Welcome to my blog, these are the ramblings and musings of an (upper) middle aged biker and if you enjoy braais, (barbeques) beers and motorbikes then hopefully you will enjoy what Janet and I do; we do lots of braais, we drink lots of beer and we tour South Africa on our motorbike, which at the moment is a BMW R1200RT. Join us, read about what we do and please leave us your comments.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A cool American trike

Nothing much has happened around here as far as riding is concerned, the weather has either been too bad or we have had friends around for meals. I was actually getting a bit worried because my battery, which is now more than five years old, has started to struggle a bit when I start the bike. Craig, the owner of our local bike shop, Vredenburg Yamaha, said that I am lucky my battery has lasted this long and it is probably only because I ride so much because five years is about a battery's life span.
So.......I went out and bought a battery optimiser; the Optimate 3+, Frank has one and he swears by it, says that it keeps his battery at its optimal level and since he installed it he has had no problems, I'll let you know how it goes when I instal mine. At R500 it seems like a good buy.On a lighter note (?) I have signed up for a BMW rider academy track day on Sunday 5th September so I need my bike to start! Dick sent me the email after he had signed up, it should be very interesting if a little daunting as I have never done anything like that before. Apparently it consists of lectures, then cone riding to hone up control skills and then we ride around the Killarney race track to improve cornering skills.
I must confess to being just a little bit apprehensive about this as I have never been on a race track before, I am hoping that it will not rain on Sunday because if I am going to ride on a race track for my first ever time, I would like it to be a dry race track!
This is definitely something that I have wanted to do for a long time so I will let you know how it goes, as far as I am concerned anything that improves our riding skills and equips us to deal with hazards out there has got to be a good thing, we have to stay on top of our game.
And now for something completely different; Way back in the late 60's - early 70's when I was a young, bullet-proof Policeman in Rhodesia, a bunch of us were seriously considering signing up with the Americans to go to Vietnam. It was close, we very nearly went but instead got involved in a local bush war. I often wonder what would have happened had I gone along, it was before I met Janet; would I have survived? Would I have ended up with my soul mate anyway? Would my two wonderful children have been born to someone else or were they destined to be my kids anyway? I like to think that our lives were pre-destined and we would have met up but it was probably a good thing that I didn't go, I can't remember what made us change our plans but here I am forty years later happily settled in South Africa.
Which kind of brings me to my point; Recently these pictures came through my email sent by my good buddy Dick, they are of a Vietnam Veteran's trike and the artwork is spectacular;I have no information on who did the artwork but it is incredible, a work of art. Also it is a bit difficult to fully appreciate the work in these pictures but you get the idea.
That is one serious power plant on that trike too, it must really be able to haul ass!
The detail needs to be studied, it is absolutely spectacular; on the tank you can see the Hueys flying in with machine guns strafing and then on the left side you can see a Marine rescuing a child and the graves of the soldiers who died there.
A really beautiful trike.
By the quality of the artwork it is easy to see that it is an American machine. Maybe some of you can shed some light on this, I haven't checked it up but it sure is cool.

Remember Saturday is the day jol at the Phoenix bar so come one up, I will have to take it easy so that I can do the track day on Sunday!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fish, Meat and Motorbikes

Another quiet weekend at home. We were hoping to go for a ride but again the weather was crap! We were busy with a catering job for thirty people on Saturday so that put paid to any free time and by the time we were ready to have lunch on Sunday I said to Janet; "What about we stay home and do something on the braai?"
Janet happily jumped at that suggestion so we defrosted some anchovies and we had some pork loin chops already defrosted so we were good to go! I wanted to try the anchovies as a starter so I rinsed them off and prepared a dusting of cornflour, aromat, mixed herbs and ground black pepper.Once they are defrosted, which doesn't take long at all, they have to be rinsed under fresh water a couple of times and then drained. Make up the corn flour, aromat, mixed herbs and pepper in a bowl and then toss the fish around in small batches to get them nicely covered. In the meantime heat up some cooking oil in a pan and once it is nice and hot dump small portions of the fish in and stir them around for 3 to 5 minutes, they must fry vigorously, then take them out and place on a dish covered with serviettes to drain the oil and let them cool a bit. They are supposed to end up like this; slightly crispy and seriously easy to eat, rather like peanuts! We tucked into this lot even though it was a bit too much for two people, so next time we will either cook less or invite some people over. I think my friends Dick and Janet and Joe and Annie will really enjoy these.I had earlier got the fire on the go and had prepared my sweet potato, (kumera in New Zealand) I sliced it almost through in quarters and packed it with butter and then placed it on top a a big pat of butter on some tinfoil, sprinkled with aromat, mixed herbs and black pepper and then sealed it well. I had also wrapped some onions in tinfoil and these three packages were placed into the braai next to the fire right from the start. I sprinkled the rind on the chops with salt and then placed them on the grill over fairly hot coals, browned them on both sides and then balanced them against a good piece of wood to crackle the rinds. Remember to keep turning the potato and the onions so that they don't just burn on the one side.
Once the rinds were good and crispy I laid the chops back on the grill to make sure that they were cooked and sprinkled them with.......yeah you guessed it....aromat, mixed herbs and garlic on both sides until they were done.
That was lunch; pork chops, onion and sweet potato - really nice.

I have something to end off with, and this came through my email so I have not tested the veracity of the story but it seems that after the death of a bike shop owner in Belgium; the "Motoshop Podevyn" in Aalst, it was found that he had several crates of motorcycles that had never been opened and when the first one was opened......it was found to contain a "brand new" 1975 Norton Commando Interstate! Further investigation revealed another eleven crates of Norton Commandos that had never been touched!Further exploration of the workshop revealed parts and accessories for old motocycles and there was also a "Brand new" 1989 Matchless G80 still in its crate, apparently some 400 items are going to be auctioned.
I would seriously like to make an offer on this motorbike! I got my licence in 1969 on a Matchless and rode them in the Police force in Rhodesia for most of my service, what a lovely bike. We can only dream of finds like this but I believe that there are still many treasures to be found hidden in old barns and garages around the world, amazing stuff!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gypsy Jokers fun day

The weather hasn't been too bad of late, the spring flowers; the vygies and the daisies for which this area is famous, are starting to bloom. At the moment there are plenty of white and orange ones around and soon the veld will be covered in multi-coloured carpets of flowers. This usually brings a lot of tourists to the area to boost our flagging restaurant and accommodation facilities which have suffered somewhat over the winter months.
I have booked two rooms at the Eendekuil Hotel for the second weekend in September and Dick and Janet are going to join us for a bit of a flower tour, I hope that the weather will be good because we want to do it on our bikes.
We had a quiet weekend but we did manage to get out on the bike on Sunday, we didn't go far, just a local cruise and we ended up at the "Admiral's Bar" in Velddrif for lunch. I mentioned it briefly in a previous post, it is relatively new, quite pleasant and the food is very good value for money; I had a really nice hake fillet with chips and salad and Janet had two crumbed pork chops with mash and gravy, that and a bottle of Chenin Blanc came to R125! About 10GBP or about 16,5USD, does that sound like good value to you?
We will definitely go back there again, the window panel just behind me in the picture says, "Bikers Welcome" - that's a good thing! So there's a good ride and a good value lunch for you Capetown bikers, let's see you out there!
I'm really hanging my ass in the direction of a long road trip, we haven't done one for almost a year now and I keep visualising good sections of road that we have ridden, we just happened to be chatting with Don and Connie the other day and he mentioned the fantastic "Huisrivier Pass"
on the R62 between Ladismith and Calitzdorp, immediately I could visualise that wonderful area and I found myself longing to be there.
Janet and I talked about it and we are thinking of taking a week off in September and heading out on the road, come on let's do it!
Capetown and local bikers join us at the Gypsy Jokers fun day on Saturday 4th September at the Phoenix bar in Vredenburg, it starts at 10am and finishes late, R150 gets you a badge and a meal consisting of fresh steamed mussels as a starter and then lamb on the spit with potatoes and salad.
There will be live music all day and for an extra R100 you can get accommodation at the nearby, (well not too far) Saint Helena Bay, Cove Hotel which will include a shuttle bus and breakfast on Sunday morning.
For more information or to make a booking call Danny on 0823401698.
Come on out, it promises to be one hell of a Jol!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Oysters, lunch and a day jol

I wrote a little while back on some oysters that I was experimenting with, I want to see just how big I can grow them. On Thursday I took them out of the water, cleaned them up and weighed each one, there are 72 of them, 13 of which are over 300 grams! The average weight of each oyster is 255 grams, considering that we sell a medium oyster at 75-90 grams you can see that these things are huge! I wasn't tempted to eat one, I think they are way too big but they would be excellent for soup, Janet makes an oyster soup that is to die for.
I kept them out of the water overnight because I could see that the shells were being eaten by worm, so hopefully that will kill it, I will leave them for another couple of months and weigh them again, then maybe later we will make a big pot of soup!
We went out for lunch today to one of our favourite restaurants; Beira Mar in Saint Helena Bay and what a fantastic lunch! I had two Portuguese sardines on a bed of stir fried peppers as a starter and my main course was prawns with potato wedges and a garlic butter sauce, wonderful stuff.

Janet had a shrimp cocktail and then an Espetada which she declared to be delicious and there was enough of that left over to make me a wonderful sandwich for work on Monday.
We had a lovely leisurely lunch and tomorrow we are planning a ride to Riebeek West to have lunch at The Barn, we'll let you know how that goes.
Capetown readers please take note, diarise Saturday 4th September there is going to be a Gypsy Joker's day jol at the Phoenix bar in Vredenburg, the meal will consist of fresh mussels and lamb spit braai - we are going out to the Phoenix now to get more details and I will let you know, but accommodation will also be available and there will be live bands playing, it's going to be a good jol. You don't need to be a biker to attend, non-bikers reading this should also come along and see what a great bunch of people bikers are, come and see how we party.
Back soon!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Since the Polar Bear run nothing much has happened, we went down to Capetown last weekend but as I had quite a few things to carry and deliver we had to go in the bakkie. We stayed over with Joe and Annie and much to my Bro Joe's dismay I beat him in both disciplines; pool on Saturday afternoon and cribbage on Saturday night, he was a crushed man!
On Sunday we had a braai, Joe prepared a lovely fillet steak - well probably Annie prepared it and Joe braaied it, but he did a great job.
I must just clarify here that my Bro Joe is not a biker but in spite of that he is a good guy. He did ride motorbikes some 35 - 40 years ago in the BSAPolice but never kept it up.
In the early days when we went to visit he would invite all of his mates around for a braai, light the fire and then stand around talking until someone else took over and did the cooking. Nowadays though, after my patient coaching and tutelage for many years, he is a very competent braaiier and has done some lovely meals. (Joe, if you read this, feel free to leave a comment!) Sunday's meal was a case in point;
The whole beef fillet, I'm not sure what Annie prepared it with but it was delicious. I normally rub it with olive oil, aromat, garlic flakes and Hot English mustard. Joe then placed it on the grid over hot coals and virtually blackened the outside of it, turning it often. He did make a mistake at one point, forgetting to turn it while we were having a beer but it worked out perfectly anyway.
Once it was nicely darkened he sliced it into thick chunks and placed them back on the grill just to seal each side.
You have to admit, he does look like he knows what he's doing.
Both sides of the meat slices were seared and then they were immediately removed and served up with Annie's potatoes, salad, garlic bread and avocado drizzled with balsamic concentrate, what a meal - delicious!
On Wednesday we had one of those lovely calm, warm days that happen often in winter and as we like to take advantage of those days we invited Frank around for a braai in the evening.
First I prepared my potatoes, cutting them almost right through in quarters, I placed them on top of a pat of butter on some tinfoil, then spread more butter on top and into the slices. I then sprinkled with Aromat, black pepper, garlic flakes and mixed herbs before wrapping them well.
I then placed the "parcels" in amongst the coals while my fire was burning, I turned them around and over several times to ensure that they did not burn on one side.
Our main course meat was pork neck chops, lightly marinated with oil, aromat and garlic. While I was busy with the meat "Fatcat" found a warm place to sleep, I had to be careful not to spill any hot coals! Janet made a very nice colslaw and we had a very enjoyable meal - I have to admit I really enjoy a braai but I tend to only want to do one when we have a few people over. I'm not too keen on braaiing just for the two of us.

We have a long weekend, Monday is a public holiday and the plan was to get out on the bike but unfortunately the weather is miserable at the moment, we'll have to see how it developes, I don't really want to go out in the rain unless I have to.This picture came through my email, a good reminder for ATGATT - All The Gear All The Time, those look like very painful skidmarks even though he is smiling! Keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Polar Bear run 2010 part 3 - the ride home

I awoke at about 07h50 to the sound of the guys talking, milling around and packing their gear, no respect for a party animal! About four and a half hours sleep seemed ok though and I got dressed and went in search of some coffee.
Frank was still sleeping, and as I said he wore the wig the whole night!
A bunch of the guys were already outside in the fresh morning air trying to get the bonfire burning again.
It was shortly thereafter that Frank appeared in the doorway shouting obscenities about noisy buggers waking him up!
On rallies he normally sleeps until about 10h00 if not for the whole day!
After coffee the scrambler boys got ready to leave, they would have a long ride home and wanted to get on the way.
And the "Footloose Award" this year went to Dan for binning his scrambler in the car park in front of everone!
Then it was time for Freddie to qualify for his prize from the previous night, no problem to him though, he headed off up the road in the cold early morning and I was only disappointed that there was no passing traffic!
That would really have been something for them to see. He had a bit of trouble warming the engine before he could get going and he must have been cold by the time he had finished, I hope the meal is worth it Freddy!
And for his stunning portrayal of a delinquint biker having a jol the "Character of the run" award goes to.........Frank!
I must admit he did have us in stitches pretty well right through the night so the award was well deserved.
Soon it was time to leave, it had been a fantastic Polar Bear run so far, the best one yet and after saying goodbye to Stewart and Charmaine I led the group out back onto the R62 for the fifty km stretch to Montagu where several wanted to stop for fuel.
After that it was through the Langeberge, onto the R60 through Ashton and to Robertson where we stopped for a rather mediocre breakfast at the bird sanctuary.
The guys sort of split up into small groups and the arrangement was to meet at "Lanner's Landing", a biker friendly pub on the other side of the DuToit's Kloof Pass, I followed Dick into the mountains and this time we opted to skip the tunnel and go over the top.
It was a fantastic day and by then there were plenty of bikers out and about, we stopped at the top to regroup and take a couple of photos.
A bit of time to consult the map to make sure we knew how to get to the pub and which road to take to get home and we were on our way again, down the other side of the mountain and onto the N1.
We found some of the guys already there drinking cooldrinks! We were there for about an hour after which it was time to head for home, some to Capetown, some to Langebaan, Saldanha, Velddrif and Vredenburg.

It was a lovely day on the bike and I really enjoyed the ride home, the round trip was only some 650kms, not a hell of a lot but a great ride. Thanks to Des for all the work that he put into organising the run and we are already looking forward to the next one!