The time in Tallinn, Estonia has come to an end and I have relocated to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It is great to be back in the hustle and bustle of Western Europe, although I do miss the world championship level enduro tracks of Estonia. Other than that, there is little to miss, and it would seem I now bleed orange in more ways than one.
The relocation went without incident, but transporting my bike, spare parts, riding gear required a little extra work. All my stuff had ended up in Helsinki after the last leg in the Arctic, at the very end of the Prometheus 19 expedition. As there was quite a bit of stuff, I ended up building a crate with a friend. Luckily he found a donor case at work, which we modified to suit transporting the 500 EXC along with five boxes of gear.
The base pallet had impact damping, as the crate had earlier been used to ship fully fitted and wired server racks from Asia to Europe. The racks weigh one ton, so the pallet was also more than sturdy enough to carry my measly 250 kg. The base dimensions were 112 cm x 141 cm, with a maximum height of 120 cm. The long edges and corners were reinforced with vertical beams to support weight on top of it. Then again, it was probably overkill, as the end walls of the crate were 30 mm plywood. Anyhow, better to be safe than sorry, but I would guess the crate easily weighed more than the bike.
The dimensions were just long enough to fit the bike without having to remove the swing arm, silencer or triple clamp. I just removed the wheels, forks, headlight mask, handlebars and the tail section and the bike fit in the case with a total of maybe 8 cm to spare. We built as wooden clamp for the rear axle and the front of the bike was resting on the bottom of the pallet, on the engine guard.
The crate was wide enough to have all my gear, spare parts and tools loaded in five removals cases directly into the crate. We added cam straps with connections in the bottom and the side of the case to secure the cases from shifting around during transport. Most of my riding gear was used to protect any loose items, and my Dakar pants came to good use they had a fork in each leg during the transport.
The rest of the loose gear i.e. second silencer, wheels, 19 litre tank, fairings etc. were scattered around the empty spots of the crate. The wheels also had cam straps to immobilize them during transport.
The original crate had handy cam buckles which we recycled into my crate. The side walls are connected to the pallet with screws, and everything else with the cam buckles. The shipping company also required an inspection hatch which we built with the same cam buckles. Once everything was loaded and the cam buckles closed, we added a few screws here and there to avoid tampering and added zip ties into the cam buckles to avoid accidental opening.
The bike arrived safely and quickly by land transport, many thanks to Independent Express Finland. Although they mostly handle air freight, there were zero issues with them handling my pickup from a residential address and road delivery to HyperPro in the Netherlands, so they are highly recommended. Also, many thanks to HyperPro for helping out with receiving the crate. The bike is currently in their care, getting a suspension service and upgrade.
The only incident with the shipping was that the inspection hatch had been exploited to add a little motivational content inside the case, which I unwittingly unpacked in HyperPro, to the great amusement of everyone present. My initial instinct was incredulous bewilderment on what kind of a laggard has adult entertainment in printed format and DVD’s these days, followed by a wish I had worn latex gloves, followed by a split second thought that the cargo inspection crew had pulled a prank and finally realising that I have the best friends on earth.
Anyhow, once the bike and gear was unpacked from the crate, I took apart the case and dropped it off to storage for future use. The “special delivery” is hidden in my wardrobe.