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.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Rush hour 3

One positive aspect of the "red tide" that has closed us down for the past three weeks is that I have been able to do three bike trips down to the research institute during working hours, what a pleasure! I took samples down on Monday and eighty kilometres of the road was shrouded in a very heavy fog, that slowed me down a bit but I was amazed to note the number of idiots out there, actually I lost count of the number of fools who were driving along with either no headlights on at all, or just their park lights showing. I wish I could tell them how bloody stupid they are! Maybe a letter to the Cape Times will do it.
This morning it was lovely, if a little cold at first but an extra jersey under the jacket sorted that out. Again once I got to just short of the Bayside shopping centre the traffic was seriously backed up and I had to split lanes all the way from there. Most motorists leave a big enough gap but every now and then you get one who tries to close it so as not to let us past.
You should see some of the Capetown riders who obviously do this every day! They speed through those gaps ducking and diving through the traffic, I only do it once every now and then so I am a little more cautious and perhaps a little hesitant but still it is very enjoyable.
I made it from home to the research institute in an hour and a half in spite of the traffic as opposed to the one occasion when I used the bakkie and it took me two and a half hours; an hour to the outskirts of town and then an hour and a half to the institute!
On the way home I stopped off for a nice Wimpy breakfast and then enjoyed the cruise out along the R27.
I said there was one positive aspect of this shut down but actually there are a couple more; my mussel ropes were getting a bit young because of the huge amounts we harvested in December so being able to age them by nearly a month will help a lot. Also we have had time to get a lot of maintenance and oyster sorting done.
We're off to Capetown tomorrow for a bit of a festive weekend with friends and this afternoon the F.A. Cup pool competition resumes for 2009, that is the Frank and Andrew cup! I'll let you know how it goes.
Another rally coming up at the end of Feb; the Freedom Road CMA (Christian Riders Association) rally in Stilbaai which is a good 400kms from here, a great ride. The only downside to the rally is the fact that there is no beer tent inside the site so everyone makes use of the bars and the bottle stores in the town, usually a good rally though and I'll tell you all about it.
Remember Bro's if you're in control you're going too slow!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Beira Mar

You wouldn't think that down this little dirt road is one of the best restaurants, if not the best restaurant, on the west coast - would you? It's a well kept secret although not that well kept anymore apparently because we couldn't get in last week, it was fully booked. How rude!
This weekend I made sure of our place and booked early for Sunday lunch, we had intended going through on the motorbike and I am not sure if I should admit this to you, I feel like a bit of a traitor but it was just so damn hot and the thought of sitting in the restaurant in my jeans and boots wasn't so appealing when using the bakkie meant that I could wear shorts, slops and a tee shirt.
It was good to see Don and Connie again although they are so busy that there is very little time for conversation, they are such lovely people but they have no time for socialising but that's what having a successful restaurant is all about.This was the view from our table, absolutely wonderful! In between courses you can walk down and cool your feet in the sea and on a hot day, like it was today that is such a lovely thing to do.
I had a calamari tentacle starter, really delicious and seriously flavoured with lemon and lots of garlic, if the people I talk to tomorrow have a problem with the garlic that's their problem not mine, I really love garlic and will have it on anything.
Does that look good or what?!
Don told me that he didn't have the baby Yellowtail today but he did have some fresh Cob which is what I went for, Janet had Potuguese chicken which is the whole chicken "spatch-cocked" and basted in a delicious spicy sauce, much of which I will be having for my dinner tonight.
I had the Cob, which is a lovely textured fish called "Kabeljoe" locally and I was served two fillets where in any other restaurant I would just have been given one, the thing about Beira Mar is that their portions are seriously good value apart from the fact that the food is so well prepared, my fish was melt-in-the-mouth fresh and seriously delicious. Long may they carry on and prosper, they deserve it.
Now get this - They are bikers! 'nuff said.
Here is the front of the restaurant, upstairs is Don and Connie's living area with a lovely big deck but I doubt that they have much time to enjoy it.
Don't ask me for directions to Beira Mar, as far as I'm concerned too many bloody people already know where it is!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

B.A.D. run 24th January

We have just finished another Bikers Against Drugs run in Saldanha, and let me tell you it is a very hot day today, temperatures in the high 20's, but it was a good one and we made a good impression. I don't know if anyone counted the bikes but there must easily have been 60 or 70 bikes with close to 100 big hearted bikers.
I finished work early yesterday, unfortunately not early enough to go and play pool with Frank which is what we usually do on a Friday, but there was time to wash the big red machine in preparation for the run. It wasn't really dirty, but washing it is a labour of love as I have told you, I put my AC/DC cd on the hi fi and turned it up loud and got busy. Pretty soon I had her looking like new, I used my fancy chrome polish on the xzorst and shone it up like a mirror, I enjoyed myself and was looking forward to the ride.
Janet got home from work at about 4.30 and I had to go and turn the music off, put some country music on but I was finished with the bike anyway, Janet is not partial to my heavy metal taste in music and tends to get quite vociferous about it!
Anyway that was yesterday, this morning dawned clear and calm and just before 10am we mounted up and went to the garage for petrol and then headed to the sports club where everyone was gathering.A good crowd had already gathered and more were arriving all the time, the TV crew were also there and we all did our best to get noticed. At 1030 we mounted up, and with an escort of several traffic police vehicles with sirens blaring we headed into Saldanha in an incredibly impressive procession.
We rode through the town and then through the two areas which are the most affetcted by the drug scourge; White City where the people lined the streets and the children ran excitedly after us encouraging the riders to rev the motorbikes, the pillion riders handed out the pamphlets to the youngsters.
This was the fourth anti drugs run that local bikers have organised and this time many bikers came up from Capetown just to take part, I hope that it made the right impression with the people who count; the youngsters. "TIK" methamphetamine is a terrible problem in the western cape, including Capetown, amongst the Coloured population in particular and anything that we can do to help is a move in the right direction.
I hope these children take note of what they saw and learned today. The run ended at the sports ground in Diazville where the Mayor made an impassioned speech thanking the local bikers for the fact that we cared enough about the future of the children to get involved, it was a "feel-good" occasion and we all enjoyed it.It wasn't long, particularly in that heat, before we had to head off and partake in our own drug of choice though. Gradually the bikers all dispersed in the direction of the "Drop Anchor" bar where there was a good stock of ice cold beers.
The beers went down "singing hymns" and soon the pub was crowded with thirsty bikers, I did tell you that bikers are good people didn't I, have you been out to hug one yet?

Tomorrow we are going for a local cruise and lunch at "Beira Mar", I am looking forward to that and hoping that Don has got my whole baby Yellowtail on the menu, I will tell you about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Random stuff until something happens

It has been nine days since my last blog entry! Forgive me..............but there hasn't been much to write about, we haven't had a braai, we haven't ridden the bike but we did drink a few beers! The weather has been so miserable for the last week, serious winds that will hopefully disperse the "red tide" that has been keeping us out of business for the past nine days also make it unpleasant on the bike.
I did manage to go for a ride today, I got home early and decided use the big red machine to go and buy the toilet paper and chewing gum that Janet wanted me to get. The wind had died down a bit but it was still blustering from the north, usually a precursore of rain on the west coast.
It was great to get out and so I decided to ride to a distant supermarket; the Pick 'n Pay in Vredenburg which is a whole 17kms away! After having carefully selected the correct 2ply toilet paper and the sugar free gum I was back out on the bike and threading my way through the traffic to Vredenburg Yamaha, the bike shop for a cup of coffee.
I don't know where all this is heading, on a positive note I collected my entry form for the Buffalo Rally which is in Mossel Bay on the weekend 20 - 22 March. That will be something to write about; a 500km ride to one of the major South African rallies with a bunch of like-minded biker scum, when we lived in the Transkei I used to go to the Buffalo Rally when it was held in Port Elizabeth in the early eighties. (That's another story.)
This Saturday the local bike clubs are getting together for another B.A.D. run - Bikers Against Drugs, we have done several of them where we ride through the towns handing out pamphlets and trying to talk to young people about the dangers of drug abuse, this one will be covered by SABC TV so I imagine there will be a huge crowd of bikers eager to get on TV. We'll be there of course, trying to get on TV and I will tell you all about it in the next post.

That's not us! That's a random picture that someone sent to me so I thought I would send it on to you, it just shows that bikers are made up of all types even ones that ride without a rear number plate as shown in the photo, that is against the law!

Here's another one but as you can see he's getting pulled over so remember guys, don't break the law and keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Heroic tussle with City traffic

Yesterday evening's braai went very well! As we had had a breakfast and we ate some very good biltong while watching the cricket we weren't hungry, so after Janet had her usual afternoon nap we started the braai quite late. Check out the lamb shoulder chops, mushrooms, potatoes and the boerewors that we got from Linda!
I had started with the potatoes a bit earlier because they take just that little longer to cook, you don't want a hard half cooked potato. I had good hot coals so next I put the mushrooms on and these I had previously prepared with some chunks of butter, aromat and garlic flakes and you only have to cook them from underneath, no need to turn them over.
While the coals are still hot the lamb chops go on and these do not have to be well done, medium rare is good, this also applies to the boerewors which goes over hot coals at the last minute really just to warm through. Too many people dry their boerewors out completely and really ruin it, to get the benefit of the flavour it must still be juicy but very hot.
Just look at this plate of food; lamb chops, boerewors, mushrooms and potato - fantastic!
My day started out nicely today; it appears that there is a bit of a "red tide" problem on the mussel farm and it became necessary to get a current sample down to the research institute in Capetown very urgently. I immediately offered to take the sample down on the motorbike as it would be a lot quicker, what a good idea!
I prepared the sample and roared out of Saldanha on my important mission at about 0820, it was already 25 degrees but what did I care? I was a man on a mission. I decided not to get a traffic fine on the way down, 130 to 140kmh would be fast enough, and the benefit of being on the bike would only become evident once I encountered the morning town traffic.
Sure enough as I roared into the outskirts after enjoying a lovely early morning cruise the traffic was beginning to pile up, man I would hate to live in the town and have to do this every day! On a bike you just don't get held up and most people are prepared to let you ride down the gaps to get to the front at the traffic lights. As the light goes green you blast away leaving the cages far behind, what a fantastic feeling!
I played in the traffic for about half an hour, loving every minute of it while almost everyone else was fuming and sweating and cursing the gridlock, why the hell they were in cars is a mystery to me. Boundary road is only about a kilometer long, a double lane leading from the R27 to Koeberg road and almost everyone wants to turn right into Koeberg so a very long queue forms at the traffic lights and the left hand side is virtually empty.
I sped up the left side of the queue to the traffic lights and as they turned green I accelerated around the first car and wound it up along a now deserted Koeberg road! It was great fun and that was pretty much how my ride went. In a car it could take three rotations of the traffic lights before you get into Koeberg road.
I delivered my sample in heroic style and mounted my steed for the return, eagerly anticipating the tussle with the traffic again. Soon I was speeding back out along the R27 homeward bound and really enjoying being a biker scum!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hot weekend braais

Well it has been a hugely hot weekend, yesterday (saturday) I had thought of going for a ride but felt so slow and lazy that we just decided to do a braai. That was a good decision and we just sat and took it easy, I lit a good fire and then as soon as I had some coals ready I put some skilpaatjies (skill-pie-keys) on. For those of you who do not know they are commercially made of minced liver wrapped in the spleen or caul fat and pegged with a toothpick, when I make my own I use strips of liver wrapped in the fat.
I have mentioned them in a previous post, they are delicious even if maybe not so healthy with all of the fat which soaks into the minced liver and also runs down your elbows. After that I put on some de-boned lamb ribs, sprinkled with my favourite aromat and black pepper. Those were our starters and I then put some potatoes and a miellie wrapped in tinfoil into the coals to cook slowly as we planned a gap before the main course; sirloin steak.
Place a large pat of butter on the tinfoil then put the miellie on top, another pat of butter on the miellie and sprinkle with aromat and black pepper, roll it up tight and place it on the edge of the coals, not right in them, keep rotating it until you can feel that it is getting soft. This should be started at least half an hour before you start to cook your meat.
A while later, after we had relaxed a bit I cooked the steaks in a pan over the gas range on my back veranda, I had previously marinated them in olive oil, aromat, garlic flakes, mixed herbs and hot English mustard. Using gas you have the advantage of heating a heavy cast iron pan really hot and I seared the steaks quickly and then let them rest in the warmer with the potatoes and miellies, we had a really delicious meal.
You may have noticed that I use a lot of Aromat, that I mention it in just about every recipe but I absolutely love the stuff and the flavour that it brings to food so I do use it a lot, if you don't like it or can't get it where you are tough luck!
This morning we decided to do a breakfast run and be back home in time to watch the Pro20 cricket match against the Aussies. We left the house at about 0845 and already the temperature was up to 23,5 degrees, promising to be a scorcher.
We had a really nice if rather short ride, I headed through to Vredenburg then out towards the R27 and right at the "Orex" turnoff which takes you past the railway yards, there is a really nice S bend at the start and a longer one in the middle of the stretch of road before it rejoins the Saldanha-R27 road, a short blast over the railway bridge and then a right to go past the Saldanha Steel plant and the fuel farm before heading into Langebaan. It was not a fast ride, we just felt like a cruise because the big red machine had been languishing in the garage since Christmas.
After a rather mediocre breakfast we took the short way back home and watched the bloody Aussies beat us by 52 runs, we gave them a bit of a go up until JP went out! Watch that guy; JP Duminy he's going places, mind you the Aussie Dave Warner can hit the ball! I'm looking forward to the next Pro20 match and the ODI's.
I've got a braai planned for this evening and I have some super cold beers in the fridge, ain't life grand?!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Festive Season Flab

Well here we are pretty much back to normal, I now have an extra 20kgs that I would like to lose before our August trip to Portugal! I would like to go over there a lean, mean Portuguese food eating machine. The main problem as I see it is that Janet and I are by nature hedonistic, and this is going to take one huge habit and lifestyle shift, are we capable of it? I don't think so. Yesterday morning I was lying in bed and I said to Janet, "I think I'm going to buy a bicycle."
I waited for a response but for a while there was none, the bed was shaking a bit, I think because she was laughing, then she said "I'm going to smack you!" she turned to look at me "You had one and you never used it, eventually Simon took it to Stellenbosch and it got stolen!"
I pondered this for a while, maybe she's right, maybe I wouldn't ride it - I've got a bike and it does it's own work. So what are the alternatives? We have spent a lot of money on gym equipment over the years, most of which doesn't "fold easily to store under the bed or behind the door." Ours takes up all of the space in the laundry room where it is used as expensive clothes horses.
Walking? Janet walks 4,5km to work every day and often walks back in the evening and my intention is usually to leave home at the same time she leaves work and meet her halfway, but I find I am quite easily able to be just that bit busy so that "Oh damn!" it's too late to walk out to meet her.
Running? Yeah right!

Moving on; We had a good festive season, we were supposed to go down to Capetown to celebrate New Year with Joe and Annie but I had such a terrible day at work, hugely busy and I knew that I wasn't going to finish early or be in any mood to travel so I phoned Joe and begged off. I finished work very late and then we decided just to chill at home, it was a fantastic warm and calm evening so the three of us had a braai. (My sister Janet was with us.)
Check out these lamb ribs;
Nicely browned over hot coals to seal in the juices and the flavour, I then cut them up into individual ribs and put them back on the grid to crisp up slightly. I flavoured them with my favourite Aromat and a lamb mint sprinkle, a little salt to taste and they make a wonderful appetizer before the main meal.Rory and Penny came up for Saturday night and we decided to give them a spoil - Calamari in a creamy Pernod sauce on pasta rice; first gently fry some finely chopped onion in a little butter and olive oil until they are transparent, remove from the pan and set aside. Next quickly fry some Calamari in the pan until it just begins to whiten and is almost cooked, remove from the pan and add to the onions.
Now pour half a cup of Pernod into the pan and use a spatula to "de-glaze" the pan until all of the "bits" are loosened and the Pernod has reduced considerably, then add half a cup of wine and bring to the boil. Let that reduce a bit, about by half and then add up to 250ml fresh cream and bring to the boil. Stir in a teaspoon of mixed herbs and then add the calamari and onions and allow to heat through, remove from the heat and serve on pasta rice.
The same recipe works very well with peeled prawns and you can also add fresh crushed garlic at the onion frying stage if you wish, very easy really delicious and worth a try - our guests loved it.
We haven't ridden much except for the Christmas weekend down to Capetown but the traffic was mad especially the mini-bus taxis! (nuff said.)
We did drink a heck of a lot of beer though!
Cheers - all the best.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Well here it is - 2009! Didn't 2008 just flash past?
A new year for biking, for getting out and exploring new roads, new destinations and new experiences - I can't wait!
We are so lucky to be bikers, those who don't fall into that category are missing out on the pure pleasure of powering a big machine through open country; we experience far more than those in steel cages where the sights, sounds and smells are around us and not viewed through a glass screen from an armchair.
Have you ridden through fruit country where you can smell the orchards, how about the smell of wet tar after a downpour or the wonderfully evocative aroma of the bush in the rain?
How good is it to ride along a coastal road with the fresh iodine-laced breeze coming in over foaming breakers?
I'm looking forward to some more adventures this year - may it be a fantastic biking year for you too, stay safe!