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The challenge of reaching the "7th Challenge of Lagos de Covadonga". They say that the LD do not walk, and it is true that they are slow, but since six years ago the restoration of my Eibar´s Lambretta LD of 1958 was around my head the idea of drive it for the Asturias roads, . Last year he traveled in tow to Ribadesella, to participate in the 6th Challenge "Lagos de Covadonga", but because of a poor gasoline I had to get on a loaned bike. This year the idea was to travel from Madrid on it and enjoy the route and the hospitality of the V3$p@ Club of Asturias. Thanks to my friend Carlos Tejera, who accompanied me on a V3$p@ CL 150, I was able to fulfill that dream. The route of the Desafío always leaves of Ribadesella and traditionally climbs until the Lakes of Covadonga. This year has maintained the name but has changed the route: National Parks had authorized the climb of the motorcycle registered, but the Police did not allow it and that is why the organization warned us in June of the change of route. The exit was in Ribadesella but we climbed to Sotres, the highest town of Asturias, at 1050 meters, a route as spectacular or even more so than the ascent to the Covadonga Lakes. The event is more popular each year and the registrations for which we are not partners open and close in minutes. This year in an hour there were 200 motorcycles enrolled, 260 people including the companions. Friday afternoon begins to smell of motor oil in Ribadesella and in the park closed we make the inscriptions. We had the traditional welcome "paella" and left the motorcycles parked in the premises enabled by the organization. On Saturday we started at 11 in the morning; The sky threatened rain and many came out with monkey water but as we were rolling the clear sky allowed us to enjoy the views and the road with dry asphalt. In total there were 175 km of route. To Sotres, with its infinite ramps, the LD went up with two persons and there we enjoyed appetizer, cider, beers, tortilla and "cabrales" cheese, courtesy of the organization. The food at the restaurant Repelao de Covadonga was, as in previous years, spectacular. For 260 people there were ciders, beers and wines, pans of fabes to repeat as much as you wanted, "cachopos" until "fartucarse" and rice with milk and coffee. After the desserts the V3$p@ Club of Asturias recognized the participation of the members of the Lambretta Cbub of Spain with a bottle of cider for its representatives and it rewarded the LD 125 with the trophy to the far more rolling, that has double merit because it was the oldest motorcycle of the concentration. Then in the Sanctuary of Covadonga, group photo and blessing of motorcycles at the door of the Monastery. In the Challenge to Lagos there are two types of inscriptions, the most complete one including the brotherhood dinner on Saturday night. We started at 10 pm at the Gran Hotel del Sella, and ended at 2 am in the hotel and at dawn on the streets of Ribdesella. There were lots of gifts, including a book from the Lambretta factory in Spain, donated by the CLE. So far the chronicle of the 7th challenge, the journey, the route and the details of the trip with the LD have been published in the Lambretta Spain Club forum and at https://desafiolagos2017.wordpress.com/. Just tell you that the bike made more than one thousand kilometers (700 miles) without problems, because having to change a spark plug after 10 hours of operation can not be considered a fault. I encourage you all to ride yours small olds scooters. I could have made the trip with other motorbikes, more powerful and fast, but the experience that I have lived traveling to Asturias with the LD 125 would not have had with them. From Madrid to Asturias, are 450 milles, driving a LD, spend 11 hours, with stops included. 11 hours of curves, landscapes and friendship with platinum spark plugs and three-gear transmission.
It has been a long while since I have posted an update or sitrep about my life in Poland. So that's what I'll do now. To start: I now have my own, pre-communist apartment in an old, pre-war 'hood on the right bank of the Vistula River. It's a small, "2 room" apartment. 2 rooms means there is a wall with a door that separates the kitchen from the other room. The apartment is entered from the stairwell via short, shared corridor, which has a toilet that apparently was, at one timed, shared between the two apartments that open into the corridor. My neighbors use the toilet. Upon entering the kitchen, one is greeted by a fully tiled floor and walls, a full array of kitchen cabinets top and bottom, reasonably new-ish gas stove and oven, and an old, noisy Russian fridge. In fact, there are so many cabinets that many of them are still empty. The floor is heated and there is a heated drying rack under the wide sill of a very tall, double pane (but not double glazed - just a wooden frame with two panes of glass) window. The kitchen is maybe 6 1/2 or 7 ft wide. The living room/bedroom is about twice as wide and features a softwood floor of interlocked knotty pine boards and again, lots of built-in stuff: bookshelves, wardrobes, cabinets, more shelves, etc. The lighting in the kitchen is all LED including LED strips that are just under the cabinets giving indirect light and there is a normal ceiling lamp in which I have installed an LED light bulb. The lighting in the other room is a normal ceiling lamp and a short track of 3 halogen lamps, but that run on a 24 volt circuit. At one end of the room there is a cheap wall unit that has a space for an old school TV. This is where I will put a stereo system and turntable. At each end of the wall unit are wardrobes, and there are shelves just big enough to take all my vinyl 12' LPs. Just below these shelves is a liquor cabinet, which, sadly, I have been unable to stock as of yet. Opposite this end of the room is a set of wide, tall windows atop a very wide window sill. I have a sofa bed that is on one side of the flat, under heavily laden bookshelves, which at first made me a little nervous, but the landlord has assured me that the bookshelves are strong and won't come down from the wall. I put all my comic books up there and large format hard cover books that won't fit in the other book shelves in the room, some of which are bought from shops like IKEA, and some of which are home-made. I should tell you that many features of my apartment are home made, such as the aforementioned 24 volt lighting. In fact, the landord, who is a very nice, young man who is a friend of my best friend over here, is a bit of an engineer. He renovated the flat at some time in the past, and he made a modification that was needed as he had a wife and daughter living here with him up until 2 years ago. There is no bathroom included in the apartment. Residents were expected to use the shared toilet and, I suppose, either install a bathtub in the kitchen or go to a public bath. Think NYC tenement housing. But, my landlord, wasn't happy with that arrangement. He realized that there is a storage space in the basement just beneath the living room. So he cut a hole in the floor, through the concrete and into the room below. He renovate the underground room into a quite a nice bathroom. In Poland, bathrooms are built to a standard far above what you would expect would be the norm in the USA or Britain. Even though this is an old apartment, the bathroom features ceramic tiles floor to ceiling, indirect LED lighting and LED spot lighting, a heated towel rack, underfloor heating, an electric pump to send wastewater up to the drainage system, and an electric lift / elevator. The elevator is a large, square plate that rides in two tracks installed into the wall and is operated by a handheld switch, much like you would use in a factory or a work site. It is wound upwards on a spool of cable, and lowered the same way. It uses two slender steel cables and is quite smooth in operation. But, the cables are prone to breaking, so the lift is only used occasionally and a step ladder is installed into the hole so I use that to go downstairs to the bathroom. The lift did come in handy when I had to move my new washing machine into the bathroom! I did that all by myself but it would have been easier with four hands instead of two. So that's my new pad. My friend Piotr helped me move in and just last week helped me carry my GP200 up into my living/bedroom. I'll be working on that very slowly over the next year or two. I chose this place because I was essentially homeless and had blown almost all my summer income in the UK, knowing I had nowhere to live in Poland until I rented a place. But I'm in now, and the rent is very reasonable, and I also have a garage. It's cold, but Piotr is bringing a wood burning stove so I can warm it up when I want to work on my scooter. It needs a good clean out, but there is enough room for a scooter lift which I will buy soon. I keep my tools in my kitchen, though, mainly to keep them warm and clean. The garage isn't a workshop, but it will do for now. I have a secure place to park and when I get a scooter lift it will be an ok place to do repairs, once I manage to sort out how to light it. I now mostly use the tram to get to work, or ride to the suburb where I used to live or take a combination of tram/metro/bus to get there as I work there 3 days a week. Oh, I don't have a camera, and won't for the time being as I'm saving for a GoPro, to wear on my helmet to film my rides and to ward off crazy car drivers who may think twice about pulling shit if there is a risk that they will be recorded.