Tigran Bayburtsyan

Co-Founder and CTO at Hexact Inc. (https://hexometer.com). Software scalability expert!

How it feels to ride 5000 miles, and code throughout the trip

Screenshot from Google Maps

I’ve started riding motorcycle for about 3 years ago and always wanted to make a long solo ride.

As an en entrepreneur I had to work 24/7 and never had time to commit more than a day for something else, but sometimes it is quite possible to work and make some adventure at the same time!

How it started?

During the August this year, I’ve been in Estonia for visiting my friend and completing my company setup using E-Residency. That process is taking about 2 months usually, so I didn’t wanted to wait that long in Estonia and started thinking about moving to other places in Europe during that time.

Suddenly I got an idea to make a motorcycle trip from Tallinn Estonia to Lisbon Portugal in 1.5 month 💡 and very quickly I became addicted to that idea. Within a day decided to buy a cheap used motorcycle, make a ride until Lisbon, sell that bike there and fly back to Tallinn. Seems reasonable right?

Found a bike online from dragbike.ee, calculated that the all trip will cost about 4K Euro and finally decided to make it!

The only plan that I had

  • Ride a motocycle only 3–4 hours a day, and work the rest of the day
  • Stop 2–3 nights only in big cities, mostly capitals
  • Stay only in hostels to meet new people and travelers
  • Try to keep ride safe :)

Preparing to ride

After 1 day researching motorcycles in Estonia using online services. I finally got this Suzuki GSXR 600 2001 for only 1900 Eruo!

First photo after signing documents

Spent another 1000 Euro for buying special clothing, helmet and of course GoPro Session for taking awesome ride videos.

If you are now thinking that “sport bike is horrible for long trips”, you are totally right, but it looks awesome and I really wanted to make it with sporty motorcycle 🎉

Choosing the right motorcycle for a long trip is casual, because you are going to ride alone, and you should be able to fix it without others help. In this case I did horrible decision by getting Suzukai GSXR because the engine works entirely on electrical injection principle, so whenever your battery is dead you can’t do anything with it, just a battery replacement.

Riding City to City

Europe counties positioning is ideal to ride from one capital to another within 3–4 hours. Which mens I’ve been able to spend half of the day enjoying ride then sit somewhere (usually coffeeshops) to get some work done for that day!

Each city had it’s own story and something special to show. That’s why sometimes, I’ve been out of my schedule and stayed few more days if I liked city itself.

I’ve been in 16 cities and all of them I was staying in very cheap hostels, which helped me to keep this trip under 4K Euro including motorcycle! But the most important part of hostels is having a shared room with a lot of other interesting travelers. You will be amazed how many interesting stories you can hear from almost all nationalities.

Here is the most inspiring thing that happened in hostel. In Berlin I met with a guy Jon (let’s call him like that), he was from UK, and using photography as a main source of income he was traveling all over the world. I’ve been exited about his stories in Patagonia, Columbia etc… And guess what, after 16 days, when I’ve been in Bologna, Italy accidentally we’ve been in a same Hostel and a same room 💥 He looked on me and told “Hey man what the hell are you doing here??!!” :)

Road Conditions

The roads in Europe is just awesome! I’ve been riding 220 Km/h in Germany racing with some random Audio TT. In fact if you ride on paid roads you can get from city to city more comfortable and fast, but usual roads are also awesome.

Warsaw — Berlin autoban
Monaco

The most fun ride was from Nice to Monaco! And in general twisty roads of Italy is amazing.

What could go wrong ?!

Well this is the idea of having some “Adventure”. At first few days, cities all went just awesome. Then started thing which I hate the most as a motorcycle rider RAIN! a lot of rainy days!

Somewhere in Italy from Vienna to Venice — RAIN!!
Arriving to Monaco — Still RAIN!!
By mistake filled Diesel :)) Pulling out it here!

Eventually had some accident with a car in Nice, and thanks to frame sliders, nothing serious.

Here the most horrible thing happened on a ride from Marseille to Lyon in France.
I’ve been riding about 140 Km/h and suddenly engine turned off and all electricity was gone! 😱

Pulled to the right, called road emergency (thanks to France, they have a service for that), and evacuated motorcycle to the nearest motorcycle shop.

It turns out motorcycle’s Rectifier, which is responsible to convert electricity from engine to battery, completely burned out!

Suzuki GSXR Rectifier completely burned!

And of-course there was no motorcycle repair shop, which had this thing available there. So I started to research how to get it running to ride another 200 Km and get to the final destination to Lyon, France.

After going through a lot of technical videos and manuals, finally I figured out, that I can just unplug Rectifier, and ride about 100Km with a full battery until battery will loose his charge. This is because modern bike using electric fuel injection technology, which means if you don’t have a battery on your motorcycle it wouldn’t run at all, unlike carbonated motorcycles.

So I got 2 batteries, just in case :) charged them and had last 200Km ride to Lyon. Of-corse I had to pull out a road and change a battery after 120Km of riding without rechargeable Rectifier thing.

But What about coding?

You will be surprised but I’ve been doing work every single day no matter what happened during the day. This is more horrible if you consider that I had US time zone daily standups with my team, and sometimes I had to do them from building entrances, parks and even restrooms :)

Bologna some random building entrance — Standup call with US team!

Every time when I’ve been in some random cities and needed a place to work, I’ve been using this website https://workfrom.co/ which is just showing all places, coffeeshops, co-working spaces etc… to work from. That’s an ideal information if you are planning to do something like this (hope better!) and also want to work during that time as well.

In Summary

This trip changed a lot for me. I started to be more calm, and more passionated about what I’m doing.

I met a lot of awesome people, heard their stories, shared my stories. Learned about other cultures and overall had a great time during the ride.

I think having this kind of experiences during your life is changing and shaping who you are, and most importantly you are not feeling bored even after this kind of adventure.

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