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 25, 2011

Giving the Slangkop Rally a miss

We are not going to the "Slangkop Rally"! This morning, Friday the wind was already pumping out of the south east and I got a call from a customer in Capetown who said that it was already blowing 35 knots down there! No thank you.
The venue for the rally is at the Slangkop lighthouse just out of Kommetjie (say Komm-eh-key fast) and when the wind blows strong it really blows there. I'm a bit disappointed because it has been a good rally but there's no point in going when the wind is going to make it unpleasant for the whole weekend.
It brings back memories of the 2008 rally when the wind woke me up at o2h00 on Sunday with my tent flapping noisily in a bloody gale, I tried to ignore it but the wind was actually flattening the sides of the tent over my face!
I got up to take a leak not realising that I was what was holding the tent down, it promptly flapped over and flattened Frank's tent!
That does not make for comfortable sleeping, we agreed that there was nothing for it but to pack up and head for home, then it started to rain!
Ok so it's a weekend at home, a couple of games of pool this afternoon at the Phoenix bar and hopefully a braai or two. I think my next rally will be the Buffalo in Mosselbay mid March, that's a good 500km ride so I will have to try and get the Friday off work which shouldn't be a problem. Until then I am sure there will be a couple of riding opportunities - we usually find some excuse to go for a ride, stay on two wheels and stay safe!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mustang Trike

Now here's something special! This came through my email and even though I have said that I am not much of a fan of trikes I have to admit that this one is outstanding.
Apparently it took the owner two years to complete and as can be seen it is already a prize winner.
A 1967 Ford Mustang, with the V8 engine converted into a trike. I don't know where it comes from but I would think that something like this can only be American, can anybody shed any light? This thing is probably frighteningly fast and as can be seen a lot of loving care has gone into the fabrication.
"Warning - if you value your life like I value this trike don't mess with it"
Very nice upholstery, probably a very comfortable ride. Very nicely finished, I would love to see this beauty on the road. There is no sign of a gear lever so it would have to be an automatic as, I suppose the original Mustang was. These cars are very scarce here so there's not much chance of me making one of these!...........I wish.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Des' Suzuki sidecar rig

On my way home from work yesterday afternoon my attention was caught by a very neat sidecar rig parked outside "Ancorr" biker bar, I did a "U" turn and went back for a look and found Des inside having a drink, he offered me a beer which I gratefully accepted.
He bought the bike, a 1982 Suzuki GS1000G and the sidecar, a 1980 "Bikemate" which is manufactured in South Africa, separately (from two different people) and spent about a year refurbishing both and putting them together.
The result is a very nice looking rig which he has just started using for local rides, getting used to the handling.
As you can see the sidecar is a two seater, two nicely upholstered seats and obviously if you only have one passenger then there is some luggage space.
Des (who incidentally is the organiser of our hugely popular and successful annual "Polar Bear run") is a keen biker, he has a fairly new BMW, a very nice 1983 Honda Goldwing as well as a small scrambler and I am sure we will be seeing quite a lot of this Suzuki sidecar rig on local rides.
I heard from my friend Dick that he saw the new BMW K1600 speeding around the Western Cape the other day, apparently foreign and local journalists are getting a preview of this awesome looking bike - can't wait to see it!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Enduring memories

I was going through my old photo albums and came across one of my favourite pictures taken on a holiday in 1984, Janet insists that this was the best holiday she has ever had and I must say I do think I agree with her.
It is a story that I need to tell here, but it is a long story and will need to be serialised. In September 1984 the two of us on the two year old Yamaha 1.1 and two friends; Eddie and Althea on a Honda Silverwing spent a full month on the road and did 8,760kms around the entire country and right up into the then South West Africa (now Namibia), through Windhoek, Okahandja, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
We travelled back down the West Coast to Capetown and then back up to the Eastern Cape where we were then living.
This picture was taken on one of the days, about halfway through the trip, when we had been travelling for 660kms through the heat of the Northern Cape. We had just crossed into South West Africa and arrived at the little cross-roads village of Grunau, we negotiated a rough dirt road to get to the hotel and Janet climbed off the bike and said "That's it, I'm staying here tonight!"
Eddie went in to find out if we could get accommodation and came back out with two rooms secured and four bitterly cold Windhoek Lagers! Eddie took this happy photograph.
I have many enduring memories of the trip but that Tuesday night at the Grunau Hotel is a really happy memory, the dinner was wonderful consisting of Karoo lamb and vegetables and afterwards we were siting in the bar having a nightcap when all of a sudden the car park was full of the sound of arriving vehicles, khaki clad farmers and their wives and children piled into the bar and set chairs around the television and amidst the calls for "Double brandy and coke" the familiar theme tune of the series "Dallas" filled the now crowded room.
By chance we had arrived on the one night that the place got busy, indeed the whole of South Africa shut down on a Tuesday night in those days - unbelievable but everybody watched Dallas!
At ten o'clock when the episode was finished the hotel generator was switched off and we had to find our way to our rooms in the dark! Wonderful stuff and as I said; enduring memories.
This coming weekend we are going to the "Slangkop" (Snake's head) rally in the Cape, it will be my fifth rally there and I am looking forward to it, I'm riding through with Frank on Friday at about midday. The only thing that could ruin it would be wind, when the southerlies blow strong they blow extremely strong in that area - we shall see, I will obviously tell you all about it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Weekend in Capetown and a bro gets cut up

I had a bit of a different weekend, my bro's all rode off on Friday morning heading for Stillbay and the Freedom Road rally, it's a very nice rally run by the CMA and it is a lovely ride. We unfortunately had other commitments so I couldn't go, instead we headed off on the bike to Capetown that evening.
We went with Linda to the Italian Club and as the place was full of real Italians I thought I would have a pasta, I wasn't disappointed it was great!
On Saturday morning I switched my phone on and there was a message from Frank at the rally, if you've been reading my stuff you will know that he is my riding buddy;
"Hey Pal it's twenty to two and everybody's fucked off, there's nothing going on here, Dalton's nodding off in the corner. I'm gonna have one for the road and then I'm gonna turn in - missing you Pal." Normally the two of us party right through the night but he was on his own poor guy!
Janet and Linda headed off to a spa for the day so I was left to my own devices, I met up with our friends Penny, Jo and Robyn for a seafood lunch and then went to the movies to see "Burlesque" - fantastic is the only word to describe Christina Aguilera! (If you're reading this Christina - I love you!)
We were out on the road quite early on Sunday and had a really good ride home, pleasant weather with a light breeze pushing us from behind. It wasn't long before we were at our favourite restaurant; Beira Mar in Saint Helena Bay - I won't go into the details of our lunch because I've covered it all before, suffice it to say it was great as usual.
This was the view from our table!
After lunch I took Janet home and then I went over to the Phoenix for a beer or two and to meet up with Frank and the boys on their way back from the rally.
I got a hell of a shock when I walked in and saw Danny! My initial reaction was to turn and look at his bike, "How's the bike?" - I thought he'd dropped it but it turned out that on Friday night while he was in the bar with a couple of customers he noticed a suspicious movement outside and instead of calling some of them to go with him he went out alone to check.
In the parking he saw that "V's" bakkie (pick-up) door was open and someone was lying inside, this person heard Danny coming and sat up and when Danny asked what he was doing he lit up a cigarette and said that he was having a smoke in his bakkie!
Danny saw that the radio had been taken out already and instead of asking any more questions he swung a punch and dragged the scumbag out of the vehicle, unfortunately the villain had a weapon and he started swinging it. Danny felt the blows to his face and knew they weren't punches (we've all been punched in the face before!) but he couldn't see the weapon, he knew that he was bleeding though.
He blocked one of the blows with his right arm, close to the elbow which caused his arm to go lame and swung again with his left at which point the scumbag decided he'd better beat a hasty retreat and ran off into the darkness.
During all this the guys in the pub were none the wiser, the music was loud and nobody heard anything but they were shocked when Danny staggered back inside dripping blood, they were all for searching for the low life and sorting him out but Danny needed to get to the hospital.
Apparently the perp was arrested some three hours later inside another vehicle in another part of the town, I hope he gets his just desserts and in the meantime we will carry a big stick or a bigger knife!
Crime is a major problem here but until it hits close to home we don't really bother about it and we just carry on with our lives, we all know what places to avoid but we don't expect it at our favourite pub! That was a once off though, a random event and Danny was unlucky, it certainly won't put us off going to the Phoenix bar.
Danny's okay, it takes more than that to keep a biker down.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Yamaha 1200 Super Tenere

On Thursday I finished work early and went through to Vredenburg to take the demo Yamaha 1200 Super Tenere out for a ride and I must confess to being very excited about riding this great looking beast.
Craig and Monica Welch are the owners of West Coast Yamaha (022 7191398), they have a good stock of new and used bikes as well as clothing and accessories and a fully equipped work shop, nice friendly people and keen bikers themselves they are always involved with the local biking community.
Craig was busy in the workshop so I took a picture of his pretty wife before going for my ride.
This bike is a beast! My first impression was that it was quite bulky but as soon as I sat on it I could feel that the centre of balance was very low and in fact it is quite slim when you get your knees up against the tank.After Craig showed me through the controls and switches I started the engine and immediately fell in love with the deep rorty exhaust note, lovely stuff! I rode cautiously out of the town to get used to the handling because this bike just drops into corners with incredible agility.
Once out of the town I opened it up a bit, I was still in "Touring mode" and saw 200kmh quite easily before tapping off. I noticed that the footpegs are quite far back so that my feet were more under my butt than under my knees, this gave a nice upright position close to the tank and the wide and high handlebars made the bike feel eminently controlable.
After taking a couple of photos I got back onto the road, the dash is easily readable with a very large digital speedo reading (no excuse for getting speeding fines with this one!) and a rev counter. The indicator lights are nice and big as well so it's not so easy to make mistakes there.
There are a lot of small digital readouts on the dash which could be a bit distracting; such as the riding mode indicator, the traction control setting and the fuel consumption but I think that if this was your own bike you would soon get used to them.
There is no gear position indicator which is a pity. I next tried out the other riding mode; "Sport" which is controlled by pushing a small toggle switch with your thumb on the right handlebar, you close the throttle, toggle the switch and open up. What a rush! There is a distinct difference in the bike's performance and I was over 200kmh in very quick time. I didn't go any faster because the wind was gusting pretty hard and the only drawback with this bike is the pretty sparse wind protection from the small screen.There are two traction control settings for different road conditions as well as the "Off" position for dirt road riding, this gives you the ability to do power slides and rooster tails with ease because this bike has plenty of grunt. To change the traction control settings or to switch it off you are required to stop and select neutral.
The gear change is a nice smooth click, shifting easily up and down with no "clunk" sound or jerking. This is a nice looking bike, it has an aggressive "face" and although I didn't ride very far I thoroughly enjoyed it, this bike can definitely bring out the hooligan in you!
All in all a very nice motorcycle, build quality is top class and there are pannier boxes and a topcase available aftermarket, the bike brought out the adventurer in me and made me want to head off through Africa - I certainly wouldn't mind one in my garage.
Give Craig or Monica a call and let them set you up.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mid week lamb potjie

I got that midweek "I feel like doing a potjie" kinda feeling and when I told Janet she was up for it, "Do it on Wednesday and invite Frank over." she said, this means that she doesn't have to spend the time in the kitchen cooking and Pumi comes on a Thursday so she doesn't have to clean up, it's all good and she knows what she's doing.
We had just recently taken delivery of a whole, fresh Karoo lamb so I had plenty of meat, I took out about a kilo and a half of knuckles and neck, I knew it was too much for three people but left-overs are great!
If you've been reading my stuff at all you'll know that I like to get all of my ingredients prepared beforehand and all ready so that I don't have to keep running back and forwards to the kitchen, (or trying to send Janet back to get stuff for me) here clockwise from top left; chopped onions, green peppers and crushed garlic - potatoes - my meat - peeled and chopped butternut squash - chopped mushrooms - green beans - chilli beef and green pepper soup powder.
My trusty pot over my gas burner, I know that this is traditionally done over a wood fire but for convenience (and temperature control) I prefer to do it over gas. First I heated up some vegetable oil good and hot and then chucked the meat in and stirred it around to brown nicely.
Once the meat was browned I took it out and set it aside and then fried the onions, peppers and garlic in the lovely oil and meat juice until they were soft and translucent. In the meantime I mixed a packet of Chilli beef and greenpepper soup powder and a mutton stock cube into a cup of red wine, I then put the meat back into the pot and poured my mixture in along with a tin of tomato and onion mix and a Castle Lager.
I turned the heat down, put the lid on the pot and left it to simmer for half an hour, every now and then I would go over and lean in close to the pot just to hear the soft bubbling sound and by then the aroma was getting our juices flowing.
In the meantime Frank and I were talking crap and enjoying a few beverages, he is going to the "Freedom Road Rally" in Stillbay with a whole lot of the local guys on Friday, I normally go to this rally but for various reasons I can't make this one and I'm quite sad!
After half an hour I gave the pot a stir and added the potatoes, butternut and green beans, a cone of salt, a good sprinkle of Aromat and another of mixed herbs, I made sure that the heat was enough to keep a good simmering action and closed it up for another half an hour.
After that I added the mushrooms and about 100ml of cream and when I was sure that the potatoes were cooked we were good to go. It was a good potjie, Janet and Frank both said so and Frank took a "doggy bag" home, I was happy and I enjoyed doing it, we could have fed another four people easily but anyway we will have left-over meals for a couple of evenings.
And now for something completely different...........here's a picture that Dick sent me, something that I would dearly love to be able to do; Ain't gonna happen though, this guy's wheelying my bike! I would be too shit scared of dropping my baby.
I have spoken to my friends Craig and Monica at West Coast Yamaha in Vredenburg about taking their demo Yamaha 1200 Super Tenere out for a ride so that will be my next post, I'm looking forward to that one, watch this space!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Out of Africa

A while ago I posted some "Out of Africa" photos and stories and when this next one passed through my email I thought I just had to share it. Also it does in a way fit in with my theme as far as the braais go.
As in most, if not all major Cities, and most of the small towns in Africa, informal trade flourishes and pavement vendors can be found all over selling anything from cigarettes to clothing, from plastic sunglasses to leather goods and fruit. In fact pretty much anything can be bought from the informal markets as you can see;
This enterprising fellow was photographed in Rissik Street in Johannesburg selling sets of false teeth! He apparently sources most of his stock from undertakers and mortuaries and the customer is welcome to try the teeth out until a perfect fit is found.
He has some tools to make minor adjustments such as filing the plastic plates and there is a mirror on his table so that the customers can check out their new smiles!
It has to be a lot more economical at R20 per set than buying though a dentist.
As I said, after visiting this guy the people would be a lot more comfortable at a braai.
You gotta love Africa man! I certainly do.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Of Mary-Jane cookies, a braai and the lucky draw

Somebody produced a bag of "Mary-Jane" cookies and although I was a bit apprehensive about trying one at first I soon relented and found them to be delicious, sort of biscuit sweet but with a slightly bitter after taste, the green flecks were clearly visible and I am sure that these cookies contributed directly to the very enjoyable afternoon that we had.
We spent the afternoon at the house chatting over a very nice braai and a couple of drinks, it was a lovely hot day with very little of the wind that had spoiled our ride the previous day. Young Davrin came out wearing a small thong but it was such a terrible sight that we all chased him away!
A little later in the afternoon we returned to the rally site, Frank and I left our bikes at the house and caught a lift with one of the guys in his car and the Gypsy Jokers set about building a bonfire for the evening. The crowd slowly started gathering for the prizegiving and the lucky draw, we had missed the games that afternoon. Amazingly Frank's name was called out for one of the intermediate prizes, he won a meal for two at one of the local restaurants
which he then promptly went and gave away to a couple of people from Capetown, when I asked him what he had done he said "Oh I could have given it to you hey?".........Duh!
I didn't see exactly what transpired after that but was in time to see Frank fall at the feet of a young lady next to the stage! He often falls for young ladies at the rallies though.After that he spent the better part of the evening collecting happy rally-goers for me to photograph for the blog.
I would keep hearing him shout; "Andrew, come and take a picture of these people." It was nice to meet all of the different people and they certainly were a happy bunch.
After that it was back to the house for an early night, I thought it had been a pretty good rally for the first one and it can only get better. Danny, however was not that impressed, he thought that it had been a great weekend but only because all twelve of us at the house had had a great party together and perhaps he has a point. We'll see next time, I think I will be back next year to give it another chance.
I was up early Sunday morning feeling (relatively) fresh and ready for the ride home, I left early as is my usual custom so that I could get back to spend a bit of time with Janet. It was a good ride back, Clarence drive was not nearly as busy nor was it as windy as it had been on Friday and I thoroughly enjoyed that undulating ribbon of tar that hugs the incredibly picturesque coastline, especially after Rooiels and through to the turn off to Gordon's Bay where I stopped for a very welcome greasy breakfast.
After an exhilerating morning winding my way through the traffic that clogs the N2 and the outskirts of Capetown I made it onto the R27 for the home stretch. I was home by 11h30 and later in the afternoon we went to the Phoenix, at about 17h00 Danny and Frank pulled in - I was glad that I had left when I did.
The next rally is the Slangkop down at Kommetjie at the end of February and that will probably be it for me for a while, I can't take much more of this!