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, August 28, 2017

Polar Bear Run 2017

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".

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Brandy's birthday

I've just got back from the Polar Bear run and will write about that shortly but I just wanted to wish my friend Brandy a very happy birthday, all the very best and as promised I got a whole bunch of bikers to raise a glass in your honour yesterday evening;
My good friend Brandy lives in Oregon and for a long time, many years, has been a regular reader and contributor of my blog, thank you Brandy and I hope that this year will be wonderful and one of many more to come. We were in a small hotel in a little town called Porterville in the western Cape at around 18h00 on Saturday 26th August.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Birthday bash; Gypsy Jokers, Wild Bunch and Brothers of the Wind

Saturday, a day that was like summer in the middle of winter, was the day for a party at the Phoenix bar in Vredenburg. It was a combined birthday bash for Eduardo, the President of the local Gypsy Jokers chapter along with a member of the Wild bunch and another from the Brothers of the wind. I arrived at the pub just after 15h00, by which time there were not many people but two of my brothers were inside and I joined them for a drink;
Photo by Anna; Self, Anton and Hein (Meeulanders)

All the while we could hear bikes arriving, it would not take long before there was good crowd and our own DJ "Splinter" kept the vibe going with good biker music;
Anna, the owner of the pub and her daughter were kept busy behind the bar, here with one of the cakes made for the occasion.

Quite a lot of the visitors who had traveled up from Capetown and surrounds, set up tents on the grass area outside.
My old friend Alex, Mohicans President

As is usually the case with these local events we mostly know each other and it is great getting together again.

Eduardo had set up a small seating area in an adjoining workshop as a "restaurant" where there was a lamb on the spit and a curried chicken potjie on the go. An excellent meal was included in the entry price of only R35 which also included a badge! Amazing value. (Click on the picture to see it full size.)

They kept on coming and I'm happy to say that Meeulanders were well represented as were the other local clubs. The party raged on into the night - I did not! I called it a day just before 19h00 and rode through the twilight back to Saldanha, it had been a very enjoyable afternoon with a great bunch of people and it had all certainly been well organized by Eduardo, the Gypsy Jokers and the ladies.
I have seen video clips and photos on the Phoenix bar's facebook page so I know that the party went on long into the night, bikers really know how to party!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Monthly Breakfast Run

Sunday 6th August dawned bright and clear even though we are now pretty much in the middle of winter, my temperature readout showed a chilly 9 celsius as we rode through isolated patches of heavy fog to Juffroeshoogte to meet up with Meeulanders members. It was time for our monthly breakfast run and as usual I had no idea of how many people there would be.
The Saint Helena Bay crowd were already there with hot coffee; Anton, Rinette and Hein with two visitors George and Ronelle. I ordered coffee for us and already other bikes were pulling in, by the time we were ready to leave a good crowd had gathered,
Shortly after 09h00 twenty three people on fifteen bikes headed out onto the R45, because it was only a short ride to the venue in Velddrif we were in no hurry so I kept the group together at a steady 120 to 130kmh, sometimes it's nice to just cruise and take time to smell the roses.
At Hopefield we turned left and rode along the back road that runs along the Berg River into Velddrif and pulled off the road at the grain silos for a "tea break". Along this section my bike showed 12 celsius but Willie's had showed 10 so it was still pretty chilly as we parked and climbed off.
Anton and Rinette had brought along a lovely bottle of Grenadilla liqueur which had been made by a friend of theirs, this just happens to be Janet's favourite liqueur so she was happy. It was delicious and quite strong, I have ordered a bottle.
Willie's temperature guage showed 10 celsius here

After a very pleasant stop it was time to move on, our destination was just around the corner but even so it was great to be out on the bikes, and we had some nice ones there;

From Henrico's lovely 900 Honda which he is still busy restoring to George's Triumph 2300 and lots in between we saddled up and cruised into Velddrif to the "Vishuis" (Fish house) restaurant on the now tourist famous Bokkomlaan.

This is a nice little restaurant, we have been there before but not for a long time, it is right on the banks of the Berg river, a picturesque spot and very busy in the summer. This time we had the place to ourselves and we were well looked after.
The happy bunch of bikers on the banks of the Berg River


We had a very nice time, the breakfast was good and we'll certainly be back. Eventually we had twenty one members and four visitors so an excellent turn out once again.
My next event will be a return to the Polar Bear run on Saturday 26th, this will be the ninth annual run, I missed the last two because of family holidays so I'll tell you all about that one. In the meantime stay safe.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Tin run after party

We all agreed that we would close down the collection points at 14h00 load all the goods into bakkies and gather at the Gull and Bell pub in Saint Helena Bay for an after party and what an excellent after party it turned out to be!
We were there earlier than most as we had been working in Saint Helena Bay but by 16h00 everyone was there enjoying a cold one and chatting. Eventually twenty seven members pretty much took over the pub and after the rugby was finished non-bikers left leaving the place to us.
Some of the ladies relaxing after a long day on their feet
The club's youngest member Elsje with the oldest member Frank

By 18h00 Anton started to braai the excellent piece of sirloin that he had brought along;
Liberally doused with tabasco sauce, braaied to perfection and then sliced it was perfect.

Rinette provided excellent side dishes and we settled down to a delicious meal, and let me tell you I have not had a better steak, that was tender!

There was dancing on tables and talk of moving on to another pub down the road but for us it was time to head for home, those that had left a little earlier sent text messages to say that there did not appear to be any roadblocks. What an excellent day and an enjoyable evening it had been, they truly are a wonderful bunch of people these Meeulanders.