The goal of trading in my Supermoto for the Transalp was to ride further, pack more, and stay longer. This past weekend I did just that. I packed up for two nights and rode some 220kms for a rally organized in a small town of Zwierzyniec organized by the Zwierzyniec Motorcycle Club. This was their 5th year of organizing the event and from what I’ve heard it was the biggest yet. I met up with a Transalp forum member at about the halfway point and together we took the roads less traveled in no hurry at all to get there. The thing about riding the Transalp is that it will take pretty much everything you throw at it, or at least everything I plan on throwing at it.
Once at the rally we gravitated towards the Transalp/AfricaTwin corner of the camp site. It was my first rally ever, but the friendliness of people all around was really overwhelming. People were really kicked back and everyone simply talked motorcycles and moto trips. I also quickly realized my newer model Transalp was nowhere to be seen, and soon sort of found out why.
There is a fair share of ‘hate’ towards the new XL700V model, even though it’s been out for 5 years now. There are those that think the real Transalp was last made in ’96, the original 600 with a single front disc brake. Then there are those that consider the Transalp to be only up to the 650 model last made in 2007/08. But they all seem to be in agreement that the new 700 is just not good enough to bear the Transalp name. The smaller 19″ front wheel is one reason, the smoothed out lines in general is another, so is the new round headlamp. I heard a lot of jokes at the beginning, but maybe it was just cause I was new. We were all squared away a few drinks later.
The cool thing about this motorcycle rally was that it was open to any willing to come. From Transalps and GS’s alike, thru R1’s and race bikes, to huge Goldwings and Harley’s, everything could be seen there.
On Saturday two separate trips took place, one OFF road, and one ON. The offroaders spent their day in the local forest, while I tagged along with the ON guys and visited an abandoned army base called Pstrąże. An active city from 1945 until 1992, at one point thousands of Russian army folk called this town ‘home’. Today little but walls remain of the city. The fact is that Pstrąże was originally a German army base built in 1901 and evidence of this was a short walk away from the Russian area. It was interesting to see the difference in building architecture. Old German buildings all had a sense of design and cleanness to them, even a hundred years later while staring at their ruins. The Russian side was just a mess. Boxy form to simply fit the function, nothing more, just 4 walls to live in.
The entire area is still an active army training grounds and often used for special forces training. But there are hundreds of kilometers of tank trails in the nearby forests used by the biggest tank battalion in Poland stationed there. We rode through there as it was quiet and there wasn’t a soul to be found, and we took some photos near the one tank we did find.
My entire album of photos from this trip can be seen here: http://picasaweb.google.com/polvadis