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, February 26, 2010

Another good pot

On Wednesday we had one of those fantastic summer days and the evening promised to be just as good so I decided that I would like to do a potjie for dinner, I took the lamb knuckles out of the deep freeze early and phoned Frank and invited him to come over.
Traditionally potjies are done over a wood fire but I must confess that it is a long time since I have done one that way, I find my gas cooker much more convenient especially when there is not that much time and I can regulate the heat so much easier.I first organise and sort out all of my ingredients and then heat up the pot really well with just about a tablespoon of cooking oil inside. My pots are different every time because I don't follow a recipe, but on this occasion I used lamb knuckles after trimming off most of the excess fat, chopped onions and celery, a good tablespoon of crushed garlic, a chilli beef soup powder, a beef stock cube, peeled and chopped butternut squash and potatoes, green beans, Aromat, mixed herbs and salt and pepper.

-Once the pot is sizzling hot chuck all of the meat in and keep stirring it around until it is nicely browned.

-Remove the meat and set it aside, then fry up the onions, celery and garlic in the resultant juices until they are translucent, chopped green, red or yellow peppers are also good but I didn't have any and didn't feel like going out to buy some.

-At this point I cover the meat with the soup powder, a good amount of Aromat and a sprinkle of mixed herbs. Stir it around so that the meat is well covered.
By then Frank had arrived and the aroma of the browned meat and the frying onions was enough to get the juices flowing so we ate some fresh oysters in the meantime.

-Once the onions etc., are sweated through add the meat back into the pot and stir it around so that the onions are well distributed over the meat.
-At this point the pot may become quite dry so I add half a Castle lager and a glass of dry red wine, throw in the potatoes and butternut and reduce the heat because now the pot must simmer for about an hour. Don't add too much liquid because you will get more from the potatoes and butternut.-Keep checking your pot, add salt and pepper to taste, throw the green beans in towards the end as well as things like cauliflower and cabbage so that they don't cook too much and when the meat feels tender and the potatoes are cooked it is ready.

Frank pronounced it a delicious meal and I must confess that I enjoyed it too, Janet made us some rice to go with it and I opened a nice bottle of 2006 Shiraz from the nearby Tulbagh wine estate. Cheers!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


There are strange goings on!!!!
A letter has just come into my hands from Des Clunie, a member of the "Kreefsmokkelaars" mcc - and let me tell you that the "Kreefsmokkelaars" are a no nonsense, take no prisoners kind of biker club.
They are based in the West Coast town of Velddrif/Laaiplek and are renowned for making noise at local biker jols and at rallies. Roughly translated, "Kreefsmokkelaars" means Crayfish smugglers.
For instance if there is a rally where the "Smokkelaars" are together and someone complains about the noise of bikes being revved, then they will get together around the tent and rev the hell out of it until someone begs for mercy or the tent gets blown away.
You get my drift? Don't fuck with the Kreefsmokkelaars".

Anyway Des sent this letter to the Meeulanders, and I quote;
"Dear Madam, (the club secretary)
After returning from the Freedom Road Rally on Wednesday 17th February, I went to the Phoenix biker's pub in Vredenburg.
My six day trip was a wonderful experience but it was marred by one of your members at the Phoenix Pub.
Your member Mr. Frank Gallien arrived and I was glad to see him and even bought him a drink or two.
We were chatting away and, to my utter amazement, Frank lifted his leg and farted (broke wind) on my knee (violently) and with malice aforethought, this was no random emmision. Seconds later he again lifted his leg and repeated the performance.
Besides being totally uncouth to a fellow biker the smell was horrific. On my arrival at Velddrif my wife had to call our house doctor in as my sinuses and nasal passages are now irreparably damaged, my clothing had to be thrown away - even hoboes didn't want it.
This type of behaviour from a Meeulander is unacceptable and I strongly suggest that your committee has him up on a disciplinary hearing.
Also I demand a letter of appology or I will have no other option but to tell my president who in turn will see your president, which could get ugly and unpleasant.
To enable you to avoid all this I suggest you send me a letter of appology and this matter will be forgotten. Also suggest to your member to change his diet.
Yours in biking


This is all very lighthearted but there are some undercurrents of discontent between the groups and I don't want to choose. We like Des very much and have been on both of his Polar Bear runs and will continue that relationship, in the same vein we know and like Div and Sue and will stay friends with them. We know what Frank is like and will stay with him! It gets a bit complicated.We will just go with the flow and see how things develope, Saturday night there is a party at the Pheonix Bar with a live band - let's see how that goes. Can't we just party?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cattle rustling, SA style!

I know that this story has nothing at all to do with either braais, beers or bikes, (although I suppose it does involve meat!) but in keeping with some of my "Out of Africa" stories, I thought I would bring you this one; Apparently the Police were called out to the scene of an accident in the Eastern Cape.
Upon arriving at the scene they found that the vehicle involved had been reported stolen earlier that day, on a closer inspection they found some unusual cargo; trussed up inside the gutted vehicle they found three young cows! The driver was nowhere to be found.
The seats and linings had all been removed with the exception of the driver's seat and the hapless animals had been crammed inside.
Happily the three young cows were none the worse for their undignified journey and were soon grazing contentedly, the vehicle's owner was probably not so happy though!
Ah Africa! You just gotta love it - never a dull moment here. In the old days in America this was a hanging offence wasn't it? I wonder if the Police have since caught the driver/cattle rustler?
It is very nearly the end of February and my next bike rally is the Swallows Rally in Worcester over the weekend 26th to 28th March, this is one of the biggest rallies around with three brand new motorcycles as the first, second and third prizes in the main draw! Looking forward to that one, Worcester is only a two hour ride so I will go through after work on Friday afternoon. That is a whole month away so I am sure there will be another ride or two before that anyway.
Stay safe and keep the rubber side down!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day Three - the ride home

Early Sunday morning Div, Willie and Johan were all packing their tents and gear, there was no sign of Frank even though I went and shouted next to his tent a couple of times. This is quite normal and often Frank's tent is the last one standing after everyone has left, he needs recovery time!
We had all just about finished our loading when Frank pitched up with rather bleary eyes and a cup of tea in each hand, "You guys carry on," he said "I'm going to hang about for a while and get my head right."
I felt a bit bad, he had waited for me on the way up but he insisted I get going, he is a retired divorcee - no one waiting for him and no train to catch so we saddled up and eagerly hit the road.

Willie took the lead, I was next with Johan behind me and Div bringing up the rear and we set off on the 400km ride, first stop would be the Wimpy in Riversdale for a good breakfast.

After the breakfast we decided that the next stop would be Worcester some 200kms further, Willie immediately set off at 120kmh and I was thinking "No way can I sit at this speed!" I was constantly decellerating behind him and after a couple of K's I wound up next to him and shouted "Willie, move it up to 140, this is too slow!" I dropped back to check that 140 was alright for Div on the Harley and he was happy so we set off at a slightly better pace.

It was a beautiful day, perfect for riding and the traffic wasn't as heavy as it was on Friday. The big machines ate up the kilometres and although I am pretty much a solo rider it was enjoyable being one of a tight group of four. I just relaxed and enjoyed the cruise.

The scenery is beautiful and for a good part of the way we were riding through the mountains, it is all very familiar countryside as we often ride it, but it is still enjoyable especially when the weather is that good.

Seeing as how we weren't doing any high speed riding I was able to experiment with photography and I found that if I put the camera strap around my right wrist I could keep the camera inside my jacket sleeve. Then when I wanted to take a picture I engaged the cruise control, opened the jacket sleeve and dropped the camera into my hand (this involves a bit of juggling) and I was easily able to operate the camera with my right hand. I was rather pleased with some of the photos, especially the one of the two guys riding behind me!

Here is Johan on the N1 highway just before the Worcester "One-stop", for some reason I was feeling very saddle sore by the time we were nearing our destination and I could see that I was not the only one as Willie stood up on his pegs ahead of me.

Willie on his BMW and Johan at the traffic lights just before turning into the One-stop, I had already made up my mind that I was going to have a couple of cold beers there.

After refuelling his Harley, Div agreed with me that a cold beer or two sounded like a very good idea - they went down very well even though they weren't all that cold!

After the break I suggested to the guys that if they didn't mind I was going to head off on my own for the last stretch, I felt like winding it up a bit and the 200 plus km stretch from there on is one of my favourite riding areas.

The roads are generally in pretty good condition and on a Sunday the traffic is not so heavy, I bade my buds farewell and wished them a safe ride and blasted away towards Saldanha revelling in the smooth and effortless power of the big red machine. Not a hell of a lot better than that!
I really enjoyed the day's ride, the round trip including a bit of riding in Stilbaai was 935kms and I can say with conviction that I enjoyed every one of them. I arrived home safe and sound and happy and took Janet to the Phoenix bar for a post mortem of the ride with the boys. Another very good Freedom Road rally and I will certainly go again next year, no one in our group won any of the prizes on Saturday night - the main prize was R10,000 cash! But no matter, that's not why we go on the rallies - it's mostly the jol and the cameraderie.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Freedom Road rally - day two

The whole of Saturday was a jol! (For my overseas readers a jol is a great time.) The only problem was that by 05h00 my mattress was completely flat and I woke with very little air around me, I was on the hard ground. I lay around for a while contemplating whether I should get up and pump some more air into the mattress or go and have a shower. I decided to get up and it wasn't long before I was at the CMA (Christian Motorcyclist Association) tent for my first of many cups of coffee.I didn't see Frank, but then I didn't expect to see him for a while. I headed off with Div, Willie and Johan for a breakfast and then we returned to the camp for the mass ride. I stopped on the bridge to get some photographs.Here you can see Div on his Harley and Willie just behind the Traffic vehicle, the Freedom Road rally is not a big one but it has it's regulars who attend every year. Frank qualified for his ten year badge and I got my five year badge this year.Here we are at the end point where everyone gathers to have a look at the bikes and drink a beer or two, or in the case of the CMA to have an ice cream cone. The cafe must make a fortune! We headed back to town and just all sort of naturally congregated at "Puffie's Bar" and that's pretty much where we spent the whole afternoon.Our good friends Dick and Janet joined us and we spent a very pleasant couple of hours just generally talking shit, you know how it goes!We met Hansie, a very nice young biker who owns a cool Kawasaki Z1300 which is older than him. It was so good to see a young guy on a nicely modified old bike and he is looking to get a custom paint job when he can afford it, anybody in Capetown able to help with a "bone yard theme"? Give us a call.
After that it was back to the campsite and back to Dalton's place for the evening, and from there the party just sort of degenerated, or progressed depending on your point of view.
Des decided he needed a power sleep so he laid down under our table, we just sort of ignored him while we partied on but we forgot that Des is not your usual kind of biker and he was up to mischief!
While he lay there sleeping with his head cradled on his "Crocs" he was hatching an evil plan!Frank was enjoying himself, being his usual ebulient self but he did notice that his butt was getting hot, he put it off to the time of day, the sun was setting and maybe it was shining on his chair.He soon had to jump up and that's when he discovered that it was actually Des' cigarette lighter that was causing the "Hot spot"! We'll have to look out for that chair on the next rally. What a character!
I had a wonderful Calamari and chips at Dalton's restaurant and I tried to make it an early night because it was a long ride home the next day but it was kinda late when I crawled into my tent. I pumped my mattress up as hard as a brick and settled down, I remember gradually getting to sleep as my mattress got more and more comfortable but again I was awake in the early hours when I found myself lying on the hard ground with just a little bit of cushion around my ears!
Oh well, up early again and a visit to the CMA coffee tent.

Monday, February 15, 2010

2010 Freedom Road Rally - day one

Friday was frustrating, I arranged to get finished early on the mussel farm so that we could get out on the road but things just seemed to take ages and by the time I got home it was already after 10h00. I had done almost all of my packing the night before so the big red machine was pretty much loaded and ready to go, all I had to do was throw in my toiletries, get into my riding gear and get going. By the time I got out on the road I was sweating, I had arranged to meet Frank between 10h45 and 11h00 and I had to do some high speed riding to get there on time but I managed it and pulled into the meeting place pretty much on time.
Frank was just finishing his cigarette as I pulled in, we shook hands and discussed the route and our speed, I was by then starting to relax. I hadn't got off the bike, just choosing to sit there and try to get into the day and the upcoming ride, I was still pretty uptight and I slowly zipped up my jacket - which up until then I had left open because I was so damned hot, "Let's GO!" I urged Frank and we swung out onto the tar and accelerated up along the R45, another bike rally and another adventure awaited us.
Over 400kms to ride, I let my shoulders relax and dropped my arms a bit as I flicked up through the gears and settled into a steady 140 to 150kmh cruise - "ALRIGHT!" I shouted into my helmet, "This is going to be good." I concentrated on relaxing for a while which sounds like a bit of a contradiction, but any biker will tell you that it's no good going into a high speed corner feeling tense. I moved my feet back a bit so that the balls of my feet were on the pegs and focussed on counter steering through the corners and man did it feel good!
We ate up the kilometres, the roads were busy and we maintained our speed although I lost sight of Frank in my rear view mirrors from time to time. I was thoroughly enjoying myself duelling with the cars and trucks on the narrow roads and it was a very enjoyable two hours later that we pulled into Worcester and stopped at the Dros restaurant for our first cold beer of the day. We stood around drinking the beer and congratulating ourselves on our superlative riding skills, by then I was feeling absolutely great.
I suggested that we press on to Robertson, stop for another beer there and then carry on through to Stilbaai and Frank agreed that this sounded good. Mount up, settle in and get riding - Man by then I was in my element!
The big red machine was performing flawlessly, smooth and powerful and doing whatever I wanted - and what I wanted was speed! That is one of my favourite roads and we set out to enjoy it, we did some high speed riding and unfortunately came up on the scene of a very serious accident involving an SUV and an 18 wheeler about halfway along. We were able to bypass the incredibly long queue of cars and trucks and squeeze through the small gap amongst the Police vehicles and ambulances and in somewhat sombre mood we continued through to Robertson.
Robertson/Ashton and then one of my favourite roads; the 46km stretch to Swellendam on the N2 Highway which we did at speed. We joined the N2 highway and immediately there were hundreds of bikes all headed for the same place, what a pleasure it was overtaking our brothers or being overtaken and waving a greeting - "See you there Bro."
Just after 5pm we pulled into the rally site and found our friends who had long ago set up and were enjoying a drink and a chat.
Willie, Johan and Div were quite relaxed and didn't help us set up our tents other than to offer the odd bit of advice and encouragement. Frank and I have lots of rally experience and the first thing we do is set up our tents and inflate our mattresses before we start to party! It wasn't long before we joined in.
Once we were set up it was time to start the party and we headed into the site to see who was around, our old friend the rally chef Dalton was there and his tent/restaurant is always a good place so we settled in there.
You will all be aware by now that this is my favourite "Celebrity Chef" and his food is great. We spent the whole evening partying there and interacting with the people who stopped in for a meal.
Good friends and good food with a couple of dops (drinks), what could be better? Dalton likes it when we party at his place because it creates a vibe that others enjoy and he joins us whenever he gets a gap. Suffice it to say that this went on for quite a long time and I'm not actually sure what time I got to my tent.What I can tell you is that in amongst all of the partying we did a lot of good eating. I stumbled off to my tent sometime after midnight looking forward to a good night's sleep. It had been a great day and I was looking forward to Saturday, Man I was tired but I was feeling great!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I managed to get out on the bike very briefly on Sunday afternoon and I headed out along the R27 towards Capetown, about halfway I pulled over into a shady laybye and just relaxed for a bit. I was alone but I knew that the "Meeulanders" were on their way back from a breakfast run so I thought I would wait for them. This photo gives you quite a good idea of what the West Coast area is like, it is almost semi desert and very dry in the summer time. Also as I have already mentioned the road is boringly long and straight for almost the whole hour.
While I was waiting I took this photo, one of many before I got it right, which I think should be titled "Man, machine - Moment!" I mean, how cool is that?!
I sat for a while just enjoying the solitude and then I rode back to Saldanha to pick Janet up and we rode through to the Phoenix bar for a beer or two just to end the weekend off.
Today - Wednesday - we had Frank over for dinner and this was our starter; fresh west coast oysters. Janet prepared a lovely dinner of roasted chicken and vegetables and because we are on a diet, Frank had to do without potatoes and gravy but he still enjoyed the meal - apparently.
We discussed the upcoming Freedom Road rally and I was really happy to hear from Frank that he was going to wait for me to finish work and then ride with me, I was quite prepared to ride alone whenever I could get finished but that is brotherhood. He told the other guys that we always ride together and they should leave when they are ready and we will see them there.
Frank is my biking brother and hopefully we will be together next year for the Sturgis experience.
I feel so .........what? Happy, yes definitely - I didn't expect that, what else do I feel? Content and excited, we discussed the areas where we can exceed the speed limits because we need to get there in time to join the party, it's going to be a jol - trust me!
Thursday I will be packing the bike for the ride on Friday, I am really looking forward to this coming weekend and I will let you know all about it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

X Force Africa

One of my American blogger friends; John from North Texas bikers III (Check out his cool blog at www.jjskewlstuff3.blogspot.com and give him a "Howsit?") posted a picture of his patch vest and I liked it so I thought it would be a good idea to show mine. The idea was that ex servicemen would join and show this patch, the wounded lion crouching on a shield was the emblem of the Rhodesian Police Force - the BSA Police, at the moment there are not many of us wearing it but Dave, who started the group has just had a request from an ex serviceman friend in Australia who would like to start up there. The only other member moved to the UK and we don't know if he's riding with the patch anymore, I suppose you could say it's a pretty select group!
Dave and I rode together on the first Sutherland run and that was a "mass ride" of ex Force members! We named it "X Force Africa" so that it would be open to ex servicemen from different countries in Africa, especially South Africa so I don't think it will be too difficult to get members once we actively start advertising. Perhaps when Dave's knee problems are over and he gets back on the road on his trike we will do some recruiting. The front of the jacket is covered, in a rather haphazard manner, with all of my rally badges and perhaps what I need to do is sit down and re organise all of them - that would be quite a job! Some of the badges go back to the early eighties and we South African bikers wear our patch jackets with pride. I will definitely be wearing mine to Sturgis next year.
I am happy to report that Frank and I managed to get the FA Cup pool game going again on Friday afternoon and I managed to secure a 6 - 2 win, he won the first game and the last one. It's always a very pleasant afternoon even though there's quite a lot of bad language going between us, casual observers would sometimes think we are deadly enemies!
We haven't done any riding this weekend, one of the local clubs - The Meeulanders - had a breakfast run to Hout Bay this morning but we were unable to accompany them as we had a friend's birthday to attend. This afternoon Janet and I will get on the bike and ride through to the "Phoenix Bar" to meet up with Frank and the boys when they get back.
Next weekend is the Freedom Road rally in the little coastal village of Stilbaai (Quiet Bay) which is a good 400km from here, I have to work on Friday but I am going to try and get off early so that I can get going around midday, the guys will already be there and will set up a camp so I will join them there. Looking forward to that. I'll tell you all about it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Visit with Dave and Nicky

Sunday we joined the local West Coast Motorcycle Association for a breakfast at one of the restaurants nearby, actually in the holiday resort town of Langebaan which is on the lagoon just a twenty minute ride from Saldanha. There was a surprisingly large gathering with a lot of bikes parked outside the place, this resulted in a very nice friendly hour spent over breakfast which we really enjoyed.
Some of the people we hadn't seen for a while and some we regularly meet at rallies and gatherings, we arrived a little late and it was a real pleasure to walk into the place and to be greeted by all the bikers like old friends. I've said it before and I'll say it again; Bikers are good folk! Go out and hug one.
Some non biker types might have stayed away from the place seeing all of the bikes and the leather and patch wearing men and women engaged in noisy and animated conversation, but that would have been their loss.
After a very pleasant hour Frank joined us for a ride down to Capetown to visit with Dave and Nicky, we took it easy on the ride because I wanted to identify the spot from where I was accumulating all of the bloody speeding fines and I found it! Three fines all from the same location, but now I have identified it and I saw the car which obviously has the camera so I will be able to avoid any more fines.....hopefully. What I will do next time is stop and take a photo of the car so that I can post it here for Cape bikers.
Our buddy Dave is in good spirits even though he has been battling with the knee that got smashed up in a bike prang about 18 months ago on the first Polar Bear run to Sutherland, he has had the bionic knee implanted and is now waiting to have a skin graft. He is a tough guy and has gone through hell but is still talking about getting back out in the wind, you can't keep a good biker down and he will be back out there on a cool trike sooner rather than later.
After a pleasant time spent chatting to our friends we mounted up and headed through to the Viper lounge to see what was going on and there we met up with our friend Conor, he rides a very cool, customised Harley (I think it's a wide glide - but I'm not sure.) and when I told him that I had never ridden a Harley before he wanted me to take it for a ride.As you can see it is a very cool looking bike but I wasn't keen to take it for a ride then and there, apart from the fact that the big red machine and Frank's FJR both appeared to be looking on angrily I thought it would be better if I was in more familiar surroundings. We tried to talk Conor into visiting us in Saldanha and then I will try it out, hopefully he will come up soon because he apparently wants to take it for a longish ride.We had a good cruise back home, again I took it easy but there were no more speed traps and we headed for Vredenburg and the Phoenix bar for an A.B.F.* before heading home. A very pleasant day spent on the bike with good friends and like minded people.
*Absolute Bloody Final - although this is very rarely accurate because there is no such thing as only one beer!