The ninth annual running of the Polar Bear took place this past weekend in glorious calm weather, of the seven runs that I have taken part in I think it only rained once, perhaps the name needs to be changed!
Anyway we gathered at the Engen garage in Velddrif just after 09h00 and I think there were twenty five participants this year.
The run divides into two groups with approximately half the guys on dual purpose bikes and scramblers who ride dirt roads to Porterville and the rest of us on road bikes, we rode out at about 10h00 heading north up the coast to make a long approximately 380km loop.
By the time we reached the turn off to Liepoldville and Lambert's Bay the temperature was reading 15,5 celsius (60f), slightly warmer than when we started and extremely pleasant for riding. Here we stopped to regroup and (for those that needed) to have a smoke break.
From there we decided to pull into the rather dingy little hotel in the village of Graafwater for a beer break, the hotel is rather run down but the bar was busy and the beers were ice cold, no problem for bikers then.
Sometime later the "Stoff moffies" had arrived in Moorreesburg and had a refreshment stop at "Die Oude Stoep", we were to meet up with them a little later in the afternoon in Gouda.
Our next stop was to be the Golf Club in Cirusdal so it was to be about 30km to the N7 and then roughly 60km to the golf club and what a fabulous ride that was! On the long downhill left handed sweep to the N7 I noticed how low the water level in the Clanwilliam dam was, a stark reminder of our current water crisis, luckily there was still plenty of beer!
It has been quite a while since I have ridden the N7 there, the last time it was a maze of roadworks and stop/go sections but now it is glorious, a wide, smooth sweeping blacktop that undulates through the verdant fruit farms. We sped along through this bikers paradise, the cars and trucks were irrelevant on that wide playground and as we parked in the golf club grounds our conversation was all about what a great time we had just had.
Another beer, another chat and moving on, this time heading for the Royal Hotel in Riebeek West but first the rest of the N7 and the fabulous Piketberg Pass to ride. We set out at speed and for quite a while it was only me and Louis, he was close behind me in those lovely sweeping turns, I am not as fast as him and I think I held him back a little but it was wonderful riding and by the time we reached the bottom of the pass I was slowing slightly to let the adrenaline settle.
|Stop to gather at the turnoff|
|At the colourful Gouda Hotel pub|
From Riebeek West it is approximately 30 to 35kms to the little village of Gouda and we headed for the colourful pub at the hotel but whilst there we heard the the "Stoff Moffies" were also in the town at another pub just around the corner so we went off to join them.
The place we found turned out to be an absolutely amazing little spares dealership cum workshop crammed with old bikes and parts and where the owner operated a small pub whenever anybody turned up! There was good music playing and plenty of eye candy for bikers,
Needless to say we spent rather longer there than we intended to, it's only 40km to Porterville, some left and some stayed longer. We set up our cheese and wine stop in the usual layby and chatted for a while,
Guys stopped for a bit of cheese and biscuits and a styro cup of wine and moved on, I flagged a passing biker thinking it was one of ours he turned and came back and I realised he wasn't from our group but he joined us for a glass of wine and ended up joining our party at the Porterville Hotel and continuing his journey the next day, such is the camaraderie of the biking fraternity.
The party started off slowly but gathered momentum as the evening progressed, there was a good band playing lively music, it got quite weird at one stage too!
By the time the food came I was really hungry, the hotel supplied us with top quality steaks, creamy mushroom sauce and salads with home made bread and it went down a treat. The party went on into the night but the group got smaller and smaller, I faded somewhere between 00h30 and 01h00 and I heard Frank and Bardo coming into the room at 03h15, it had been a good one.
I was up and about at 07h00 looking for coffee and breakfast, a few of the others were up, the coffee went down singing hymns and the breakfast was great. I was homeward bound by shortly after 08h00 reveling in the crisp clear morning air blowing the cobwebs out of my brain,
The rising sun was laying long shadows across the road and lighting up the bright yellow fields of canola as I blasted man alone down towards Piketburg and the roughly hour and a half journey home, what an enjoyable time out on the bike. Thanks Greg my friend for organising the run and making sure that I would be on it, I had a blast. Click on these pictures to see them full size and to see other photos from the run have a look at the facebook page "Polar Bear Motorcycle run".