'Twisted Oz' motorcycle museum in Augusta, Kansas. The owner (great guy) saw it when I came by, and thought it'd fit his collection. I'll ride it to a swap meet in Rhinebeck tomorrow, where a friend of the museum guy will take it.
maybe counterintuitive to put little more personal details at the end but that's how real life is
when two bikers meet. bikes first :)))) even I didn't have a second to ask Kim what he does etc,
we talked riding and bikes. in that spirit - here are few additional questions
I always ask the following. But it's not to 'focus on the bad part of a trip' or something like that. It PROVES the mentality of the people. It is a question for the same blood-type personas who have million other options but they won't choose the easy way. So tell me please, was there any part of the trip when you felt the bike cannot do it anymore?
Only once, in Colorado, where it was struggling to make a hill in 1st gear. Fortunately I was with my friends there, and close to their workshop. After some days of working on the bike, the MZ and I made peace and I decided to live with the lack of power.
And now the opposite - best part of the trip?
Doing aerobatics over The Pacific in a 1943 Boeing Stearman Kaydet biplane. That was 1 1/2 weeks into my trip, and already then I knew this was very unlikely to be bettered by anything else on this trip. (see? same blood type! airplane like that... uff, I'd enjoy the cr*p out of that! that is some indiana jones stuff!
I mentioned in the blog that this wasn't your first time across the states. Did I remember it correctly?
In 1982 I crossed the US on a Nimbus, but the year after I rode from New Haven, CT to Miami on my honeymoon, on a new H-D XLX. My BMW-riding wife gave me that Harley as my wedding present.
And now I finish it with you. The man operating the machine, the adventurist :)
Kim - who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I'm mainly from Denmark, but lived in Switzerland as a kid (Swiss citizen for about half my life). Spent 4 years in the US, including a combined 3 years on The Upper West Side. Never had a day I didn't like NYC. In Denmark I was a mailman for 35 years, but just took early retirement this spring. The MZ trip was me celebrating it.
There you have it folks. Now you now how to celebrate life - go on an adventure!