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.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Meeulanders 2014 tin run

The Meeulanders motorcycle club members were at it again yesterday, back on another charity run as bikers all over the world are wont to do. This time they occupied space outside four of the larger grocery stores; the Spar in Saint Helena Bay, the Pick and Pay in Vredenburg, the Checkers at the West Coast Mall and the Pick and Pay at the Laguna Mall in Langebaan.
Bikers giving up their time to collect food for needy people. I have posed this question before; how many other types of clubs or groups do this? Is it only bikers? I think so.
I had the best job; riding around to the different locations to take photographs! It was a sunny day but rather cold and windy with the last few chilly tendrils of Winter mixed in with the refreshingly clean Spring fragrances.
 Div., the Club President, Caro and Gerrie had set up at the Saint Helena Bay Spar by the time I got there and were waiting for the business to pick up, I stayed with them for a little while and then headed back to Vredenburg to the Pick and Pay,
There I saw Frank, Charmain, Craig and Monica with Alex and his good lady, they had also just set up and were awaiting donations. The management had allowed them to park the motorbikes close by which is a good way to attract attention.
From there I rode the short distance to the West Coast Mall,
 where things were already on the go and two trolleys were already carrying a fair amount of tinned food. From there I had a nice blast through to Langebaan and the Laguna Mall, by then it was around 11h00 and the place was buzzing.
the "Powers-that-be" had allowed the guys to park their motorbikes inside the passageway and this was real attention grabber, as you can see the two trolleys were well loaded and Soy had already taken one full bag out to the vehicle!
the mall was busy and the customers were in a generous mood, apparently some just donated cash which the members then used to buy tins to put in the trolleys.
Well done guys and girls, you Rock! Last year the club managed to collect an amazing 2,200kgs of food which was shortly thereafter handed over to the Round Table Association for distribution, from what I saw they were well on their way to a similar amount, ya gotta love bikers!
Part two of this story will be the tally-up and the hand over and I'll tell you all about it.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Meeulanders breakfast run to Tulbagh

The weather Gods promised us a perfect biking day; clear sunny skies with very little wind and they weren't wrong, the massive wind generators outside of Hopefield were all standing dead still in the fog patches as we rode through, but I'm jumping the gun a bit here.
We arrived at the Engen One-Stop just before 08h30 and there were already quite a few bikers there, I refuelled while Janet went in to buy a famous Wimpy coffee and a hot chocolate.
 Behind my 2006 RT when I parked was one of the R1150's, the model before mine, it looked to be in very nice condition.
It was being ridden by one of the guys who was thinking of buying it, he was test riding it first.
While we stood around chatting and drinking our beverages the other riders arrived, eventually thirteen bikes with twenty people roared out of the garage parking area and headed off towards Malmesbury.
We rode through several isolated fog patches where the temperature dipped down into the low teens, especially in the river crossings. It was a lovely calm day and it wasn't long before the sun started warming us, I was using my heated grips as I hadn't used my full gloves so my fingers lost feeling every now and then and even though I don't feel the cold like mere mortals do, I needed a bit of help.
Div maintained a steady pace in front, pulling us along at around 140kmh until we neared the sweeping bends approaching the N7, then the front guys opened up and I had to increase my speed to 170kmh just to try and keep up. We had previously agreed to gather at the service station in Malmesbury for a smoke break and a leg stretch so everyone knew where we were going.
From there it was a very pleasant ride through the wine farming area, down past Riebeek and through to Hermon, we hung a left onto the R44 for the 17km stretch through to the "Nuwekloof Pass". This is normally a very busy road with lots of heavy vehicles making a big loop to avoid the toll tunnel near Paarl but thankfully on a Sunday it is much quieter. We were able to maintain a fast pace, sweeping past the few vehicles that were plodding along.
Through the Pass and then the left towards the quaint little town of Tulbagh, the scene of a rather violent earthquake many years ago, I briefly hoped that there wasn't another one due as we lined our machines up outside the "Kuierbossie restaurant" in the main road.
They had organised tables and benches for us on the sunny verandah and we were all soon happily relaxed with our drinks, here Mike and Barbara are chatting with Heinie and Gerda.
Floors enjoying his rum and coke while we waited for our food.
Actually it turned out to be quite a long wait, more like a lunch than a breakfast but the staff and the owner were very pleasant and attentive. I'm sure it's difficult catering for a large group and trying to make sure that everything is ready at the same time. No problem it was good sitting out in the sun enjoying the banter and the beer. I was very hungry by the time the food arrived but it was worth the wait,
I had Waterblommetjie Bredie with rice and pumpkin fritters, the meat was Springbok and there was plenty of it too, a delicious meal which I really enjoyed especially since I haven't had Waterblommetjie since the days when we were involved in the Seafood braai restaurant business about 1000 years ago.
Everyone seemed happy with their meals and it didn't matter that it was lunchtime, the camaraderie was especially enjoyable and the time sped by, soon it was time to head back. People made their own plans for the return journey, some going back the way we had come, some of us opting to go back via Mooreesburg and stop for a beer at the wooden deck
We were on our own all the way through to Mooreesburg, just cruising along through the now nicely warm afternoon sun enjoying the solitude and the smooth purring of the big red machine. Between Riebeek and Mooreesburg I felt Janet sleeping on the back as her helmet occasionally tapped into the back of mine.
The wooden deck restaurant was closed! How can they close on a Sunday? There's lots of passing bikers looking for a drink, we pressed on, cruising at a steady 80 to 90kmh along the short bumpy and potholed stretch to the R45, here five of the guys caught up and passed us heading for the Hopefield hotel for a beer. Disappointingly that was also closed, dilapidated and dreary it looked like it had been closed for a long time.
Now the guys were getting agitated and they set off at speed, I had trouble keeping up and we made seriously good time, low flying towards Vredenberg where we eventually found the bikes parked outside "Juffroshoogte".
 Soon most of the group came in, we stayed long enough for an Absolute Bloody Final and then called it a day, we said our goodbyes and headed home. It had been a great day out on the bike, most enjoyably spent with a great bunch of people and I'm glad we have joined the club.
Like bikers everywhere the Meeulanders are community minded, coming up on 27th September is the annual tin run where members stand outside the local supermarkets in Vredenburg, Saldanha and Langebaan to collect food products for needy people, and also on the cards is a dog food collection for someone they met recently who is struggling to maintain an animal shelter nearby. Good people, bikers.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Polar Bear run, 6th annual run in sunny weather, one heck of a jol

After a bit of confusion as to whether the Polar Bear run was going to take place or fade into obscurity after five years, Greg jumped in to save the day and the run. It was late because some of us were not available at the end of July and it was a bit short notice for some of the guys but what a pleasure having a warm and sunny biker outing! I'm so tired of the rain now and last year's run was a wet one.
It was even a relaxed meeting time; 10h00 at the Langebaan Engen garage, I arrived a bit early to refuel and get some coffee, Greg and Frank were already there and Shawn arrived shortly thereafter.
We waited until way after 10h00 and still the others hadn't arrived, I suggested to Greg that maybe they were waiting at the other Engen garage, the one in Velddrif?
So he phoned and sure enough that's where they were, "Ok take the river road and we'll meet you outside Hopefield." and off we went.
 In the end it was after 11h00 by the time the others arrived because Fungis had had problems with a deflating front tyre so he and Graeme had turned back, they would meet us later at the hotel. We were eventually seven guys on seven bikes and we roared up the hill out of Hopefield, I took point and kept the speed at 130 to 140kmh so as to keep the group together, this was to prove frustrating to Shawn on more than one occasion. Eventually he and I broke away on two occasions to do some speeding.
Fantastic riding weather, there was a little bit of wind near and around Malmesbury, but not enough to ruin the ride. It was just so good to be out on the bike and the comments from the other guys at the stops made it plain that they felt the same way.
The first stop was in Malmesbury to let the group re-gather, some needed fuel and some needed to smoke, in fact just as we got back on the road two of the group missed a turning, Frank and Gideon took the longer route to Wellington but at least we had all agreed on a stop at the Gecko Lounge for beer so they knew where we were going.
The run through to Wellington was great, we were in wine country and the road wound and undulated its way through the verdant green winelands, it was proving very difficult to keep the speed down and Shawn flashed past me, obviously the cold beers were calling out to him.
Five of us pulled into the Gecko Lounge parking area but the other two were not far behind because we were still busy with the first bitterly cold beer when they arrived.
 Here Frank and Gideon enjoy their first drink while we exchanged stories about the ride thus far, from there it was only about 20kms to the turn off to Gouda and we agreed that we would pull over and wait at the turn off, this gave Shawn and I the opportunity to do some fast riding and he and I wound it on, flashing past the slower traffic on the long, almost straight stretch from Wellington to the Gouda turnoff, we both really enjoyed that and in fact we didn't have to wait long at all for the others to join us, obviously they all wanted to ride!
Hands up those of you in the western cape who have been to the Gouda Hotel before? I didn't even know there was a hotel in that dusty little dorp but Greg suggested we check to see if there's anywhere for a dop in Gouda, we still had plenty of time so why not? What a pleasant surprise!
There's a very festive and brightly decorated pub there, the people were friendly and the beers were ice cold, in fact there was batchelor party on the go when we got there! Two drinks, or was it three? Who's counting? We saddled up and headed down the final stretch towards Porterville but first there was the traditional cheese and wine stop to take care of, and it was a pity that Graeme wasn't with us because it had developed from the very first Polar Bear Run when we stopped in a laybye for a leg stretch on the way to Sutherland when he pulled a bottle of wine and some cheese from his pannier and shared it with all of his brothers.
 It was an extremely pleasant stop on the side of the road, I put my bike on its centre stand and used it as a serving table and we gathered around for some banter in the sun with wine, cheese and biscuits, really people, what could be more pleasant than that?
We spent nearly an hour there just enjoying the company and the repast, none of us had had anything to eat until then, so it went down well. From there it was forty kms to Porterville and what a fast forty that was! Everyone seemed to have the need for speed!
We lined the bikes up outside the Porterville Hotel and went inside, apparently we would have to wait about an hour to check in and to take the bikes through to the rear parking area as the owner was not yet there, what to do in the meantime? Head for the bar!
Frank wasted no time and got chatting to some ladies and then they left, quite quickly, better luck next time buddy!
The party got going, by then everyone had arrived including Des, Fungis and Graeme and all of the dirt bike riders who had taken their own off road route and arrived looking dusty and dishevelled but happy, we were fourteen or fifteen revellers by then and the bar was starting to cash in.
The hotel staff provided us with an exceptional buffet supper of roast lamb, potatoes, vegetables, fritters with a delicious mussel starter and desserts - well done guys we needed that. After dinner the party raged on.
Frank's number was drawn as the "lucky" number for one of the Polar Bears, the ice challenge!
Ten minutes like this! He won a meal for two at a restaurant but better luck was to come! A lovely young lady who was visiting for the evening took pity on poor Frank and offered to warm his feet up for him!
How lovely, the only problem was that by then Frank had no feeling in his feet!
 What a lovely young lady she was, a breath of fresh air, so much so that before she left Des awarded her one of the prizes. How nice it is to have people like her brighten up a party, well done young lady, we all loved you.
The party raged on, most of the guys faded out by midnight or 01h00 but not us, Oh no, we partied on. We were informed that the bar would close at 02h00 but in fact it didn't and we were given the opportunity to buy more drinks up until 02h30 so we did!
Frank danced with the lovely young barmaid.
 Frank danced with Shawn, no gender discrimination at our parties!
This photo was taken by the barmaid just before she closed the bar, last men standing, we stocked up and moved outside. Some people smoked a bit of weed and we suffered abuse from those trying to sleep but we ignored them. It was 05h00 when we eventually called it a night, what a party it had been.
This is the sight I woke up to when Des banged on our door at 09h00! "Come on get up, Greg's doing the Polar Bear ride!" I struggled out of bed to face the day.
 Greg's number came up for the ride, he was lucky it was a warm morning because you have to ride up the main street in jocks and boots and by then there was quite an audience, well done Greg!
After a really good buffet breakfast I headed for home, I was feeling rough, lots to drink and maybe just a little bit of the weed?!
Thankfully two years ago I had suggested that we find places close to home for the party so that the Sunday ride would be short, too many times we had ridden up to six hundred kms home on the Sunday and it wasn't so good!
I rode down to the N7 at Pikketburg, sped along the N7 to Mooreesburg and then home along the R45, after a very pleasant ride I was home by 11h30. Another great Polar Bear run with a great bunch of guys, what more could you ask for? By Tuesday I would be feeling alright.