By Paul Strubell of Dirt Orcas – 12/11/17

For the fifty seventh installment in our ongoing interview series here at Dirt Orcas, we are very pleased to speak with Vladimir Klempa. You might know him as @ride_with_vlad.

Vladimir has a wonderful Instagram account called @ride_with_vlad and I came across his photo’s while he was taking a multi-month road trip around Europe with his father this past summer. His photo’s are primarily of his trusty BMW r1200gs resting in front of some beautiful European mountain landscape. His photo’s are very good: Advertisement quality. Really, what more do need? I personally can’t get enough of that. I certainly recommend following his account and his future travels.

Vladimir’s trip with his father is a reminder that we may all need to be more thoughtful about spending time with our parents. Making the most out of the time we share as adults. A particularly different dynamic from the time period in our lives when they were responsible for us. Spending time together as adults will offer important perspective and evolution of those relationships.

A trip like Vladimir’s is a special remind to us all that exploring those relationships holds the key to unlocking parts of who we are.

Check out our interview below. All photo’s by @ride_with_vlad.

What do you consider to be your place of work?

Currently I work for a big corporation in its HQ here in Zurich, Switzerland. Luckily, I have 3 screens so the google maps can be constantly open on one of them.

Tell me about your bike. 

I ride BMW R1200GS LC from 2013.

When and how did you get it?

Well, since I saw Long Way Round it’s been always my dream to get this bike. Unfortunately, I could not afford it from my Spanish salary when I lived in Madrid. Then, somehow I moved to Zurich, Switzerland. The new LC model came out and I was more in love with the GS than ever. Did some search for the second-hand

bikes. In summer 2016 I did a test ride of the GSA and the GS and to be honest I loved the GSA much more. Felt like a different bike. The GS itself was for me more aggressive and made me pull the throttle all the time. The GSA on the other hand I felt on it and feel relaxed. I did not have the need of speeding and enjoyed the riding much more. So I was decided for the big lady. However, I could not find any second-hand for a good price on the market. On Sunday the same weekend I went to see the smaller GS. A couple was changing a bike, getting the new S1000XR and so they needed to sell this one. I actually just went to see my friend. He picked me up at the train station and I asked this couple, if they also can go to that station (half way for both). To make it short, I rode it and they asked me if I was interested. I said YES. In that moment the guy pulled out a contract and we signed it on the spot.

What other bikes did you consider and what made you ultimately pull the trigger on the one you bought?

I was sure I wanted a GS. That was the only bike in the game actually. Wanted the Adventure model in that nice navy green. Personally think it is the nicest GSA ever.

Unfortunately non of those were on the market for my budget.

Have you made any upgrades or changes to it?

I put just couple. Crash bars, bar risers, skid plate, side stand extender and the aluminum rack for the luggage.

What is your favorite part about it living/working off of your bike?

Freedom. The joy of riding.  Everything happening around you is more intense. One can feel the weather, smell the air.

What is your least favorite part about it?

Having to stop. Also I am a big fan of electric rides (bikes, cars, motorbikes). Sometimes I wish there i no noise coming from my bike. When you are are somewhere in the nature and you could see all the animals, hear more things from the woods. Hope the day will come and there will be long range bikes. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sound of the bike. It makes me feel great and super excited. But there are also times I where I feel that I am freaking out all the animals around.

How many miles have you put on your bike?

I bought it with 42k km and now she’s got 70k. So roughly 30k km which is  around 18.5k miles.

What is the best place you have taken it?

Balkan. Absolutely felt in love with this piece of Europe. This summer we made a 2 months father & son trip around south Europe. We both agreed that was the most amazing part of the journey.

Is there just one?

No way. Baklan itself is already couple of countries. Switzerland, where I live, is spectacular with its mountain passes and the quality of the road is just insane. Italy is absolutely spectacular too. South of France has an amazing countryside and Spain is just riding paradise.

Favorite road you’ve driven?

I think it was actually off-road in Romania & Montenegro. I had a time of my life there and realized I am having way much more fun off-road then actually on the asphalt.

In one word, what describes your approach to life?


If you could give a person one piece of advice when thinking about living off of a bike, what would you tell them?

Do not rush. It is not about making miles in short time. It is about living the moment, enjoying the surroundings and meeting the people. At least that is what I have learned on our journey.

It takes a special kind of person to recognize that the journey, not the destination, is the point of life. Travelers know this. Was there a point in your life where you became conscious that you were one of those people?

I am not a big traveler. YET. There is this need of always being somewhere all the time. Its the best addiction ever. But it kinda hurts when you have to sit in the office. I guess I understand why some people cannot stop smoking :))

You have found a strong place in the community of adventure riders. What values do you think your home or family instilled in you, that you take on the road?

Be kind & respectful. I learned people are good. It was kinda funny to travel with my dad. He is a former policeman and mostly dealing with people doing something bad. At the beginning it was annoying to hear him all the time saying something will happen. We will get robbed. We will be tricked, etc, etc. I was completely opposite. I was always looking forward to talk to the people, to hear their stories. We avoided big cities and the people on the countryside are just fantastic. It was nice to see how the mindset of my dad changed and then he talked to everyone with a big smile on his face. In those 2 months we did not have a single bad experience with people. Not a single one.

I admire your outside the box approach to career and home. Do you see yourselves as people who took a leap of faith to live in an unconventional way or do you think it kind of just happened?

Thank you! I still struggle to take a big step and quit everything and just travel the world. I feel it will happen sooner or later. But taking the initial step and accepting the consequences is the hard part.

Where do you want to go next?

Well, there are many plans. I generally do not like talking about them until I have a date of departure. Hope, that date will come soon and I will be on the road again.

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