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.

Friday, January 25, 2013

BMW blues

I said that I would keep you up to date on developments with my motorbike, well I received an email from the sales manager;
"I discussed your 2006 R1200RT with the dealer principal this morning, unfortunately we are not in a position to offer you a trade-in value for your bike."
That's it, no personal contact and they are obviously not interested in doing any further business with me.
The workshop has the parts for the differential on order so I just have to wait, on holiday with no motorbike and the weather is absolutely beautiful!
It's just not the same in an Avis car!

Time to dust off and update my manuscript which I wrote some time ago; "Braaiing with Wood". It's an anecdotal recipe book with a biking thread running through it, I sent it to a publisher for consideration but they turned it down as they already had a recipe book due to be released, instead of sending it to others I put it on hold.
I have been inspired by the book written by my son Simon; "Beneath" which I am reading at the moment and really enjoying. I thought if he can do it, so can I. Watch this space.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Time for a change?

Here's the latest in the sorry saga; the BMW agents are going to go ahead and repair the differential which is probably going to cost me in the region of R6,500. The "Dealer Principal" who is obviously too busy or too important still has not had a look at my bike according to the sales manager and it seems like they have to get a price that they can sell it at before they can make me a trade-in offer.
In the meantime I am driving around in an Avis rental which is costing me money, I am currently on leave and was supposed to be cruising the Garden Route on my motorbike. Shit happens! I'm going to go down to Capetown on Thursday or Friday and make some bloody noise!
My old friend Des Pistorius who lives in Durban and about whom I wrote a while ago when he passed through here on a scooter tour, still rides a 1982 Honda Goldwing which towards the end of 2010 clicked past 1,000,000 kilometers! My 2006 BMW could only manage 87,000 - what does that tell you?
 Time for a change? This is the Triumph Trophy SE currently going for R169,500, we'll go in and have a look at that.
I'll keep you posted, in the meantime I'm in a cage - you stay safe on two wheels

Monday, January 21, 2013

Major problems with my BMW

In my last post I told you that my beloved R1200RT had been trailered down to the BMW Motorrad dealership in Capetown after I detected an unusual sound coming from the back wheel or the differential.
Well I've had a call back from the workshop manager who informed me that the fault was with the diff., and that it could be replaced with a new one for R19,000! After a bit of discussion, and probably after hearing my obvious aversion to spending anywhere near that kind of money I was told that the faulty bearings could probably be replaced for around R6,500!
A few months ago I told you about a problem that I had with the rear suspension which they wanted to replace for R20,000 - I ignored this and it appears to have stabilised, no further leaking. 

I bought this bike new in February 2006 so it is coming up to seven years old now and I have done just over 87,000kms which to me does not seem excessive for a 1200cc motorbike, that's just over 1,000kms per month and although I ride relatively fast I do not handle it roughly. I have had all my services done at every 10,000kms so in other words the bike has been looked after.

I have now asked the sales manager what I can get for a trade-in "as-is" because I would like to stay with BMW. Should I fix the bike and keep it forever? Should I fix it, sell it and go for another brand? I kinda like Triumph but really I would prefer to stay with BMW if they are prepared to give me a fair deal. I'll let you know exactly how that goes within the next couple of days

So far the R1200RT has been the best bike that I have ever owned or ridden but my main concern is that this kind of thing should happen after only 87,000kms. Do any of you have any other or similar stories? Please let me know before I commit myself. I'm actually asking for some comments now.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The big red machine on a trailer???

During a wonderful three week holiday with our family who visited from England, the big red machine had been standing alone in the garage, I did say "Hello Baby" occasionally when I went into the garage but apart from that she stood patiently waiting for my attention.
I was not concerned because she has stood for longer when we went on an overseas trip and on a ride before the holiday she performed flawlessly, our plan was to go for a week away after the family returned to the UK so there would be plenty of excersize to come.
Just before my family left Christie and the boys wanted a ride so I dusted the big red machine off, she started first touch as I expected, and I wheeled out of the garage and down to the road.
During a gentle cruise with my daughter, after my two grandsons, I noticed a rythmic creaking noise emanating from the rear wheel, I had not noticed it before but in a video clip with my older grandson the noise is quite evident.
I thought it might be "sticky" brake pads so I rode up and down the road applying brakes with varying intensity to no avail, the noise persisted, was it perhaps a bearing? Something more expensive like the diff.? I have no idea, not much of a mechanic so I phoned for help, the verdict "Get it down to Capetown so we can have a look." How the hell can something break while it's standing? There wasn't any oil on the garage floor so what the hell could it be?
I think that the BMW agents should have come to collect it but they gave me the name of someone who does this job for them, R1,080:00 to collect and deliver, I had no choice, I certainly didn't want to take the chance riding it all the way down there.
Saturday morning we loaded her onto a trailer, she has never been on one before and I felt a distinct tinge of sadness seeing her like this,
looking a bit like a Harley Davidson and probably feeling very embarrassed the big red machine headed out of Saldanha and down to Capetown. I am going to investigate upgrading to the 2013 R1200RT next week so we'll see how much they are prepared to offer on a trade-in. Hopefully it's not a serious problem, we're going down to visit on Tuesday, I'll keep you informed - donations in lieu of flowers to the "New bike for Andrew fund"

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Oyster Shack - Wilderness

Happy New Year my friends, may 2013 bring you all that you wish for yourself especially lots of quality, safe two wheeled mileage.
I am on holiday with my family so all of the travelling I am doing at the moment is in a cage but never fear, we will be out on two wheels next week. I am intending to ride through to the dealership on Thursday to investigate the possibility of upgrading, I will obviously let you know how that goes.
During our recent travels we happened upon a unique restaurant and as is my custom I am moved to tell you all about it, so that should you be riding through the same glorious area, you may experience it for yourself.
The area I am referring to is the Garden route, specifically a picturesque spot known as "Timberlake" which is exactly 10 kilometers north of Wilderness, it is home to a variety of small buildings housing cheese, wine, arts and crafts vendors a coffee shop and a restaurant as well as some adventure areas for children and adults. It was there that we found the "Oyster Shack".
The friendly owner, Dominic welcomed us and when I ordered a dozen of the fresh rock oysters as a starter he offered to put some extra aside for us as his stocks were running low - sea conditions were a bit rough for his diver to go out.
 The Oyster Shack is a casual open-air, wooden-bench, feet in the sand place with a great deal of rustic charm, I loved it and felt very comfortable there.
We ordered our beers and a bottle of wine and relaxed while Dominic opened our oysters, R10 each for fresh wild rock oysters which I thought was very reasonable, I paid R15 each a while ago at the Breede River Lodge.
They were delicious and obviously fresh, only three of us were eating them but I ordered another six from Dominic's dwindling stash. We ordered our main courses from the blackboards on the walls of the wooden building, assisted by the very friendly young waitress, (I hate the word "Waitron" - it sounds like a machine, which she definitely wasn't!)
Mine was a lovely big portion of fresh Yellowtail accompanied by a potato salad and a particularly tasty green salad - very, very nice indeed.
My son and my daughter had prawns which they enjoyed, there is a limited offering for non fish eaters and our friend did not particularly enjoy her spare ribs but for six out of our group of seven it was a big thumbs up.
The bill came to an amazingly reasonable R1,100 including the gratuity which for seven people equates to about R157 per person. Whilst we were enjoying our meal we were serenaded by a beautiful young lady guitarist with an equally beautiful voice, I'll be back - soon I hope and I have no hesitation in recommending the Oyster Shack to you, next time you're cruising along the Garden Route call 0448821120 and tell Dominic I sent you.

I'm going to end this item with some interesting news; You will all no doubt be aware that Valentino Rossi is going to be back riding for Yamaha on the YZR-M1 this season, I'm looking forward to that!
Also the informative and authoritative magazine "Cycle World" have just posted the ten best bikes of 2012, among them; Best Sport Touring - BMW K1600GT, Best Touring - BMW K1600GTL and of special interest to my friend and fellow blogger George; Best Adventure - Yamaha Super Tenere, great stuff indeed.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A day on the Berg river

This story has nothing at all to do with braais or bikes although several beers were consumed. I am on holiday with my family so for the next two weeks there will not be much biking done, I wanted to tell this one  because it will be of interest to those of you who live within a decent riding distance of the quaint little fishing town; Velddrif.
Velddrif is home to Des and Marina Clunie and Dan Ahlers who together are involved in the River Studio, Ek en Djy Vissery and the boat charter. I have written about the place before because we have been there several times, and as I have already mentioned, Des and Dan started the now famous annual "Polar Bear run". Marina is an acclaimed artist and has her work on show in the studio.
Saturday morning was a fantastic, calm, hot summer's day with only the gentlest of southerly breezes, enough just to ripple the water and keep the heat at bay, I had booked a boat ride for the family and as neither Janet or I had been up the Berg river before, we were looking forward to the trip. A few cold beers and some cooldrink for the boys and we were set.
 Dan has a really nice boat, ideal for a family or small group to cruise up (or down) the river, he knows the river and the area extremely well, having lived there since the late '60's he is also involved in the ecology and conservancy of the river and its wetlands.
We were on the boat for just over an hour, cruised for about ten kilometres up and back and had a very enjoyable time, Dan can also arrange a day trip for about forty kilometres up the river, take your own picnic lunch and refreshments, I thoroughly recommend this for a family or a group of friends, give Dan a call on 0829510447 and tell him I sent you.
We were all good and hungry by the time we arrived back at the jetty so we placed our food orders straight away,
You can eat on the front veranda or on the jetty, it being such a lovely day we chose the latter and had what is arguably the best hake, calamari and chips for a very reasonable price.
Des and Dan are both bikers so the place is biker friendly, so come on you Cape bikers, contact me and plan a ride up here, we will meet you on the road and ride through with you, you won't regret it.