This one might be the smallest ARCH I’ve done, but with a melted license plate, I could not miss out on the opportunity to explain what I did to save myself on the road, nor to ask you if you have had the same misfortune.
On my years on bikes, and specially having had a garage where we did all kinds of modifications and fixed all kinds off dual sport and trail bikes, I’ve seen a lot of things, and amongst them, broken license plates or bikes that arrived with none, as they lost theirs somewhere out on the tracks.
However, never have I seen or heard of travelers having had problems with their plates on international travels, and it makes sense. When one leaves his home country to travel abroad, one usually takes precautions, does not risk as much, and tends to pay more attention to the bikes, after all, they become a home away from home.
That is exactly how we treat our bikes, like our home. We always try to stay in places where we can be more or less sure the bikes will be safe, we do regular maintenances, we check screws, sometimes one by one, to make sure nothing came loose with road bumps and off road shakiness. We try our best.
However… shit happens! And so it did as we arrived on Tbilisi. We had been stopped a few hours before by the police, that even though only wanted to see my bikes insurance - they could not care less about Charlotte’s bike or papers - they were very insistent on my license plate for reasons that at the time went over our heads... We didn’t think much of it as the police moved along as fast as they arrived. Once back on the road, I heard Charlotte saying over the intercoms “there is something wrong with your license plate…” but considering the very very unclean manner in which our bikes presented themselves, I didn’t think much of it, and Charlotte also shifted her attention elsewhere.
Arriving at Tbilisi, time to inspect what could be the reason of all this fuss. In no time, it was clear, my side pannier - that I had made heavier than I usually do - moved on one of the off roads of the last few days, and as it did, it hit my exhaust into a different position. That position, shifted the exhaust fumes directly into my license plate, melting one of the letters, rendering the plate, impossible to read.
I’ve packed all the tools I could remember, but no extra license plate. A magic marker, some fine-tuned lines and a little bit of artsifartsi, and off we went to another day on the road!
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