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, December 24, 2015

Cuddly bears for the aged

Here's a short story about bikers spreading Christmas cheer, I know they do it all over the world but this one involved bikers bringing "cuddly" cheer to an old age home.
On Wednesday morning a small bunch of bikers (those that didn't have to work!) got together to take some teddy bears to the local old age home to cheer up the residents. They had to be careful not to make too much noise as they rode into the parking area or they would scare the poor old folks living there.
 What a wonderful thing for these hardass, leather clad riders to do. Just another example of what bikers are prepared to do for people in need, Happy Christmas guys and gals, you brought happiness to some lovely old people there, may your Christmas be just as blessed and happy.
You've heard me say it before and you'll hear me say it again; Bikers are good folk. (Photos, except for the last one, by Gerrie Pieterse.)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Saturday lunch, biker party and Sunday braai - how cool is that?

This past Saturday we were invited to the Gypsy Jokers Christmas Party at the Phoenix bar in Vredenburg, fairly recently opened the Phoenix is already making a name for itself as the local biker bar and we will be visiting a lot more often in the future, that's for sure.
Janet and I decided that Saturday was the ideal opportunity to have one of our favourite lunchtime meals at the nearby "Vlakvarkgat resort"; the offal potjie. For those of you who do not yet know what that is, offal is the stomach, intestines and yucky bits that normal people either throw away or feed to their pets. Some people eat tripe but tripe is too clean for us, I remember when my late Mum used to make tripe for the family and it involved washing the stomach lining something like three times, throwing the water away and then using a scrubbing brush on it until it had absolutely no flavour at all. The way we eat it is an acquired taste but we love it.
 After that wonderful lunch with a bottle of local wine we went back home for forty winks before heading off to the Phoenix bar. Old folks gotta get their afternoon nap you know!
We arrived at the Phoenix bar at about 17h45, there was a slight breeze but otherwise the weather was perfect and about half a dozen tents had been erected on the grass patch in front of the bar already.

Not many people there but lots of freinds already and we moved around meeting and greeting and making our way to the bar.

Inside the bar was pretty busy and Anna and the bar ladies were being run off their feet keeping the thirsty bikers satisfied.
We found Frank cosying up to (or molesting?) Miss Christmas!
We enjoyed the music, Enrico the DJ was playing proper biker rock that had the joint bouncing and the booze was cheap, it looked like it was going to develope into another good biker party.

By the time we decided to leave it was just after 19h00 and we said goodbye to our friends, Janet cuddled up to Alex on the way out and he said to me "Hey you're behaving yourself tonight, Oh the wife's here!" Yeah, yeah - I'm not that bad? I love these events but I've learned when it is time to leave, not like on a rally!
Sunday I put a different hat on;
we had some non-biker friends coming over for lunch, good friends who are leaving this week to go and live in the UK, we're going to miss them. Time to make a nice lunch for them so that they can see what they are going to be missing.
First, crunchy pork tasties and here you can see the pork rashers are balanced with the rinds. which I painted with cooking oil and then sprinkled with salt, directly over the coals to get them crispy.
Chopped into bite sized peices and sprinkled with salt my friends love these and they crunch on them while we get the main course ready.
 I de-bone a leg of lamb myself to save a few pennies and then liberally coat with olive oil and a good mixture of herbs and spices and let it marinate in the fridge for a while.
Hot coals, crunchy on the outside but medium rare on the inside and then I slice it into an enamel dish to carry on cooking and the resultant juices are incorporated into a gravy.
And here's the (first) plate with Janet's creamy potato and butternut bake, a bit of fetta and pickled peppadews and a ciabatta bread, rather good actually.
I forgot to mention that the weekend started on Friday afternoon with my usual pool competition with my buddy Frank so all in all another great weekend.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sunset Cruuze 9th December

The President of the Clique Motorcycle Club in Velddrif had a great idea to get bikers together in the middle of the week during the good weather months and started holding the "Sunset Cruuze" on Wednesday evenings, they became very popular, bikers would gather at the service station in Velddrif for a short ride leaving at 19h00 and stopping at a different location each time for a sundowner and a chat before riding home. On occasion a braai was organised and as winter closed in the sunset cruuze was placed on the back burner.
Luckily for us bikers down here in South Africa, winter is a very short affair and so last week the Sunset Cruuze was taken down from the shelf, dusted off and put back on the events calendar. We were unable to attend last week but this week we were determined to join in.
So it was that just after 18h00 on a glorious warm summer's evening we saddled up and headed for Velddrif some 55kms to the North. The slight breeze was behind us and I settled into a comfortable albeit slightly illegal 140kmh just to keep ahead of the traffic. The sun was still relatively high above the horizon and would not be setting for almost another two hours as we pulled into the parking area of the Engen garage.
Already there were about twelve people gathered, most of whom were known to us. It was good to see a group of youngsters (mid-twenties?) were joining in, usually these things are mostly us older bikers.
Just on 19h00 we were side-stands up and heading out of Velddrif back down towards Saint Helena Bay but now we were heading directly towards the setting sun which made things a bit uncomfortable, 21 kms to the turn off and another 17kms into Saint Helena Bay and we rode down to a house right on the shore;
What a beautiful, tranquil location and the braai fire was already on the go,

The guys and girls settled down to their favourite beverages and the usual biker conversation, it was such a pleasant way to spend a Wednesday evening away from the pressure of work, girding the loins for the rest of the week.
Time to get some food on the go, I was braaing the last of our Eastern Cape boerwors (sausage) from my Sister and Boet, we brought bread rolls and that was our rather delicious dinner. Everyone had brought their own food.
We relaxed over a final drink and then bade our friends a fond farewell, it had been a very enjoyable evening and as we headed out of Saint Helena Bay the stars were shining brightly over a calm sea. My headlight opened the darkness ahead of us but I took it easy, wary of the wildlife in the area having nearly run into a fully grown and fully extended porcupine one night!
It was just after 21h00 when we arrived home, I had thoroughly enjoyed the night ride, as had Janet, we don't do much night riding but hopefully we will do some more Sunset Cruuzes, we'll have to change Frank's dinner evening though because he normally comes over on a Wednesday, let's see how it goes.
Thanks guys, bikers rock!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Saturday braai and Sunday Toy Run

It was a scorcher of a weekend! Saturday we decided to just stay at home and have a quiet braai in our favourite space, our back veranda and patio where it's nice and cool.
I cracked a bottle of Swartland's "Braai Red" given to me by friends Rene and Bronx, it's a very palatable Pinotage type, smooth on the tongue, a perfect braai wine I'll get more of this.
I started the braai quite early with "Lamb octopus" a very creative starter, a  piece of the lamb flank meat cut into strips and seasoned then cooked crispy. We were introduced to this by my Sister and Boet Loretta and Mike who get this from a butcher in the Eastern Cape, why can't we get this here guys, it's delicious and so easy! After that we were feeling better so I built the coals up again and refreshed our goblets, no need to rush for the main course.
This picture was taken just before 15h00, sweet corn miellies in tin foil, potatoes, Sirloin steak and Komga style boerewors also from the Eastern Cape and it was just after 16h00 that we were eating a pretty normal South African braai meal; steak and boerewors and potatoes with a miellie.
There are other variations, if you come to South Africa for a visit I will introduce you to them, we even include vegetables and salads at a push although the normal vegetable at a South African braai is chicken!
We were up nice and early on Sunday for the toy run and this time we had arranged to meet up at "Die Stal" in Yzerfontein to join the Yzerfontein Bike Club for the ride down to the Toy run.
18,5 degrees on the R27 from home at 08h30! It was going to be good and hot, the guys had free coffee organised when we arrived,
In this photo by my bro Gerrie Pieterse I had just shouted at him ~ "Hey, if you're going to do that at least warn me so that I can pull my stomach in!" ~ much to the amusement of Eduardo and Josie. I've given up trying to hold my stomach in!
We left at 09h00, I think it was fifteen bikes and for some strange reason we were able to ride together right through Capetown, it was almost as if someone had organised that the traffic lights would open for us and let us all through. Normally we get split up on the outskirts by the lights and have to make our own way through but this time we all arrived together at the Ottery off ramp to the end venue.
This photo was taken at 10h10 and already there were hundreds of bikes there, we have done this toy run for sixteen consecutive years and have done many variations from riding in the mass ride most of the time to finding a spot along the route to take photos, to heading straight for the end venue.
I must say this was the best although you do miss out on the spirit of the run by avoiding the mass ride but it is an hour of overheating engines, lots of clutch work, foot down wobbling, watching out for youngsters on scramblers and scooters in the searing heat!
By the time the boys and girls were battling with the mass ride we were seated with our friends who had grabbed a table and were enjoying bitterly cold (rather expensive) beer.
 It was a very festive scene and well organised, by the time we deposited our toys there was still plenty of space but it wouldn't take long before those trucks were to start overflowing with biker generosity.
It didn't take long before the mass ride pulled in and the people headed for the beer tent to quench the massive thirst,
 By 11h15 we were ready to leave, headed for a braai at our friend Linda's house before going home, we threaded our way through the ever increasing crowd, the end venue seemed to have been successful, well organised with shade tents for people to sit under, a check in for helmets and jackets with a donation for charity and plenty of food stalls.
We rode the twenty minutes in tee shirts, unwilling to pull on the heavy jackets and had a lovely braai at our friends house.
We left for home just after 15h00 and Janet slept most of the way, the heat was debilitating with the readout showing 37,5 degrees on the R27 and I had to keep my speed down because of the camera gantries. I enjoyed the ride, I enjoyed the day out but I was feeling it by the time I parked the bike.
I love it! Another feel-good day with people who love giving. Bikers rule!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Waverley Hills wine estate

Sunny, warm and calm; three of my favourite adjectives when preparing for a ride and that's the kind of day we started with as we geared up for a nice cruise. No doubt the wind would come up later, this is after all the western cape!
I had suggested to Janet that we needed to re-stock our wine racks which were looking decidedly bare and that the best way to do that would be to take a ride out to Waverley Hills wine estate, do some wine tasting and then have lunch in their excellent restaurant. Janet thought that was great idea so by 09h00 on Sunday morning we were ready to go, the plan was to take it nice and easy and arrive there by 11h00.
As we roared out of our little fishing town the temperature was a cool eighteen degrees, not quite so warm but it would definitely warm up later. So there we were heading inland, four "Stop/go" roadworks to negotiate on the R45 but we had plenty of time, the big red machine was running smooth, I settled into it, shoulders relaxed and enjoying the freedom of the open road.
There was quite a queue at the first "Stop/go" but I cruised up to the front of the line. Janet asked me "What are you doing? They'll get pissed off at you." As the sign was turned to "Go." I blasted out of there before the cager behind me had even selected first gear and I never saw him again. Oh the sheer pleasure of being on two wheels, it's difficult to explain.
The next two roadblocks were open as we arrived and the fourth one was only a brief stop, by then it had warmed up, the R45 is going to be a great road when it is finished, that's for sure. Through Malmesbury and the winelands we stopped at the top of the pass overlooking the Riebeek Valley where my old BSAPolice buddy Paul Weinel's ashes are scattered;
lovely fast sweeps down into the valley, a popular area for bikers on Sunday breakfast runs and there were plenty about. From Riebeek, Hermon, the Nuwekloof Pass, past Tulbagh is a wonderful ride, the road has been widened and repaired and is now fast. Even though we weren't in a hurry I couldn't help but wind it up a bit. Soon we were riding slowly up the narrow tar road to the wine estate nestled in  the slopes of the "Witsenberge" mountains.
We were quite early so the car park was empty, if you can park it and walk away without looking back then you bought the wrong one!
We went into the wine tasting room and were the first ones there so we had the young lady's undivided attention, we tasted a variety of their red wines and I bought eighteen bottles of assorted delicious wines, that is all that I can carry in the bike's luggage. Then it was time for lunch.
Table d├ęcor a beautiful huge Protea and a bottle of Waverley Hills Sauvignon Blanc, so far so good!
We both had the starter of spicy chicken livers on a bed of coleslaw and mash with homemade bread which I had had before, Janet enthused over it, it was delicious. We asked the waitress to delay our mains for a while and just sat enjoying the view and the wine.
Sliced Sirloin beef, chicken pie, mashed potatoes, vegetables, pumpkin fritters and gravy for R75! We really enjoyed it, I managed to finish mine but we had a doggy/Andrew bag of Janet's leftovers for my Monday work sandwich.
Time to hit the road, loaded up and ready to go and this little beauty was parked next to my bike;
As I expected Janet was falling asleep within ten minutes, I could feel her helmet pushing against the back of mine. I was in my element though, thoroughly enjoying the ride and the totally responsive feel of the big red machine. As we pulled into Riebeek I was a bit low on petrol, my range was reading 25kms and I knew that Moorreesburg was 35kms away.
In the forecourt I blew my hooter but there was no response and then I saw the sign, the next time the garage would be open was 16h00 and it was only 14h00! Press on slowly. we sat for 35kms at 80kmh and rode into the town with my range reading zero, I would have hated to have to walk for petrol. (Done that before!)
The rest of the ride home was good but we still had to negotiate the "Stop/go" sections and as I expected the wind was an issue, as soon as we turned onto the R45 it hammered us from the side, we arrived just before 15h00 after a very enjoyable day and now my wine rack looks a lot better, still some spaces there and in the pub which we will have to attend to but that's for later.
If you are looking for a nice ride and a good lunch then give the Waverley Hills restaurant a try, we'll definitely go back, their wines are great and the food is delicious but you should book if you want to eat there, we have been disappointed before when just arriving without a booking. 023 2310002.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

West Coast Motorcycle Association Teddy bear run 2015

Another very successful event organised by the relatively new W.M.A, this was a feel-good event and an extremely enjoyable day; a toy run for under privileged children and an auction to raise funds for Eiland Huis which takes care of children with special needs.
This took place on Sunday 15th November and we started off with a breakfast of champions because we knew that it might be a while before we ate anything;
Egg and bacon "butty" washed down with our favourite beverage and we were ready to go!
We saddled up under a pale blue sky, it was a bit fresh but with the promise of a lovely day and I had been looking forward to this for a while. We took a gentle cruise through to Vredenburg and met up with an already large crowd of our favourite kind of people.
Gerrie got going early to take photos from various vantage points and he took some great photos, many of which I will use here. I'm pretty much going to let the photos speak for themselves and if you want to see any of them full size, just click on them.
At 09h00 it was kick stands up and we had an escort of traffic police who blocked all of the intersections so that we didn't have to break up the mass ride.
Out of Vredenburg and down towards Saldanha, the road all to ourselves.
In this great picture by Gerhard Pieterse you see Anton and Ginette on his lovely custom Kawasaki, me and Janet on our lovely big red machine and Alex and Mercia on their cruiser heading into Saldanha. We did a loop through the town, attracting a lot of attention and then headed back to Vredenburg.
The Traffic cops, who did a great job definitely seemed to be enjoying them selves;
they blocked intersection and then rushed past us with lights flashing and sirens blaring to block the intersections ahead of us, it was great we didn't have to stop at all.
This great photo by Gerhard Pieterse shows a traffic cop on a motorbike that I didn't even know we had in this area, leading the mob into Vredenburg.
 If you see a photo of yourself amongst these great shots by Gerhard Pieterse just click on them to see them full size.
The ride ended up at the Phoenix bar which must have made Anna and Eduardo happy, by the middle of the day we counted somewhere around sixty bikes!
It turned out to be a great party, good dancing music by Enrico, cheap drinks and lots of happy people. By the time everyone had thrown their toys into the bakkie it made quite a pile, there would be lots of happy children this Christmas.
We stayed for a couple of hours and even Frank arrived to get much love from the bikers and their ladies, particularly the ladies!
Here's Monika, Gerrie, Johlene, Louis and Frank enjoying the party. The afternoon ended with an auction and a collection which raised over R3,000 for Eiland Huis. This is going to be an annual event and the West Coast Motorcycle Association were very pleased with the way this inaugural event turned out. We had a great time and we will definitely be taking part next year, well done to those who sponsored prizes and to those generous bikers who dug into their pockets to make sure this was a successful day.
Bikers are good people!