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, October 30, 2008

Favourite Rides

Now that the weather is improving my mind starts playing with motorbike trips, I start thinking about rides we can do and rides we have done. I replay favourites and make plans to do them again and it is a long time since we have been to Barrydale, to stay over at the "Country Pumpkin".
The ride from Saldanha to Barrydale is 344kms so that is an easy day's ride and we have done it several times; the first part is Saldanha to Riebeek which takes about an hour and is the boring part of the ride because most of it is on straight roads, in fact the first hour out of Saldanha in any direction is boring and whenever I have to change my back tire the middle is worn thin and the sides still look brand new. I make a point of saying to the mechanic who is changing my tire "That's the problem with living in Saldanha, it's a long way to any interesting roads." in case he thinks I am a chicken rider who can't corner.
After Riebeek we get into good biking country through Hermon, and then Gouda and the lovely "Nuwekloof Pass" where the road winds through the mountains and you have to look out for baboons foraging on the verges. It's about 75kms through some lovely country to Worcester but unfortunately the road is incredibly busy with 18 wheelers avoiding the toll road. This is not so much of a problem on a bike but you still have to be careful.
We usually have breakfast in Worcester, either at the "Whistlestop" at the one stop, or at the "Dros" restaurant in the town, this depends on what time of the day it is and whether we want a beer with our breakfast or not! (Usually we do!)
Worcester to Ashton through Robertson is a nice ride, it's a good road and we ride it fast; it's about 65kms of wide tar with a yellow line shoulder and most of the cars pull off to the side when they see the big red machine's bright headlights coming up behind them - and so they bloody well should!
I've mentioned in an earlier post about the ride from Ashton to Swellendam, one of my favourites and if you haven't read about it bloody well go back and have a look!
Ashton to Barrydale, however is on the R62 which is a wonderful biking road;

As you can see past me it is a lovely wide road. First from Ashton you go through the amazing "Kogmanskloof Pass" with the hole in the rock (also mentioned in a previous post!) then ride slowly through Montagu, where the famous hot springs resort is, because I have seen speed traps there. After that you are on the open road and it is about 65kms to Barrydale, this is a thoroughly enjoyable road with some wonderful scenery and after about 50kms you will see the "Karoo Saloon" on the right hand side, this is well worth a stop for a beer and the last time we pulled in there was a good biker scene on the go with some wonderful rock and roll music.

From there it's a short hop to Barrydale and the Country Pumpkin; R150 per person bed and a fantastic breakfast! The last time we did this trip we went back to Montagu but then we took the fantastic R318 which winds its way though the Koo valley and has two fantastic passes; the incredibly sharp and steep "Burger's Pass" and the slightly more gentle "Rooihoogte Pass" in it's 70 odd kilometre length. Just look at this picture, this was taken near the top of the "Burger's Pass", doesn't that make you just want to get out on your bike and ride it? How boring would that be in a car? The R318 comes out on the N1 about 50 kms from Worcester and you have the choice of going to the left and heading back the way you came or you can go right and after 12kms turn left onto the R46 and head for Ceres, about 75kms with another Pass; "Die Venster" (The Window). The absolute Piece de Resistance though is "Mitchell's Pass" after Ceres, an unbelievably beautiful ride down the mountain to rejoin the R46 through Gouda and Hermon.

After I have done that ride I am happy, I know that I have about an hour and a half to Saldanha and I settle in to a comfortable cruise. Usually Janet is asleep by then and we arrive home relaxed and refreshed after some wonderful local biking.

1 comment:

Richardvz said...

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