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.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

No Toy Run for me this year!

What a bummer! I had cataract surgery on Thursday and the doctor was quite adamant that I cannot ride my motorbike this weekend. That means that I will have to miss the Toy run on Sunday, this would have been my seventeenth consecutive run but I suppose the doctor knows best.
This year the run starts at the Grand West Casino car park and apparently that is the only starting point whereas in previous years we had two starting points and the riders converged on the one end venue at Maynardville, this caused serious congestion in the narrow streets and quite a lot of frustration for the cagers who got caught up in it.
One would have thought that they, being aware of the fact that the run was taking place, would have arranged to leave a bit earlier or go the other way. I must say, however, that in spite of there being the odd scenes of annoyance, most of them patiently waited for the seemingly endless stream of bikers to go through.
Oh well there's always next year, I will read all about it on my friends' websites and on the biker news pages.
I still haven't had the opportunity to ride the Yamaha Tricity;
but I will go pretty soon, West Coast Yamaha has moved to new premises so I will go and take a look at that as well and let you know all about it.
Safe riding to all of my friends and to all bikers taking part in the toy run tomorrow, I will certainly be thinking of you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Toy run 2014

Sunday is the toy run, this is a special day for me, this will be my seventeenth consecutive run - if I make it, I've got a minor thing to take care of tomorrow.
It's a new start and end venue and I have no idea where the end venue is so we will just follow the crowd. Many of my friends just ride straight through to the end venue without taking part in the mass ride but that sort of defeats the whole object of the ride for me, I love to see the way the people have decorated their bikes with toys, how they dress up and get into the spirit of giving.
Nothing is as moving as seeing the bikes festooned with toys for underprivileged children and once the bikers get involved there's no stopping them! The route is usually lined with people cheering the bikers on and handing toys over to be added to the massive collection, it's an amazing "feel-good" experience.
We're going toy shopping on Saturday morning and then our plan is to ride down on Sunday morning with Frank and we'll pick Janet up at the Viper Lounge and ride through to the gathering point at the Grand West Casino car park, from there we'll follow the mob to the end venue.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Food handover and Sunday memorial run

A couple of weeks back I wrote about the Meeulanders "Tin run" where members gathered outside the various local supermarkets and gently persuaded members of the public to donate tins or dry food products for needy people.
A sterling effort by a small number of club members netted a huge amount of food, conservatively estimated at R25,000 worth with the members who collected at the Laguna Mall in Langebaan managing the most number of trolleys.
On Saturday morning we loaded the swag onto three bakkies and carted it through to "Juffroshoogte" to hand it over to the local Round table for distribution.
A representative selection of the food was displayed on one of the tables for an official handover and the members gathered around.
The Round Table President on the left receiving the food from Div., the Meeulanders President.
Well done guys and ladies, this is just a small part of what this club and indeed all of the South African bike clubs do on a continous basis for charity, I've said it before and I'll keep on saying it; "Bikers are wonderful people."
On Sunday morning Janet and I arrived at the FNB car park in Vredenburg at around 08h30 where the bikers were gathering to ride to the Lighthouse Church for the annual memorial run, already there were plenty of bikers there and more arriving all the time.
Janet was impressed with this, "Real men prepared to support breast cancer awareness."
 By 08h55 we saddled up to ride the short distance down to the church and I was amazed by the number of bikers that had assembled to pay their respects to our departed brothers and sisters, I didn't count them, I'm not sure if anyone did but it was a huge crowd, extremely heartwarming.
The service was a tear-jerker, conducted by Errol the biker pastor and I'm not ashamed to say that I shed tears when the names were read out and the pictures of the fallen came up on the screen.
After the service family and friends placed flowers next to the name board, it was a sad morning and in a contemplative mood we headed home, please no more names for this list.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Beaver Rally 2014 - part three, homeward bound

I don't know what time it was when I woke up, it was early but people were moving around packing up and getting ready to go. I pulled the plug out of my mattress and got up when I was lying on the ground. I stuck my head out of the tent, a leaden overcast sky greeted me, was it going to rain? I hoped not, time to P.U.F.O.
It didn't take long to get everything packed, Alex and Mercia and I would ride together, Frank surfaced and lit his first cigarette but he was in no hurry to get going. He only arrived home mid afternoon.
 Mercia rides her own ZX10 and she rides fast, we rode out of the gate at 06h00 and Alex hit the throttle, we didn't see him again until the "Whistle stop" at Worcester where we had agreed to stop for breakfast. It was a much more pleasant ride this time, there was hardly any traffic at that time of the day but the clouds were building up, it looked and felt like rain was imminent and I hadn't packed any wet weather gear.
I needed that cup of coffee! We had breakfast which went down very well and feeling much refreshed and comfortable I saddled up for the home stretch, we didn't stop anywhere because it was too early for any of the pubs to be open. 
Leaving Worcester the skies were ominously dark but way in the distance I could see a blue gap and that was the way we were heading, sure enough just before Tulbagh we left the clouds behind and the sun broke through to warm us. We blasted through the wine country, Alex pulling us along at an illegal but exhilarating pace in the crisp, early morning air.
After Hopefield Alex and Mercia started pulling away from me but I wound it on and caught up to them, at 200kmh there would have been no option of a fine, straight to jail but man it was good!
I was home just after 09h00 after a thoroughly enjoyable weekend, a hot shower was first on the agenda and later we went out for lunch at "Oliphant's kop" where I had the best spare ribs I've had in a long time.
Thanks to the I.M.O.C. (Italian Motorcycle Owners Club) for a well organised rally, please put me down for next year.

Beaver Rally 2014 - part two, recovery

I obviously slept because someone woke me; "Hey Engelsman, wake up!" - "Waddayawant?" "Come, we're going for breakfast." I crawled awkwardly out of my small space and got to my feet, my mouth tasted like a hobo had been sleeping in there and had left his blanket behind. I stumbled bladderfully to the ablution block, already the camp site was active, it was just after 05h00!
Mercia appeared to be having as much trouble surfacing as I had.
Back at the camp we discovered that Frank wasn't in his tent, this is not unusual and as I headed off in search of a cup of coffee I expected to find him still in the main tent finishing off the last of his cane and coke.
On my way back I found him, he had been trying to find his tent, stumbling around in the dark and had been adopted by some kind strangers, he assured me he was alright and he was obviously in no condition to ride so he said we should go on without him, "Leave me, I'll be fine." the kind strangers seemed happy to have him there so I left him.
We had a very enjoyable ride, the weather was perfect and the wind that had plagued us yesterday was gone. We cruised the lovely R62 through to Barrydale for a very welcome breakfast at the "Country Pumpkin", rejuvenated we gathered outside,
some of the guys talked about maybe carrying on to "Ronnie's Sex Shop" but that was another 20ks further so I suggested a stop off at the "Karoo Saloon" and as a few of them hadn't been there before we decided to have a beer or two there.
 There were four Victory cruisers parked outside, the first time that I have seen any of these on the road, very imposing looking bikes.
The Mohicans gathered for a beveridge at the saloon. From there a quick ride back to the camp and on our arrival we discovered that Frank was still not in his tent, I went off to buy a beer and to see if I could find him, he wasn't with the guys I had seen before but one of them thought that he had headed off to the other side of the camp. I eventually found him with a couple of friends, Bonnie took me aside and said "You must please take him with you now." almost pleading.
I managed to get him back to the camp but it was a struggle, as soon as anyone expressed an interest he wanted to go over and join them, he wasn't around for much longer but the old boy has certainly got staying power, he'll out party any youngster!
We were not to see him for about five hours after that, meanwhile we went back to the main tent where the games were about to take place, I chewed another beer or two but the excesses of the previous night were catching up on me.
The Mohicans won everything! Wessel won the shackle throw and the team beat all comers in the tug-o-war, way to go guys!
 Eduardo, Alex, Van and his young lady and me - what you don't see in this picture is that I didn't have a drink in my hand! Couldn't face another beer and my whisky was finished, the liver is evil and must be punished!
Frank surfaced and joined us, many miles and many rallies under our belts and long may it continue.
We sat through the prize giving, none of us won anything else. I was surprised to hear that it was the 35th Beaver rally, I had no idea that it had been going for so long, this had been my second but you can rest assured that I will be back next year, 636 party animals attended this one and it had been a blast.
By 22h00 I was finished, I crawled into my tent and got as comfortable as I could on the narrow inflatable mattress, it took a long time to get to sleep but I relaxed. Some idiot was cruising around the campsite stopping here and there to rev and backfire his bike, at one stage he was so close that the air inside my mattress vibrated with every bang! I slept eventually.
To be continued......

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Beaver Rally 2014, part one; the journey and the party

I managed to get work done and finished by 12h15 on Friday, I had packed the night before and I was side-stand up and roaring away from my house by 12h40. Cutting it a bit fine, I hate it when work interferes with play, I had told Frank that I would meet him at the Engen One Stop by 13h00, it was a warm and partly cloudy day but the south easter was pumping as I sped up the road, already feeling great to be out on the bike, I consciously relaxed my shoulders and unclenched my jaw, bring it on!
Frank was ready to ride by the time I got to the parking area, no time for coffee, we sped out onto the R45 heading for Moorreesburg and then Riebeek for the first smoke/beer break. The wind was blowing strong from our right hand side, causing me to ride heeled over every now and then as a particularly strong blast came through. 
 We sat inside the "Grumpy Grouse" in Riebeek West enjoying a bitterly cold beer, it had been a pleasant hour riding in spite of the wind, which was unfortunately going to get worse before it got any better. It's particularly pleasing to look out at your bike in the parking area and to contemplate the rest of the ride.
We encountered really strong side winds riding through the Tulbagh Valley and unfortunately the traffic was heavy and stupid, there was congestion because of the road works between Wolsely and Worcester and more than one instance of stupid motorists putting our lives and theirs at risk because they were too impatient to wait. That part of the trip took longer than anticipated and because we were careful we eventually arrived safely at the "Whistlestop" where Frank had to have another cigarette.
We met up with Alex and Mercia there and decided to press on and stop for a beer at the "Dros" in Robertson. the R400 from Worcester to Robertson and beyond is one of my favourite roads and we traditionally ride it fast but that afternoon it was crowded with motorists and bikers, most of the cagers would pull over to let us past but there was often the usual big SUV with the pathetic stick figure family displayed on the rear windscreen who either didn't see us at first or who just didn't care to let us through.
It was a blast though! We were all doing 170/180kmh to their 130/140kmh, we don't take up much space and we certainly don't contribute to traffic congestion - just let us through for goodness sake!
The beers were cold at the Dros and there wasn't far to go, just the other side of Montagu which was only some 25 to 30 kms away, we relaxed for a while, discussing our ride and the stupidity of some of the other road users.
The rally site was lovely, a holiday resort just outside of Montagu with chalets and camping area on the banks of a dam, we found our friends easily enough and the first thing we encountered was Anton's homemade "sauce"!
 he makes it himself and if I recall correctly two of the several ingredients are Vodka and condensed milk, it was strong, thick and sweet and that might have been where the trouble started!
It was good to see our friends again but first things first, get the tents up. I have learnt through bitter experience to erect the tent before going to party otherwise when you get back in the early hours of the morning all you can do is put your tent on like a big jersey!
The site is great, plenty of shade trees and lush grass, very comfortable, we got our essentials ready; Frank carries a bottle of Cane spirits with diet coke and I carry a bottle of whisky and a couple of bottles of water, all set - time to go meet and greet.
One of the first people I saw was my lovely friend Nancy, she and Peter are at most of the cape rallies and day jols, she rides her own cruiser and is also involved in taking tourists around the cape with Cape sidecar tours, a real enthusiastic biker lady.
Another lovely biker lady whose name I did not get, I remember thinking "These photos are going to get me in trouble!" As the evening progressed the crowd grew in number and the party raged on into the night. The band was excellent and they rocked the right kind of music all night.
My friend Alan on the left, at all the Cape rallies and dayjols and always dressed like that!
My bro Alex with the visiting President of the Mohicans in Pretoria, the guys were forming a new chapter of the Mohicans on the west coast, good luck guys!
Meanwhile back at the camp Anton was trying to get his fire going;
this could take a while! I had wandered down to get changed as the evening was cooling a bit and there was a good party going on down there!
I was made to feel very welcome on my return to the main tent! Well by some of the people that is;
It had developed into a very lively party, everyone having a great time,
 It's a rule that when you shout "Show us yer tits" at a biker chick she has to do that, isn't it? This is the closest we could get, still great though isn't it?
It was good to see Eduardo and Fungis there, Eduardo is the President of the local chapter of the Gypsy Jokers and they were well represented. I do not know what time it was that I eventually made my way down to my tent, the bar closed at 02h00 but that was alright I still had my private supply, apparently it was somewhere around 04h00. It was still noisy as I drifted off into a fitful sleep, conversations ebbed and flowed around me, I could hear snoring and there was the occasional roar of bike engines being revved to the limiter in different parts of the camp..........ahhh rally! What a party it had been.
To be continued......................