life, universe and everything

Thoughts on two wheels

Or: how I stopped worrying and decided to ride 2000km in a Cafe Racer

I decided to go down to Serra do Rastro da Serpente in São Paulo* and failed miserably. I had never taken a long trip with Elsa and I decided to try one of 3,000 km straight away, maybe 4k if I was feeling good. When arriving in Ribeirão Preto, a city about 700km in, I cried to all alive and dead gods, gave up and rode back home slowly, thinking how it was possible to feel so much pain all over my body and keep going. These are the things I learned along the way.

*A state in Brazil, the country I live.

Elsa, my Cafe Racer (a Continental GT 650) parked at a highway service station

• There's a reason a Cafe Racer is called "Cafe Racer" and not "World Tourer";

• What she has there is not a seat, it is a wood board;

• I envied the old guys who traveled on their roomy Cruisers;

• I belittled the same old guys who said how painful it was to travel many kilometers on a Cruiser and how they were warriors for doing so. My dude, you're on a two-wheeled sofa. Climb up here in a cafe racer and try that before whining.

• I spent more or less 7 liters every 160 kilometers, which gave me approximately 22km/L of consumption;

• With a 12-liter tank I could theoretically drive 260 kilometers before it stopped, but every 140 kilometers I rode I was already anxious for a gas station;

• Air-cooled motorcycle gets HOT, especially if you stay above 110 km/h;

• Speaking of heat, my cell phone was my GPS and it cooked the entire way on my handlebar under the sun. I don't think its battery will ever be the same;

• Helmet camera, do not use. The weight over time tires the neck and the wind throws the head to the side, creating a lot of aerodynamic resistance. And besides, the battery runs out quickly. Attach it to the motorcycle and plug it into a USB socket;

• By the way, I didn't install a USB socket. I kept the cell phone alive with a 20000mAh battery, it lasted 10 hours and still had some charge left;

• BR-050 is the easier highway I've ever taken, little to no traffic most of the time;

• Anhanguera is the most BORING highway I've ever ridden, an infinite straight line with no sights to see;

Just this. Alone. Forever.

• Tolls are a hindrance to life, many accept cards but a good number only pay in cash.Like, PAPER MONEY. Like a savage. In the year 2024. And there's no point in using tags, that sticker you put in your bike or car to bypass the toll and be billed directly on you account: you can't use it on motorcycles - they are illegal at toll booths and tag readers don't recognize them.

• Lots of trucks along the way, but as BR-050 is dual carriageway they were not a problem;

• I hate passing through Valparaíso and Luziânia, two cities in Goias, with all my strength, the drivers there are suicidal. I increased the travel time by 1 hour by taking the GO-436 road, even though I was in a state of disrepair, so as not to go through that hell;

• In fact, this stretch of GO and the beginning of BR-050 were the most fun on the road;

• Take a spray bottle with water and a flannel to clean the tons of bugs that will splatter on your visor and jacket;

Visor clean after a lot of scrubbing, but still with signs of the massacre on the helmet and the jacket

• I stopped at practically every service station on the BRs to stretch and drink water, this must have increased the travel time by at least an hour;

•  I've spend 10 hours on my bike riding each way, on a total of 20 hours on a goddamn cafe racer;

• My arms felt numb along the way;

• My legs felt numb along the way;

• I had joint and back pain for three days;

• I was wondering on the way why in the flying hell I decided to do this;

• I can't wait to do it again.

royal enfieldcafe racertravelcontinental gt 650 May 5, 2024