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, August 27, 2012

Hopefield flower show

I had been notified via sms earlier in the week that the "Meeulanders" Mcc were having a breakfast run on Sunday, a short trip to Hopefield for breakfast at the Hopefield "Lodge" and then a visit to the flower show. Hopefield is only some 70kms away so it wouldn't be too bad if the weather was still crap.
The weather has been really crap lately and Saturday was a case in point, gale force winds and rain so we stayed indoors and I lit a big fire, movies and beer and blankets. By Sunday morning I was suffering from cabin fever!
Sunday morning I was up early, eagerly checking the sky. According to the weather forcast there would not be any rain but as I have said before our weather service seems to be a "non-prophet" organisation! Heavy grey clouds did not bode well for the ride, it was cold too but a jersey under the jacket took care of that, in spite of my protestations and attempts at persuasion Janet opted to stay home and take care of her feet and fingernails, she seemed eager for me to go.
The road was still wet from earlier rain and as I headed for the meeting point at the Engen One-stop it appeared to be raining over Langebaan, I pressed on and didn't get wet and it was so good to be out on the bike. The big red machine felt powerful and responsive, as if as eager as I was do some riding.
I arrived at the garage at 08h50 to find that I was either the first one or the only one there, perhaps the weather had put everyone off and I had not been notified? The time advertised was 09h00 for departure at 09h30, Oh well I would have a cup of coffee and ride back home if nobody else arrived, I stood sipping Wimpy's famous coffee and it wasn't long before others started arriiving.
Two locals on Harleys arrived but left early to meet up with a large contingent of HD riders from Capetown who were also going to the Hopefield show, no doubt there was going to be a procession.
 Willie arrived on his new acquisition, an almost new, mint condition BMW K1300GT - very nice!
Soon there was a fair crowd, the usual suspects, not daunted by the cold, grey conditions.
A gentleman biker, Mike

Daan and Beverley's very nice new Yamaha FJR 1300, only a handfull of motorbikes but a lot of money! Then it was time for some "group therapy";
We set off in our usual staggered formation at a fairly leisurely pace, after all it was only some 40kms to Hopefield so there was no rush. It was a very enjoyable cruise and it wasn't long before we were lining the bikes up outside the Hopefield Lodge.
It seems that the only thing that changed was the word "Hotel" to "Lodge" otherwise it appeared to be exactly the same, strangely though the place was locked and no one responded to our knocking even though we had apparently been invited to have breakfast there. I think it will be a long time, if ever, that they see us there again. We mounted up and rode through town to the showgrounds and as we parked the bikes the first thing I saw was the Castle Lager signs adorning the beer tent, things were looking up!
 We were the first customers in the beer tent, but it was already past 10h00 and the music was good.
Willie showing that there is a soft side to big tough bikers. After a while I decided that it was time to have a look at the indigenous flower display and even though I am not really much into the sex organs of vegetables I was quite impressed.

The display was set up very artistically inside the hall, complete with a nest of Ostrich eggs and some hatchlings, although I did notice that they kept very still - maybe for the photographs?
Once you had viewed the display there was a shelf along the back wall with individual pieces of all of the indigenous species that you could identify, should you be so inclined. Actually it was very well done, time to get another beer and something to eat.
We found pretty much all of the group back in the beer tent - go figure! All engaged in earnest conversation and food.......and drink.
New members of the club, sorry guys I haven't got the names yet but I will get them next time but they are bikers - good people.
Familiar faces? Frank and Div. After a very good chicken burger with mushroom sauce I decided to head for home, it had turned out to be a very pleasant morning with a bunch of good people and I was glad I had gone. After a good fast ride back towards the coast I was reunited with my wife whose fingernails and feet were immaculate, she was sitting out in the back garden enjoying a beer in the pale wintry sunlight, I fetched a cold Castle out of the fridge and dragged a chair out onto the lawn to join her, it's a good life!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Attention all bikers: Traffic is backed up on the Golden Highway and we've had enough of our own being slaughtered on our roads every day! Let's join together and say "enough", let's MAKE them SEE US AND HEAR US, lets declare Sunday 2 September: NO DAY TO DIE. We call on all bikers to take to the roads between 10am and 12am on Sunday 2 September and do everything that you can to be seen and be hea...rd! (Of course we would NEVER suggest anything illegal like outrageously loud pipes). Let's band together in our clubs, social groups, family groups etc and RIDE FOR OUR LIFE and in honour those who have fallen. For two hours we can flood the roads in our cities and suburbs with bikes of all sizes and shapes, let us be seen and be heard. Please copy and share this message with fellow bikers country wide.

I copied the paragraph above verbatim from the facebook page; "let's MAKE them SEE US AND HEAR US!" and from the comments on the page this initiative seems to be gaining a lot of ground, there is even a comment from an American reader who claims that it is going global!

Capetown riders are gathering at different locations and it seems as if the roads in the City are going to be flooded with motorbikes of all shapes and sizes, let's hope that this is the same for the other centres in South Africa because this can only be a good thing, to create more awareness amongst the motoring public of the fact that we bikers have as much right to be safe on the roads as they have. It will be very interesting to see a follow up after the weekend, how many bikers took to the roads and in how many countries?

I will be on the road on Sunday 2nd September on my bike, I will not be in the City but I will be counted, let's do it brothers and sisters, let's be seen and heard!
(Picture from facebook page)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bad Weather, no riding for a while.

Since the Polar Bear run the weather has been absolutely horrendous. There haven't been any decent opportunities to go riding except for yesterday, it was calm sunny day but because of previous commitments I could not go out. I told Janet, quite confidently that we would go for a ride and look at the flowers the next day, Sunday. So what happens? It was a cold grey, overcast day and the flowers were all clenched!
Seriously though we have had some really bad weather, recently for the first time it snowed in all nine provinces on the same day! It snowed in places that last had snow in the early eighties, the Ellis Park rugby stadium was covered with a thick, white blanket and people were throwing snowballs in the City streets!
Then just last week we had a huge storm that caused gale force winds and huge waves, this picture is of the famous Brass Bell restaurant in Kalk Bay. That storm caused quite a lot of damage on the mussel farm too. We all know that gale force winds do not make for nice rides.
I was determined to get the big red machine out of the garage, so today we just went for a bit of a local blast just to get the cobwebs out of the zorst pipe, I had just washed the bike yesterday morning so I didn't really want it to get wet and dirty straight away but I had to have a ride.
Can you see how clean she looks? We ended up riding down into the harbour to the Slipway Restaurant, it is definitely one of my favourites and we eat there often. As we walk in the kitchen staff see us and start my favourite starter; mussel and bacon bites - I don't even have to order them;
 mussels (from our farm) wrapped in bacon and then fried in a crispy coating, delicious and we got halfway through before I even thought of taking a photograph! We always share this, there are five bites on the plate but Janet usually only has one of them so I get to eat the other four.  Bianca or Nicole always bring us our favourite bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, also without us having to order.
We consulted the menu after that but on the specials board they advertised a "Hot Fish Pie" which Janet decided to try and the "Yellowtail" was good enough for me;
Janet declared her pie to be delicious and my Yellowtail was succulent, we both really enjoyed our meals and the bill came to a very reasonable R280 including the tip for a starter, two mains and a bottle of wine, excellent value in my book.
Give them a visit and try for yourself, call Heather on 0227144235 and tell her I sent you, you wont be disappointed.
I was going to ride for a while after lunch but the wind had come up and it was pretty cold so we went home, the big red machine is now covered up in the garage. Our next scheduled ride is at the end of the month, I have booked for Frank and Janet to join us overnight at the West Coast Hacienda so we hope for good weather and I'll tell you all about it. Stay safe, keep the shiny side up.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Polar Bear run 2012 - part two

I can pretty much let the photos tell the story, the party raged through the night - here's Kobus, Jean and Freddy.
Jean, the El Presidente of the Kreefsmokkelaars, had a number plate made especially for the run!
In the meantime the unmistakeable aroma of lamb on the spit wafted through the garden area, enough to bring the guys outside every now and then to check on progress.
Des presented Jeanette, the owner of the hotel with the Polar Bear supporters certificate to hang in the bar, after which she assisted him with the draw.
Wian of the Kreefs club was the lucky (?) winner of one of the Polar Bear prizes and had to sit for ten minutes with his feet in ice water, a glass of ice in each hand and a bag of ice on his head - he won a meal for two at a local restaurant, I just hope the meal is good!
The next lucky name drawn was Kobus who had to swim a length of the pool in order to claim his prize, man I'm glad that I haven't been lucky at any of these runs so far!
That water must have been bloody cold, this was late at night!
Dave won the coveted "Character of the Polar Bear run award" for his indomitable spirit, his successful cheese and wine party and not least for his bottle balancing act!
The pub started filling up with local young people in the later part of the evening, this was alright apart from the fact that they play the most awful music, there was a juke-box and a big screen and when we could get a gap we filled it up with AC/DC music, which they all enjoyed anyway!
Freddy and Kobus were moved to take off their shirts and boogy as "Highway to hell" boomed through the speakers.
Meanwhile Frank was up to his old tricks; bothering the pretty young girls.
Then, like a breath of fresh air, Mandy from CEX Riders arrived, (CEX is the number plate prefix for Porterville) or maybe she was more like a hurricane, a real biker chick she soon won over all the bikers,
including Wian whom she managed to beat in arm wrestling, I have her email address and will contact her for an interview, a very interesting lady to talk to.
Most of the guys retired fairly early, just a few of the die-hards partied through until the early hours, I cannot remember what time I went to bed but it was somewhere around 03h00. I shared a room with Dave and he said I reminded him of the sawmills at Lupane with my snoring - I don't believe him, I didn't hear a thing!
Des woke us up by turning the light on at 08h00 - "Hey come take photos of Nicky doing the Polar Bear ride." "Fuck off Des!" I turned over and pulled the blankets over my head. The Polar Bear ride is another of the challenges to win a meal at a restaurant and involves the "lucky winner" having to ride up the main street and back in patch vest, jocks and boots in the early morning. Hopefully someone will send me some photos.
Some of the guys were already up when I stumbled over to the dining room, I felt a hell of a lot better after a hearty breakfast - no sign of Frank by the time I was ready to go at 10h00. I was glad that it was only 140 or so kilometres to Saldanha and not a long ride like it has been on the previous runs.
I thoroughly enjoyed my ride home and I was back in time to join the ladies at lunch time. Des phoned me later to say that he got a phone call from Jeanette at the hotel; "You left something in one of the rooms." - Des; "Oh yes, what was that?" - Jeanette; "A biker!" Apparently they only managed to get Frank up out of bed at midday! They didn't know the magic words that you have to use if you want to get rid of Frank!
What a weekend! Another very successful Polar Bear run thanks to Des and the great bunch of guys, true biker brothers one and all.

Polar Bear run 2012 - part one

Much to Des' disappointment the weather last weekend was fantastic! He has been wanting the "Polar Bear run" to be a real winter test for the members, something to sort the men out from the boys;
in spite of the previous weekend being wet and cold, the week leading up to the run being miserable and the subsequent weekend also being wet, (as I sit at my keyboard now it is definitely not biking weather.) the weekend of the fifth annual run was like summer, as it has been every year.
In fact the worst part of the whole run was when I left home at about 08h00 Saturday morning to head for the gathering point in Velddrif, my temperature guage read 5,5 celsius which is cold enough to seriously damage a brass monkey and the sun was hovering directly over the town so I rode the whole 60kms trying not to stare at it.
The previous evening we had met at the Admiral pub for the traditional pre-run briefing, beanies and badges were handed out - six of us qualified for our five year badges,
Me, Freddy and Frank proudly sporting our 'Polar Bear run 2012' beanies
everyone agreed that Frank looked like a homeless person.

Des presented the owner of the Admiral pub with a plaque commemorating their support of the run which she assured us will be proudly displayed for all to see.
 The presentations and acknowledgements were enthusiastically applauded, even by the WAGS although they were not taking part in the run, the second Polar Bear run included them but by subsequent unanimous vote the run was returned to the "Guys only" status.
It was a pleasant evening meeting old freinds, discussing past runs and eagerly anticipating the next day's ride.
A good few of the members were already there when I arrived, we stood around clutching paper cups of hot coffee with our breath visible in the cold morning air as we waited for the rest to arrive,
Des is a member of the infamous "Kreefsmokelaars" Mcc (Crayfish smugglers) so his Honda Goldwing which was being ridden by his son in law, was adorned with a crayfish and braai grid!
Thirteen of us headed out onto the R27 just after 09h00, time to find out if the guys liked the route that Frank and I had set up. Five members on scramblers were doing their own thing, meeting us at the end venue later that day, and another three were going to be meeting us at the breakfast venue.
We settled into a staggered formation, I was leading and set up a resonably fast pace 140 - 150kmh, we took the R45 for very pleasant 80 or so kilometers to the intersection with the N7, the cold winter sun slowly rising in the pale blue sky was beginning to do its work.
Only about thirty k's along the N7 and we turned left towards the little town of Philadelphia for a very pleasant breakfast at the "Pepper Tree Coffee shop" for the very reasonable price of R45.
Philadelphia and the Pepper Tree is a popular breakfast venue so already there were quite a lot of people there but service was good and the venue is pleasant, the beer was cold so the guys were happy.
The next part of the run was to the town of Wellington, The R304 out of Philadelphia is a very nice narrow tar road that winds it's way through the farmlands to intersect with the R302 where we turned left heading towards Malmesbury, about halfway along we turned right onto a minor road that cuts through to join the R44 at "Windmeul", what a lovely piece of road that is! A narrow tar ribbon that undulates its way through verdant farmlands, wineyards and fragrant fields of intense yellow Canola that fill the helmet with its heavy rich aroma.
Soon we were pulling noisily into the parking area outside the "Gecko Lounge" in Wellington, here extra jerseys were peeled off as by then it was warming up nicely. A cold beverage while we discussed the next part of the ride; over Bain's Kloof Pass, past Wolesley and Tulbagh and to the turnoff at Gouda. Dave went on ahead in his car to set up the traditional cheese and wine stop.
I must confess to not actually enjoying the Bain's Kloof Pass very much, it is for me far too narrow with very tight corners and absolutely no room for any mistakes - we all made it safely though and pulled into a parking area at the bottom for a wee/smoke break.

I started thinking that perhaps I had taken my jersey off too soon as we saddled up again, there was a fairly strong wind blowing through that valley and the rugged peaks of the massive "Slanghoekberge" were lightly dusted with snow. No time to think about that though as we sped through those beautiful valleys, the wide sweeping curves following the Bree River, we crossed the bridge and took a right onto the R44 and the magnificent Mitchell's Pass. Halfway up that wonderfully fast pass is the "Tollhuis Bistro" where we stopped briefly for an expensive, warm beer - I'll give that place a miss next time!
Time to meet up with Dave, back onto the R44 and down the pass, speeding through the farmlands again, leap-frogging lines of cages held up behind deisel exhaust-belching 18 wheelers we revelled in our freedom. A few road work areas slowed us occasionally but soon we were cruising through the usually Baboon-infested "Nuwekloof Pass" then a right to pass the small dorp "Gouda" and soon we were pulling up in a very picturesque spot that Dave had chosen.
  The cheese and wine stop has become a tradition after the first run when Graeme pulled a bottle of wine and a little piece of cheese out of his pannier and shared it with his brethren, it amounted to only a sip of wine and a taste of cheese but now it is a welcome stop especially as it was a good few hours since breakfast.
From there it was between 40 and 50kms to the Porterville Hotel and it was decided that the guys could all do their own thing, some wanted to wind it up a bit,
and as they all thundered off the sound of those bellowing exhausts was like music to the ears, soon it was just Des, Frank and I left in the laybye. We saddled up and headed down the road, Des flashed past me and I decided to speed up as well but all of a sudden my helmet was again filled with the heavy, warm aroma of Canola and I couldn't resist stopping for a photo,
sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses! After a very enjoyable day's ride, apparently Frank and I had done a good job setting up the route, we lined the bikes up outside the Porterville Hotel.
Time to party! We put our gear into our rooms and headed for the bar from what I could gather everyone was in the mood for a party.........................................................