The Fissure King

Civitaquana, Abruzzo - Cda di Ginestre road (strada) subsidance & landslideWhat good is a motorbike or a car for that matter, if you don’t have a road to run along?

About 10 days ago Jan and I went to do the weekly shopping and I must admit I was already starting to get a little nervous about movement within the road – In one particular place the Range Rover was beginning to bottom out bodywork even when on its highest suspension settings and the traction control was starting to make itself useful when hauling us up the slope.

The next evening after walking the dogs and eyeing the recent movement and ever bigger crack in the adjacent field, I felt very uneasy …..

….. with the dogs tucked up for the night I grabbed the keys and decided to move the car beyond the bad section. In the end it took 3 attempts to clear it, but the good old Rangey did brilliantly with the traction control working overtime as it clawed its way over. That was it then – no going back. Life would be different for the forseeable future for sure.

That was over a week ago ….. since then the land has moved something like 2m down and 3m sideways with more cracks and fissures appearing across its width, soon the road will have separated completely with a section about 30m long moving inevitably down into the valley below.

The reality of our predicament is sinking in …. moving anything, shopping, gas cylinders, rubbish bags etc has to be carefully thought through. Each item has to be carried by hand over ankle-breaking terrain up (or down depending on which way you’re going!) a 200m stretch of steep road that is changing every 24hrs.

The fact is, this road doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to the Comune (Council) and as such they have responsibility over it. It’s not like this problem is new either, in fact we were promised it would be repaired and resurfaced throughout 2014, it wasn’t and now the problem is a magnitude worse. Unfortunately all I can say is we’re disheartened by the lack of response to our emails and phone calls for assistance over the past week.

So until something spectacular happens it gives me time to dream up new and novel ways to free the Capo from its incarceration …… zip wire over the valley, kids balloons tied together (I’ve seen ‘UP’) or turn it into an X-2 Skycycle and fly the bugger out!

Anyway until then, chin up ….. and do what Brits do best in a crisis



….and winter hasn’t started yet!

KRB1101Now I’m not a superstitious fella, but 2013 is certainly making its presence know as it drags out its final days. First we have typical warm autumnal weather, rather rudely pushed aside in favour of a month’s rain in two days courtesy of ‘Cyclone Venus’. A couple of days respite and ‘Cyclone Attilla’ barged in …… lowering temperatures and dumping 2ft (600mm) of soggy wet snow everywhere. By now our road is well and truly battered. Run-off and landslides have seen three sections obliterated and turned into mud-holes fit for a fully grown hippo! The trees haven’t fared much better either, the wet snow has devestated the olive groves, ripping branches from mature trees and bending the young until their trunks snap …… what a waste.

Has it finished? Not on your proverbial nelly …… now we’re waiting for ‘Cyclone Neptune’ to wander over on Monday/Tuesday and dump another months rain. So the Capo sits rather forlorn in the barn while I favour the warmth of the Landy ( soz old girl!), but an extended lay-up may be just what’s needed. I could get the crashbars and sundry brackets sent away for powder coating and take time out to give the wheels a damn good clean…..hmm. Something about clouds and silver linings comes to mind! 😉

Slip slidin’ away …..

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - muddy tyres!Ok I admit it ….. I posted these shots up on the AF1 forum first, but I thought I’d load them up here for posterity. If you’ve seen them already – tough, get over it! 😉

The Capo and I got caught out on a little muddy patch that appeared after a particularly windy day blew some of the neighbours field across a local road. Harmless when dry, but it took on the consistency of a melted hazelnut choc bar …. the one you left on the car dash when you went shopping last summer, yes that one. Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - slightly clogged tread!

So as I rolled on in, it peeled off with the stone surface wrapping around my wheels and jamming everything solid …… enough to leave stress marks in the plastic where it was trying to lift the mudguard off! Oh joy, what fun! Stuck in Beelzebub’s play-pit on tip-toe and not a soul anywhere in sight to help.

How I got out and back home is just a blur, a snapshot of tears, tantrums and praying to any passing deity within earshot … but we made it. Like Thunderbird 2 on telly, the jet-washer was rolled out and away we went, me blasting away, the sun mercilessly trying to bake this stuff on …. it was a close call I can tell you. This stuff sets like cement!

Note to self …… when it’s winter, fit the bloody winter tyres you Muppet.

Keep it shiny side up – KarlB

I’m an Anakee-st!!!!

Well, after four years and a steadily deteriorating road, the authorities have seen fit to scrape and widen our road in readiness for a nice topping of something-or-other. For the past three years I’ve been running the Continental TKC80 off-road biased tyres, simply because they were the only sensible choice for such a poor road ……. and it’s the only road I have to reach civilisation!

The downside was a tyre that wears quickly and is expensive for its type. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad tyre …. quite the opposite, it handles far better than its chunky knobbles would have you believe. It just wears away quicker than a kids crayon at motorway speeds!

So the choice has been to replace the worn out TKC80 rear in anticipation of the road improvements and an impending trip to the UK, or add a few more shekels to the pot and change both tyres to something road-biased. Hmmm ……. Michelin Anakee 2 here we come!

For the princely sum of €230 I get two tyres nicely fitted and new valves thrown in as well. I checked the manufacturing dates (2611 & 2911) – they’re so new they’re still hot from the oven! The rims get a spruce up and all the bearings and seals are good to go.

So what is the first impression? Truthfully …… a mix of disappointed and impressed! I guess I was expecting a major ‘wow’ moment when I hit the road, but no, the bike tracked as usual and is no quieter than usual. Frankly it doesn’t feel any different … or does it ….. well it turns in a little quicker and seems to hold it’s line better ( no ‘walking’ on the knobbles!). But I guess I expected more. OK, the tyres are new and need fully bedding in.

But I think I looked at it the wrong way round … it isn’t about how good the Anakee2’s are, it’s about how good the TKC80’s were! That’s the point. I’m sure that as the Anakee’s bed in, they’ll shine through … greater grip at higher lean, a longer life and improved wet-weather grip would be most welcome!

Bottom line, I’m looking forward to the miles ahead and seeing how the Anakee 2’s work out. As for the TKC80’s, would I go back to them at some point in the future? Without a doubt!

Tread depth @ TWI (Tyre Wear Indicator) – 0 miles

Front: 3.7mm              Rear: 6.5mm

After 3,096 miles – still excellent profile.

Front: 3.3mm (11% wear)   Rear: 5.1mm(21% wear)