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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Supporting a good cause and our own blue light escort

It has been a while since my last post, normally I'm better than this at keeping up dated but it just seems like not much has been happening. Janet says I must post some reminiscences from past rides and heaven knows there are enough of those! Maybe I will dig out some of the old photos and scan them in, that should keep me busy.
Last week I got a text message about a local awareness ride on Saturday starting in Saldanha and ending at the sports ground in Vredenburg to bring attention to the scourge of gender-based violence, "as many motorbikes as possible please" So I thought "Yes, I'm in." a good cause and something to write about.
I was there bright and early in spite of the very heavy fog, perhaps it was the fog that put the others off because there were only four bikes, very disappointed in the west coast biking fraternity I was! Plenty of guys attended in souped-up cars and it was quite a long procession that eventually headed out, we were at the front with a large contingent of Traffic Cops who seemed to be having fun with their blue lights and sirens.
We rode through Saldanha with everyone making as much noise as possible and then onto the Vredenburg road where we had to stop for a while for the Traffic Cops to sort out a minor fender-bender involving three of the cars who perhaps got a bit too enthusiastic!
Then it was down Vredenburg's Saturday morning main street with two Police vehicle clearing the way and into the parking area outside the magistrate's court where we were joined briefly by a guy on a nice white Hyabusa, he didn't stay long though.
The marchers assembled, first the women with the banners and then the Minstrel band and the idea was that they were to march all the way back along the main street to the sports ground,
 and that we were to ride behind them! We explained to the organisers that our clutches would be fried by the time we reached our destination so they made another plan, "Okay the Traffic Officers will escort you to the sports ground first then."
And so it was that three Traffic department vehicles with blue lights flashing and sirens blaring escorted three motorcycles all the way back along the main street through Vredenburg's Saturday morning crowds to the other side of town. Very cool! I peeled off after that and headed for home, it was time for a beer and something to eat and it was a lovely sunny day after the fog had burned off, more riding to be done.
I picked Janet up just before 12h00 and we rode around for a bit before deciding that it would be lunch at "Modo Mio" restaurant in Paternoster, it was quite a while since we had been there and the food had always been good.
I suppose if you're going to drive a "cage" then it might as well be a Jaguar convertible! Two nice modes of transport there.
That was my lunch, the first time I've had steak wrapped in bacon and then fried, lovely vegetables and the chips were good, it was nice enough but I won't have it again.
Janet had a pizza of which she ate only half and as I don't eat that sort of thing the other half had to be given away, it wasn't as good as the one she had at "Van Louveren" wine estate in Bonnievale, that was the best pizza Janet has ever eaten and it's going to take a long time before she finds one to match it. It was a pleasant enough lunch washed down with some cold Sauvignon Blanc and the ride home was via the "Phoenix Bar" in Vredenburg again, still not officially open but I had a game of pool and a beer.
All in all a very good day out on the big red machine and it looks like the weather's holding out for the public holiday!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

We ride to Darling for wine and the Phoenix rises from the ashes

Outside the gate raring to go. What a fantastic day! Even though it is getting close to winter today was hot and calm and absolutely perfect for riding, during our customary spa bath with the usual chilled bottle of JC LeRoux sparkling Sauvignon Blanc we discussed our options. Having said this, I don't want you thinking that we are a couple of "pisscats", it's only two small glasses of bubbly each. mind you, come to think of it I don't give a damn what you think, it's a wonderful way to start the weekend.
Anyway I digress, we decided on a ride through to the Darling Cellars to purchase some more of their "Black Granite" Shiraz which is on special at R50 for a three litre box. This is their export quality Shiraz which was over produced so they boxed it and put it on special, only at the cellar.
You may think that riding all the way to Darling Cellars, some 86 to 90k's, to purchase the wine is a bit of a waste of money, but no it's not, that doesn't even come into the equation, the ride is for fun and fun it was and we bought four boxes to make it worthwhile.
A fast ride down the R27 brought us to the turnoff, 15k's to Darling on quite a bumpy road so we cruised along. Through the town and then out onto the Malmesbury road where there are long "Stop/Go" roadwork sections, once that road is completed it will be a nice ride because that used to be a terrible road.
We made our purchases and then returned to Darling for a very pleasant lunch at "Brig's Barn", two beers, two glasses of wine, two mains and a coffee came to a very reasonable R225 including the gratuity. I had a very good sirloin steak, egg and chips and Janet had a homemade chicken pie with chips, we could certainly go back there again.
The ride home was just as pleasant and I cruised around Vredenburg and Saldanha checking out the watering holes to see if their were any bikers out and about, no sign of any! 

Talking about watering-holes, our "Phoenix Bar" may soon be back in action, last Friday we were invited to a party at the new Phoenix Bar, which is not yet open, but was hosting a birthday party for Robbie, one of the Gypsy Jokers who had turned fifty.
Here's Robbie with Anna and her daughter. The place is looking great and it looks like it won't be long before we have our biker joint again.
It is also going to function as the Gypsy Jokers club house as well, I will just be happy to have a place where the biking fraternity can gather, we've missed it.
Stay on two wheels and stay safe, remember time spent out on two wheels is not deducted from your lifespan.

Monday, April 1, 2013

2013 Buffalo Rally - part three

Sunday morning and the sound of muted voices woke me from a fitful sleep at around 06h00, my mattress and sleeping bag combination is not the most comfortable place so it hadn't been a good night but I had managed some sleep. I stuck my head out of the tent and saw that the sky was grey and cloudy but there was no rain and it was calm, it looked like a good day for riding.
People were already busy striking camp and loading bikes and bakkies, time to get up and at 'em.
In the cool grey light of pre-dawn I wandered down to the coffee tent for a hot cuppa, greeting people on the way, all around me tents were being packed and gear stowed and some early-birds were already riding out.
Back at camp I was surprised to see that Frank was already surfacing, that is unusual for him, normally his is the only tent left in a campsite at around 10h00!
Off to the coffee tent, what a terrible sight in the early morning! As I didn't have to pack up a tent my bike was packed and loaded early and I stayed around to help Mike and Barbara pack Anton's tent and gear but soon I was itching to get on the road,
 Everyone I ride with knows that after a rally I like to get going on my own, I love the homeward ride because I stop when and where I want to and I ride fast, also if possible I like to meet my lady for lunch. I went around saying goodbye to everyone, Hannes was also pretty much ready to go,
It had been an enjoyable rally and it was exactly 07h00 as I rode out of the gate and pointed the big red machine in the direction of home some 570kms away. My first stop was 50kms along in Albertinia where I refueled and then I settled in for the ride planning my breakfast stop in Barrydale. The sky was still overcast but it wasn't cold and there was no wind, it looked like it was going to be perfect riding weather.
I stuck to around 140 to 150kmh on the N2 and at that time of the day there was very little traffic, it wasn't long before I was riding through the town of Riversdale looking for the road out to "Garcia's Pass", we have ridden that lovely road many times before and it was particularly beautiful in the early morning,
 I pretty much had the road to myself and revelled in the excellent winding and undulating surface, the mist and cloud shrouded mountains and the chill morning air, it was biking at its best and I was in biker heaven.
I had to stay vigilant for baboons foraging in the verges or collecting insects off the road but generally they scampered out of my way well in time,
approaching the R62 I noticed unusually dark almost emerald green grass along both sides of the road for several kilometres, it looked almost as if it had been planted by someone, not sure what that is but it was striking.
After about 225 kilometers of very enjoyable riding I arrived in Barrydale and had a refreshing stop and a very good breakfast, I sat for about three quarters of an hour relieving sore saddle muscles and then got back on the road with some 345kms to go, excellent riding ahead
as I have already mentioned the R62 is one of my favourite rides and again it didn't disappoint, I maintained a steady 160kmh and the big red machine ate up the kilometres.
Running down into Montagu, the home of the famous hot springs resort I still had plenty of fantastic riding ahead of me through Ashton and Robertson and then the wonderful 50km stretch to Worcester. From there it was road works to Wolseley where I stopped again for a refuel and a leg and bum stretch. 
After Wolseley the road has been resurfaced and widened to allow some fast and enjoyable riding past Tulbagh, through the "Nuwekloof Pass", past Hemon and a rapid run to the twin villages of Reebiek Kasteel and Reebiek West, both of which are popular breakfast run venues.
Home is just an hour away from there and I was doing well, I cruised through the two villages giving an occasional wave to the bikers in the myriad breakfast venues and then I was accelerating out the other side and heading for home.
I arrived outside my garage at exactly 13h00, six hours to do a 570km ride including two fuel stops and a breakfast, what a blast! I said before that I wouldn't do another "Buff", I find them too crowded and impersonal. I much prefer the smaller rallies but I probably will go again if all my mates are going, we'll see.
I wanted to go to this rally because it was exactly thirty years after my first Buff in Port Elizabeth in 1983, something of a personal milestone and also my faith in the big red machine was restored, she performed flawlessly.
I'm not sure when the next rally will be but there will be plenty more riding, stay safe out there!