The dream comes true

Two years ago I started dreaming about driving a Yamaha XT660Z Teneré. At that time, the motorbike had just been announced, getting to shops a few months later. Then, when available, I started trying to sell my previous motorbike (Aprilia Pegaso 650 Trail), which was hard because of the crisis, but some weeks ago, a nice guy from Coruña came here and got it (quite cheaper than what I could have got if there was no crisis though), so right after that, I went to the Yamaha shop and, finally, ordered one. After 3 weeks waiting (I wanted the 2008 model, which has that khakhi color as an option, not available in the 2009 model, so it took a bit to get it from another Yamaha shop), a few weeks ago I could finally get it.

After 1200 kms with it, I can only say it’s the best motorbike I could have bought, since it’s perfect for daily usage as well as for off-road, specially after having changed its tyres yesterday:

Now all the mud, snow and tracks around here are nothing I can’t deal with :-)

A dream come true

In the 80’s, thanks to the Paris-Dakar rally, the trail motorbikes got lots of success, everyone wanted to emulate the heroes of the desert. But in the 90’s, the motorbike manufacturers started moving away from that kind of motorbikes, making the trail bikes too oriented for on-road driving, very far away from the all-terrain capabilities the machines in the 80’s had. Up till now, you had to choose either a KTM (too, I repeat, too, expensive), or just go for a touring motorbike with off-road capabilities (like my Aprilia Pegaso Trail) and use it in all-terrains, or for an Enduro bike.

Fortunately this is changing, with the release in 2008 of the new Yamaha Teneré:

And, if rumours are true, the new Honda Transalp:

(I hope the real one looks better than in this mockup though :-) )

/me starts saving money for the Teneré


While learning more about GPS on Linux, I’ve came across OpenStreetMap, a community project to create free maps for everyone to use. Since the maps is one of the biggest problems I’ve found with my TomTom (not being up-to-date, not including almost none off-road paths, being too expensive to update, etc), I’m starting to record my routes to upload them there and help thus in the creation of the free map of the world.

I haven’t really looked yet at the details on how you edit the routes, but the theory seems quite easy:

  1. You record your routes with your GPS unit in GPX format
  2. You load that GPX file into one of the OSM editors. With this, you add information to the route you just created, like identifying streets, paths, motorways, etc
  3. You upload the resulting file to OSM and that gets included in the full map

One of the nicest things, in theory still, seems to be osmarender, which is a tool to create a SVG file out of the OSM data created with the OSM editors. This means you can create a map out of a GPS track, or, that is, create your own maps!

Right now, Britain seems to have the best coverage, Spain being just partially covered. So, while the map itself is still not too useful (at least for me), it looks a very promising project, which just needs people all over the world to contribute to the map. So, if you have a GPS unit that can record routes to GPX, please start doing so whenever you can. If you are lazy enough to not want to learn all the process, just send me the GPX files or wait until I learn and I describe the process here.

More to come as I learn more about the whole process…

Places of Power: Artajona

One of the late nights at last GUADEC, talking with Quim about mountains and nice landscapes, he talked about Montserrat and the feelings he had there. It is, from what I’ve heard, what some people call places of power (lugares de poder in Spanish, which I translated to English from), which are places that, for some reason, make you have feelings impossible to have in other normal places. Some people would call it God, others energy, and others, simply, Nature, but the truth is that they usually are spectacular places.

Another coincident characteristic of these places (at least the ones in Western Europe) is that, in some of them, there is (or was) a megalithic monument (maybe because the Neolithic people catched the magic of the places and decided to build their monuments there, who knows). And that’s the case for Artajona, in the middle of the way from my place to Pamplona. Most people would visit Artajona to see the medieval remains of the town, very spectacular:

But the real beauty is 4 kms away from the town, where there are 2 dolmens:

They are not very spectacular, but what is indeed awesome are the views you can see from the hills where the dolmens are:

I didn’t feel any mystic energy or magic :-) but I was really impressed by the place, quite beautiful and, being alone there, quite relaxing.

More photos here.


#2 in the ‘photos I’ve been taking recently’ series, this time about Yerga, a few kms away from my house, in La Rioja (yeah, where they do the famous wine). It is a place with some peaks and, fortunately, some paths to get around them. I went, a few weekends ago, with Guelphon, a guy from Calahorra, and his Yamaha XT.

It was a very nice place, with some nice tracks for the motorbikes, but the last part of the route we did was a bit hard, going downhill on tracks plenty of stones, very slippery sand and huge holes, very bad place indeed for the tyres my motorbike has. For some of the way down, I was skating more than riding :-)

Here are some views from the path that took us down the hill. You can see other tracks in one of the photos, that go up to the Peña Isasa (that’s the name of the peak). Unfortunately, those paths are closed during the summer, because of fire danger in the area, so we’ll have to wait till the Autumn to get around them. In the second photo you can see the last part of the downhill track, although you can’t appreciate the difficulty in the photos.

I almost falled down on my bike a couple of times, but fortunately, I managed to control it and not bite the dust. My friend Guelphon also had some problems, but managed to get to the valley safe and alive.

Supermotard at Cascante

I’ve been recently taking lots of pictures that I haven’t blogged about, so here is the first post about them.

To start with, last Sunday I went to Cascante, 50 kms from my place, to watch the Basque-Navarre Supermotard championship.

I didn’t take many photos, because I met there with a few friends, and we left early to drive some kms around in our bikes.