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.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter in East London

The ride up from Saldanha to East London was fantastic, the ride back wasn't so lekker - end of story.
Actually maybe that's not the end of the story, maybe I can embellish it a bit;

Thursday afternoon the weather was wonderful, sunny and clear with very little wind, we had packed the previous night and were ready to go as soon as we could get off work. We rode out of Saldanha at 15h10, eager for the trip and I consciously relaxed my shoulders as we accelerated out along the all too familiar R45 and then the R311 to Mooreesburg. Right from the start it was just so good to be out on the road on the big red machine.

The traffic was horrendous! 232kms to Worcester and we ended up in a traffic jam going through and out of the town onto the R60 heading for Robertson. This is one of my favourite roads, it is not particularly twisty but it is normally a fast 50km run, a lovely wide surface with some good sweeps but this time we ended up in a traffic queue of about thirty, slow, impatient cages behind two eighteen wheelers. At first I thought it was going to be a hellish ride but I slowly started working my way past the grim-jawed cagers until I was up in front, it didn't take me long to get past the deisel belching behemoths and then the road was ours!

It was a classic example of my firm belief that travelling by bike is so much better than sitting in a mobile lounge suite, once past the trucks I opened up and we cruised at 150kmh through the early evening, the mountains of the Langeberge were highlighted by the setting sun, etched in sharp relief against the pale blue sky while my mirrors occasionally flashed brightly as the sun slowly sank behind us, I was a happy man as we cruised into Robertson and found our accommodation at the Grand Hotel.After a couple of cold ones while Janet tried her luck on the slot machines we had a good meal and a relatively early night, we wanted to get out on the road early for the long stretch to Port Elizabeth.

Friday dawned clear and warm, 28kms to Montagu and the start of the R62. We had decided to stay off the incredibly busy N2 which also had several stop/go road-works in favour of the beautiful R62 and although there was a fair amount of traffic it was no problem as most drivers moved aside as we sped up behind them. I refuelled in Barrydale and carried on through, a very pleasant 137kms to Ladismith which took us about an hour, after that it is about 50kms through the spectacular Huisrivier Pass to Calitzdorp where we stopped for a welcome leg/bum stretch and a good breakfast.

From Calitzdorp it is 50kms to Oudtshoorn, the Ostrich Capital, a really good fast run on a straight wide road and we lapped it up, making good time. I refuelled there and then we pressed on, the R62 from Oudtshoorn parallels the N2 but on the other side of the mountains; the Bobbejaansberg, the Middelberg, the Langkloofberge, the Tsitsikamaberge and the Kareedouwberge before rejoining the N2 just before Humansdorp. Apart from the first 34km stretch the road is about 140kms almost dead straight so one can wind it up a bit and there is usually very little traffic, most motorists opting for the N2 - we wound it up!

We pulled into Port Elizabeth in the late afternoon, saddle sore but happy and spent a very pleasant night with our good friends. Early Saturday found us back out on the road for the final 300km run to East London. 110kms to go, we pulled into the Fish River Diner for a cup of coffee and in spite of the way I look I was having a great time!

The Fish River used to be the Southern border of the then Ciskei, an independant homeland and it was there many years ago that a drunk Ciskei Police officer ordered me to turn my car around and go back to where we had come from, I bit my tongue to stop arguing with him as two of his junior officers were pointing machine guns at my car where my two babies were sleeping. This was the result of a political argument between the Ciskei and the Transkei where we lived and to where we were en route, we spent the night in the hotel at nearby Port Alfred and the next morning I crept up to the bridge and seeing that the road block had been dismantled, sped through the Ciskei and home.

We spent a very pleasant two and a half days visiting friends and family and were up and about early Tuesday for the ride home, the weather looked great but it wasn't to be for long as we were soon to find out.

140kms to Port Alfred was fantastic, the road is good and the Chalumna Pass is a dream but from the other side of Port Alfred, as we got nearer to Port Elizabeth we ran into serious wind and soon it was coming from the side at gale force! I was soon battling and my shoulders were taking strain, I was hoping that once we got past Humansdorp and back onto the R62 the mountain ranges would shield us from the wind and indeed as we took that road I could see that the N2 ahead was blanketted in heavy cloud."Put your rain suit on before it starts raining" is the advice I was given and the first drops were coming down as we pulled over. From there things just got worse and once past Joubertina the heavens just dumped on us, because the road is mostly straight I was able to maintain a good speed but it was very unpleasant and by the time we pulled in to Oudtshoorn I had had enough, we could have carried on in good conditions but we found a decent guest house, a nice bar, a good restaurant and were actually quite happy.
The bed was comfortable but too many of these damn places insist on using bloody duvets, too lazy to use proper sheets and blankets they use things that were invented in bloody Switzerland, and are completely inappropriate for South African conditions...don't get me started! My feet stick out the bottom and get cold, if I try to cover my feet my shoulders get cold! I didn't have a good night but breakfast the next morning helped.It started with a lovely fruit salad and yoghurt, croissants with cold meat and cheese and then fried eggs and bacon with really good coffee - I didn't stay cross for long.
The rain appeared to have passed over as we got out on the road but man was it cold! We kept our rain suits on just to help as wind-breakers, it was 11,5 degrees celsius in the morning and as we rode back through the Huisrivier Pass there was snow on the nearby mountains!
530kms to do for the day, not too much but the cold conditions made it difficult for me to relax and I fear that some of my cornering might have been a bit jerky. We didn't have any more rain thankfully and arrived home in the mid afternoon after a wonderful long weekend and we both agreed that we would not rather have been in a car.

We notched up a round trip of 2364kms, I used 148 litres of fuel which gave me about 16km per litre which I think is damn good, especially considering that I consistently travelled at around 150kmh and sometimes more, can't wait for the next one!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Upcoming long road trip

Appologies to my readers for such a long gap between posts, I have been suffering from a bad case of internetlessness - my computer packed up last week, for some reason I couldn't log on so I took it in to the shop and have only just, late yesterday, got it back.
It was actually quite strange to be without it, I have been in the habit of sitting here for twenty minutes or so in the early morning before going to work and for the past week I haven't known what to do, I ended up watching the news channel on TV and then in the evenings I would sit in the lounge with Janet and get bored with her cooking/home channel and keep trying to wrest the remote from her. She's also glad that I have my computer back.
Tomorrow we hit the road! The weather forecast seems favourable, we may have a bit of rain to ride through initially but after that it seems clear for the rest of the weekend.
We are planning to leave home at about 15h00 and will ride the 260kms to Robertson where I have booked a room at the Grand Hotel. It's not all that grand but it is a very nice, typical small town hotel where we have stayed many times before.
Friday is the long ride, 700kms to Port Elizabeth where we will stay over with friends and then Saturday it is only 300kms to East London, it's going to be great. We have done this trip many times before and have always enjoyed it even when it rained the whole way back on one of the trips.
Coming home we will have to do two 650km trips but we will start early and just enjoy the ride.
I will obviously write it all up, please stay with me and for those of you who celebrate the Easter weekend I wish you a wonderful long weekend with lots of two-wheel time, those who do not I wish a great weekend anyway.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I meet a biking legend and we have a hot Sunday ride

We only got to go to the Phoenix bar late on Friday because I had to work during the afternoon, I really hate it when work interferes with pleasure but what can you do? It was nice to see that there were a lot of people in the bar and my friend Fungis introduced me to Des Pistorius.Now most South African bikers will know of him and I have bumped into him at many rallies but have never really had the chance to sit down and chat with him, so it was great to talk one on one with him.

Des lives in Durban but is seen at rallies literally all over the country, he rides an old Goldwing 1100 which has amazingly just registered 1,100,000kms on the clock! I remember reading in the Bike SA magazine when he was up in Gauteng the year before last that there was a party to celebrate the bike just clicking over to 1,000,000kms.

He is 77 years old and just lives biking accompanied by his sidekick Boswell. Boswell rides on a soft pad attached to the bike's fuel tank and goes absolutely everywhere with Des. When I first met Des at the Ullyses rally in Colesburg in 2002 he had Widget with him, Widget subsequently died and was given a full biker funeral, complete with his own little leather waistcoat.

Des was passing through on a 7000km trip around SA on a Vespa scooter towing a small trailer and was staying over with Fungis, unfortunately the rig was not there for me to take a photo but I asked him; "Isn't that going to be a hell of a slow trip?" and he replied, "Man I've got all the time in the world."

Tragically Des lost his lady partner in an accident after last year's Buffalo rally when they hit some badly marked road works at night, he still tears up talking about it.

He will meet up with people in the little towns and says he will just sleep where he can, I know that many bikers will offer him food and accommodation and we wished him Godspeed and Bon Voyage, I was so happy to chat with him and I let him know that I have a great deal of admiration for him.

Sunday dawned warm and calm and we decided to go for a ride, I wanted to check out whether the new fuel pump that I had had fitted has solved the problems I have been having so we headed for the little town of Piketberg about 120kms away, we wanted to explore the mountain area "Bo-Piketberg" some more. We last rode that charmingly picturesque area with Dick and Janet and Rick on the way home from a sleepover at the Eendekuil hotel last year.

Just outside of the town you take the turn off to Bo-Piketberg and the road climbs amazingly quickly with five hairpin bends up to the plateau where you are rewarded with incredible vistas of verdant farmland with a narrow ribbon of tar winding through fragrant apple orchards. We spent a lovely hour exploring that beautiful area but it was getting HOT! We cruised back down the pass and settled in at the Spur restaurant for a beer and a burger and tried to cool down on the shady veranda. The ride home was incredibly hot, I read 38 degrees celsius on the bike's computer but the good news is that the big red machine performed flawlessly so our trip to East London in two weeks time is set.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Gypsy Jokers second annual day jol

This past weekend we attended the Gypsy Jokers day jol at the Cove Hotel in Saint Helena Bay and I (very sensibly) booked us into one of the rooms for the Saturday night. We had an excellent lunch at Don and Connie's Beira Mar restaurant and then arrived at the hotel mid afternoon.

Our friend Danny, the owner of our favourite pub the "Phoenix" had his pub at the hotel and was already busy dispensing beverages. Frank arrived shortly after us and immediately got stuck in, this is how everyone knows Frank, he is continually rolling his own cigarettes and sticks the paper to his lip while he sorts out his tobacco. At rallies the youngsters think he is rolling funny stuff and often ask him for one! As the afternoon progressed more and more people arrived, someone (no names - no packdrill) again dished out the Mary-Jane cookies and Janet, with some trepidation tried one. She said it did nothing for her but she did go to bed very early and said she was continually hungry the next day! With the announcement that the food was ready the mob moved outside, the Jokers had put on two lovely lamb spit braais and the lovely aroma coming from those braais got the juices flowing. The Gypsy Jokers and their ladies certainly worked very hard throughout the afternoon to make sure that we all had a good time and plenty of food. Lovely spit braaiied lamb with potato salad and tomato went down well and made sure that the stomach was well lined. Janet in the queue with Monica, behind her is her husband Craig, they of West Coast Yamaha fame. Janet, Monica and Elise - we sure do have attractive biker women here on the west coast.

The notorious "Kreefsmokkelars" from Velddrif arrived, here's Des with Jean, the President of the club. Frank got his food a bit later, he just went and wrenched off the leg bone. The night sort of deteriorated from this point, there was one or two strippers (I can't remember if it was one or two but they/she was very good) - the band was excellent, they had an extensive repertoire of good classic rock and roll and it was an excellent night spent with good friends, like minded people (two of whom assisted me back to my room at 05h00!)

Janet woke me up at 11h00, I was too late for breakfast but we had lunch there which had me feeling a bit better. Frank also surfaced at about that time, just look at these two bleary eyed old biker scums! A great weekend.

There's nothing planned now until the Easter weekend, we have taken an extra day and are going to ride up to East London over on the East Coast, it is 1295kms from here so we are looking forward to that one. On Wednesday I am taking the big red machine down to Capetown for a service, it's running a bit rough so I must get that sorted out before we go.

Also a major problem is that my camera has packed up, I took these photos with my cellphone which is fine in daylight but it's not so good in the dark, hence no pictures of the stripper/s so that is something else I must get fixed, a blogger without a camera is not much good.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Dick sent me this one, it is accredited to a "Doctor Gregory W Frazier" and as far as I am concerned never has a truer word been spoken;
An extreme form of a psychological disorder associated with motorcycle touring, also known as two-wheel vagabond neurosis it is classified in the category of impulse control disorders.

Those disagnosed with this disorder have an abnormal impulse to travel by motorcycle, they often spend beyond their means and sacrifice lovers, jobs and security in their lust for new two-wheeled touring experiences.

Motodromomaniacs feel more alive when riding and no sooner return from a tour/rally when they start planning their next one. Much of their waking moments are spent fantasizing and talking about motorcycle touring and often their nocturnal dreams are filled.