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.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

National Braai Day

Nothing much has been happening for us on the biking scene at the moment, we're waiting in eager anticipation for the onset of the summer weather. Granted there have been good sunny days but they have been few and far between and I am feeling the need to get out on a good long ride.
There is a rally scheduled for the end of October in Worcester which Frank and I have decided to attend, for some reason the last rally I attended was the Buffalo Rally in March 2011, way too long ago so I'm looking forward to that one.
This past weekend was a nice long one, Monday 24th was a public holiday; Heritage Day or as it has become better known; National Braai Day thanks to the good Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. The "Arch" as he is affectionately known is a great fan of a braai and encouraged South Africans to gather around the braai grid on Monday, most of us needed no further encouragement and braai smoke darkened the skies for pretty much the whole weekend, no less at our humble abode.
Sunday a group of good friends and family congregated chez-nous for lunch which was de-boned leg of lamb on the braai;
Carefully deboned, marinated in Olive oil, Aromat, Rosemary, sliced fresh garlic and ground black pepper for a couple of hours and then placed over good hot coals.

They took a while to cook but we kept our guests busy with fresh oysters and steamed mussels and when the meat was crispy on the outside but still medium rare inside I took it off and sliced it into a roasting pan where it was allowed to rest.
The spread clockwise from bottom left; lovely soft, sweet avocados from the Eastern Cape, salad items, a pot of delicious gravy, sadza fingers fried in egg and bread crumbs,  bottom right; Janet's famous Creamy Aromat potato dish and in the centre the sliced lamb leg. Our friends enjoyed it and so did we.
Tuesday evening it was an occasion for a potjie with Sadza as Mike and Loretta were heading back to the Eastern Cape the next day, Beef shin with marrow bones.
The trick is to make the Sadza (Miellie-meal porridge) stiff enough so that when it is rolled in the hand it doesn't stick, it is then dipped into the gravy and if you're adept at it you also try to grip a small piece of meat at the same time with your thumb.
Us ex-Rhodesians will stand around the pot eating sadza dipped in the gravy for a good while before we actually dish up a plate.
Beef shin pot with Sadza.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ranting and Raving

Last Saturday we rode down to Capetown to spend the evening with Joe and Annie, it was a lovely day, if a little windy, and a thoroughly enjoyable ride along the old familiar R27. We had a good seafood lunch together with Dave and Nicky at Cafe Orca in Melkbos after which Joe and I went out for a couple of games of pool. A really good day and a nice evening, comfortable conversation with good old friends.
It was raining on Sunday morning! Really raining hard and we had decided to leave early because there were things to do back home, I'm not a huge fan of riding in the rain but we've done it so many times before, hell if you love biking like we do you're bound to get caught in the rain. I thought about hanging around for a while to see if it was going to lighten up, but eventually it was Janet who said; "Come on you legend, let's get going." I'm not sure if those were her exact words but it was something similar, I mean just look at me!

For the first ten or so kilometres out of the Blouberg area past Melkbos it was raining stingingly hard and obviously visibility was quite seriously restricted. The west coast road was busy with cagers returning early from their flower viewing weekend and now we come to the ranting part of the story, I was seriously dismayed by the behaviour of the large number of cagers who were easily divided into two categories; fools and idiots.
Fools are those who speed through bad weather, seriously reduced visibility with only their park lights on, you only see them at the very last minute! Do they not realise that those park are as dim as their brains?
Idiots are those who speed along happily through those conditions with no lights at all!
These people contribute in their stupidity to the already hazardous conditions, I hope but doubt that some of them are reading this.
The rain had stopped by the time we got home, close to Saldanha the roads were dry and we were able to enjoy the last part of the ride, it was easy to forget about the dimwits still struggling their way towards Capetown.
Part two of the rant is that in their wisdom the Western Cape Provincial Government wants to reduce the speed limit! They claim this will help to reduce road deaths, they propose reducing the open road limit from 120kmh to 110kmh! This stupidity really bothers me, the majority of road deaths in South Africa are pedestrians, are they less likely to be killed by a car travelling at 110kmh? Come on for fuck's sake, (I don't often swear in this blog but here I think it is warranted.)
We bikers don't often stick to the limit anyway but at least if I am doing my usual 140 to 160kmh I am only 30 to 40 kmh over the limit, if they reduce it I am going to be 40 to 50kmh over, what happens if the points demerit system is eventually introduced? I may have to sell my bike and buy a Harley - I don't think so!
Apparently the speed limit in school zones is going to be reduced to 30kmh, now while I think this may be a good idea for cars there is a serious danger that more kids are going to be killed by bikers wobbling down the road trying to ride that slowly!
I hope that Helen Zille is reading this - do you want me to go and live in another province? No, of course not, so come right! Can we not elect a biker to the advisory committee?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Spring flower ride

On Friday, which was incidentally the last day of August, the weather was absolutely horrendous which resulted in Patrick and Patricia (affectionately known to all their friends as "The Pats") bringing Janet up from Capetown in their car. It was most definitely not a motorcycle day with lashing rain and gale force winds and we were desparately hoping that things would improve for our flower trip the next day.
Frank came around that evening, in his car, and we had a good get together and a seafood meal, we also decided that we would still go out even if it meant travelling by car.
This picture was taken later on Saturday at the West Coast Hacienda where we were supposed to be staying over; Janet, me, the Pats, Janet (another one, affectionately known as "dh" - darling heart) and Frank - the happy group.
Frank arrived just after 09h00 and we got organised for the ride, it wasn't warm and it had already been raining but we were optimistic that it was going to clear up. It was to be a day out on the bikes with the Pats following in their car, ending back at home for the evening as our accommodation bookings hadn't worked out but we all felt it would be better this way anyway.
We set out under a pale wintry sky with ominous clumps of heavy grey clouds dotting the horizon to the north and west, just where we were headed. My thermometer showed me that it was a cool 14,5 celsius as we roared through Vredenburg and on to Velddrif. We had a small amount of rain while riding through Dwaarskersbos but after that it cleared and the ride to Eland's Bay was enjoyable, especially where the previously very badly pot-holed road had been repaired.
We kept to a fairly sedate 120kmh, the road is narrow with no run off so it doesn't really lend itself to high speed and anyway we had the car travelling with us. The sky gradually cleared and the sun came out but there were no flowers! We had a very enjoyable ride through to Eland's Bay where we stopped at the hotel for a beer.
Just one beer and a bit of a chat in the sun, starting to warm up and then it was time to move on, next stop the town of Clanwilliam for a bit of lunch.
Only 70km to Clanwilliam, a very nice road in lovely weather but still no flowers, Janet managed to spot some but they either had their backs to us or they were clenched up in the patchy cloud shadows, oh well just enjoy the ride. It was lunchtime when we arrived in the town and I was hungry, Pat knew of a little restaurant which served very nice light meals and beers.
Janet asked Frank to get her handbag out of the bike and he felt the need to pose with it; "Getting in touch with his feminine side!" he said, I left him to it, I didn't want anyone to think we were together!
A nice lunch in a shady garden with a bottle of wine, I had a very tasty chicken schnitzel with a mushroom sauce that set me up for the rest of the day.
Saddle up time. Neither Frank or the Pats had seen the Pakhuis Pass so that was next, I can't get enough of it so I had no trouble going up there again.
A couple of nice group photos with one of the group missing from each, the usual story unless you can get a passer-by to take a photo or you can balance the camera on a convenient fence post, neither of which was available to us at that time. A fun time.
Just look at that beautiful scenery, the Pats left just a bit ahead of us and stopped on the side of the road to get some photos. (I've never been in so many photos before, it's a whole new experience!)

Cool cruising, me and Janet on the big red machine just loving it!

Cool cruising, Frank and Janet on the FJR and also loving it!
By the time we got back down into Clanwilliam it was mid afternoon and a bit late to take the long way home so I suggested we retrace our route, we still had some partying to do at home that night, Frank suggested we pull into the West Coast Hacienda on the way home to say "Hello" to Marius, hence the opening photograph.
From the Hacienda it is only about 140km back to Saldanha, a very nice ride but definitely quite cold and that same rain cloud was waiting for us at Dwaarskersbos, we got rained on again just a little, not enough to make us put rain suits on though, a lovely day with a great bunch of people and even though we didn't see any wild flowers it was a worthwhile ride.
The wild flower season is not going to last much longer but definitely the best place to see them is between the Engen One-stop and Langebaan and between Langebaan and Saldanha, I have heard that the flowers in the nature reserve are spectacular as well, but I am not going to sit in a five kilometre long queue just to go and look at the sex organs of vegetables!
Sunday morning we accompanied our friends down to Capetown where we all had a good breakfast at the Viper Lounge, we said our goodbyes and then Janet and I roared up the N7 to Malmesbury and back home, what a good weekend on the bike!