What a fantastic day on the bike! Today was a public holiday, actually yesterday June 16th was youth day and as it fell on a Sunday we got the Monday off. I believe representations have been made to change this, if this is passed then it will just be bad luck if a holiday falls on a Sunday, that will be a pity.
Anyway the weather has been wonderful this whole weekend, perhaps a little chilly, and today was no exception. I was up and about quite early and after the obligatory spa bath with the chilled bottle of J.C.Le Roux Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc I decided to give the bike a wash, it had been quite wet the last time we rode and she was bit dirty.
I am still very happy with this bike, in spite of the money that I had to spend on the diff., and now she is running like clockwork. In February this year she was seven years old, she now has just over 90,000ks on the clock so Janet and I are averaging just over 1,000ks per month, I don't think that's too bad for people who are still working and who can only ride in their spare time.
We headed out of town just after 10h00, calm, clear and sunny weather. The bay was a pale blue mirror reflecting the winter sky and there was not a breath of wind to ripple its surface. As we rode around towards Langebaan my thermometer showed me that it was 11,5 celsius, we settled into an easy 130kmh cruise out over the new bypass - I don't go any other way since that lovely road has been completed - and onto the R45 heading for Malmesbury.
We were not in any particular hurry so we sat at a steady 140kmh for the 80 or so kilometres. By then the temperature was up around the 18 degree mark and we were very comfortable, at that speed it wasn't long before we were cruising through the town, still plenty of petrol and we don't smoke so we saw no reason to stop.
From Malmesbury over the pass and down into the Riebeek Valley is an extremely picturesque ride, albeit one of many in our riding area and we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves, the road is in excellent condition with wide shoulder areas and there was very little traffic - biker heaven, and at that time there was nowhere else that I would rather have been.
We stopped briefly at the top of the "Pieter Gruythoff" Pass and looked down into the beautiful Riebeek Valley, I always say a quiet hello to my old BSAP buddy Paul Weinel whose ashes are scattered there before riding down the pass and into the picturesque village of Riebeek Kasteel nestling at the foot of the majestic Kasteelberge range, where he used to live with his lady Amanda.
I had earlier remarked to Janet that there were very few bikes out on the road and when we pulled up outside "Ed's diner" we found that it was closed! So too was the "Pleasant Pheasant", another popular biker eatery, also "The View" had a closed sign up, "Uh oh! Now what?" I was beginning to think that we would not be eating today when cruising into Riebeek West I spotted an "Open" sign outside the "Grumpy Grouse",
a relief because I was feeling distinctly weak from want of nourishment.
I knew that this place had stood closed for quite a long period and had now apparently been re-opened with a new name and therefor probably a new owner. It turned out that the new owner is Eddie who used to have "Ed's Diner and who had reopened this business last November, and "Yes we do do meals."
We sat outside in the pleasant garden at the side of the building, warm in the sun.
The beers were lovely and cold, they have a fairly extensive pizza menu but I don't eat that crap, luckily there is also a limited but interesting meat menu and the prices were very reasonable.
My lunch was succulent shake-off-the-bone pork ribs with chips, a double portion for R85 and they were truly delicious, they had a basting sauce but it wasn't too sweet or over-powering like some restaurants tend to serve. I flattened that with no trouble!
Janet left out the carbs and had a 350g Sirloin steak with vegetables which she also declared to be delicious, so much so that she ate the whole thing herself!
Two beers, two glasses of white wine and the two meals came to a very reasonable R245 with a gratuity for the waiter, you cannot complain about that and we will certainly be back.
We saddled up for the ride home, luckily I had enough petrol to make it to Mooreesburg because the service station was also closed! Winding our way out of the pretty little town we noted the now russet coloured grape vines along side the road, the countryside also has a new emerald green hue from the recent rains and all is clean and fresh.
Briefly the deep growl of my exhaust disturbed the peace as we thundered out of town and onto the smooth tar ribbon slicing its way through the farmlands, young lambs a plenty frolicking next to the sheep and huge hay stacks made up of individual bales dotted the landscape.
Fortunately the service station in Mooreesburg was open and we filled up, Janet had already been nodding off behind me, I felt the plastic tap of her helmet against mine and then it would press against mine quite heavily, perhaps I need to make a pad on the back of my helmet and some velcro on the front of hers?
The 20km stretch from the town to the intersection with the R45 is now in even worse condition after the rains and there are treacherous potholes for the unwary, I kept my speed down to an easy 80kmh until we were able to wind it up again on the R45.
I cruised past local watering holes looking for the other bikers; "Juffroeshoogte" was empty, "Edwardo's" was closed, there were no bikes outside the "Rooikraans" so we headed home. It was by then a very pleasant 27 celsius as we rode quietly into our home village, what an extremely pleasant day it had been.
I don't know how many more excellent riding days we are likely to get from now on, I do need another one to take my bike down to Capetown for a service and I am organizing the sixth annual Polar Bear run for the last weekend in July, the previous five have been run in beautiful weather and I hope the luck holds out for this one.
Stay safe brothers and sisters, see you out there. Keep the shiny side up!