prologue / 1

Though raised in an analogue era, fond of craftsmanship, top quality and durability of old objects, new smart ideas and technologies always intrigue me. Half a year before the journey, I dragged my ex-girlfriend along to test the different electric Zero motorcycles. We expected a kind of semi-soft, 'green' bikes. How dumbfounded we were… The local Zero distributor in Bruges was smirking when we re-entered his gate. “You're pleased, I presume?” Never did we step off anything grinning as broadly.

Istanbul! Far, yet close, with a resounding name.

#elektrogirl

We hatched. What if I could test a Zero on a journey? One which would be long and adventurous enough, with acceptable risks and feasible possibilities? Istanbul! Far, yet close, with a resounding name. Not only was the itinerary straight across the Balkans fascinating and beautiful, I had ridden it often and have friends along the way. Istanbul met everything. Suffice to find the bike.

The Zero head quarters were not interested. “You‘re riding outside of our dealer network and only specialised technicians can work on them,” they replied, adding: “Our motorcycles are not meant for this. They're commuter bikes, not travel bikes. Besides, this is not our target market.”

But one man thought otherwise. Patrick Naeyaert, the Zero distributor in Bruges, and owner of nLab, a company building solar panels, considered it a brilliant idea. “How long do you need her?” I confess, I jumped in his arms.

#elektrogirl was born.

Naeyaert installed the ‘Power Tank’, Zero jargon for the extra battery, so I could ride longer distances. Camping gear was undusted, boots checked, friends along the way were contacted. Maps filled the room and lines were drawn, websites were explored for specific parts and the GPS updated. A Turkish visa needed to be arranged, for the rules had changed since last time I was there. Insurance matters had to be sorted, as did camera equipment. For articles good photographs were essential.

[ NOTE: all images in my articles have captions, giving more details about the story. In the upper left corner you can click show/hide. Unfortunately setting the captions on 'show', then hides the top of the image. Oh well... ]

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