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, July 28, 2010

Polar Bear run 2010, day 1 - the journey

The weekend finally arrived! We had been looking forward to it, waiting for the time to get on the bike and ride, and now it was here, Des phoned and said that Frank, Dick and I must attend a pre-ride meeting on Friday evening at the new "Admiral Pub" in Velddrif - we don't need much persuading to go to a pub!
We joined John and Des at the pub at about 17h30 and gradually the rest of the local Polar Bear riders arrived, we had drinks and snacks and Des outlined the ride and the accommodation.
Here you can see the mob listening intently, some very nice snacks had been sponsored so we all hung around for a while enjoying the company and a couple of cold beers.
Although Dick was enjoying himself and was definitely in the mood to stay at the pub I managed to persuade him that we should get going, we had to get out pretty early the next morning.
It was about 07h40 when we left home, it was cold but we were prepared for it - heated hand grips on! We met Frank at the Engen One-Stop and stood around sipping hot coffee out of a cardboard cup while we waited for the others to arrive.
Amazingly the rest of the local group arrived on time and after a brief chat it wasn't long before we had kick stands up and we were surging out onto the R45 towards Malmesbury. Des put me at point, something I hadn't done before and I was determined to keep the group of eight bikes together. I needn't have worried too much though because it wasn't long before we were riding through patches of fog that got thicker and heavier the farther we got from the coast!
In places we were riding at 80-90kmh and by the time we reached the intersection with the N7 the conditions were deadly dangerous. We all pulled up at the stop, we were on a side road and had to cross and turn right onto the National road and the visibility was down to about twenty metres! If the cars on the main road had their lights on you could only just see them right at the intersection, I took the gap first, accelerating across the road and onto the side shoulder and one by one the others did the same until we were all safely across but Man that was one of the most dangerous crossings I have ever done.
Once the adrenalin settled we carried on down towards Malmesbury and gradually the fog lifted, I increased the pace a bit. Des had said that the guys would like to stop for a smoke break somewhere after the town but I couldn't find a decent place to pull off so we carried on. Eventually it was about two hours later that we stopped, just after the toll gate on the N1 and by then I'm sure that the smokers were quivering wrecks! From there it was a short ride to the other side of the tunnel where we were to have breakfast at the Trout farm, I was ready!
"I'll have a Castle lager and a toasted egg and bacon sandwich with chips, a dash of speed and a bit of respect please!"The rest of the road group joined us and it wasn't long before the guys were misbehaving! Bikers are a free spirited bunch, we are different to ordinary people who travel in cars and sit quietly in restaurants, we take corners on two wheels and sit astride a powerful machine at high speed over a cheese grater - when it's time to relax we do it noisily, not quietly and some people disaprove - quietly.
Then we mount up and do it some more! We had a good break and then much to the relief of the boring people in the place we got back on the bikes to continue the ride. So far the weather had been fantastic, so much for Des' wish to have a really bad Polar Bear run!
Only about twenty kilometres along the N1 to Worcester and I led the pack at a good speed, 160 to 180kmh but after that I held it back a bit for the fifty kilometres through De Doorns to the intersection with the R318 so that we didn't leave the cruisers too far behind. What a fantastic ride, I led the group into the side road and pulled off for a break.The first thing that Frank did was roll another cigarette and the first thing that Phil did was head off into the bush for a leak! Get rid of the beer! From there it was a really nice cruise to the start of the pass leading down to the Koo Valley, about another 50kms and we pulled off the road into a construction area.Guess what happened then? The Old Brown Sherry (OB's) and the brandy and coke came out of the pannier bags and the guys settled down for a bit of a chat and a warm up drink.
The next part of the ride lay before us, the descent into the Koo Valley and the road through to the little town of Montagu - does that look good or what? We spent a good half hour or more in that laybye and by then we had sorted out a lot of the World's problems, but soon it was time to get going and we descended into the valley.It had been another very pleasant interlude and I think that this picture very aptly depicts the typical biker ethos, at least the bikers that I am proud to hang with.
From there it was a cruise into the little town of Montagu, the site of the famous hot springs resort, we refuelled and then as it was only fifty kilometres to our destination I led a high speed convoy along the fantastic R62 to the Karoo Saloon. We rode at upwards of 180kmh, five of us revelling in the fantastic wide, smooth road, the calm weather and the powerful motorcycles and we arrived at our destination happy and invigorated and more than ready for the party that was to take place that evening. Our hosts were ready for us and as the Karoo Saloon is a biker joint there was no need to behave! We arrived before the off-road contingent of about five guys so we all selected our beds in the "Bunk house" and then settled down to party.


chessie said...

Man, this ride sounds like a blast from the 70's! This blog entry rocks!

the rider said...

Thanks Chessie, it was as we say, a total jol - and there's more to come!

Anonymous said...

What a great ride and weekend it was - now for the Eendekuil/flower weekend on the 10th Sept- that is gonna be great !!! What a real priviledge to live in the area that we do - with all the stunning rides and scenery available to us !! go well Dick