I’m not a fan of winter, and unfortunately there’s a lot more of it here in Tallinn, as opposed to my previous hometown of Berlin. But it is what it is, and there’s light at the end of the tunnel, as my 500 EXC finally arrived here last Monday, along with six bicycles. The 500 went straight to Ekstreemmoto, the local KTM, who are helping with getting the bike registered in Estonia. It also needs a bit of normal service work, which I’m happy to let them take care of.

Some may frown on not doing the service work personally. In fact a dear friend of mine was horrified upon hearing about my use of professional services and immediately stated, that he wouldn’t let the head mechanic of the KTM factory racing team touch his bike. Which is just as well, as he rides a Yamaha. Either way, I’ve started using local KTM’s more and more for service and parts. Especially during expeditions, I prefer to spend the service day for personal recovery and let the professionals take care of the bike. Having said that, it doesn’t negate the necessity of knowing how to service and run repairs on the bike in the field.

Settling into Tallinn has been easy, and I’ve managed to find a nice garage for the bike to start the build as soon as I get it back from KTM. A sure sign of spring getting closer is the steady stream of new parts arriving at the apartment. I’ve already got most of what I need, and some of the latest parts to arrive were from Hammerhead Designs. I’m a huge fan of their machined foot brake pedals and shift levers, and the 500 will get a new set for 2018, along with a reinforced side stand and hand welded Paragon titanium foot pegs.