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.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Looking back to past rides

Before the digital age ushered in the demise of the camera shop where reels of film were developed I, like many of you I'm sure, amassed hundreds of photographs, some of which were neatly arranged in photo albums and many more were chucked into a handy drawer.
I have been recently going through that drawer and those photo albums to work out what I want to do with those old memories, a lot of them obviously involved motorcycles and some of those I want to share here;
This was the second Honda Goldwing that we owned, a 1982 GL 1100 which I bought privately in Capetown. I was perhaps a bit hasty because it was not an Interstate, the fairing, panniers and top box were added aftermarket and unfortunately were not mounted very well. The person who did the job had used threaded bar to make the brackets and one of the pannier brackets kept breaking, also when I got it there were eight small keys on a ring for each of the eight locks. As you can imagine this was a nightmare so one of the first jobs I had done was to standardise the locks.
In spite of the problems, such as poor brakes and lousy suspension which had to be pumped up at a garage every now and then, Janet and I did a lot of happy mileage on this bike.
 One of our favourite things was to ride out with no agenda, no fixed destination and no accommodation booking, we would arrive in a town after a good day's riding and then look for a place to stay which was usually a caravan park chalet or self catering unit. Once we had set up we would then go off to buy supplies; beer, wine and food, then with the bike parked nearby with our favourite music playing over the sound system we would have a nice braai. We did a lot of that and they were memorable trips.
Occasionally when the circumstances warranted it we would splash out on expensive accommodation such as this fancy lodge in Cape Agulhas but that was for one of our wedding anniversaries so it was well worth it.
On our various motorbikes over the years we have traveled extensively around South Africa and Namibia and have loved every minute of it, in fact our one particular road trip about which I posted quite recently was Janet's favourite holiday. Time, I think for another road trip.
It will have to wait a bit though, winter is fast approaching so we'll wait for warmer weather and then see what we can do. Stay safe my friends and keep the rubber side down.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Westcoast Motorcycle Association (WMA) sleepover 2017

The western cape has been seriously dry for a long time, desperately needing rain so when during the week we had some really good rain it was cause for celebration. Unfortunately last Saturday was the day set aside for the W.M.A annual sleepover and it rained on that day as well, and man did it rain!
Janet and I had volunteered for early gate duty so we had to be there by 10h00, in the morning I looked out at the sky and it didn't look too bad but the  weather app. forecast showers and knowing that there was a 3km dirt road leading to the rally site I decided to be a biker in a cage (Shame!). As it turned out I was glad I did because we were not even half way there when the skies opened up and by the time we reached the site I was happy with my decision.

To add insult to injury the wind was freezing cold as well, this did not bode well for the WMA, many people would be put off coming out in this weather. 
Gradually cars and bakkies started arriving and up until midday when several people had arrived there was not a single motorbike, until;
these two brave bikers arrived from Capetown and negotiated the by then very wet dirt road on road bikes. They caused quite a stir and were given a very warm welcome, causing many including myself to think "Damn I should have come on my bike!"
They were followed shortly after by our own Stephen on his KTM, perhaps a bit more suited to the conditions, even with his road tyres. Eventually there were four bikes in total with Slang of the Mac's also arriving on his BMW road bike, well done you guys.

Towards midday and early afternoon we were relieved of our duty and were able to join the party and try to warm up a bit, unfortunately it was only to be around forty people at the party with some of the local clubs not represented at all. Those of us who did make it had a very enjoyable time.
 Eventually sixteen Meeulanders in total made up a high percentage of the numbers and won the prize for the best represented club, an excellent effort by a great bunch of people.
Stephen accepts the club prize.
Due to the circumstances the games were of an indoor nature and caused a lot of laughter amongst those unwilling to actually take part;

After the men's and ladies drinking competition, which was also dominated by Meeulanders although Slang joined the ladies line just to get a free dop, Janet quickly pointed out to the organisers that the ladies had won overall because they had to drink a 500ml wine which contained seven percent alcohol whereas the men had only to drink a beer which was four percent, thus it was that the ladies were named the champions. Way to go lady bikers!
Dennis, President of the "Clique" and Chairman of the WMA with Slang of the "Mac's" and a committee member.

 Don't be fooled by Stephen's mug, that wasn't coffee! Henrico, Greg and Corne chat infront of the bar, which in spite of the shortage of people did a good trade. The place "Schaaftplaas" lends itself well to parties and I'm sure that in summer we will be back. Well done to the Westcoast Motorcycle Association for the excellent organisation, as I said those that attended had a ball.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June breakfast run

I am really enjoying the monthly club breakfast runs, because of my past experiences camaraderie is very important in my life and the biker lifestyle and bike club life provides that in huge measure. So when we get together for any function with my brothers and sisters, I am in my element.
It was just so on Sunday last when we gathered for coffee at Juffroeshoogte in the chilly early morning, winter is coming fast now so bike runs will be affected, perhaps because the morning looked very drab and grey with steely clouds overhead few people attended the run.
 Heavy Metal! Interestingly only one Japanese bike among the German and British machines.
 We sat drinking hot coffee on the wet veranda, it had rained slightly during the night, while we waited for "kickstands-up" at 09h00. Eventually I led eleven members and our visitor Chris followed by Sampie and Kathy in their car (their bike's rear brake was giving trouble but to their credit they still attended the run) out onto the R45.
A chilly 17 celsius showed on my readout as we headed towards the rising sun but the sky was clear if a little pale and there was no wind. It was going to be a good ride, I concentrated on relaxing my shoulders, settling into the rhythm of the machine and the road and set a medium pace to keep everyone together. I felt myself smiling in my helmet, the sheer pleasure of being out on the open road on a motorbike with my lady behind me was almost overwhelming.
The usual midway stop was at the service station at Moorreesburg after a very pleasant 45 minute ride, I should have put petrol in at this stop!
From there to Riebeek Kasteel is only about 40 km and then another 10 to the restaurant and farm shop at Du Vlei and when we arrived my range was showing that I had only 40km left with the fuel that I had. "No problem, I'll put fuel in at Riebeek West on the way back."
As we turned into the restaurant parking area I heard the unmistakable sound of the Triumph 675 triple that Gerrie was riding speeding past to take the banked left hand sweeper, as we were getting off the bikes he came flashing back, tucked in behind the screen, engine wailing he had obviously been frustrated by the slow speed at which we had been riding and the lack of fast corners.
Du Vlei is a pleasant place, just over an hour's ride for us it is a popular breakfast destination for bikers from the Cape, but this day it was very quiet and we virtually had the place to ourselves.
 Old bikers gathered to chat, many years of biking experience in this photo; myself, Anton, Floors and Willie.
 The usual jokes, banter and discussions in the period before the food arrives.
The food and the service was good, the beers were cold and a nice cup of coffee to finish, as is our usual custom we make our own way back. I had to get petrol and Gerrie thought that he should as well, his bike did not have fuel guage so he wasn't sure. 
The service station at Riebeek was closed! It would re-open at 16h00, no good for us, my readout was now showing 30km and it was 35km to Moorreesburg so we pressed on at 80kmh which wasn't totally unpleasant. We refuelled and carried on, Gerrie still had plenty of fuel in his tank so it was a learning experience for us both. 
A fast run along the excellent R311 and there ahead I could see some heavy clouds hanging ominously over the road, as we joined the R45 heading west it started to rain but after only enough to wet the screen it stopped and as we pulled into the parking lot at Plaasmol there was no sign of it.
Our friends were already there and we settled in with a cold beer.

This place also was very quiet, in fact we had not seen many bikes on the road at all, perhaps the weather was to blame but those who chose not to ride that day missed a great one.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

SA Bike Festival in Johannesburg visited

Last Friday I flew up to Johannesburg to attend the 2nd Annual S.A.Bike Festival at the Kyalami race track, I had hoped to ride up but I just didn't have the time, I had a bike club meeting on the Thursday night and anyway it was far less expensive to fly. My sister met me at the airport and I stayed over at her house. 
I arrived at the festival site at around 10h00 on the Saturday and already the place was buzzing;

As I was quite early I had a good chance to wander around the many bike related stalls before the place really started filling up as it did towards midday. The whole event was really well organised with only stalls related to bikers, from helmets and equipment to tyres and clothing and a myriad of really good food stands which were all to do a thriving trade as the time passed.
Pretty much all of the bikes available in the country were on display in the main building with many of the new models available for test riding around the track.



If you have a spare R390,000 you too can own one of these Indians! (To see any of the photos full size just click on them.)
By midday my feet were sore and my throat was dry, only one thing for it; find a place to sit and drink beer!

There was a very nice beer garden area which was by then doing a roaring trade, I secured a cold beer and looked for a place to park off for a while, that's how I met friends Carl and Kay, I asked if I could have a space at the table and we got chatting;
You meet the nicest people at a biker jol, it wasn't long before another group of guys asked if they could sit with us;
Ridley and Piet were another good couple of biker guys we ended up chatting with and Ridley will be down in my neck of the woods for the Harley Rally later on this year so I'll have to go and see if I can meet up with him, that is if they let BMWs anywhere near!
The obligatory pretty girls photo, and let me tell you there were plenty of pretty girls around! 
I had a very pleasant day at the festival, I wandered around some more, watched what I could see of the Superbike race and attended the podium ceremony with Clinton Sellar getting first place trophy and by the time I had been there for six hours I needed something like this to take me home;

I have now seen the bike festival, would I go again next year? I asked myself the same question of Africa Bike Week and I think that the answer to both would be no, been there, done that. Had a great time though.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Rear footpegs, up or down?

I came across this short article on a facebook post the other day and although it doesn't credit the author I felt that I was able to quote it here as it is in the public domain;

 ~Riding with the rear pegs down.
This superstition takes a lot of forms and meanings but is usually brought up for discussion after an older rider tells a newer biker they should only have the rear pegs down if someone else is riding on the motorcycle with them.
The most basic superstition has a rider giving the dreaded motorcycle gremlins a place to put their feet while riding along and waiting to cause mischief. This does lead us to question whether your Ride or Guardian Bell isn’t strong enough to ward off the gremlins before they have an opportunity to get comfortable with your rear pegs.
Another version warns a biker invites spirits to ride with them by leaving the passenger pegs down while riding solo. Its an interesting superstition as riders are asked to do just that if they are involved in a funeral procession for a biker who has passed away. As with humans, bikers should be picky which ghosts they let ride with them it seems.
The most humorous response to this superstition are the bikers that tell you the only reason keeping the rear pegs down are bad luck comes from something definitely living. Having a biker’s other half ask who they’ve been letting onto the back of their motorcycle seems too much of a curse to let the rear pegs be anything other than up when riding solo.~

I personally put the rear pegs up if Janet is not going to be riding with me but that is not through any superstition, just a habit and I had not heard of the tradition of leaving them down during a funeral procession either.

It's an interesting topic for discussion though, what do you think?

Monday, May 8, 2017

Riebeek Valley Olive Festival and the May Breakfast Run

This past weekend saw the annual Olive Festival in the little town of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West and our friends Peter and Amanda who live conveniently close to the main square in the pretty little town of Riebeek Kasteel once again invited us to join them. We have been up to many of the festivals now and always have a really good time, Peter and Amanda also invite other friends for the weekend so it turns into a party and not much time is spent at the festival, sometimes only a couple of hours on the Saturday and the rest of the weekend is a party at the house.
This year was no exception, it was a party of note! We rode through from Saldanha on the Friday evening and the weather was pretty lousy, cold with patches of light drizzle but it's only an hour's ride so it wasn't too bad.
The "Elderly People" photo has become a tradition ever since I took a picture of Janet standing in front of the sign way back on the first visit, I need to dig them all out and post them on Facebook for the people to see.

It was a good weekend thanks to our hosts and to the others who made up the party, everyone left on the Sunday morning and as our monthly Club breakfast run was scheduled for this weekend in Tulbagh which is nearby, we arranged to meet up with the riders on the way.
Daan, the Road Captain phoned me at 09h00 to say that they were leaving and that there were twenty two people coming, a great number! I phoned the restaurant to let them know that they had twenty four with the two of us coming for breakfast. Just before 10h00 Janet and I went to a spot just outside of the town, it was a lovely day for riding, partly cloudy, cool but with no wind.

We didn't have long to wait before Daan led the group to the stop, we could see down into the valley and it was an impressive sight watching the bikers turning onto the road and accelerating up towards us. At that moment I was filled with pride to be involved with this fine group of people, Daan handed the ride over to me and we headed out for the breakfast destination, "Kuierbossie Restaurant" in another small town some 30 kilometres further.
It is a lovely riding area, verdant farmlands and vineyards as far as the eye can see, sweeping bends and a mountain pass seemingly purely designed for the rider's pleasure kept us happy until we pulled into parking spaces reserved for us outside the restaurant.
The restaurant did well, we didn't have to wait too long, drinks arrived timeously and the chat and banter flowed freely, the breakfast was good and by midday we were all finished and on our way. As is usual custom people made their own way home, some going visiting, we rode with Daan and Bev and Sooi and Linicia back to a small pub in Moorreesburg for a beer and were soon joined by some of the others.
From there it is roughly a forty five minute ride home, obviously depending on how fast you ride, I stuck to a comfortable 140kmh, just above the legal limit and we were home mid afternoon after a fantastic weekend.
Thanks once again to our hosts Peter and Amanda for the festival weekend and to the bikers who made the breakfast run such an enjoyable event.