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, November 30, 2009

27th Annual Charity toy run

On Friday afternoon 66 motorcycles formed the mass escort for the funeral of Dudley and Caroline in Velddrif, testimony to the popularity of those two lovely people.
Sunday in Capetown saw the running of the 27th Annual toy run, my 12th consecutive toy run and what a great day it was.I took the long way round on Saturday and as you can see from the photo it was a beautiful day, here "Peter" the Teddy Bear, who was donated by our friend Tash, is sitting on top of the other toys contemplating the view of Hout Bay from Chapman's Peak drive. Aren't I lucky to be able to ride in such a beautiful country?
I spent Saturday night with Dick and Janet and on Sunday morning we met up with other friends; Patrick and his wife Pat and Allan to ride through to the Ratanga Junction car park for the start of the mass ride.
There are two starting venues and the riders converge on the Maynardville grounds where all sorts of entertainment and trade stalls, food and of course a huge beer tent is provided. Every year the run gets bigger and this year was no exception.The organisers claim that they have no accurate method of counting the number of bikes, but last year just over 27,800 toys were collected for underprivileged children. This year they were hoping for over 30,000 and from what I saw they must have achieved it.When I arrived to throw my toys into the trailer it was half full, the Ratanga junction group arrived first but it wasn't long before the second group arrived and after about an hour and a half, after first visiting the beer tent,
Frank had to throw his toys into the third of the smaller trailers, all of which were full to overflowing, there was a massive amount of toys. Most bikers took more than one but some just grabbed what was at hand;
Here Des contemplates throwing his stuffed sea horse into the trailer!
Dick and Janet enjoy a cold beverage at our makeshift bar counter. We spent a very festive couple of hours enjoying the music from the live band and the interaction with friends, our "bar" was situated at the entrance to the beer tent and as everyone would walk past during the course of the morning, we got to see all of our friends eventually.
Soon it was time to head for home, the halfway point was at the Viper lounge so we stopped for a quick beer there and then it was the R27 back to Saldanha, a good ride in the company of three other bikers who set up a fast pace, I hope there weren't any speed traps, I've had enough speeding fines for a while!
I was a good weekend out on the bike and I look forward to the next toy run.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

R.I.P. Dudley and Caroline

I have dropped back a bit with my blog posts, we lost two wonderful people last Saturday evening........Dudley and Caroline, seen here with Frank at one of the many rallies and bike jols that they attended, were killed in a car accident!
Not their fault, a speeding car hit them head on. The west coast biking fraternity is devastated, they were such lovely, friendly people who were with us on the Sutherland run recently and on many local rallies.
The funeral is on Friday in Velddrif where they lived, bikers are gathering in Saldanha at 12h00 to ride through to Vredenburg to meet up with others at 1215 and to join up with the Velddrif bikers at 1245 for the mass ride.
There will be a hundred or more of us - I'm crying now, how will I handle it on Friday?
Rest in peace Dudley and Caroline, we will miss you.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fantastic bike or work of art?

I received these pictures via email and thought I really have to share them, they appear to have been taken in Namibia, probably at a rally there because I cannot imagine this bike being ridden very far at all! The bike is amazing, it has so much going on and it made me laugh just going through all of the detail;
The handle bars are animal horns, look at the carrying space for the bottle of Jack, the guy was willing to sacrifice fuel space so that his bottle was close at hand! Look at the old fashioned hooter.
The car battery is mounted onto the side of the bike with what looks like bicycle tube and that is obviously there to run the large cool box on the back.
The seat is from a plastic chair and look at the home made foot boards, I wouldn't be too keen to put any weight on them! It looks like the foot brake lever is an old hammer and for some reason there is a water bottle hanging in front!
I just love his rear view mirror and underneath the old tilley lamp, which is hanging from a crocodile's mouth there is a candle stick holder on the front mudguard! The biker is taking a cold beer out of his cooler box which obviously works a treat.
His helmet is decorated with what looks like Impala and Warthog horns but I'm sure now you can see what I mean, this bike is not made for long distance riding!
I love seeing these characters at the rallies, sometimes more time, effort and love goes into the making of a "rat" bike than a top of the range tourer or superbike. Keep up the good work brother, that bike is a work of art!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sunday, the big walk, breakfast and home

Sunday I awoke early after a good night's sleep, I'm afraid I faded a bit early on Saturday night but I was sitting around listening to the chat and I could feel that I was getting blurry, sort of like an out of focus actor in a low budget movie - you know, the guy in the background that you can't quite make out. When that happens it's time to head for the sack. I slunk off and nobody noticed, although Sam asked the next morning "What happened to you last night? One minute you were there and the next you were gone!" I shrugged and replied "Me? I was around, I went outside for a bit, and ......you know...." I let it slide.
"The walk starts at 8 o'clock!" Neil shouted as he walked through with his coffee, it was five to and Janet was already in her takkies and ready to go, some people were already heading down the driveway and I was contemplating what excuse I could use to stay behind but by then it was too late because I was already following them.
Eddie called out "How many Castles must I load in the cooler box - four?" This was going into the support vehicle which was to follow us, "Yeah four should do it." I replied, taking a sip from the one that was already in my hand as I reluctantly hurried down the driveway trying to catch up to Janet.
It is a very pretty area, typical west coast pretty; dry and sandy with lots of succulent type shrubs and plants and I would think that in the spring it would be a very interesting area to walk through, and man did we walk! Neil said it was about five kilometres.

By the time we had done about seven kilometres we needed the support vehicle, Sam was first then Janet and then me.

Thank goodness for a well organised support vehicle is all I can say, that must be how the guys doing the Dakkar rally must feel. By the time we got to the gate which we all had to touch before turning back otherwise we wouldn't get breakfast!!!!! I was starting to feel muscles where I didn't know I had muscles, I briefly contemplated climbing into the support vehicle for the second half but no one else had done that, not even any of the women so I plodded on.

We eventually made it back to the guest house, Belinda immediately started making breakfast as if nothing had happened and the smell of bacon frying got me all agitated. Eddie claimed that we had walked about five kilometres - yeah right! Eleven more like it but I couldn't get anyone to agree with me........seven? Whatever, it had been an enjoyable morning and the breakfast went down a treat. Shortly thereafter we said our goodbyes and hit the road, I hope we are on the list for the next Bambe Zonke weekend, it was a blast - thanks guys.

Check out the website www.bambezonke.com you can't beat it for a really well equipped and comfortable self catering accommodation and I would seriously recommend it to travellers in the area.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bambe Zonke Weekend

It was a great weekend! The "Bambe Zonke" Guest Farm is a fantastic place and we spent the time with a lovely bunch of people. We arrived there at about 6pm on Friday as it is only about half an hour away from Saldanha and already the bonfire was on the go and the few people who made it on Friday were gathered around the fire pit.This was to be the centre of the action for the whole weekend, the fire was kept burning and the people came and went as the mood moved them.
We re-established contact with people that we had last seen some 15 to 20 years ago and were soon feeling as though we had never been apart. If the first night was anything to go by it was going to be a good time! Eddie and his wife Belinda seemed to be in charge of the food and what a wonderful braai they did that evening, we sat late into the night chatting and obviously drinking and I turned in well after midnight after a very enjoyable day.There is nothing like the smell of onions and bacon frying in a skottle to wake you up and get the juices flowing, Belinda and Tracy were already in the kitchen when I went through for coffee the next morning.
Here I am with Neil, the owner of the place, whom I hadn't seen for at least 15 to 20 years. This photo was taken a bit later when it was ok to drink a beer, mind you that was quite a blurred time line, it seemed to be ok to drink beer pretty much whenever you felt like it. Note the portrait of Ian Smith and the Rhodesian flag in the background, note also my Rhodie cammo cap!During Saturday more people arrived and it wasn't long before there was a very festive crowd around the fire pit and inside the house for the SA vs UK cricket and the Bokke vs French rugby games. Sam and Trevor at the bar. Me and Connor in front of the Rhodesian flag.
That evening Eddie and Belinda prepared a wonderful spread; a leg of lamb, a leg of pork and two chickens in the "Weber" kettle braais, and what an accomplished braai master Eddie is! It was a great meal, washed down with copious quantities of beer and wine!The evening ended off with a really good meal, you can see how good that meat looks and everyone was really hungry by the time the food was ready.
We had been informed that Sunday started off with a 5km walk before breakfast which was traditional, I am not a keen walker but I decided I would go and I did not let this decision spoil my enjoyment of the evening but the next morning I did not believe that it was only five kilometres, by the time we got back I was sure we had walked about 15! But I'll tell you all about that in my next post, it was great fun!

Friday, November 13, 2009

November 10th and 11th

November 10th and November 11th are very significant days for us, firstly November 10th is Janet's birthday and also our wedding anniversary which this year fell on a Tuesday so we went out for dinner to our favourite place; Don and Connie's Beira Mar restaurant in Saint Helena Bay. Frank joined us there and picked up the tab so that made it a very good evening for us!36 years and still going strong! I had my old favourite; whole baby yellowtail with wedges and salad and it was outstanding!
This thing is like a baby whale and is not for the faint hearted but as you can see I managed to demolish it, skin and all

We had a very enjoyable evening chatting to our friends and enjoying a couple of glasses of wine and still managed to get home early enough to have a good night's sleep.
Now as to the reason why November 11th is significant; we are ex Rhodesians and that was the date in 1965 when Ian Smith declared independence from England, the Unilateral Declaration of Independence which is now celebrated by Rhodesians all over the world.
What was once the bread basket of the African continent is now Zimbabwe, and thanks to Bob Mugabe and his cronies it is now the basket case.
Anyway we are off on a Rhodie weekend, we are going to a place called "Bambe Zonke" not too far from here for a weekend of braais, potjies and a pork spit braai which we are really looking forward to, I will let you know all about it when we get back.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cobra rally, Worcester

I woke up Sunday morning to the sound of rain falling on my tent, great all I needed! Shades of the "Slangkop rally" where we were woken up at 2am and chased home by the mother of all storms, at least it was daylight as I staggered bladderfully to the ablution block. It was too early for Frank to be awake so I went over to the CMA coffee tent and had a couple of hot cups of coffee to change the taste in my mouth while I contemplated packing up a wet tent.
Mustn't complain too much, it had been a good rally, the ride up on Friday had been fantastic even though the wind was blowing quite strongly. Frank and I met at 14h30 at the intersection outside the Langebaan Weg airforce base.

It was only a two hour ride so we took it easy, had a brief stop in Riebeek for a beer at a really pleasant little pub and then a fuel stop when we arrived in Worcester. We pulled into the rally site around 17h00 and eventually found ourselves a good spot to make camp, by then the wind was blowing quite hard so I tied my tent to a tree,

I didn't want it blowing over as had happened before! Once we had everything set up, mattresses inflated and bikes locked up it was time to have a look around and see if any old friends were around. It was good to see that Dalton the rally chef was there, his restaurant tent is always the centre of good happenings at the rallies and I think this guy is a real "celebrity chef", forget about that namby pamby Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay, I'd love to see a TV program with this chef - his food is bloody great and he is a well known rally personality. This is his welcome to my restaurant look!

We drank a couple of beers, wandered around greeting old friends and making new ones, we went into the main hall and listened to the music and just generally got into the rally vibe. The food stalls were really top class with a good variety of food on sale.

You really do meet the nicest kind of guys at the rallies, biker brothers all and we often bump into each other at various rallies around the cape. Memories of Friday night sort of blurred a bit but I know I had a good time and it was in the very early hours of the morning that I eventually crawled into my tent.

I was not a happy camper on Saturday morning! It didn't take too long to come right and as the wind was blowing quite a lot harder by then I decided to skip the mass ride, in fact I decided to skip all riding for the day.

By late Saturday the party in the main hall was hotting up and it became the centre of attraction, the beers were cheap and the strippers were good, pretty much all you need for a successful rally really! Which brings me back to Sunday morning, the lousy weather woke Frank up earlier than usual and we decided to get going. We bundled up our wet stuff and tied it all onto our bikes and then headed for home, in places it rained really hard and it wasn't long before my boots and my gloves were wet through. Still we rode at 120 to 130kmh blasting through the storm, slowing down occasionally when a vehicle in front caused a wake of spray until we could see far enough ahead to blast past and settle back into a comfortable cruise.

We stopped twice to have a break, changed wet gloves and laughed at each other and splashed off into the rain again and by about 13h00 I was at home having a hot shower. What a good weekend, and yes I will definitely do it again!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

To go or not to go, that is the question

I am watching the weather with a certain amount of trepidation and disappointment, according to the forecast it is going to crap up from tomorrow right through to next Tuesday! This is particularly bad news for those of us looking forward to the Cobra Rally this weekend! Those of us who are bikers all know that if we are on a long ride far from home and we get caught in a bit of rain we will just grit our teeth and go for it, we have all ridden in the rain - it is inevitable but will we choose to go away for the weekend if it is pouring down before the bike is even out of the garage?
Another problem I have is that Janet has invited Linda to come and stay with her for the weekend, Janet does not like the rallies and lets me go off on my own every now and then, but now if I cancel and stay at home I will have to put up with the two of them for the whole weekend! There's incentive to just pull the rain suit on and hit the road. Frank's coming over for dinner tonight and we will discuss our options; go for it like real bikers or stay at home like a couple of moffies!

It's at times like these that I find myself reminiscing about favourite roads and favourite rides, I posted this photo a while ago but I decided to use it again because it is definitely one of my best roads, this was taken in the "Rooihoogte Pass" overlooking the Koo Valley on the fabulous R318 which runs from Montagu to the N1. We have done this one many times and have always enjoyed it immensely. Doesn't that winding road just look so inviting?

Here's something else we Cape bikers see plenty of! It's not uncommon to be diving into a lovely sweeper in a mountain pass and suddenly you find yourself in amongst a troop of baboons all over the road and the verges, they are incredibly quick and agile though and I have never seen or experienced any bikers hitting them - thank goodness because there are some big ones! There are a lot of other animals that we have to be careful of though, some that are not as quick or agile; from tortoises and snakes to small buck and in some other parts of the country, large game. Particularly in the evenings one has to be very aware of wild animals, I came very close to hitting a very large and very angry porcupine one night, can you imagine what that would have done to my tires?!

Anyway we did manage to get out and go for a bit of a local cruise, here you see my two babes outside the Paternoster Hotel which is only about 20kms from home but still a very pleasant cruise. Watch this space, we are going to the Cobra Rally this weekend - I can't imagine why I would cancel and stay at home!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Capetown weekend

Not a lot has gone on this week, it has been a difficult time at work because of serious gale force southerly winds blowing through the western cape, a precursor of summer and something that we have to deal with on the mussel farm. It makes things difficult and dangerous and even when we can work, if I have planned my seeding well and I have a place to go and harvest mussels, I have to spend six hours balancing and staggering on a heaving deck with the wind constantly blowing in my face. It can seriously piss me off!
We had a relatively quiet weekend, I attended a day long Masonic conference in Capetown on Saturday with Joe and after the conference Janet and Annie joined us, along with all of the other wives, at the Masonic Centre for a braai. It turned into a very pleasant evening attended by well over 250 people.
That evening back at Joe and Annie's house we played a couple of games of Cribbage, which Joe managed to win, and sat together and chatted over a glass or two of good whisky with chocolate and snacks which all went down very well.
This was the view from the restaurant where we had breakfast this morning; "Ciao Baby Cucino", an amazing buffet breakfast for R60 per person - you do the math! I was so stuffed I couldn't eat another thing until later in the evening.
Anyway it's going to be a long week at work until Frank and I go to the Cobra rally in Worcester next weekend, we are leaving on Friday afternoon and I am really looking forward to that one. I have a new sleeping bag to try out so I will let you know about it.