how to impress you here quickly...
korean guy ships his royal enfield to chile, rides it throught the south america to alaska.
if that's not impressive - you are dead, we'll continue without you
:) meet kaze
this fella is not new to long rides on 'questionable' bikes. questionable for most of you out there. he has done europe - starting east in vladivostok, ending west in portugal on his 125cc sym wolf!
one cannot put a bigger check mark on an achievement of such proportions.
as monumental as it gets. he called that trip JUST GO ver(sion) 1
it took him 6-7 months for that monster of a trip. all the credits to him for that one.
i mean look at it! vladivostok to lisbon. come ooooon!
i hope you start to sense who we are dealing with here
JUST GO version 2
this blog is about enfields so let's talk about the trip he is currently on.
he calls is JUST GO ver2, featuring his royal enfield classic 500, named Furiosa :)
at this point south america is done. he left seoul, south korea around july 2017,
shipped the bike to chile, (cost him a small fortune as he said) and the big trip started.
it took him around 7 month-ish to get up here to NYC where we met
he managed to rack around 10,000km riding back home in south korea.
so it takes a person 35,000km to get up to nyc from chile, down to the most south point and back up. his odometer showed impressive 45,000km (around 28,000 mi) when i met him
kaze arrived. my phone beeps and i see a message on fb 'i'm here'. i glanced out of the window and there he was. dude on enfield, across the street, lighting cigarette like a boss. i found out it was from his stash still from mexico. cheap ones. he was in shock to buy cigarettes for 10-12 bucks in NY :D
i offered him to stay for few days, relax, fix the bike. and all that time we talked about were bikes and riding mostly of course. then insert beer. and talks about dreams and chasing them.
in slovakia we have a thing. we offer bread and salt to a rare visitor. it is an ancient slavic custom from the time of the Great Moravian Empire, still done today for special occasions
i have a rare visit. but i'm not in slovakia. we are in new york so i greeted my guest with delicious pizza :D and beer.
we eat, we drink, we talk. after his trip version1 aka conquering the europe and euro-asia he had 6-7 years break. work, life, make money, all that stuff. time came for making a new trip.
kaze 'knew' enfield from his another trip even before the european moto bonanza. he traveled india for 3 months on foot, he saw the bike there and loved the look of the bike
(where did i hear a similar story, hmm link)
when it was the time for serious preparations for the new trip - he started to research if his pick number 1 - the enfield - would be able to make this sort of a trip.
he said he found one rider in korea who did a big trip on enfield and contacted him for tips and advice. the traveler tried to do the same trip from vladivostok to europe but...
he had to end his trip somewhere close to east europe because of no enfield parts.
the piece that made the guy get stuck was - rear sprocket. you destroy that and you are basically done.
if you want to do some serious distance in remote areas - you have to schlep that thing with you.
so kaze started with journey with one of those as a spare for south america :)
i can tell you it is not a small part. it's big and it's freaking heavy
#1 john's cycles
we had nothing pre-planned for his visit but things just happen here. it's new york (brooklyn, queens) :))
we managed to do 4 cool stops
every saturday i go to see one special place. john's cycles in woodside which i think is the oldest + longest open motorcycle shop in manhattan / brooklyn / queens area.
open by brothers john and bobby but at this time bobby is the one taking care of it now.
it's a place of legends for me.
when those dudes start to talk their stories, i try to keep my jaw closed
it was saturday, kaze was here - he had to go with me to my ritual saturday coffee at john's
kaze was impressed. the guys from john's cycles know me as the only madman riding enfield. i have some share of good stories and good rides they heard about. but kaze upped the game and
impressed everybody there version 2 :) and he nicknamed bobby 'maestro' . bobby does look like that.
the maestro of engines
the next important part were the finances. bmw came to help... :p
kaze had two bikes. bmw 650 and the enfield. aaand he had the previous experience
doing a big trip. since he managed it happily on a 125cc bike
enfield was a beautiful and big and strong-like-a-bull upgrade compared to the sym.
that would be his final choice
he sold the bmw.... money money mooooney
kaze kept saying how kind the people were to him on the trip. when stuck in chile because of the snow - a local guy let him stay with him for 5 days waiting for snow to melt. kaze speaks little spanish, juan speaks no english - who cares.
the snow was his biggest problem at the beginning. leaving in july from south korean summer and traveling into a country on the other hemisphere - you get yourself a winter time.
two victims of the cold were: well kaze himself most of all. but if we talk about the bike stuff then the battery froze. and his seat froze :))) his seat froze and fell apart. when resting up in argentina at some restaurant (or gas station?) he observed local people gazing at the bike and wondering about the sanity of the owner. one guy local, biker himself stopped by to talk. and offered help and a new seat. that low profile leather seat kaze has now - that is the gift
plus kaze was told by the generous gentleman that if kaze was on a different bike, he would not stop by to ask about it. he said if it was any other modern motorcycle he wouldn't care.
sometimes it pays off to be the stylish classic guy
#2 riding in brooklyn
greenpoint to dumbo to redhook
part two of our saturday - got two other friends to come along and we went for a ride in brooklyn.
we rode through greenpoint, bedford, dumbo and redhook to see the big lady as kaze called the statue of liberty.
but first things first. to have energy for all that action one needs is a big schnitzel :D
that weekend was an amazing weather and brooklyn went NUTS. it was like everybody who had a car decided to ride it that day.
and - if you go to redhook - you cannot not stop at union garage, the biker jewel store with biker necessities in brooklyn
doing the high altitudes in andes - his loaded furiosa found its limits. bad gas, high altitude... he was riding like 5mph going up in the mountains in some areas. furiosa couldn't catch breath and even kaze decided to make his ultimate sacrifice. he put (temporary) stop to smoking :)))
or 'he would have died' as he put it.
he remembered when he dropped the bike up there in those heights. to pick it up meant lot of extra effort. trying to function up there with the oxygen problem was a challenge on it's own.
not to add picking up fallen bike :) (i hope not too often!)
and talking about problems. i think anybody would be interested to hear about the issues
one could encounter riding this distance. so we wrote it all down for you:
i mentioned the frozen battery and seat
rear sprocket went twice (third time just now in detroit)
both tires twice (third time again in detroit)
front brake pads two times
chain few times, they stretch like chewing gum on bad roads (had experience with that)
one time small front sprocket
so there you have it. i have to stress (as kaze was stressing his bike to limits :D) that these are
fixes needed because of the heavy riding he had to endure. in the tough areas on tough roads. he always laughed when he mentioned 'highways' talking about the south american roads. he said it was gravel half of the time :D
#3 riding season opener at motorgrrl
art exhibit, people mixer time
and we got to the last part of our saturday. there was a nice event at another local shop, motorgrrl.
local means brooklyn and motorgrrl means: 'park, wrench, ride' - their motto tells is all. check them out here
good times for bike lovers and riders. plus people who love to paint motorcycles, photograph motorcycles or make motorcycle tshirts got a chance to present their work to the community
and their friends.
classic brooklyn. where bikes, beer, food and nice people meet. even a third enfield stopped by!
having 3 enfields on one street was like fly by of halley's comet every 80 years. RARE
we talked about the life attitude. about the courage to make a trip like this.
me myself being a thinker (OVERthinker) i see the negatives of such approach too often. it's absolutely unnecessary 95% of the time. but to learn not to be 'you' is tough when that's how you are wired. it's a process
kaze said he left with the attitude of 'do it'. when you start to think about things you will always
find reasons against your actions. especially when it's something crazy like riding enfield across americas, right?
he said he had doubts about himself. he said he is not brave, he knew that this could get scary.
he knew his physique is not the best, money is not enough, he doesn't know how to fix the bike.
but if he would listen to any of that... i guess i would not be writing this story. and you would not read it and get inspired for your next long ride
i asked how are the people he met. if he thinks that people in chile are different than the ones in usa or from korea. he said he saw one thing common everywhere. people want to be free, live free, have so many ideas how could they live or make things better but... never do.
he said he wanted to ask all of them - why don't you do it! we have just one life.
acting and thinking are two different processes. results of acting and results of thinking have such different outcomes. if you act - there is always a result. it can go south, no doubt there. but even that is a result of an action and you can learn from it. if you 'just' think about your plans or goals -
it stays very often just in your head.
kaze said when you push yourself to action you will see how foolish were your worries. you will laugh. his trick was not think about it 'too seriously'. it will ruin momentum and schedule. amen, bro
so just do it! you will never find perfect solutions in your head. only by starting to do something
you will find a way. or you will find another problem you would not even think of in the preparing phase. or you will find a solution that was not visible while breaking your nugget about it. you will meet people helping you. some things will be easier than you thought, some events you planned so meticulously will not even happen... but you'll find out only when you start
we can never prepare for everything. prepare for the adventure, prepare for ups and downs
and the rest will be one beautiful story when you are done with it :)
#4 indian larry
one of the later days we went for a short ride and i thought to stop by at indian larry's shop.
that name is forever connected with bikes, custom builds and brooklyn. local bike personality,
sadly not among us anymore. but his legend(ary) bikes and his style of making them live on
check the shop online here www.indianlarry.com
back home kaze knew he just wanted to do it, to ride. that makes him happy.
that is secret to life, my friends. we all know that - if you find the things that make you happy and you find the courage to do those - what do you think will be the result.
kaze went back to his 'young age' memories. it was a different life. the classic consumer life full of chasing money and things. but that had no stop because it doesn't make you satisfied. you always want more, pushing you into a mad spiral of working more and spending more. but still staying empty inside. you don't do it for yourself. mostly just to 'fit' the norm and feed the never satisfied ego
so he stopped. he needed a change. he wanted to do something crazy and stop that madness. he went to india for 3 months. to put a break on the life going in circle, filled with praise but unhappiness. he felt that the acknowledgement of his success at work or by his family made him feel good. but only for a bit. when he came back home from the 'successful job' - he still felt void.
he decided to escape it all for a while and travel to india. and even then his best friend told him that he is crazy. that they will kidnap him there and sell his organs :))))) see? cannot even share your plans to your friends, lol! sometimes you just have to let it all go, be yourself and listen only to you
one smart person said: 'don't take advice from people who never did what you want to do'
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!!
AND DO IT!
there you have it. we tried to fix the bike a bit. we called around for parts or help but got nowhere. i gave kaze few things, we adjusted chain, installed gripbuddies. the rest he will have
to do on the road somewhere else. our time was out, i had a blast, i hope kaze enjoyed his stay.
i know i found an enfield bro, he has a slovak bro now :)))
and it's done. korean and slovak with big love for royal enfields met in new york and now had to say their 'adios amigo'
we did and after that he was gone with the wind