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, November 24, 2010

Chapman's Peak Drive

With the big red machine due for its 60,000km service I managed to get the day off to take it down to Atlantic Motorrad at the Waterfront in Capetown, what a jol, a mid week break and a long ride and they lent me an R650GS to play with!
Janet was already in Capetown having a reunion with her five sisters in Kommetjie so I decided to go there to see them; Alayne from New Zealand, Heather from England, Gael from Richard's Bay and Beverley from Johannesburg all at Lesley's place.
I decided to take the scenic route over the iconic Chapman's Peak road as I had plenty of time to get there and I wanted to take some photographs.It was a lovely day to start with but the wind came up later in the morning which tended to shove me around a bit. I rode through Camps Bay past the 12 Apostles mountains to Hout Bay and then up over the pass.
I made a few stops to take photographs, the F650GS was a very nice, fun bike to ride, if a little underpowered it is very nimble and flickable with its wide handlebars and upright seating position right over the front wheel. I certainly wouldn't mind having one as a second bike.
Chapman's Peak drive is an amazing engineering feat, an incredibly picturesque road carved out of the mountain. Work began in 1915 and the road was officially opened in 1922, it is popular with cyclists (whom I consider to be crazy people), motorists, tourist buses and of course due to its winding and picturesque nature - bikers, however because of the large volume of traffic it is not a fast ride and you usually find bikers just cruising along enjoying the view.
Rock falls were a constant threat, especially in the winter months, and a series of unfortunate events lead to the closing of the road in January 2000. R145 million was spent on reconstruction and eventually the road was reopened as a toll road in December 2003, here you can see one of the myriad rock catching fences on the left of the picture.
Incidentally, and I stand to be corrected here, this is the only toll road in South Africa which charges a reduced price for motorcycles; R18 as opposed to R24 for cars.
The flag on the corner is the Shark spotters flag and the blue one must mean it is safe because there were surfers in the bay below. I stopped again just to enjoy the view overlooking Kommetjie beach, perhaps also to summon the courage for my upcoming visit with the sisters-in-law!
It was with some trepidation that I parked the bike outside Lesley's house but it turned out to be a lovely visit and I spent a very pleasant couple of hours with Janet and my in-laws.
I returned the little GS and collected my beloved RT, which felt a little big and heavy for just a couple of minutes until I got used to it again, and then hit the West Coast road and had a good fast ride home.
Since we bought the bike in February 2006 we have averaged over 1,000kms per month which I think is a fair bit of riding and there is still a heck of a lot more to do - stay with me my friends.


Geoff James said...

Nothing better than wagging work for a mid-week ride Andrew! Magnificent photos and the rock catching structures are virtually the same as the ones on Arthur's Pass in the south island of NZ.

You can see them briefly about 3 minutes into my YouTube video of riding briskly through the pass: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASxx-GhweyQ

Anonymous said...

Hey Andrew,
They have lent me that same bike - I agree wouldn't mind having one as a second bike, but then again there are so many bikes that i covet - a really nice old original Triumph Bonneville could also be pleasant - have to get used to gears on the right ah well see you at the Toy Run my man- we live in the most incredible riding area - we are fortunate go well and ride safe

the rider said...

Thanks Geoff, I'll have a look at that video clip.

Hey Dick, Yes looking forward to the toy run on Sunday - see you at the beer tent!