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, September 1, 2014

Polar Bear run, 6th annual run in sunny weather, one heck of a jol

After a bit of confusion as to whether the Polar Bear run was going to take place or fade into obscurity after five years, Greg jumped in to save the day and the run. It was late because some of us were not available at the end of July and it was a bit short notice for some of the guys but what a pleasure having a warm and sunny biker outing! I'm so tired of the rain now and last year's run was a wet one.
It was even a relaxed meeting time; 10h00 at the Langebaan Engen garage, I arrived a bit early to refuel and get some coffee, Greg and Frank were already there and Shawn arrived shortly thereafter.
We waited until way after 10h00 and still the others hadn't arrived, I suggested to Greg that maybe they were waiting at the other Engen garage, the one in Velddrif?
So he phoned and sure enough that's where they were, "Ok take the river road and we'll meet you outside Hopefield." and off we went.
 In the end it was after 11h00 by the time the others arrived because Fungis had had problems with a deflating front tyre so he and Graeme had turned back, they would meet us later at the hotel. We were eventually seven guys on seven bikes and we roared up the hill out of Hopefield, I took point and kept the speed at 130 to 140kmh so as to keep the group together, this was to prove frustrating to Shawn on more than one occasion. Eventually he and I broke away on two occasions to do some speeding.
Fantastic riding weather, there was a little bit of wind near and around Malmesbury, but not enough to ruin the ride. It was just so good to be out on the bike and the comments from the other guys at the stops made it plain that they felt the same way.
The first stop was in Malmesbury to let the group re-gather, some needed fuel and some needed to smoke, in fact just as we got back on the road two of the group missed a turning, Frank and Gideon took the longer route to Wellington but at least we had all agreed on a stop at the Gecko Lounge for beer so they knew where we were going.
The run through to Wellington was great, we were in wine country and the road wound and undulated its way through the verdant green winelands, it was proving very difficult to keep the speed down and Shawn flashed past me, obviously the cold beers were calling out to him.
Five of us pulled into the Gecko Lounge parking area but the other two were not far behind because we were still busy with the first bitterly cold beer when they arrived.
 Here Frank and Gideon enjoy their first drink while we exchanged stories about the ride thus far, from there it was only about 20kms to the turn off to Gouda and we agreed that we would pull over and wait at the turn off, this gave Shawn and I the opportunity to do some fast riding and he and I wound it on, flashing past the slower traffic on the long, almost straight stretch from Wellington to the Gouda turnoff, we both really enjoyed that and in fact we didn't have to wait long at all for the others to join us, obviously they all wanted to ride!
Hands up those of you in the western cape who have been to the Gouda Hotel before? I didn't even know there was a hotel in that dusty little dorp but Greg suggested we check to see if there's anywhere for a dop in Gouda, we still had plenty of time so why not? What a pleasant surprise!
There's a very festive and brightly decorated pub there, the people were friendly and the beers were ice cold, in fact there was batchelor party on the go when we got there! Two drinks, or was it three? Who's counting? We saddled up and headed down the final stretch towards Porterville but first there was the traditional cheese and wine stop to take care of, and it was a pity that Graeme wasn't with us because it had developed from the very first Polar Bear Run when we stopped in a laybye for a leg stretch on the way to Sutherland when he pulled a bottle of wine and some cheese from his pannier and shared it with all of his brothers.
 It was an extremely pleasant stop on the side of the road, I put my bike on its centre stand and used it as a serving table and we gathered around for some banter in the sun with wine, cheese and biscuits, really people, what could be more pleasant than that?
We spent nearly an hour there just enjoying the company and the repast, none of us had had anything to eat until then, so it went down well. From there it was forty kms to Porterville and what a fast forty that was! Everyone seemed to have the need for speed!
We lined the bikes up outside the Porterville Hotel and went inside, apparently we would have to wait about an hour to check in and to take the bikes through to the rear parking area as the owner was not yet there, what to do in the meantime? Head for the bar!
Frank wasted no time and got chatting to some ladies and then they left, quite quickly, better luck next time buddy!
The party got going, by then everyone had arrived including Des, Fungis and Graeme and all of the dirt bike riders who had taken their own off road route and arrived looking dusty and dishevelled but happy, we were fourteen or fifteen revellers by then and the bar was starting to cash in.
The hotel staff provided us with an exceptional buffet supper of roast lamb, potatoes, vegetables, fritters with a delicious mussel starter and desserts - well done guys we needed that. After dinner the party raged on.
Frank's number was drawn as the "lucky" number for one of the Polar Bears, the ice challenge!
Ten minutes like this! He won a meal for two at a restaurant but better luck was to come! A lovely young lady who was visiting for the evening took pity on poor Frank and offered to warm his feet up for him!
How lovely, the only problem was that by then Frank had no feeling in his feet!
 What a lovely young lady she was, a breath of fresh air, so much so that before she left Des awarded her one of the prizes. How nice it is to have people like her brighten up a party, well done young lady, we all loved you.
The party raged on, most of the guys faded out by midnight or 01h00 but not us, Oh no, we partied on. We were informed that the bar would close at 02h00 but in fact it didn't and we were given the opportunity to buy more drinks up until 02h30 so we did!
Frank danced with the lovely young barmaid.
 Frank danced with Shawn, no gender discrimination at our parties!
This photo was taken by the barmaid just before she closed the bar, last men standing, we stocked up and moved outside. Some people smoked a bit of weed and we suffered abuse from those trying to sleep but we ignored them. It was 05h00 when we eventually called it a night, what a party it had been.
This is the sight I woke up to when Des banged on our door at 09h00! "Come on get up, Greg's doing the Polar Bear ride!" I struggled out of bed to face the day.
 Greg's number came up for the ride, he was lucky it was a warm morning because you have to ride up the main street in jocks and boots and by then there was quite an audience, well done Greg!
After a really good buffet breakfast I headed for home, I was feeling rough, lots to drink and maybe just a little bit of the weed?!
Thankfully two years ago I had suggested that we find places close to home for the party so that the Sunday ride would be short, too many times we had ridden up to six hundred kms home on the Sunday and it wasn't so good!
I rode down to the N7 at Pikketburg, sped along the N7 to Mooreesburg and then home along the R45, after a very pleasant ride I was home by 11h30. Another great Polar Bear run with a great bunch of guys, what more could you ask for? By Tuesday I would be feeling alright.


Trobairitz said...

Damn that must have been chilly riding in the morning in his knickers. Glad our polar bear ride just involves riding to coffee in full heated gear and 32˚F (0˚C) temps.

Glad you guys managed to have such a great time.

the rider said...

Hi Brandy, yes it was a bit chilly that morning, but what a fine party!