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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Life is good!

This was the view from my office this morning as we cruised out to the mussel farm, beautiful hey? The only problem is that it is getting near to winter and it is getting more and more difficult to read my newspaper on the way out, you bloody people may think that I have a lekker job going out on the water every day, having a picnic prepared by Janet at 10am every day and being able to eat oysters whenever I want, with my lemon juice and tabasco sauce, but it's not all that it's cracked up to be!
If I can't read my paper on the way out then my cup of coffee is not as good.
For the whole six hours today the bloody barge was bouncing and swaying around because of the wind, it's almost like being in the gym for six hours. So much so that when I first stepped off the boat when we got alongside I actually staggered! Anybody watching would have been excused for thinking I was pissed.
Everything is cool though, my biorythm chart is predicting that my physical biorythm will be up to around +100 during the Easter weekend, how cool is that? Ok my intelectual and emotional will be right down but those have never been very important, those are the ones that have been high for a while and look where that has got me!? Here is a picture taken in Mosselbay when my emotional and intellectual biorythms were high and the physical was low, now can you imagine what it would have been like when the opposite was the case? I probably would have held my stomach in better!
Life is good though, three new people have recently arrived; Elliot Roa in Oregon USA, Jacques Benoit Spijker in New Zealand and Rebecca-Jane Schenk in South Africa, all born to my neices so I am a Great Uncle three times over! I may not see much of these youngsters but I hope that they will eventually read this blog.
Wouldn't it be great if I could be an influence in their lives? I wish.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Stay-at-home weekend

This was a stay-at-home weekend for a change, Allan and Gill came up to visit and we did things around Saldanha which was very nice. Friday started with a lovely beef shin potjie, (foreigners remember the pronunciation - poy-kie)First I chopped up two onions and a green pepper and fried them up in a little cooking oil with some garlic, in the meantime I chopped up the beef shin and placed it all in a plastic bowl which I then covered with a good sprinkle of aromat and then a packet of beef and onion soup powder. This was then shaken well so the the meat was all well covered.
When the onions and peppers were ready I added all of the meat and turned up the heat, I was cheating a bit and doing the pot over a gas flame, to brown the meat. Keep stirring the meat around until it is all well browned, at this point I poured in a bottle of Castle lager. It should be a Castle because you need real beer!
Now the meat needs to simmer for about an hour, at the half hour point add some chopped potatoes and while the pot simmers you can relax and enjoy another beer. At this stage you must also add the hard vegetables, I was using green beans, also check the taste and add salt and pepper as required - I also poured in a glass of dry red wine.
At the hour point check if the meat is tender, and add things like the mushrooms and a few chunks of cabbage and let them simmer for a short while. I found that the total time for the pot to be ready was about an hour and a half.Here's the plated meal with marrow bones intact - delicious!
Saturday we took a drive out to Langebaan to visit the festival but we decided it was a tourist rip off so we drove through to Jacob's Bay for a light lunch, we are lucky to have places like this close by, we spent a very pleasant hour or so in the very picturesque setting.Sunday Joe and Annie came up and we all went to Beira Mar for lunch, us three guys had a fantastic "Cape Salmon" and chips lunch, the ladies didn't eat seafood but they also had a great lunch.We had a really enjoyable weekend with some of our really good friends and we are lucky to live in a beautiful area, it's like being on a permanent holiday.
The "windfinder" web site promises that the coming weekend is going to be good so Frank and I will be going to the "Slangkop" rally, and Janet and I have decided to take a ride through to Mosselbay for the Easter weekend, so lots more to write about, watch this space.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 3 - the ride home

"I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn't hurt" Kris Kristofferson sang in my brain as I stumbled across to the ablution block, some brainless fool had been riding around loudly revving his engine and it was only 0530! I think that I had been asleep for a little while but I wasn't sure.
Even at that time of the day the bloody shower queue was out of the door, I managed to find a vacant wash basin and after throwing some water over my head, brushing my teeth and spraying my armpits I was good to go - I would shower at home later.
By the time that I got back to the campsite just about everyone was packing up and getting ready for the ride home.I got everything packed and loaded and rode my bike along to the CMA tent to have a quick cup of coffee with Frank but the queue there was across the road, I said "Cheers buddy" and roared out of the camp site and onto the N2 and soon I was accelerating through the early morning chill away from Mossel Bay.
As I sped south and west it was slightly misty in places but the sky directly above was clear and the cages were all moving aside to let me pass. I had some peppermints in my pocket but I couldn't get them out, I thought that one of those would really go down well but I didn't want to stop, "Albertinia 30kms" flashed past and I thought; "Yeah, petrol and coffee!" and I pressed on with renewed vigour.
Soon I was turning off the N2 into the fuel stop, there were quite a few bikers standing around and I refuelled the big red machine and then bought a cup of hot sweet coffee which went down very well indeed, we nodded to each other and looked at each other's motorbikes.
As I pulled back out onto the N2 the sun was getting higher and warmer, taking the chill out of the morning and promising a lovely day. I accelerated up through the gears, clicking the gear lever up when the engine revs sounded right without using the clutch until I was in sixth gear and really enjoying my comfortable 160kph.
I was really enjoying my ride until I passed through Riversdale and rode into incredibly thick fog which slowed me right down to 80kph in places, I had to constantly watch front and rear, I didn't want to run into anyone but I also seriously didn't want anyone coming up fast behind me! The fog lasted for almost half an hour before I descended into the valley near Swellendam and I rode out of it on the road through Suurbrak and the Tradouws Pass.This is a familiar sight; to the right a good breakfast and to the left an fantastic ride along the R62! We've done it many times. I had a great breakfast and then spent a very enjoyable twenty minutes or so travelling the wonderful 62 kilometres through to Montagu. I thought I was going fast, but two guys on superbikes who had also had breakfast in Barrydale and who left after me came flashing past! I didn't even try to keep up, I was in my own groove.
Through Montagu and Ashton I rejoined the throng of bikers on their way home, I took it a bit slower than on the way down, I found that I was by then feeling quite tired from the heavy weekend.
Ashton to Robertson and then the lovely 50km haul to Worcester, I did do this stretch at more than 160kmh and as I pulled into the "Whistlestop" it was getting hot and I was feeling distinctly tired and stiff, I wouldn't have had it any other way though.
Quite a few of my friends were there and after I had refuelled we all stood around stretching sore saddle muscles, drinking coffee and chatting about the weekend and the best route to take for the last two hours home. Two hours or one hour and forty five minutes depending on my mood!
I turned of the N1 and headed into very familiar country for the home stretch, the traffic was relatively light and I made good progress. I found a second wind and was really enjoying myself, I had to slow down through the Nuwekloof Pass because of baboons all over the road and the verges but the 17km stretch to Hermon went past in a high speed blur.
It wasn't long before I was back in my home town, it had been a fantastic weekend and it is definitely my favourite way of spending my time. I met Janet and Linda at "Juffroeshoogte" for a couple of beers and a lovely lunch and we compared stories.
The good news is that Mosselbay is hosting the Buffalo Rally in 2010, will I have to decide between football or rally?
The weekend after next is the "Slangkop" rally in Kommetjie and we are heading that way, watch this space!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 2 on the Buff

Images from the previous night's entertainment were still fresh in my mind as the same sounds woke me up on Saturday morning. Or had I even slept? It's not a very comfortable place; a tent with an inflatable mattress and a sleeping bag, but I didn't feel too bad so I must have had some sleep. After ablutions (I gave up on a shower, the queue was right the way out of the door) I wandered down to the Christian Motorcycle Association coffee tent and had two cups of Ricoffee, not my favourite but they did the trick.
I wandered down through the stalls area, already the tattoo parlour was busy again (gotta do that sometime soon!) I had a look at all of the accessories on offer and then headed back to the camp site. Frank had woken up by then so we went down to the Promenade restaurant on the beach for a breakfast.
My friend Alan phoned, I had offered to take his daughter on the mass ride again as I did last year and he wanted to know if I could get a ride for her friend. I approached Willie and asked; "Would you be willing to take an 18year old chick on your bike for the mass ride?" he shouted "YES! where is she?" I eventually got him calmed down. Bikers! I don't know.
The mass ride was good, a huge number of bikes cruising through the town, around the point area and then out along the main road and through the township. It was very impressive and the streets were lined with townspeople encouraging the bikers.
After the ride was over we met for a couple of beers but I needed food, I eventually found a very nice little restaurant where I was able to sit and eat a very reasonable seafood platter and enjoy a couple of glasses of wine. The food stalls in the rally site are very good but most of the food items are encased in bread of some sort and you have to eat standing up, there is nowhere to sit and the food drips down your elbows or squirts onto your shoulders.
After my meal I cruised around the town for a while, the place was incredibly busy! All of the pubs and restaurants were bursting at the seams with happy bikers, what a huge cash injection the rally must be for the town. Another camp fire scene developed that evening after the lucky draw in the main tent, the first prize of a cheque for R100,000 was won by a woman who promised that she would share it with her husband. In all of the rallies I have been to I have never won any prizes!
It was another late night even though we had a long ride on Sunday, it was festive night and at some stage these guys came round looking for liquor donations! I don't know how he would be feeling for his ride home! It had been an eventful and enjoyable day, another typical day on a rally and I know now why it is that we enjoy them so much. I was looking forward to the ride home the next day as I crawled wearily into my tent, it was still noisy but I was sure I would sleep.

Monday, March 23, 2009

2009 Buffalo Rally

I eventually rode out of Saldanha at 0840 on Friday, it was already a beautiful sunny and wind free morning and I could tell that it was going to be a great day. The anticipation had been building up all week and I couldn't wait to get work over with and get out on the road, I had made a list of the things I needed and had done most of the packing the previous night, now it was time and the big red machine was idling beneath me as eager to get going as I was.
I was alone on the ride, most of the guys, including Frank, had left the previous day but I was ok with that, I like riding alone sometimes; cocooned in a world of intensity and concentration is a phrase that I heard from someone and it is entirely appropriate.
I sped out through the slight chill of the early morning along the R45 through Hopefield and then the R311 through Mooreesburg and into the Riebeek valley, most of the ride was going to be exactly the same as the previous rally except a little further along the N2, but that didn't worry me at all - it's a fabulous ride.
For the first two hours I didn't see any other bikes but when I pulled into the Whistle Stop at Worcester there were plenty around. I had a good breakfast and chatted to a couple of people and then mounted up to move on, I had now arranged to meet some of the guys in Swellendam for the first beer of the day.
As I have already mentioned I really enjoy the ride from there and as I was riding out of Worcester I saw nine bikes pull out onto the road ahead of me, I tagged along at the back of the line and soon we were blasting along the R60 towards Robertson at 180kph! It was a wonderful exhilerating ride, I know that it is illegal but it Man was it good! They all stopped in the town so I carried on through on my own again at a slightly more sedate pace and pulled into the garage at Ashton to fill up, travelling a speeds like that plays havoc with the fuel consumption!
Another good high speed run from Ashton to Swellendam soon had me cruising into the town looking for my buds and my first cold Castle - both of which went down very well indeed. (There's no such thing as one beer!)
I enjoyed the run along the N2 even though the road was very busy, mainly because there were hundreds of bikes about, in all of the towns and at all of the watering holes, along the road and in the laybyes the bikers were gathered and having a good time.This interesting looking place is just about ten kilometres from Mossel Bay and seemed like an ideal place to stop, I had seen it before but had not had the time to go in. As with all of the places along the route there were plenty of bikers there and I spent a very pleasant half hour or so over a cold beer.
The run into Mossel Bay was soon over and I was cruising slowly into the incredibly crowded camp site, the vibe was great and I managed to find my friends and get my tent set up. Frank had had a heavy night the previous night as I had expected and was "resting" in his tent.Does this look at all familiar?
We had a good evening wandering around the many food and accessories stalls, it's very well organised and set up like a small town and we ended the evening off with a very good braai at our camp. The meat was great and ably braaiied by everyone and a party developed because as I have already mentioned in previous posts; bikers know how to party!It was a late night/early morning and a great time was had by all, there was still a lot of the weekend left, a lot more Buffalo Rally to experience and as I crawled wearily into my tent the usual rally noises made a happy cacophony; loud music, loud laughter and loud revving of motorbike engines - what a pleasure!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another Seafood Weekend

On Friday morning at about 0730 or maybe a bit later, because Janet and I have decided to start our long weekend off with a bath and a bottle of bubbly, I am off to the Buffalo rally in Mossel Bay. I am really looking forward to the 540km ride and the camping weekend and in case you were wondering, Janet has taken Friday off as well and is going away with Linda to a self catering resort.
I first started going to the Buffalo rally in the early 80's and the last one that I went to in Port Elizabeth was the 15th anniversary rally in 1983, they were different in those days, somewhat rougher and I really wanted to go to the 2003 Buff in Mossel Bay to get a badge 20 years on but circumstances prevented it. I went to the 2004 rally and really enjoyed myself, one of the reasons that I am so keen to go to this one is that I believe that it will be the last one in Mossel Bay, apparently the good citizens of that town have decided that in spite of the massive injection of cash into the food/booze/accommodation establishments it is just not worth putting up with the biker trash for one weekend.
Anyway rest assured that I will post all of the details and a lot of photos of the weekend but what I really want to let you know about is this past weekend - we had a fantastic seafood weekend with our friends Dick and Janet who came up to visit us on Saturday.
My weekend started on Friday afternoon but unfortunately I had to phone Frank and cancel the FA Cup as I was too busy to get away, we were able to meet at "Jeffro's" for a beer just after 3pm though and had a good chat about the upcoming rally. Frank is going on Thursday morning with some of the guys so I expect that he will have a party that night and I will not see much of him on Friday afternoon when I get there, we'll see.
I really want to tell you about this past weekend though, because Dick brought with him a lovely size Galjoen which is something that I haven't had for ages. I had already taken out a white stumpnose and a Hottentot so we were going to have a lovely trio of fish.
First I opened a dozen lovely big oysters which we had with the usual lemon juice, tabasco sauce and ground black pepper and then I steamed some fresh mussels in white wine and covered them in a creamy ginger liqueur sauce which my friends really enjoyed, we ate all of the mussels and sopped the sauce up with fresh bread rolls.
After a break to let the starters settle it was time for the fish and I got a lovely bed of coals on the go, I "butterflyed" the fish for ease of braaiing but first had to show you what they looked like;
Here are the fabulous fish that I braaied; top Galjoen (dichistius capensis), Hottentot (pachymetopon blochii) and the White Stumpnose (rhabdosargus holubi). Here's what they looked like when we served them up;Janet even agreed that she would have some fish as long as they weren't going to be too "fishy", she prefers her fish to be "chickeny", I didn't tell her that the Galjoen is a very strong tasting fish. The meal was lovely, Janet made garlic potatoes and a salad with Feta cheese and olives as an accompaniment. Local people say that when you have Hottentot what you must do is stuff it with herbs, onions and tomatoes and when it is ready you eat the onions and tomatoes and throw the fish away, but I don't think it is that bad. It was a wonderful seafood meal.
Sunday morning Janet and I made some delicious fish cakes for breakfast with the fish that was left over and then we took a drive down to Paternoster to have a beer on the hotel veranda, it was a lovely calm sunny morning and we sat and chatted over a couple of beers and then Dick decided to buy some Crayfish from the locals, he ended up buying three lovely big ones for us to braai for lunch. Janet had already said that she did not want one, she was adamant that she wanted some meat, I was very excited because I had not eaten Crayfish for many years.
Back at home I steamed them for about five minutes and then split them open down the back to braai over some moderate coals, I sprinkled them with lemon juice, covered them with butter and grated cheese and left them to cook through - what a pleasure!
Just look at that, fresh from the West Coast, they were absolutely delicious and what an unbelievably good weekend it was for the three seafood lovers! I did not bother to take any photos of the lamb ribs and boerewors that I braaiied for Janet but she seemed to be happy!
There's nothing quite like it is there? Fresh seafood, that's one of the reasons why I am happy living on the West coast. The next blog post will be about the Buffalo rally, we'll speak again soon.

Friday, March 13, 2009

New Computer but I've lost my memory

It's been a tough time folks, ok it doesn't seem so bad right now as I sit here with my brand new laptop computer which I am trying to learn how to use and "Avalon" by Roxy Music is playing on my new Marantz HiFi. (Serious inhale of breath here) but really it is difficult to use the whatchacallit pad instead of a mouse, (gotta get myself one) but I am learning and I will get better and let it be known that this is the first post done on my laptop. Exciting times!Fatcat decided to get involved and climbed onto the arm of my chair.
Ok so let me tell you about my week after coming back from the rally; I have had some serious shit with mechanical breakdowns and hydraulic problems, the former I can, to a certain extent deal with, but when it comes to hydraulics I am totally lost.
As you are well aware we started off with the "red tide" as well so I have been taking strain for more than a month now but there are lighter sides and better sides to my job in spite of the crap;
Do you remember that I said that I should get some lemon juice and tabasco sauce to have with the oysters that I enjoy almost every day? Well I did that;Now this is a really terrible job, but somebody's got to do it! I discovered that another thing that I need is a black pepper grinder so I am going to get one of those but I'm afraid I will have to forgo the white wine which really makes for an enjoyable starter but taking a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc to work would be tearing the ring out of it.
This was my snack at about 1030 this morning and I can do this every day if I want to, now really, I ask you with tears in my eyes - what the hell is wrong with this job?
This is supposed to be about braais, beers and biking but I thought I would tell you about the Black Oyster Catchers that roost on our rafts, whenever we come across a pair with a nest we try to work on another raft until the chick is grown because they are endangered but often that is not possible because of the poor condition of our ropes.
That is what is happening at the moment, the raft on which we are working is home to a pair of Oyster Catchers, (who by the way mate for life!) and they have a chick lying very exposed on one of the pipes; I warned my workers to stay clear of the nest, I tried to explain that these are endangered and we should not harm them but I think this is a concept that means absolutely nothing to them, I have seen them throw mussels at basking seals just to disturb them and whenever we pass close to a raft that is full of birds they throw whatever is at hand at them.
This chick's only defence is to lie absolutely still while it's parents are away, notice how they do not make a nest for their young, only scraping a hollow in the mussel shells that are scattered on the raft.
This is the adult female who was extremely agitated for the whole time that we were working on the raft, but as we left I saw her move over to the chick which moved in a wobbly fashion for the first time since we had been alongside.
I will have to go back to the raft but I will try to keep the chick safe. I will post some more photos.
I bought myself one of those memory sticks to download all of my files from my old computer to this laptop, which I have almost completed, I showed it to Janet and she said you must be careful not to lose that.
I don't know where it is at the moment.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Casual Sunday Ride and great lunch

I told you we might go for a ride today - well we did! Actually it wasn't such a nice day, the wind was blowing quite strong out of the south so I suggested to Janet that we just do a local cruise and end up in Langebaan at either the Oyster Catcher or Driftwoods for lunch. She agreed even though the two restaurants limit her choices because they are both seafood specialists, she is able to have a good chicken schnitzle (is that the right spelling?) which also makes me a good sandwich for Monday, so it all works out for the best!
We set out at about ten on a wonderfully clean motorbike and headed for Paternoster, not a long ride but a nice road down to the coast and although the bike was pushed sideways much of the way it wasn't too bad. At the (world) famous Paternoster Hotel there were several of our local biker friends enjoying a bit of liquid refreshment but we went in anyway and sat with them for a while.
We learnt that the Capetown H.O.G (Harley Owners Group) guys had just left having been up to organize their next rally which is to take place in September, I commented that I didn't see them on the road on the way down but was told that they had all come up in a bus because probably it was too windy for them to ride their motorbikes and anyway it was quite far, about 150kms from Capetown.
I expressed the opinion that I doubted that there was enough parking space for all of the trailers that would be coming up behind all of the fancy SUVs, but anyway we will see what happens, we will come down for the day and check out the fancy bikes. (Sorry Harry!)
After a beer we mounted up and rode back through Vredenburg and had another cold one at "Juffroeshoogte", we were the only ones there but it was nice to sit quietly and watch a bit of the cricket.Here's my buddy in the bar at "Jeffro's".
After a pleasant half hour or so we mounted up and rode the short distance to Langebaan for lunch and what a wonderful lunch I had! Second only to the food I get at Beira Mar, I had a fantastic Calamari Head and Tentacle (I have to be careful not to say "Testicle" to the waitress!) starter;
Janet had what she described as a delicious crayfish cocktail and then we had our mains, accompanied by a very reasonably priced bottle of Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc; I had a fresh Kob (Cob) fillet (Argyrosomus hololepidotus) with rice, vegetables and my usual garlic butter sauce which was absolutely delicious.Janet enjoyed her chicken but I didn't bother to photograph it, I can if you like take a photo of my sandwich tomorrow because it will be made up of a nice big piece of leftover chicken schnitzle.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fresh Seafood lunch

This was the view from my office yesterday morning as it cruised out to the mussel farm, I have enough time to read a bit of the morning paper and drink a cup of coffee before getting down to the serious business of harvesting mussels. Man was it hot! We have been experiencing quite a heat wave and on Friday the temperature was in the high 30s/low 40s, a breeze started up just around 0930 which helped a bit.
We decided to have a slow day today and hopefully go for a ride tomorrow. I was given two medium size fresh Elf, (Pomatomus saltatrix) known as Shad on the East coast, by a friend and I decided to braai them for lunch. Janet was absolutely underwhelmed but I persisted, I have to talk her into eating fish, extol the health benefits beforte she reluctantly agrees.
She had no problem when I insisted that the bigger one was mine! I marinated them for an hour in olive oil and white wine with garlic flakes and mixed herbs and I must confess to being very excited about the prospect of a seafood lunch. I got fully into it and wore my "Marine Braaiologist" cap which was given to me by my friend Kevin, an ex Rhodie Elephant slayer and now Kiwi marine research something or other. In obvious appreciation of my prowess. (Note to self; next time put the hosepipe away.) Clever self portrait!
It wasn't long before the fish were ready and obviously they were braaiied to succulent perfection. To me there's not a lot that can beat a fresh seafood meal and living here on the Cape West coast we are in the enviable position of being able to get fresh fish, and often I score it for free!
Here's the final result "plated up. Janet made us a nice garlic butter sauce and we had our lunch with fresh brown bread, olives and sliced tomato. The whole experience was enhanced with a glass (or several) of chilled Robertsom Sauvignon Blanc, now that to me is a wonderful lunch and when we were finished Janet actually acknowledged that she enjoyed it as well!
We will be riding tomorrow, even if it is a short local cruise. The big red machine is now clean and ready. I went into the garage this afternoon and just gave her a polish to get rid of all of the water marks from yesterday evening. I thought of taking another photograph just to show you what she looks like when she is spotlessly clean but you all know already.
Cheers for now, we'll talk again soon.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Biking Rules!

It's already Thursday and I only got the opportunity to wash the big red machine this evening! I started feeling guilty, can you believe that? She's been sitting in the garage in a dirty state since Sunday afternoon! In my defence it has been seriously hot of late and I have also been very busy at work, anyway now she is gleaming again and Janet and I might go for an evening cruise tomorrow. These summer evenings are absolutely beautiful.
I was going over the post for the Freedom Road Rally and I think I might have given you the wrong impression there, it was not just one long piss-up! We did do other stuff.
I was trying to work out what it is that attracts us to biking, it certainly gets into your blood and I know for a fact that I will be doing it for many years to come, but what is it?
It's not just a guy thing because there are more and more lady riders these days, and it's not just the appreciation of the internal combustion engine although the bellowing exhaust note is definitely a contributing factor.
Cliche's spring to mind; Freedom, excitement, Cameraderie/Brotherhood.
The feeling, the experience is fantastic, the anticipation as I swing my leg over and settle into the saddle, my hands on the grips feeling the vibration - waiting and wanting to GO!
There is definitely a feeling of freedom when we are out in the country, speeding along some previously unexplored roads.
I love the way the bike responds to my inputs; diving into corners as I pull slightly on the outside bar, do I countersteer with a push on the inside bar or a pull on the outside one?
You pull in the clutch, blip the throttle and click the gear lever down and with a slight movement of your right wrist the bike surges ahead, small movements but you feel in control, much more involved than if you were travelling in a car.
Travelling by bike is much better than travelling by car, in a car you will take the shortest, most direct route to your destination but on a bike you will most likely take a longer route just for the sheer enjoyment of the ride.
Cameraderie/Brotherhood - I really enjoy being a biker, a part of a huge brotherhood that transcends barriers of race and class, when we are out on a rally or any other biking function we are all bikers together and it is a wonderful feeling.
Have I made sense here? I know that if you are a biker reading this you will no doubt agree with me, you may have other points to contribute which I would love to hear. If you are not a biker maybe you found it interesting, maybe it went some way to explaining why there are so many of us out there?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tell me what you think

This photo is my cellphone wallpaper at the moment.
Just look at this, it was taken at about 0800 on Friday last week and it shows the big red machine loaded for the rally, here I had everything that I needed for a fantastic weekend away; my tent, my blanket sleeping bag which Janet made for me because I didn't want any really hot or thick commercial sleeping bag, my inflatable doll - sorry I mean matress, the pump for inflating the do...matress. My spare clothes, a whisky flask and a steel drinking cup, my toiletries, change of clothes and my camera and I was good to go! All packed in the standard BMW lugage except for the tent, is that a great looking bike or what?!
Rallies are good for a man. Let's examine that statement and I'm sure that you ladies will be happy to let your man go off to a bike rally the next time you hear that there is one in your area, even if he doesn't yet own a bike.
When you arrive at a rally you are immediately recognised and welcomed as a "biker", here is the definition;
A biker is;
Superior to other road users and should be allowed to speed past you.
Given right of way, if one comes up behind you at a hellofa speed - move over.
Sexy and Macho, whenever you can, take a photo of one.
Worthy of a hug, next time you come into contact with one...........hug himActually I am a bit worried, I often wear this pisspot helmet for mass rides and local jaunts while I am at rallies but I have become a bit concerned that I might look a bit "dorky" in it. This is a major concern because I concentrate hugely on looking cool when riding, for instance I NEVER ride in shorts or tackies and I would not be seen dead on a scooter, but I ask you with tears in my eyes; look at this next photo taken at the Buffalo Rally in Port Elizabeth in 2006 and tell me what you think.Not really scary hey? Is it the smile? It's the same dumb smile as a couple of years later, real bikers don't smile at the camera, I mean would you be scared of this guy in a pub? I think I have some work to do. What's with the left hand on the thigh? I can't wear the biker head scarf thing, I mean I look like a bloody maid with that on, I've tried ones with swear words on, with skulls on and the cammo ones but they just don't work for me.
I will actually show some photos in a future post but tell me what you think.
Rest assured though, I am a rough, tough biker scum - I am not a nice guy. Don't mess with me - please!
We are bikers and we take corners on two wheels.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Freedom Road Rally

The sun woke me up at 9am, shining hotly into my tent. The left side of my throat was sore and dry, I was reminded of the words of the song by Kris Kristofferson; "My thick old tongue felt like it had been licking something sick and wrong" as I staggered bladderfully to the ablution block - it had been a good evening! But let's start at the beginning;I met up with the other three; Frank, Div and Willie at 0830 on Friday and it was like something out of "Wild Hogs" except that there was only one Harley, two BMWs and a Yamaha made up the group and we set off at 0900 for the 400 odd kilometre trip to the little coastal town of Stilbaai, I had been looking forward to this ride for ages and it looked like the weather was playing along as I led the group out of town and into open country.
Our first planned stop was for breakfast in Worcester but I knew there would have to be others as Frank needed a smoke every now and then, as it was our first stop had to be in Mooreesburg for petrol. We kept our speed to around 140kph for Div on his Harley and had a very good ride into the late morning, it was starting to get very warm as we pulled into the "Whistle stop" for a very welcome breakfast.
One of my favourite sections was coming up as we mounted up again, the road from Worcester through to Robertson, Ashton and then to Swellendam is biker heaven. We sped along the wide, smooth blacktop flashing around and past the slower cars and I was genuinely feeling sorry for people who dont ride motorbikes, they really don't know what they are missing.
After filling up in Ashton the guys let me go on ahead, I like to ride that road fast and Willie came along with me. I wasn't riding as fast as I have before, just around the 150kph mark but just really enjoying the sweeping bends, just playing nicely.
The N2 was busy as usual, lots of cars and trucks but also more motorbikes and it wasn't long before we were pulling into Stilbaai. Setting up the tents was a sweaty business, it was really hot but it wasn't long before our site was established and we could get down to the serious business of rallying!
We took a trip downtown to buy some supplies, it being a Christian Motorcycle Association rally there is no bar tent so we bought some beers and some whisky and went to the local pub for a couple of frosties.
That evening we got ourselves a table at "Dalton's" rally restaurant, we see him at most rallies and he really does excellent food at very reasonable prices, he is a chef and a biker and quite a character!
My roast beef, roast potatoes and vegetables was excellent and only cost R35 ! Seeing as how we stayed there for so long I also had Calamari and chips sometime in the early morning and that also cost R35.

That was a great night and I stumbled off to my tent sometime in the early hours of the morning, Frank stayed there. It was that next morning that I was so rudely awakened by bright sunlight, I showered and got dressed and went off in search of a cup of coffee and found Frank still sitting there talking to some stranger, that's rally for you!
He slept for pretty much the rest of the day though, missed out on the mass ride and some nice pub time and as it turned out we ended up back at Dalton's place that evening. Frank joined us there feeling a bit rough, mind you I also felt a bit rough! The festivities continued late into the evening again.
Sunday morning dawned very grey and overcast and I thought we were in for a wet ride home, as is my usual custom I packed up early and was ready to leave at 0700, I had a very welcome cup of coffee at the CMA tent and then headed out for the ride home.
There were a few little spots of rain but it wasn't long before the sky was clearing up and I settled into a relaxed, fast pace. I had planned to ride through to Barrydale to have breakfast at the "Country Pumpkin" and what a welcome breakfast that was!
The ride was fantastic, the weather was clear and the big red machine was eating up the miles in her usual comfortable, majestic style. What a fantastic motorbike! The R62 through to Montagu was over all too soon, I settled into a comfortable 160kph and soon I was back on the road heading through to Robertson and Worcester.
I wasn't the only one riding fast though, there were quite a few bikes on that road and they were mostly all hauling along. I hope that there aren't any speeding fines in the post in the next couple of weeks. I had a thoroughly enjoyable ride home after a thoroughly enjoyable rally and I arrived home at about 1230, in time to have a nice afternoon with Janet.
Next it's the Buffalo rally at Mossel Bay! Can't wait.