X-MAG 2023 by NEXX Helmets

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ISSUE 2023


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Nordkapp 71º 10’ 21”
NEXX RIDER TravelBikers Inari, Finland NEXX RIDER TravelBikers

Калето (Kaleto peak), BULGARIA NEXX RIDER AdvAnywhere - Moto travelers



Circuito de Navarra, SPAIN RIDER aaron44_ - Aaron escalera


Oviedo, SPAIN


Maria Duarte


The first day of ACT Pyrenees starts at the mediterrenean sea at Cabo de Creus directly at the lighthouse.

If you are staying at a nearby hotel make sure that you are going there before sunrise. The sun rises above the sea with a spectacular view of the surrounding coast.

The first hours the track goes inland on tarmac roads for the first 2 hours so that you can grove into the curves, the bike, the landscape, the group before you are heading into the first offroad sections to test your abilities.

The 210 km of day one have about 40% offroad and 60 % tarmac from the distance point of view, but like always you probably spend some time on the offroad sections, depending on the weather conditions. It leads you into the mountains close to the border to France and gives you a light impression of the complexity of the track, A fairly lightweight day, still quite a distance with an ending in the beautiful town of Setcases.

Easy Cabo de Creus START Setcases END
im Setcases www.arcadadefares.com
& Food
Hotel Hotel La Coma

After a few km the tarmac switches to nice offroad tracks and goes high up into the mountains. Be aware if it is weekends, since the locals are going there with their offroad vehicles as well. The views are fantastic, the roads are great and you spend most of the day high up in the mountains. This day has about 230km and you will spend quite some time offroad, so rather 60 % offroad this day, but nice and fast tracks. Be aware of the last section into Andorra.

It is the smugglers trail and goes up to 2000 meters and with bad weather conditions it is slippery, muddy and not an easy section. You will end this day in Andorra, please be aware that this last section can take 3 hours, so make sure you are in time for dinner and select you hotel in advance since Andorra is a tourist spot. (There is a tarmac alternative for the last section of the day via the regular road from La Seu d´Urgell into Andorra)

Hotel There are lots of Hotels in Andorra Hotel & Food



LENGTH 230 KM DIFFICULTY Medium / Hard Setcases START
Andorra END
in the beautiful region of Setcases and we can only suggest to start the day early.

Leaving Andorra at dusk is perfect.

It is a busy city and the offroad track goes again high up into the mountains with a beautiful 7 km descent into the valley which can be slippery and challenging with rain or snow, but with reasonabel weather conditions it is spectacular. There is an alternative onroad track via La Seu d´Urgell and Adrall and Sort to meet the group again on the C28. There is quite some offroad during this day and big landscapes, big mountains, crossing into France and back to Spain. Different

levels of Tracks from Challenging to fast and fun. It is also a long day but some of the tarmac sections are fast and connect you especially at the end of the day to civilization. We have ended the day in a small town at a nice hotel with a restaurant nearby located perfectly for a great start into day 4, which will be the longest day of the trip. Probably a 50/50% onroad / offroad day, but the offroad passages take their time and are so beautiful you want to spend lots of time there for pictures and views of the landscape

Hotel Cotori www.hotelcotori.com
& Food Restaurant www.restaurantlescumbres.com LENGTH 230 KM DIFFICULTY Medium / Hard Arinsal START Vilaller END
3 Hotel

Is another great day on the road and it is the longest day of the track with 265 km

After some tarmac km we immediatley go into the offroad section. This day is a bit more relaxing, even when some of the offroad passages are a bit steep. But the offroad part is maybe only 40%, nevertheless we have plenty of small tarmac roads with thousands of curves and sometime you switch from onroad to offroad 5 times per hour. The mountains are not that big anymore, it is more civilization but the forest roads are more mystic and hidden.

We enjoy those curvy roads, relax a bit our bones and muscles but never have the chance to relax our mind, wether tarmac or dirt, all sections are curvy and small and there might be traffic on the road. It is a long day, so make sure you have plenty of time. The day ends in a hidden village that especially off season is only inhabited by some hikers who enjoy the remote mountain region.

LENGTH 265 KM DIFFICULTY Medium / Hard Vilaller START Ansó END

Day 5 the last day of the Adventure Country Tracks Pyrenees

LENGTH 225 KM DIFFICULTY Easy / Medium Ansó START San Sebastian END

The region is different, more fences, more people, more regular roads, but always backcountry. Some challenging offroad sections combined with fast curvy tarmac hidden in the valley and forests of northern spain and southern france. If you want to end your day at the coast in San Sebastian you have a good day ahead of you and can decide if you want to final your trip with a last challenging offroad passage even if it is only a few km. Arriving at the ocean is special.

You made it from the mediterranean to the atlantic. We end the track officially on the other side of the city at a great lookout. If you want to continue to Bilbao to catch a flight, store your motorcylce or whatever, make sure you spare a good 2 hours for the highway section. If you have more time…return via France?




The uncontrollable desire to travel, combined with the passion for photography and video, motivated this young couple of NEXX Riders to create the “ADVANYWHERE” project, thus combining a mix of skills and work, in the realization of a common dream: to know the most fascinating places of the world, on two wheels. Kewin and Ola, from Poland, demonstrate on each trip that adventure is a state of mind and that even the mundane things turn into a great discovery.

The trip to Norway, in addition to being a new destination, is the first trip for our Riders, together, on a single motorcycle. Being single-cylinder, in addition to a trip, a real challenge!

“To get even more out of our comfort zone, we just took a tent and a small portable gas stove.”

As they are not adept at strict rules while traveling, they are free to experience their adventures spontaneously, so they don’t waste much time planning the route!

“Due to the fact that Norway is closed to tourists most of the time, we follow the information and check every day if, as tourists, we are already allowed to enter the country. We prepared a list of places we want to visit and just a week before the trip, we bought the tickets for Sweden (Karlskrona). A few days later, we set off on a month-long trip through the country of the Vikings.”

Nexx Riders Kewin & Ola | AdvAnywhere
In this X-PERIENCE, we head towards Northern Europe, towards Norway –in search of the Northern Lights!

In Norway there is a law, Allemansrätten. This states that a person, as an integral part of nature, has the complete right to experience it in its fullness. This includes, hiking, bathing in rivers and lakes, tasting mushrooms and blackberries and even the ease of being able to sleep in almost any place, however, it should be done with ALL respect for nature!

“Although sleeping in a tent for a month sounds a bit like a challenge, we soon found that we didn’t miss our bed. Especially when on open nights they are surrounded by incredible natural phenomena!”

are focused on the Lærdal Tunnel, which is over 24km long, we admire a very rare phenomenon called ‘Noctilucent Clouds’ above it. These beautiful and unique clouds are the highest clouds observed on Earth as they are about 75km above the Earth’s surface! This phenomenon only occurs at the right altitude, in summer, when the sun is 6-16 degrees below the horizon.”

Our NEXX Riders have plenty of time to travel, but not enough time to get to know all the places they would like to visit, so they decide that this trip will be a kind of ‘recognition’!

“While most travelers

“During one of the ferry crossings, we met two Norwegian motorcyclists who showed us the most scenic routes to go to Lofoten. Thanks to their advice we followed the FV17 route, that is, many additional ferry crossings, but also many breathtaking landscapes because the road is close to the coast and thanks to that, we can experience the immensity of the surrounding space.”

They cross the Arctic Circle and are very close to the main destination – Lofoten. They visit the city with the shortest

name in the world, Å, where the scenic European route, E10, begins. They follow the same direction towards the beach of Rørvikstranda and from there to the town of Henningsvær.

“When we look at the map we realize that we have covered a good distance and Nordkapp seems to be just a few steps away, so we set a new goal – North Cape!”

“In Lofoten, a supernatural force unites water, mountains and sky. The fog covers selected areas that reveal themselves and after a while disappear again giving the sensation of being in a dream. Clouds are superimposed on the tops of the mountains, the surface of the water gently ripples, causing a mesmerizing sensation. It is impossible to remain indifferent to so much natural beauty, so we made the most of this moment!”

After Lofoten, they head to Senja Island where they decide to stay for a while to get off the bike and indulge in their other passion, hiking in the mountains…

“Although the vastness of Norway is impressive with every kilometer of road, it is better to feel this earthly space on foot. At one point, we pass the height of the clouds and something incredible appears before our eyes. Are we at the bottom of the ocean? An ocean of clouds flows freely into the Norwegian Sea creating a spectacular cloud cascade!”

Kewin and Ola finally arrive in Nordkapp, discovering at once that the North Cape is in a good mood that day because it doesn’t rain, nor is there as much wind as in previous days.

As is often the case during travel, it is possible to meet some interesting people who may influence plans. This time, they meet a Swiss motorcyclist – Daniel, with whom they quickly form a strong bond.

“During a conversation in the café, Daniel convinces us that it is worth spending the night in Cabo Norte. After all, how many times do we have the opportunity to spend the night in the open in the far north of Europe? After warming up in the tourist center, it’s time to rest… or take pictures, because we set up the tent and half of our team, instead of sleeping, goes with the camera and our new friend to hunt for the best landscapes.”

They head south to reach the ferry that takes them back from Karlskrona to Gdynia. The days go by, as they listen to their music on the intercoms, admiring the landscapes along the E6 road.

“We are definitely used to this lifestyle, even cooking, although it takes a lot of time and involves washing dishes, in the nearest frozen river!”

four days before the ferry back to Poland, we have a puncture… one Saturday, it’s past 4 pm and nobody works in Norway at this time. We started looking for someone who could help us and finally we called the insurance company. Unfortunately the insurance company is not very helpful, they provide a tow truck, but we discovered that the nearest workshop they can take us to is 300 meters away, that is, across the street, which is closed and only opens on Monday -market.

The rain is getting stronger and we still have 1000 km to go. In 4 days it’s not a problem, but for that, if we can’t fix the tyre, we’ll have to wait until Monday to get help with the repair, and then it’ll be a problem if we take the ferry back to Poland. Unfortunately, the shop owner, who shows up two hours later, doesn’t want to help. We only have one key to unscrew the wheel. Kewin starts working and with some basic tools it starts to take the wheel off. However, this operation is unlikely to be successful without a proper machine and tools.”

“Everything was going perfectly when suddenly

“The weather gets worse and when we are about to look for emergency accommodation so we don’t have to be on the street, an old man comes up to us and asks in Polish if we need help, WE NEED IT SO MUCH!

We discover that the man is another employee of that same workshop and seeing compatriots in need, he does not hesitate to help.

With his great help, we were able to quickly bring the situation under control. We found that the tire tube was stuck and slightly torn. A quick gluing, tire replacement, bag assembly and off we go!

All this thanks to our guardian angel. It’s amazing how sometimes the world can help us and send such a good soul!”

With peace of mind, they slowly make their way to Sweden.

As they have some time, they visit Oslo, which is one of the three Norwegian cities where they stay the longest. The others are Ålesund and Tromsø.

be it more traditional or more modern. In Oslo, we are definitely more enchanted by the opera house, then the food as we are tempted to visit the Oslo Street Food Lounge and the My Ugly Baby donut shop. After a month of cooking on the road, we deserve a decent meal!”

At the end of their stay they go to a place they find by chance on Google maps. In fact, they never realized how this place appeared on the list of places to visit, since the beginning of the trip. The Husqvarna Museum!

“Each of these cities has its own architectural charm,
“We still don’t know trip will be, but we many destinations
know what the next we already have destinations in our head!”

André, did you already miss racing in Macau?

Undoubtedly, it’s been two years with a lot of desire to return to the Guia circuit, to be able to feel the adrenaline, the risk and all the emotion of this race. Even throughout 2020 and 2021 there was a desire to participate, we still tried to organize it, but it was impossible to get teams, logistics etc and at the same time be able to spend 14 days in quarantine as was intended in these years.

How do you describe the atmosphere around the race? Is it true that the locals welcome all riders and teams, in a unique way?

We are very well received, it is a race that completely involves the city; there are 7 days of competition, starting with the presentation of pilots, visits to schools to contact with children, exhibitions, TV interviews from all over Asia. People from Macau are passionate about racing. To get an idea, nowhere in the world can they put three international events in a single weekend, such as Formula 3, world GT3, WTCR and Motorcycles! it’s an amazing racing environment.

How do you prepare for such a dangerous race like the Macau GP Grand prix?

After all, with so many years racing it, it’s a race “like any other”; that’s how I see it, to be able to go calmly and without thinking about the dangers, but this only works until minutes before putting on the racing suit and putting on the helmet, then everything changes completely. I enter my world, concentrate to the fullest, I don’t think about anything else but the trajectories, center the bike to be able to tune it up and be as comfortable as possible and above all remember where I am and what I’m doing! Of course, for this you need a lot of physical preparation during the year to be in good shape, then close to the event dates I try to watch as many videos as possible to get there and be familiar with the track as fast as possible; it’s a track where you can’t go beyond your limits, you must go where you feel comfortable.

What is your favorite part of the circuit and why?

My favorite part is the last sector and the first one, that’s where you feel the real speed, 4 highspeed straights where we can squeeze the

engine to the maximum and easily reach 300kmh then we just reduce 1 speed we shoot for the curve and squeeze the accelerator, very few circuits allow you to ride as long as the TT Isle of Man or the Nord West 200, and Macau is one of them too.

What skills do you need as a pilot to race in Macau? Is a certain amount of madness necessary?

First to be passionate about racing; have a lot of adrenaline in your blood; really live the races, then believe in destiny, that something moves us to do things and if we have the opportunity to them why not? Of course some people think we are crazy maybe for some reason hehe but we are ones crazy that we know what we are doing and we know our limits; you can’t be crazy without knowing what you do or without passion because then it goes wrong and it’s dangerous. I know some pilots who have tried and failed; it’s mainly depends on each one’s courage and passion.

This is your eighth participation in the Macau Grand Prix. What balance do you make of all these participations and your result in 2022? This was my best result ever. A 7th place was a very good result and made us very satisfied, due to the conditions we faced; first, it was a year that I had two collarbone surgeries that did not allow me to do any SBK competition; when I started training I started for the Supermoto, so I knew that I lacked cornering speed and confidence in riding a SBK; then the bike was a CBR1000rr from the French team OptiMark that I had never ridden so, I didn’t know how I would feel, if we had to change the bike a lot or not. Fortunately, in the training sessions it went well, I really liked the bike, easy to ride and fast, we were all improving. Of course there isn’t much time to work there either, we only have 1 free practice and 2 timed sessions, so we reached a point where we couldn’t time to risk any modifications to the bike, so in the race I had a small technical problem that made me lose some time and I had to keep the 7th position but what I wanted (and we had the skills and conditions) was to fight for the 5th position. We had to endure it until the end and finishing is the most important thing in a circuit like this. We also have one more factor that makes it more difficult for us: we race with a stock bike but in Macau the regulation is free - for you can’t imagine the level of the bikes there! Anyways, I gave my best and finished having fun as always!



Horses and dogs


I truly believe in God and I do everything in my power to keep me well and take all the pressure around me and the team!




I’m not one to celebrate much…I might win a race on Sunday but the next day, I’m already working for the next one; so, celebrations, only at the end of the year, when you are the champion!


probably when I was in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and didn’t move up to Moto3; I don’t just see it just as a career low point; it was also a learning life experience!

BIGGEST VICTORY without a doubt, having won the ESBK 2021 (Spanish Superbike Championship)


it’s a passion I’ve had since I was little; the whole tradition and atmosphere of everything involving horses has a huge charm for me!

WHY #75?

In my childhood, I was sponsored by Mattia Pasini, at the time a rider of 125cc World Championship and his number was 75!


Rider…Valentino Rossi! In life, my Family –the two, along, make me believe that anything is possible!


My career has always been a battle! That’s why I decided to make a design that would represent a warrior’s mask; basically, that’s the explanation


Prepared to get lost on The Great Malle Mountain Rally. The longest motorcyle rally ever hosted across the entirety of the Alps mountain range.

We turned the corner and suddenly reached a massive old metal door, 10ft wide and 20ft high, that guarded an ominous opening to a tunnel that was carved out of the mountain top with the inscription ‘General Berge 1892’ chiseled into the granite rock beside it. Up until this point the road had steadily progressed (or rather regressed) from smooth tarmac, to stone track and now to a gravely mountain trail, with the road surface being washed away by the annual snow melt. We checked the timing and knew the Rally teams were departing Checkpoint 1, back down in the valley in a matter of minutes, what should have taken us one hour was now nearing 3 and counting. We needed to press on to Checkpoint 2, going back was now not an option.

We parked bikes gently on a thin sheet of ice that spread from the mountain door and walked the first few meters into the tunnel, to understand the surface. A thicker layer of ice covered 10ft pot holes, some of the worst were well over a foot deep. The tunnel was pitch black, frozen, full of water, with a pin-prick of light at the other end, straight through from one side of the mountain to the other. We spun the bikes and the Super 3 around and then pressed on at constant speed, knees and elbows acting as shock absorbers, crashing through the ice. The sound of 3 high revving engines echoing and reverberating through the narrow tunnel created the deafening soundtrack to this wild moment.

You’re never more aware of how relative time is, than when you’re doing something technical, possibly dangerous, possibly a little foolish, that takes every ounce of concentration, everything

slows down and you maintain focus and try to ignore the ‘what if?’ thoughts. Half way through the tunnel, the pin-prick of light at the other end was finally getting bigger and after 20 minutes of careering through frozen water we burst out of the other side of the mountain. Just as the sun was rising over the peaks and filling half of the valley 2000m beneath us with golden light, but leaving the other side of the valley in darkness. Not a sound, completely still, you could see for miles across the snow capped peaks and it was a serene moment of pure beauty, increased by the sudden freedom from the black tunnel, the four of us stood in silence for a minute or more, breathing it all in. Then we had to work out how to get down.

How did we find ourselves up here? Technically we weren’t exactly lost, from the dot on the GPS, we knew on which side of the mountain we were, between France and Italy, we knew there was a main road down in the valley... somewhere down there! Over the last 3 years, since we first came up with the Mountain Rally idea, we’d ridden and explored as many roads across the Alps as possible, always searching for the ever elusive ‘perfect route’, or the greatest road. The perfect route, is based on so many factors; corners, views, surface, speed, obstacles etc. but sooften it’s about the uniqueness and the desire to push boundaries. Pushing the machines and ourselves into truly diverse and unique landscapes. All within the parameters of the Rally time, setting lofty, yet achievable targets for the Rally teams and ultimately reaching our final destination. The furthest Southern point in Monaco, down at the lowest point of the Rally, 0m, at sea-level. In our research we had hundreds of possible Cols/Passes, peaks,

valleys and tips from family, friends and digital research, stuck as Post-its on the master Rally map. The ‘Col de Parpaillon’ was one of them, we’d seen photos, the satellite images looked perfect and ticked all of the boxes. But it was the only mountain Pass we’d never been able to ride ourselves pre-event as it’s closed for most of the year. So in preparation for future Mountain Rallies we seized the opportunity, 2 of us agreed to set out early before sunrise to scout it out, word reached the documentary team, who never want to be left behind and are always eager to ‘get the shot’. We left before dawn, 4 motorcycles and one Morgan Super 3, aiming for checkpoint 2 on the final 6th day of the Rally, before all of the Rally teams came through.

Looking down through the valley and the snaking path down the side of the mountain, it reminded me of a comment from a construction worker we’d met when we were trying to travel from the Swiss side of the Alps to the Italian side on the first research trip. A landslide had washed out one of the bridges and as we rode up to the rivers edge, an Italian guy in orange workwear came over and shouted ‘the mountains are alive!’. The Alps are continuously moving, shifting, creaking, growing and collapsing. In the heart of the Alps, any movement in the mountains results in massive changes, not least for us, a complete change in our immediate direction, the route, timing and planning.

We were very aware of this as we planned the Mountain Rally route, there were stages, that if a mountain road would collapse, or close, it would literally put 100 riders in the wrong country and our team would need to quickly re-think the stage route and ensure all Marshalls and riders received the new Rally Route as fast as possible.

It was slow going down the other side of the mountain, at that point it was all about minimizing risk and taking each corner one by one, keeping your focus on the road ahead, letting the bike do the work. Twice or more the shape of the road meant we had to physically lift the back of the Morgan Super 3 out of the snow-melt ditches and over some small granite boulders and then it would happily carry on dancing down the mountain tracks, amazing to see a 3 wheeled vehicle taking on a challenge like this, escorted by 4 out-riders.

Finally the surface started to improve, little by little, the steep mountain trail became a track, just as we reached a small village with a group of old ladies chatting in the square, seemingly quite bemused by this pack of strange vehicles emerging from the top of the mountain, there was white line in the road and beyond that smooth tarmac, a real road lead down into the valley ahead and our team sped into the distance, with a slight sense of relief.

As we reached the checkpoint on the Italian side, the Rally teams were only minutes behind us, arriving and visibly buzzing from the beautiful emerald blue views of the ‘ official’ valley route, as it hugged the sides of the azure blue Lac de Serre-Poncon. In the valley it was 25C, warm sunshine, not a cloud in the sky - perfect riding conditions. Only we knew of the conditions on the ‘ other route’ here, right across the top of the mountain, through ice, water and darkness. It certainly wasn’t the perfect route and won’t feature in future Mountain Rally planning, but getting lost with

4 friends at sunrise, on the top of a mountainside was one of my favourite memories of the first Mountain Rally.

After a long wait at checkpoint 2, the teams had loing since departed, but still 4 riders were missing from the Rally Time-Sheet. Then came the sound of engines, in the opposite direction, up on the hill side above us. As the last of the 4 riders rode in from the ‘other route’ on a classic 350 Enfield, grinning from ear to ear, he took off his helmet “well, that was terrrifying” he laughed. 100 unique adventures all connected by the thread of a Rally route... with the occasional detour!

I’m not entirely sure why that every time I return from a motorycle adventure and someone asks ‘How was it?’ I immediately tell them about all of the times that I got lost, when things broke and when things really didn’t go to plan. And usually they respond with ‘and that’s fun is it?’. But it seems, that the moments that really stick in the memory are the moments where suddenly you realise, you’re on the side of a mountain, the weather is turning, no one knows you’re there, you don’t even know exactly where you are, you need to think fast, make good decisions, to press on or not. The challenging moments of real adventure are often adrenaline fueled, it’s quite addictive. Better yet, to experience that moment with friends, to pull together as a team, to look after each other and overcome it together. That’s what real motorcycle adventures are all about.

The Great Malle Mountain Rally is the longest motorcycle rally across the entirety of the Alps Mountain Range. The Rally plots the1500 mile route across 6 countries in 6 days, across every highest and greatest mountain pass in each Alpine territory. Starting in Austria the Rally heads South into Italy and the Dolomites, before heading West into Switzerland, Lichenstein, France and finally Monaco. Riders join from all over the world, each night’s Rally camp is hosted under canvas in some of the most

unique settings in the Alps, from 13th century Austrian Schloss’s to Italian castles, mountaineering lodges, chateaus. With the finest local food and drinks provided throughout. The Malle Rally support team including marshals, medics, documentary crew, engineers, drivers and Rally camp teams support each rider and rally team throughout, ensuring each rider focuses purely on the greatest motorcycle experience in the Alps.


www.mallelondon.com/mountain-rally High res images on request: alps@mallelondon.com

Our top-tier adventure outfit is geared specifically to take riders around the world. And back again. On or off-road. Enjoy the freedom that comes with the peace of mind of knowing you’re protected and have the right features that allow you to venture to a mountaintop or through the desert. And anywhere in between.

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The Dominator 3 GTX Where do you want to go?




This one day gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts centered around professional and super-not-professional flat-track racing, with classes including Junior, Tracker, Hooligan and Dirt Bike.

The day quickly fueled into a single ongoing party between old friends, new friends, and every type of person that was in attendance, and equally interested in getting...pure fun! What a hell of a way to spend a Saturday.



Since 2013, he has been traveling around the world on a motorcycle in stages, sharing it live through social media and especially through YouTube, where every Sunday (or almost) he uploads chapters in which he shares his trip, the things that happen to him, the places he passes through, and the characters he meets along the way. To date, he has traveled the five continents and he has been to many countries, - he doesn’t know exactly how many because he don’t count them - but he thinks more than sixty. A solo rider…but with around 1,400,000 subscribers on YouTube!

Meet the newest NEXX Rider…Carlos García Portal aka “Charly Sinewan” !! Charly was born and raised in Madrid. He worked in the real estate sector from 1998 to 2012. At the same time, in August 2009, he began his first motorcycle trip to Australia. As of 2013, he has been professionally dedicated to traveling and documenting these trips.

Head over to the channel and follow the journey!


The best of LxMFF.

Lisbon Motorcycle Film Fest AKA LXMFF started back in 2016! Every summer, in Lisbon's magnificent venue Cinema São Jorge, magic happens. The best of the Motorcycle Culture can be seen in the big screen. Film crews and audience gather to celebrate the cinema on two wheels. This is a selection from our selection. Meaning, we chose a film from each year, screened at the Festival, to recommend to you. Due to covid restrictions there was no event in 2020.

2016 On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter 2017 21 Days Under the Sky 2022 972 Breakdowns 2018 Chasing Evel: The Robbie Knievel Story 2019 Oil In The Blood
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*Terms and Conditions applied. HertzRide HertzRide HertzRide.com Get 5% o on your next Ride With NEXX and Hertz Ride partnership, all NEXX family members have a 5% discount on online rentals and tours. Book with promocode NEXX5 The tour of a lifetime starts here.
Discover. Experience. Enjoy. #08 Spring 2018 Lu€15 Iran ISSUE #EIGHT www.diariesofmagazine.com Georgia www.diariesofmagazine.com travel inspirations #13 Autumn 2020 Lu€15 SPECIAL EDITION Issue#13 RIDING EAST A Memorable Journey From Portugal to Japan Anabela and Jorge are riders, who, just like you, have a passion for riding out, far and wide. The diariesof magazine shares their experiences from around the world. Inspiration guaranteed! diariesofmagazine.com *Photography in Kyrgyzstan, on their journey from Portugal to Japan FREE SHIPPING



As motorcycles with more than 250 cc are officially forbidden in Laos (although they do exist), travellers' big motorbikes get a lot of attention, with the bike often serving as ice-breaker. Even monks couldn't resist the temptation and mysterious flowers appeared in our exhaust…

We have left the lonely and vast steppes of Central Asia long behind, where we often ran more into cattle than people. In Southeast Asia, the immense landscape of grassland has given way to people and villages, and that alone has a great impact on camping opportunities. We hardly found any camping sites and even though wild camping is not forbidden or discouraged, there were few places that were inviting. In addition, there were never long distances to drive between villages and, actually, given the low price of lodgings,

we often opted for local accommodation or hostels. Occasionally though, we did fall for a beautiful place. On one occasion, we found the perfect camping spot in the yard of a small temple, overlooking the Mekong, shielded by the serenity of a huge tamarind tree. While pitching the tent, the dusk of the night hid what we would only find out with the morning light: that the shade of the tamarind was also a playground for adults, who started arriving, equipped with boules to play pétanque.

As night fell, light drops of rain dribbled down our tent, reminding us that the rainy season was approaching, but still at a safe distance. What we were experiencing were the so called mango showers, or pre-monsoon rainfall, something like short sprinkles, just enough to water the trees and help ripen the fruit. Faraway, the roaring of a shy thunderstorm did not upset our sleep; instead it used our tent as a screen, to tell us a bedtime story, just as we had seen days before, in Champasak. Here, the villagers put together an impressive spectacle of shadow puppetry, to revive this almost forgotten cultural Lao tradition. A group of artists, musicians, and puppeteers presented the Phra Lak Phra Ram epic, a show performed in the Lao language but with an explicatory prelude in English. They performed the piece outdoors and, that day, for us it meant under a starry sky. That sky plus the Asian sonority of the traditional instruments, the beautifully designed puppets and the Lao narration of a national epic, all combined into a unique and magic experience.

Back on the road, we have to confess, we had expected the road surfaces to be in far worse condition than they actually were. While we could have kept driving on tarmac throughout our entire tour of Laos, it is true that we would have missed some of the most beautiful places if we had done just that. Many caves and waterfalls are accessible only along dust roads. The big surprise, however, was the fact that in Laos, the moped culture is very deeply-rooted. It is no overstatement to say that everyone knows how to ride a bike.

Unaccustomed foreigners might shiver at the sight of a young child driving his even younger siblings around on a moped. If this horrifies you, we will not even mention that none of them would be wearing a helmet. But before you know, you will find it normal that women are capable of juggling a toddler and an umbrella while driving a two-wheeler, and that pillion passengers use both their hands to write messages, while sitting side-saddle, like rope-dancers. Despite all our dread, the worst we saw ever happening in traffic was a driver lose a sandal.

Perhaps because of this motorbike culture, the Lao have put together two lovely touring loops (best appreciated by motorbike or scooter) that take in some amazing landscape features. One of the tours is the Thakhek loop and the other loop is on the Bolaven Plateau. The ads and maps promoting the Plateau loop promise a ride through lush forests and the opportunity to stop at many astonishing waterfalls for furtive swims. The loop is about 150 kilometres long and can be ridden in three days.

As soon as we started, in Pakse, we couldn’t help but notice the many signs with the word tat, the Lao word for waterfall. We soon realised we couldn’t make every detour to see all of them, so it paid off to make some quick online research to decide at which ones we absolutely wanted to swim. Of course, the most photogenic are also the most visited, so if you would like to be on your own, it is a good idea to visit the less popular ones or the ones that are further away from the loop. This loop would also take us along the coffee and tea plantations of the Plateau.

The French brought coffee to this fertile region at the beginning of the 20th century and production has been burgeoning ever since. Any one of the coffee and tea farms is happy to show you around their estate. We decided to have a local stay and visit our host’s farm the next day. He showed us the different processes from planting, collecting, drying and roasting coffee beans. Coffee lovers will have the chance to try the most expensive coffee in the world, the Luwak coffee; a delicacy that consists of roasting coffee beans previously defecated by civet cats! Mhhh, no thanks!

Along this loop each village specialises in a different handcraft or crop. There is the textile village, the coconut village, the peanut village, and the crossbow village. We had read that one of the small villages had a seventy-metre longhouse that belonged to a village chief, who needed such a longhouse to keep his big family and his many wives. Trying to find this house was like a treasure hunt, with people sending us in all possible directions. We were unlucky and did not find it, perhaps because of language barriers. But this hunt was an opportunity to find so many ethnic villages, whose kids ran away when they saw us approaching them to ask directions. In total, we drove over 3,500 km in Laos –on a tour that started in the southern

end of the country, in the 4,000 islands, and which took us to the northern village of Muang Sing, a stone’s throw from the Chinese border. On the way we were enthralled by places such as Champasak, the Bolaven Plateau, the Thakhek Loop, Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Nong Khiaw and Luang Nam Tha. Our impression of Lao drivers, especially when compared to their Cambodian neighbours, who quite often pushed bikers aside, is that they are respectful of speed limits, orderly and attentive towards bikers and, most of all, very patient drivers.

Our most annoying experience was finding the head of a nail stuck in our rear tyre. As the tyre was not leaking, we were unsure about what to do! Should we remove it or leave it there? We drove with the nail for another couple of days, until we noticed that it was being pushed further inside the tyre. It was time to do something.

In what was almost a surgical operation, which had attracted a small crowd of curious drivers, Jorge carefully plucked the nail out and everyone showed surprised at the size of the bastard: five centimetres long! We were feeling very lucky that the tyre hadn’t deflated. But, as one of the eye witnesses told us,

Do Good to Receive Good”
“Perhaps it isn’t just pure luck, it is Buddhist karma, we say ‘Het Bun
Dai Bun’, which is the equivalent to say:

Lao believe in karma, and in the power of doing good things for others. One day, when we arrived at our motorbike, we noticed that someone had decorated our engine’s exhaust with orange marigolds. We knew what this meant. The Lao use marigolds in the flower arrangements offered to Buddha as a sign of worship. They also decorate their cars and mopeds with blessed marigolds for protection.

One of our shy Lao neighbours had found a way to show his sympathy and affection for us by protecting our bike. We have the feeling that that neighbour was perhaps one of the monks or novices who had shown an interest in the bike some days before. He and his friends had sat on our bike for selfies but also, we are sure, to dream about the freedom of riding a bike to faraway places.

Good luck, good karma and friendly people - we had enough of the three in Laos. This series of good vibes started right away on our first day in the country, when Jorge was preparing to cross one of the ramshackle bridges at the 4,000 islands, and I was waiting for him on the other side of the bridge with the camera prepared for a singular shot. A man stopped his moped next to Jorge, got off his bike and started a chat, oblivious to the fact they were stopped in the middle of the ‘road’ and that I was waiting for Jorge to pass the bridge. They stayed long enough for me to give up on the shot and join them, just in time to hear him explain the meaning of Sog Di, the Lao expression used to wish someone good luck and bon voyage!

PS: After two months in Laos, we were ready to cross the border to Thailand, but this was back in January 2020, and Covid had just hit the world and country borders began to shut. We ended up staying five months in Laos before taking a repatriation flight back home. The motorbike stayed at the Luxembourgish embassy and borders in Laos remained closed until mid 2022. We are rejoining our motorbike this January! Yeah!

The End

It would be impossible all you have done within the Thank you for our journey.

impossible to list done to inspire us the

last year. for being part of journey.

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