Welcome!

Welcome to my blog, these are the ramblings and musings of an (upper) middle aged biker and if you enjoy braais, (barbeques) beers and motorbikes then hopefully you will enjoy what Janet and I do; we do lots of braais, we drink lots of beer and we tour South Africa on our motorbike, which at the moment is a BMW R1200RT. Join us, read about what we do and please leave us your comments.



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Swartland Charity Rally

Last Saturday I decided to pay a visit to the annual Swartland Charity rally in Moorreesburg which is a little farming town only some 80kms away. Over the years it has grown in popularity and although it is not strictly a motorcycle rally the farming community welcomes us as long as we behave ourselves. Indeed the bikers make up the majority of the attendance so I doubt that it would be very successful without us.
Again it was incredibly hot last Saturday, Daan and Beverley had gone through on the Friday and were camping over on Saturday night as well,
besides them and myself, six other Meeulanders arrived on Saturday and I saw quite a few of the other local clubs represented as well as a very big contingent from several different Capetown Clubs. It was a good place to meet and greet old friends and make new ones, the beer was cold and the bar was doing a roaring trade in the stifling heat.


Stefanie, Johlene and Kathy, all Meeulanders seek shelter from the heat and in the second picture some Capetown friends including (on the right) Rob and Isobel of Odysseus whom we met at the B.E.A.Rally and then again at the Bikers Ride against Farm Murders run.
 


The stalls area appeared deserted but I think people were sheltering at that time and did their shopping a bit later, there was good food on offer from Hamburgers and boerewors rolls to spitbraai lamb and potjies so nobody went hungry, and believe me those farmers know their potjies. A great looking oxtail came out early but I waited..........and waited for the offal pot to be ready.
Most of the action took place here in the shade, there was a concourse d'elegance and a good disco on the go. Not sure if they went well together because the crowd was kicking up quite a lot of dust!


The food preparation area must have been hell! The biggest pot in the foreground was the offal pot and the other was the oxtail, then there were the two lamb spit braais at the back.
I kept on bothering this guy, "Is it ready yet?" but it was worth the wait, even if a little expensive at R70 and quite tasty though perhaps a little too "clean" for my personal taste. They have to please everyone though and I was very hungry by the time I ate.
This was made up of only the stomach, knuckles and feet where I prefer the use of intestines as well but I wasn't complaining and I think it sold pretty quickly.
Time to head for home before I got involved with too many beers, it had been fun but I was tired of the heat.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Anti Zuma Protest

 A lot has happened here in South Africa recently and although this is not a political blog it would be remiss of me not to comment, particularly as thousands of bikers have been involved in the country wide protests that have taken place.
Thanks to the actions of one man, two ratings agencies have downgraded South Africa to "junk status", this will have disastrous effects on the economy which has already been suffering due to the blatant corruption and mismanagement of the ruling party, foreign investment will also be adversely affected. The country is in crisis and Friday last week saw the biggest nation-wide march, with people of all colours coming together under one banner; "ZUMA MUST FALL" since the dawn of democracy in 1994.
There were protest marches all over the country and we west coast bikers met in Velddrif to do our small part.
 



I will let the pictures tell the story, estimates are that over 200,000 people were involved and as you will see it was not a racial event but a concerned South Africans event. Click on the pictures to see them full size. Several of the pictures were borrowed from facebook posts so I am unable to credit the photographers.



 











This photo shows just a part of the crowd in Capetown on Friday morning.



Where do bikers go after a hot day's protest action? Why to the nearest pub of course! Not to make light of a serious matter, but it was a very hot day for all concerned.
There are a lot of video clips posted to Youtube that are worth watching and will definitely give you an insight into just how many people got together. Just put in keywords "Anti Zuma protests" to have a look.
Where to now South Africa? Watch this space.
One possible positive aspect for foreign readers; South Africa is still a beautiful country to visit and your dollars and pounds will be worth even more here now, come over for a cheap holiday.

Monday, April 3, 2017

April breakfast run

I am continually both gratified and impressed by the members of the Meeulanders Motorcycle Club, which by the way is the oldest and largest motorcycle club on the west coast, established in 1997 (later in the year we will be having a twenty year celebration) and now with over forty members on the books.
The first Sunday of every month is the regular day for the breakfast run and again the April run last Sunday was an excellent affair, this was to be at the restaurant "De La Paix" which is adjacent to the Butterfly World at Klapmuts outside Stellenbosch and I had no idea of how many people to expect. Janet and I were the first to arrive at the meeting place; Juffroeshoogte just outside of Vredenburg at about 08h20, we ordered a cup of coffee and didn't have long to wait for the bikers to start arriving.
I had posted "Kickstands up at 09h00" on the "Whatsapp group" and by the time we were saddling up there were 16 members and 4 visitors on 12 motorbikes!
It was a lovely day for riding, warm and calm and I led the group out onto the R45 for the 88km stretch to Malmesbury, I set a fairly steady pace around 130km/h just enough to keep the group together and to stay ahead of the cagers. Unfortunately along this part of the ride Sampie and Kathy experienced problems and had to turn back, Daan the Road Captain made sure they were alright and told me at the tea break. It was a minor problem and they messaged me later that they had arrived home alright.
We stopped at a service station area for some to refuel, some to have a smoke and all to have some "tea".
Anton with Road Captain Daan

Melinda and Christo and their daughter in law

Metjie and Adrie
Jannie and Mike

 The ride from Malmesbury was much more interesting, we moved into wine country with the road undulating through verdant pastures and beautiful vistas. Unfortunately living where we do, we have to ride for an hour in any direction before we reach twisties so our tires tend to wear out mostly in the middle! Malmesbury to Stellenbosch is a joy, we merged into the traffic on the busy N1 for only a short time before taking the offramp that brought us to the restaurant.
Butterfly World is a very busy place, especially on weekends but the restaurant was not too busy and I had made a booking so they had the place reserved for us on the veranda.


Breakfast was good and reasonably priced and the beers were cold and afterwards everyone made their own way, Janet and I did the tourist thing as we had not been to Butterfly World before and I must admit it was interesting.
We left at about 13h30 and cruised home via Wellington and Malmesbury stopping for a cold beer and a leg/bum stretch at Plaasmol Bar just after Hopefield. It had been a very enjoyable ride and a nice morning out with good people, man I love being a biker!
This coming weekend is the annual Swartland charity rally at the showgrounds in Moorreesburg and I know that there will be quite a lot of Weskus bikers attending, see you there.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Bikers Rally Against Farm Murders - inaugural run

First I would like to posts some statistics from the T.A.U. (Transvaal Agricultural Union) based on confirmed attacks on farms from 1st January 2017 up to 17th March;
In that period there have been 101 attacks which resulted in 23 murders, between 1st and 17th March alone, 29 attacks have resulted in 3 murders. During these attacks, which have not only been on white farmers but also a smaller percentage of black farmers, in some cases particularly brutal methods of torture have been carried out. This, which some are calling genocide, is not being reported in the media.
We here on the west coast were informed, through social media, of an initiative to help raise awareness of this amongst the biking community which would be in the form of a mass ride. Bikers by their very nature will jump at the chance to support a worthy cause and there is not one much more worthy of our support than this one.
Five Meeulanders; Gerrie, Willie, Sooi and Linicia and myself were the only representatives from the Weskus, we rode down the R27 to the Viper Lounge in Tableview with my dash readout showing 29,5 celsius at 09h00! It was going to be a hot day.
We arrived at the Viper Lounge just after 10h00 and already the place was crowded, cold beer went down singing hymns! Unofficial estimates put the number of riders at 200, hopefully we will hear an official number but it was indeed a festive and enthusiastic bunch.








The ride through to the Moonshine Tavern just outside of Stellenbosch was very pleasant, facilitated by members of "Scattered Links" who did a great job and who also obviously had great fun speeding ahead to block traffic for us, well done those guys! We formed up just outside Stellenbosch for the final few kilometers to arrive in formation, and what an impressive formation it was.

By the time we arrived the temperature was already over 40 celsius and the Moonshine Tavern got a huge cash injection selling cold beers and boerewors rolls to the hot and hungry bikers.
 
 








A very good muzo/DJ kept the crowd entertained and the organisers gave us a brief explanation of their hopes and aspirations for the future of the rally, particularly the wish to make it national and annual with some fund raising for the benefit of the victims, good work indeed and we all wish them success in their endeavours.
The ride home that afternoon was hot! Sooi and Linicia headed into Capetown to visit family so Gerrie, Willie and I sped through to Malmesbury where we stopped for a refuel. We decided that a stop at Plaasmol for another cold beer was mandatory and I must confess that that seemed like a very long stretch on the bike when in fact it's only about 60kms! By the time we parked under the trees at Plaasmol my saddle muscles were painfully clenched!
This picture epitomises despondency, Willie contemplates the ride home without beer as we discovered that the Plaasmol pub was closed!
This is us putting on a brave face, just about to mount up again when we received the welcome news that we could get beer from the restaurant!
Standing under mist sprayers we waited for the beer, it had been an interesting day but one of the hottest rides and it definitely takes its toll. We said our goodbyes there after a break and went our separate ways, me to a cooling shower at home. A big thumbs up to the organisers and especially to the hundreds of wonderful bikers who supported this cause, we will watch with interest to see how this develops.

Monday, March 13, 2017

B.E.A.Rally (British, European, American) Swellendam 2017

I had heard about the inaugural BEAR last year but was unable to attend so when the chance came to go this time I was quite happy to join in, fellow club members Daan and Bev., who were going to the Buffalo rally on the 17th and then the Swallows rally on the 24th decided to make it three rallies in two weeks. Very keen rally riders these two are.
I was planning to ride through on Friday but then at short notice I was asked to supervise the product despatch and do the local deliveries for the mussel farm, working on the premise that it is better to earn money than to spend it I accepted the job and shelved my plans for the rally.
I met Frank later that afternoon at the Phoenix bar for our customary pool games, which I managed with some difficulty to win, and suddenly decided that I would ride through early Saturday morning. It's not that far, only some 320km to Swellendam so I could easily be there before lunchtime.
The more I thought about it the more this was beginning to sound like a good idea, there were benefits to arriving early Saturday, the main one being that I have never really enjoyed Saturday at any rally because the Friday night party always had me feeling like a homeless person had slept in my mouth and left his blanket behind, I would try to catch a couple of hours sleep but by then the tent was usually in full sunlight and the masses were always bloody noisy! This would be a whole new experience.
Saturday morning I left home at 07h00, it was a beautiful day, no wind and for the first hour I headed towards the rising sun, interestingly the 22km stretch from the R45 to Moorreesburg is nearly finished, there is only one short stop/go section and now it is a lovely fast road.
It was such a pleasant ride, absolutely no indication of how terrible the next day's ride home was going to be and I hadn't checked the weather reports otherwise I might have cancelled my trip. I stopped for a nice breakfast in Robertson just after 09h00.
This time I didn't go to the Wimpy as has been my usual custom, the last time I found the breakfast there a bit sparse, almost as if they were trying to cut costs and I did not feel as though I was getting my money's worth. There were two other BMW GS riders also having breakfast and we greeted each other, my age or maybe just a bit older the one asked me; "Are you camping there?" when we discovered that we were going to the same rally, when I said that I was his mate said "See, older guys do still camp!" They were of the B&B type of rallyist, something I am not yet ready for, preferring to be in the action.
From Robertson to Swellendam is only about 60kms but the last 45 of which is one of my favourite biking roads, the beautiful winding, undulating stretch from Ashton. The R60 is an absolute delight and I look forward to it whenever we go that way, it has a great surface and winds its way alongside the beautiful Langeberg mountain range all the way to Swellendam, needless to say we ride it fast and it wasn't long before I was cruising happily into the town.
I met up with Daan and Bev after checking in at the gate, the R350 entry fee was a bit steep particularly for such a small rally and at that stage there were not many people there. Daan helped me to erect my tent and then we headed for the bar area, I wanted a cold beer because I was already feeling the heat.

I was assuming that more people would be arriving as they day progressed but not many more did, for a while the Meeulanders was the best represented club until four guys from the Earth riders pitched up! 
There were some good product stalls and interesting displays, nice bikes to be ogled at;

such as these Royal Enfields and this beautiful Ducati 1299 Pannigale, there was also an Indian and some Victorys as well as a few Harleys.
About twenty people took part in the mass ride through the town but by then it was too hot and I was well into the cold beer, no more riding for me that day.
My mate Dan from Velddrif was also there and taking part in the mass ride.
The music was good that night, they had a band and then a disco and they played the right kind of music, we bought a braai pack for R50 each and the lady even agreed to braai our meat for us which I thought was a real bargain;
My meal, which by then went down very well consisted of a piece of boerewors, a lamb chop and two Skilpaaitjies (lamb's liver wrapped in the spleen fat) accompanied with a cheese and tomato toastie bun and a bottle of good Merlot, pretty good for only R150.
I really enjoyed the evening, we sat chatting with Rob and Isobel from the Odysseus in Capetown and because there was so few people there was no shortage of place to sit. I am not sure what time it was when I eventually turned in, I had neglected to inflate my mattress earlier and couldn't be bothered then so I just kicked my boots off and lay down on my rubber pad, the zip on my sleeping blanket was broken so I pulled it over me and managed to get some sleep.
I awoke to the unmistakable sound of rain pattering down on my tent and my feet and socks were wet from sticking out through the doorway, ah the joys of rallying! I had wisely taken a bottle of water with me when I turned in, that was good right then.
 

Daan surveys the river running past my tent, his stuff was pretty wet too! I dislike packing wet rally gear but we've done it often enough, I bundled the wet tent and equipment into the bike and hit the road, it rained quite hard and it was pretty cold by the time I stopped at the same restaurant in Robertson for some much needed coffee and a toasted sandwich.
From there the rain stopped but just around Wolseley I ran into the same gale force winds that caused the cancellation of the famous Cape Argus Cycle tour, it was incredibly bad and especially on the notorious 17km road from the Nuwekloof pass to Hermon I had to stay at around 80kmh leaning over to the left to keep from being blown off the road!
That ride was not enjoyable and I was just looking forward to getting it over with and getting home in one piece, which I managed and after a shower and change of clothes I took my lady out for lunch.
I enjoyed the rally in general, not sure if I'll go again, maybe the reason they didn't get a decent attendance is because it was too close to the Buffalo and the Swallows rallies and a lot of people have to choose carefully these days. Whatever the reason is we'll see if the rally carries on and grows to become a calendar event, just a bit pricey though.