We have just been on the fourth annual Polar Bear run and it was a jol of note! Des started the run in 2008 with Dan and the idea was to ride in winter so as to separate the men from the boys, the first one took us to Sutherland in late August in the Northern Cape and although it was "this cold" the weather was fantastic! 2009 Des included the women in the run, back to Sutherland but earlier in August, still the weather was wonderful and all that came out of that run was the strict rule; "No more women on the Polar Bear run!"
2010 saw us heading to the Karoo Saloon on the R62 just short of Barrydale and what a party that was! Still excellent weather though. This year Des thought; "Right, stuff it, this time we ride end of July - the weather's gotta be shit then!" Up until the weekend the weather was absolutely terrible!
08h30 Saturday morning the bikers gathered at the garage in Velddrif under clear blue skies, all eager for the coming adventure.
Frank, Nicky and Dave discussing how cold it was. Dave followed along in his car as BUG (Back Up Guy.)
Every year there is a contingent of dirt bike riders who make their own way to the final destination by way of the most interesting roads that they can find, we crossed paths briefly at Clanwilliam and then met up later in the afternoon at Calvinia.
I led the ride out of Velddrif along the coastal road towards Eland's Bay, through Liepoldville at a leisurely pace so as to keep the group together and as we were not in a hurry we cruised at around 120kmh so that the cruisers could keep up. We pulled into the West Coast Hacienda at about 11h00 for a very good buffet breakfast.
It was a good breakfast and a nice ride but the road is quite badly pot-holed and riding towards the rising sun makes it difficult to see the holes in the road, by the time we were ready to leave the sun was high and warm and I knew that there was going to be some "low flying".
The cruiser boys, here's Freddy riding out, were going to be left to their own devices, next stop the garage at Van Rhynsdorp some 110kms away.
It's 30kms to the N7 on a lovely road, everyone pulled into the garage in Grafwater but I had enough petrol so I carried on followed by Frank and Dave. Just before the descent to the N7 at Clanwilliam there is what seems like a never ending right hand sweep, tight but predictable and done fast it is a real joy - so that's what I did! The N7 is a very nice road although a bit boring so I did it at between 160 - 180kmh hoping that I would spot the speed traps before they caught me and I arrived at the garage some fifteen minutes before everyone else.
Although it was by then quite warm, a cup of coffee went down well, now it was the fabulous "Van Ryns Pass" 288metres up to Nieuwvoutville and our next stop.
I made up number ten in the line of fast bikes heading up the pass, the cruisers made their own way up after us and what a ride that was, just pure exilleration diving into the tight uphill hairpins and sweeps in a good formation - fantastic stuff!
We lined the bikes up outside Protea Motors and Tinus, the owner opened the place up and showed us around his amazing collection of bikes.
Some tongue-in-cheek but mostly a very serious collection indeed!
Unfortunately the place is too small, the bikes are crowded against each other under covers and apparently this was only about half of the collection, the rest was in another warehouse!
Most of the bikes were runners, Tinus started quite a few of them up for us.
A 1920 "James" in unrestored, original condition - one of only three in the wotld!
We spent almost two hours there, it was fascinating biker porn. Tinus doesn't sell these bikes, he only buys them and usually more than one of a kind if he can so that he has spares.
We left happy and impressed after telling Tinus that he should have a big museum next to the main road where he could charge R50 per person to have a look at his wonderful collection, it must be worth millions!
By then it was beer time so we headed down the road to the attractive old hotel where the beers were icy cold and they sold the most delicious "Kerry vetkoek".
How do you explain "Kerry vetkoek"? A vetkoek is a ball of light dough fried golden brown and crispy on the edges filled with curried lamb, a South African staple it is absolutely delicious!
It was only another 67kms to Calvinia which obviously took virtually no time at all and there we met up with the dirt road boys who had just arrived. We got settled into our rooms, parked the bikes around the back and got the party started.
Freddy, Des and Frans enjoy a drink together and after everyone was settled it was time for the first item on the agenda; the "Bokdrol spoeg competisie"! Literaly translated this means "Buck turd spitting contest" and is a peculiarity of the Karoo area, probably because there is not much entertainment so it has to be invented!
The hotel owner had kindly collected the "ammo" for us, little dried pellets of buck shit! This was to be a first for me and I gathered from conversation that the idea is to keep it in your mouth for as short a time as possible because it tends to go soft again! So quickly in the mouth and just as quickly out again.
Some guys were pretty good at it, keep the beer close by and don't even think about e-coli!
It was a good laugh, most of us couldn't get further than a couple of metres.
Some guys didn't enjoy it all that much!
Some, like young "Kettings" put everything into it, but the winner was....
Frans from the West Coast chapter of the M.O.T.H riders - give that man a beer! He won a meal for two at a nice restaurant, that should get the taste out of his mouth.
The party moved to the bar where Frank got up to his usual tricks, snuggling up to young ladies, not sure how he does it!
He awarded this young lady, a local policewoman, his Polar bear badge and declared her an honorary Polar bear for which he received his reward;
a cuddle, just look at him enjoying himself! Then it was time for the prize draw and Dan had to do the Polar Bear;
Ten minutes like that for a sponsored prize! No trouble for tough SA bikers, next was the "Fear factor" challenge and Dave's number was drawn; Eat the eyes and tongue from a roasted sheep's head;
No problem for most of us but Dave hadn't done it before, he made a good go of it though and won a sponsored meal for two at the West Coast Deli and Bistro where I know they serve better meals!
I stood back long enough to be polite and then dived in, I couldn't wait to get at the "sweetmeats", the brains, Dave wasn't having anymore.
Look at these two old biker scums! This pretty much characterises the annual Polar Bear run, cameraderie.
They closed the bar at 02h00 by which time we had all pretty much cleaned it out anyway, it was a fantastic party and we managed to get an hour or two sleep before we had to be up for breakfast.
We had a good buffet breakfast and guys started making their own way back from there with an arrangement to meet at the West Coast Hacienda for a beer.
Jean's Suzuki, way's to beat the speeding fine number 3; mount an Irish registration plate!
"Fast Freddie" wins "Character of the Polar Bear run" for the second year, and what a nice character he is.
We all just made our own way from there, a bit of a slower cruise than the day before, cool weather but very enjoyable and I was at home in time for lunch. Next year is the fifth annual run and Des wants to plan something special, I will be there for sure.
My friends I will be away from this blog for the next three to four weeks, bear with me, we are going to the UK to visit our family, I will update when I get back.