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.

Monday, September 28, 2009

We're going to Sturgis!

For quite a long time now I have been talking about doing one of the big American bike jols before I die, or before I am too old to get my leg over anymore - and here I'm talking about the motorbike!
I had spoken about Daytona Bike week or Sturgis to all of my friends and they've responded with "Ja Lekker!" (Which means "Yes Great/Good/wonderful etc., but which could also be taken to mean "Yeah right!)
Friends and acquaintances have done it and have returned with colourful "Sturgis" tee shirts and fantastic stories and photographs of thousands of bikes and wonderful people partying for days on end until I can't take it anymore, I read my American counterpart's blogs and their stories of the Sturgis experience which most of them attend almost every year and I realise that we have to do it!
Something else that has made us make this decision is the fact that life is short, the queue is getting shorter and you have no idea about what is going to happen in your life. Too many times we put things off "until the house/car is paid off." or until "things get a bit better." - the years pass and suddenly it's too late and all you have is the regret; "We really should have done that when we could have."
One of my oldest friends died at the young age of 54! Had he done the things he always wanted? I seriously doubt it - I must do this with Janet so we have decided; "Screw it, let's do it!" (To quote one of my heroes.)
The long and the short of it is that we are going to Sturgis 2011 come hell or high water! Next year is unfortunately just a bit too close, we have to put quite a few South African Rands together but mark my words; We are going to the Sturgis Rally in 2011!
I'm hoping that some of my SA friends will come along, maybe Frank - but if they don't we are still going. I also hope that some of my new American friends will help with advice and I would definitely want to meet up and have a beer with you; Chessie, Stephanie, KT Did and Mr Motorcycle to name a few.
I don't ride a Harley here but I'm thinking that I will most certainly have to ride one over there just to get the whole experience right so I will investigate hiring one. What about you Harry? How about meeting us in the USA for an unforgettable experience?
Keep the shiny side up and stay in the wind!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Braai etiquette

I know I was going to tell you about the potjie I did for Rene' and Bronx, it was a good one and I will talk about it later, but I got this via email from Dave and just had to share it;
Here in South Africa (and this could very well apply in other countries - please comment if it does) we are about to enter the braai season, it is therefore important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking activity. When a man volunteers to do the braai, the following chain of events is put into motion after he invites all of his mates;
1) The woman buys the food.
2) She makes the salad, prepares the vegetables and makes dessert.
3) She prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray with the necessary utensils and sauces and takes it to the Man who is lounging beside the grill, beer in hand, talking shit to his mates.
4) She remains outside the compulsory 3 metre exclusion zone, within which the exuberance of testosterone and manly bonding activities can continue without female interference.
Here comes the important part;
5) The Man carefully places the meat on the grill.
More Routine;
6) The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.
7) She comes out to tell the Man that the meat is looking great......he thanks her and asks her if she will bring him another beer while he flips the meat.
Another important part;
8) He takes the meat off the grill and hands it to the woman.
More Routine;
9) She prepares the plates, salad, napkins and sauces and brings them to the table.
10) After everyone has eaten the woman clears the table and does the dishes.
Most important of all;
11) Everyone praises the Man and thanks him for his excellent cooking efforts.
12) He asks her how she enjoyed her time off and, seeing her annoyed reaction concludes, with a shrug of his shoulders, that there's no pleasing some women!
13) He opens another beer which he more than likely had to go and fetch for himself.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Saturday Braai

Not a lot has happened this past week, we were extremely lucky with the weather on the Polar Bear run though because Monday through to Wednesday was terrible! We had gale force winds and lots of rain, so the two day gap over the weekend was really unusual - gratitude for that!
We had friends over the past weekend; Linda on Friday night and Saturday morning, Alan went to lodge with me and stayed over Saturday night and then Rene' and Bronwyn came on Sunday and left on Monday morning, hell of a busy weekend but lots of good times.
The weather was good to us again so I did a braai for lunch on Saturday, first was my famous "Pork tasties" - take some nice thick cut pork rashers, rub the rinds with cooking oil and salt and lay them over moderate coals, I also had some lovely big potatoes which we had sprinkled with Aromat and covered with a big pat of fresh butter, these were wrapped in tinfoil and placed on the coals.

Once you have browned the rashers on both sides you need to cook the rinds, balance them skin side down against a piece of wood and braai them like that until you have the rinds nice and crackly, take care not to burn them. Keep turning the potatoes as well.

Once the rinds are done all you have to do is make sure the rashers are cooked, then cut them into bite-sized pieces, sprinkle with some salt and a little mixed herbs and you have a delicious, crunchy appetiser for your guests to nibble on while you get the rest of the meal ready.

I then braaiied some lamb leg chops and the ubiquitous boerewors, I also prepared some sweet corn miellies in tinfoil in the coals and we had a lovely, rather typical South African weekend lunch.

As I was not sure what the weather would be like on Sunday I had decided to do a Potjie (Poy-key) for Rene' and Bronwyn's lunch, another favourite meal of mine and one which I have done hundreds of times before but they always turn out different, never boring or repetitive. I'll tell you about that one in my next post.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Part Three - breakfast, the awards and the ride home

By the time we got into breakfast I was good and hungry, maybe just a little hung-over and a greasy breakfast was just what the doctor ordered. It was a good breakfast and it went down singing hymns! After that it was time for the awards, Des had organised some good spot prizes from various sponsors but the inaugural "Footloose award" went to Dave for the bugger-up he made last year. It was all in good fun and we had a good laugh and then it was time to get on the road, another lovely day with only the possibility of a bit of wind - no rain forcast. It was a very enjoyable ride through the vast open spaces of the "Great Karoo", we took it easy just cruising along, no hurry, plenty of time to get home. It was just so great being out on the open road with the prospect of another 400kms ahead of us. An hour later we pulled up at the N1 intersection for a leg-stretch and a chat, fungis and Graham were already there chatting to Dick and Janet as we climbed off the bike. Man I love this stuff! It is so good being a biker and riding with a bunch of like minded people, those who don't ride motorbikes have no idea what they are missing!55kms down the road we stopped to refuel, waved our goodbyes to Dick and Janet who were carrying on along the N1 and we took the R46 again through to Ceres. Another very good ride through the two picturesque passes brought us back into the little town where we had had breakfast the previous day. I just had to stop in a laybye in the beautiful "Mitchell's Pass" where in winter proper, the mountain tops are blanketted in snow. I wasn't too disappointed that there was no snow around then!It was all very familiar riding country as we have done various trips through that area many times, but that didn't detract from the enjoyment although I must confess that by the time we pulled into Porterville with only 122kms to go, I was definitely feeling a bit saddle-sore. Janet confirmed that she was too so we stopped for a cup of coffee and a piece of home-made yogurt cake. Fungis and Graham pulled in on their bikes shortly after us, obviously with the same idea and after a half an hour or so we were back on the road, riding together for the final stretch. It had been a fantastic weekend, we renewed old friendships from the previous trip and made new ones that will last, we have new stories to tell and some great memories and I was sorry that the 873km trip was over. Now I have to give the bike a good wash!
I'm not sure what's next, we are going to the Cobra rally during the first weekend in November which is only a two hour ride, but hopefully there will be something before that.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Part Two - the festivities at the hotel

It had been a day of good riding, 436 kms but now it was time to party! We booked into our very comfortable room and headed for the bar - soon the whole mob was there keeping the barmaid very busy. As is usual with this kind of group the talk inevitably goes to the ride and how fast we all ride, how we can corner and what happened along the way. Graham said that he is going to get a tee shirt printed "The older I get the faster I was!"The prices were reasonable and the bar did a roaring trade and as the sun went down the party moved outside where a nice fire was keeping people warm. The hotel supplied a huge amount of Karoo lamb, pork and boerewors and as is usually the case there were enough volunteers to take care of the braaiing.I can tell you that by the time the food was ready I was seriously hungry, breakfast in Ceres was ages ago and the cheese and biscuits did not go very far! We moved into the dining room where we feasted on the excellent meat, bread rolls and a variety of salads - good stuff.After the meal the party moved back outside and a couple of local youngsters arrived, one on a Vuka scooter which the guys tried to buy from him so that we could melt it like tupperware on the fire! Dan wanted to get a collection going and Des got caught twice putting burning logs under the scooter, eventually the youngster did the wise thing; he got on his scooter and left! Just as well, he could have ended up with about R900 and a melted lump of plastic!
As the night progressed people started fading and it was a pleasure to climb into a bed that had been warmed up by an electric blanket.
We were up bright and early and joined our friends around the fire which someone had very thoughtfully got going again.
As it was last year, so it was this year; a wonderful evening of cameraderie shared with like minded people with the added pleasure of having our ladies along. Des - who didn't look too happy when he first surfaced - cheered up and was soon his old self, he announced that next year the Polar bear run would be going to one of the hot springs resorts - I'm in!
It was just about time to get k-s-u (kick stands up) but we could already smell the bacon and boerewors cooking, breakfast and the awards ceremony was next. What a great night it had been.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Part One - the ride to Sutherland

The much anticipated day arrived and we were up and about at 0445, showered dressed packed and ready way too early! We relaxed with a cup of coffee and a piece of toast and rode away from Saldanha at about 0640 just as the sun was beginning to show above the hills to the east of us. It was fresh, chilly but not as cold as I expected and we settled into a steady cruise to the meeting point at Velddrif.Most of the group were already there when we arrived and it wasn't even ten minutes before Des was summoning the riders together for a briefing;"Staggered formation, 50 metres apart, no overtaking on the left and let's keep it safe!" Twenty three motorcycles rode out at about 0720 and headed along the bumpy R399 for the first 80 km stretch to Piketbberg, five were dual purpose bikes which would be taking the dirt roads through and the rest of us would stick to the tar roads.
That was quite a long 80 kms, we rode through patches of very dense fog that cut our already slow progress down to 80kmh for long stretches, but soon we were roaring into Porterville for the first of our scheduled stops, some of the people needed to smoke!
From there it was a wonderful ride through to Ceres where we gathered at the "Spur" for a pre-organised breakfast, and there Dick and Janet and Dave and Nikki joined us for the rest of the trip. By then the weather had improved considerably, the sun was shining and the sky was only partly cloudy, I read 13,5 degrees on the bike's computer so we were quite comfortable.
After a really good breakfast we all mounted up and headed off along the picturesque R46, only 80kms to "Touws Rivier", but we roared through the lovely "Warm bokkeveld" and two passes; the "Theronsberg" and the "Hottentotskloof" Pass and it was an enthusiastically happy bunch of bikers that pulled into the service station to refuel.Just look at these beautiful machines; Frank's Yamaha FJR, my BMW and Dick's ST1300, men and their toys!
After the refuel it was only 55kms along the N1 to Matjiesfontein and although it is a very busy national road, it is a lovely stretch of road with a good wide and smooth surface so that didn't take very long, the guys were eager for a beer at the historic pub - well I suppose it could have been any pub! It just so happens that this place has a lot of history.
Here Des chats to Dave and Nikki, we ended up staying there for the duration of the rugby game between South Africa and Australia about which we will say no more! Some went for the short tour on the old London bus;After a very enjoyable stopover at Matjiesfontein it was time for the last leg, 110kms to Sutherland, a narrow tar ribbon winding through the karoo scrub, a nice surface but a road that requires care because there is no runoff area and on the corners the armco barriers are right next to the road.
Some rode fast and some rode slow, we were in the middle cruising along and enjoying the balmy weather and the stark vistas presented by the "Droeberge", the "Klein Roggeveldberge" and the lovely winding "Verlatekloof" Pass and soon we arrived at the laybye where the cheese and wine snacks had been prepared for us.This banner refers to a heart problem that John had on last year's trip which caused him to miss the festivities at the hotel. We spent a very pleasant half hour or so enjoying some really good local wine with cheese and biscuits, it had been a wonderful ride with some interesting stops and by the time we lined up the bikes outside the hotel in Sutherland we were ready to party!

Friday, September 4, 2009


Here we are, the time has finally arrived and tomorrow morning we are off on the second annual Polar bear run. I must confess to being rather excited about the trip, last year it was a great bunch of guys and this year Des has included WAGS, we'll see how that goes.
I had my new tire fitted this afternoon and the big red machine is all gassed up and ready to go, tonight we are going to do our packing because we have to meet in Velddrif at 0700, that's just over 30kms away so we will leave just before 0700 - it's going to be a bit fresh!
I enjoy this build up to a trip, sorting out what we will need and doing the packing. Ok it's only an overnight stay so my half of one pannier case should be plenty of space even though a lot of warm clothing must be packed. Hopefully Janet will manage with one and a half panniers and the topcase!
Altogether the trip is about 470kms, breakfast in Ceres after about 220kms and a beer stop in the historical little village of Matjiesfontein after about another 135kms. That village is pronounced My-keys-fon-tane try that fast!
Last year on the final 110km stretch to Sutherland, one of the guys didn't feel too well so we all pulled over in a lay-by for a break, there was only another 40kms to go so we weren't in much of a hurry and Graham pulled a bottle of wine and some cheese out of his case and we sat and relaxed in the warm winter sun.
Here's Graham opening the wine and already the guys were closing in! Look at that lovely background of Karoo bushveld.
Des has apparently now expanded on this and has planned a cheese and wine "party" at this lay-by so it will be very interesting to see how that goes. There will be a braai again at the hotel and last year the Karoo lamb chops were out of this world, after breakfast there will be an awards function and then we will mount up for the ride home. As I said in my previous post this is going to grow into a really good annual event and in my next post I will tell you all about it.
Stay safe and stay on two wheels!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ferrari motorbike?!

As the time draws closer and all of us older bikers start looking towards the coming weekend to see what the weather is going to be like for the second annual Polar Bear run, we have been speaking to Des, the organiser of the run to see what he has been planning; first of all the run is only open to the "older riders" because we don't want any crap from "lighties", it is open only to "lekker okes and their wives" because we don't have time for any shit - hey!
I got a call from Des today and he said that the final prize would be awarded to the guy or girl who would ride down Sutherland's main road on Sunday morning with the least clothes on at 0800!
Now I know that Des has done some "kaalgat" riding before at rallies so I reckon that if you want to win this award you will have to take your wristwatch off! On the other hand this is Sutherland in winter, the coldest place in South Africa and if you (a guy) are going to ride kaalgat you want to look good. I have always said to Janet that if I get the urge to streak she mustn't try to stop me, she must just take me aside and help me to look good!
This, however, might be very difficult under these very cold circumstances, it is going to be a very interesting weekend and I will post some - but maybe not all - photos next week!
Just be sure that this is going to be an extremely good weekend which will develope into an annual event and because accommodation is at a premium it will become one of those events where you will have to go, if you miss out one year you will not get back onto the list. I think Des has got something good going here - watch this space!
On a completely different note I touched on a Ferrari motorbike on my sidebar photos, this is absolutely unreal!
I'm not too sure that I like this very much, extreme styling and zero wind protection. It has a Ferrari engine so can you imagine what it goes like!

And can you imagine what that sounds like?! Bloody fantastic! A Ferrari engine in a motorbike, absolute madness, they may sell a few in Dubai or somewhere like that but I don't think we'll have too many of them on our breakfast runs! Anyway keep reading this blog friends and I enjoy your comments, let me know what you think - harryh are you still reading Bro? I sent an email and got no reply, we're worried is everything ok?