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, December 6, 2010


Way back in 1982 I bought my first brand new motorbike; the very impressive Yamaha 1.1, a really good bike with shaft drive and when they came out a lot of them were modified for racing. At that time we lived in the Eastern Cape and decided to make our first trip down to Capetown on the new bike.
We took two weeks leave and set off on what was to be a wonderful holiday, but one that started off really badly. Our first stop was to be Port Elizabeth with friends, only some 300kms away but in the first 200kms we had three punctures!The first puncture happened in the Kei Cuttings, only some 60kms from home, I felt the back of the bike go all soft and "squishy" and managed to stop without losing it. Flat tyre! I removed the wheel and leaving Janet with the bike and the luggage I hitch-hiked back to the small town of Butterworth. The local garage mechanic fixed the puncture and re-inflated the tyre, I paid him, picked up the wheel and stood out on the road with my thumb extended expectantly.
Three guys in a car stopped for me and I recognised the front seat passenger, he introduced himself to me; Ron Reid-Daly who was involved in training the Transkei military but I knew him as the founder and Commander of the Rhodesian Selous Scouts from when I was in the Police in the then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). (See his picture taken at a Rhodie get together in the sidebar - R.I.P Ron Reid-Daly)
A short while later I was reunited with a very relieved wife, I replaced the wheel and we headed off. In retrospect I should have stopped in East London to have the wheel checked but we were already late so we pressed on.
Unbelievably, 150kms further and virtually in the middle of nowhere, the tyre deflated again! On the side of the road I removed the wheel once more and we considered our options, it was starting to get dark and we were about 75kms from Port Alfred. While we were sitting there a farmer came along and offered to take my wheel to his farm and fix it! Wonderful!
It was fully dark by the time he returned and I replaced the wheel by the light of his headlights, after thanking him profusely we headed off into the night, our destination was now Port Alfred where I would find accommodation and phone our friends. Or so I thought.
As we were heading through a cutting about 5kms further along the road the tyre delated again! Can you imagine my despair as I removed the wheel for the third time? We had to spend the night there next to the road, we had sleeping bags but that was all. I showed Janet how to kick a hip-hole in the ground and we lay down on the hard, rock-strewn surface.
We had no food with us and we were hungry and every now and then an 18 wheeler roared past loaded with pineapples, leaving the tantalising aroma of the fruit in its wake! It was a long and restless night and to add insult to injury it also rained for a little while!
We were up and ready by the time the sky started to lighten in the East, cold and hungry and dying for a cup of coffee. I stopped a local resident walking past, tore a R20 note in half and gave half to him explaining that if he was prepared to look after the bike he would get the other half when I returned and my bike was still in good order. He readily agreed to this so we hitched a lift with our panniers and the back wheel through to Port Alfred.
At the hotel I booked a room for a couple of hours, this did not seem to worry the management unduly and I left Janet happily soaking in a hot bath while I went off with my back wheel to find a repair.
I eventually managed to get back to the bike, I gave my friend the other half of the R20 note, put the wheel back on the bike and rode cautiously back to Port Alfred where I found Janet relaxed, clean and happy after a good breakfast - I was a grubby wreck, but not for long!
The rest of the holiday was fantastic, we never had another problem with the back wheel after that in spite of some very long trips and now whenever we travel that road I can point out to Janet the exact spot where we slept next to the road, in fact the next time we go that way I will stop and take a photograph.
Whenever I have told friends about that trip they say things like "Yes, that's what biking is all about, that makes a good story." and in retrospect it is a good story, it's a great memory but not one that I want to experience again in a hurry but I wouldn't change it for the world.
"Touch Wood" we have never had another puncture since then but now one can carry tyre repair kits and inflators, there was nothing like that then - hell that was long before cellphones!


Geoff James said...

Excellent post Andrew, I love hearing the old stories which help to make us what we are. Selous Scouts..... much respect!

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