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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

An original work of art

I happen to be friends with the artist Murray Harris and I recently commissioned him to do a rendering of my motorcycle after having seen the work that he had done for other people. I sent him a couple of photographs so that he could choose and then waited impatiently.
He burns the pictures into wood by using electric irons with various attachments after which he colours them, this is obviously quite a painstaking process and he did warn me that this kind of thing can take from eighteen to twenty hours.
After a week or so I received this tantalising preview on my phone, work in progress and already you can see the detail.
A little later and I received this picture, it's coming on.
I had to wait quite a while but eventually I got the news that the picture was ready for collection and here it is;
The attention to detail is absolutely incredible and now when I eventually get too old to ride this beauty and I have to sell it, I will always have this wonderful picture as a memory. I obviously have plenty of photographs but there is absolutely nothing like an original, one-off work of art and what biker doesn't like a picture of his baby?
Here is the finished, framed picture. It measures approximately 600mm x 450mm. If you would like to find out more, or about getting one for yourself give me a shout and I will give you details, me? I'm chuffed!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Memorial service and the local toy run - sadness and happiness

This past Sunday was a day first of sadness and then of happiness, we attended the annual memorial service for fallen bikers at the Biker church in Vredenburg. A very moving service conducted by Pastor Errol and the tears flowed when the names were read out.
By the time we arrived there were already a lot of bikers there, it was a very windy day but we weren't going to be doing any long distance. By the time the service started the parking area was crowded with motorbikes.
Pastor Errol, also a biker, with the unique pulpit for the biker church and behind him is the memorial board.
After the service the bikers gathered in a nearby parking area to await the Traffic Police escort and the arrival of more bikers, some came from as far away as Capetown and the mass ride down to the sports ground in Saldanha apparently consisted of 109 bikes.

It was an impressive sight and the Traffic Department made sure that we didn't have to stop at any traffic lights or intersections. Photos by Gerrie. (Click on photos to see them full size.) We all parked on the sportsfield and the fun day began.

First all the toys were piled into the trailer and most people brought many more than one toy, before long there was an impressive pile of toys for local children. Here Greg and Johan are two of the many who brought toys along.

Thereafter amid good music provided by DJ Splinter, one of our own club members, the games took place. Tyre throw for men, ladies (incidentally won by Mercia of the Mohicans and one of the organisers) and then the hilarious children's tyre throw, boys and girls.

On the left is Mercia with her winning throw and on the right the men's winner and unfortunately I didn't get his name, a visitor I think from Capetown, a powerful guy who just about threw the bloody thing away!

The drinking competition for children (future bikers?) was with fruit juice, lots of fun, the smaller ones just enjoyed drinking a free juice.

There were drinking competitions for the adult bikers too but Frank and I were content to nurse our juice like gentlemen (well almost!) Elize seen here taking a break with a hotdog from the food caravan and a refreshing drink.
All in all a very successful day under the auspices of the Westcoast Motorcycle Association, well done to the hard working organisers and a big thumbs up to all of the bikers who attended and donated toys for needy children. No other group gives as much to charity as bikers do.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Day 5 the ride home and a brother's wake

We saddled up in wet conditions, intermittent rain and drizzle and it was cold. I phoned a friend in Saldanha and was told that it was clear and sunny but windy on that side so I was confident we would ride out of the wet quite soon.
The shortest route home would have been N2 into Capetown and then R27 to Saldanha which is only some 220 kilometers but who wants to go the shortest way on a motorbike? The route I took turned out to be 425 kilometers and part of the way was new to Janet which she really enjoyed.
The weather started to clear by the time we reached the N2, I rode quite slowly out of Gansbaai and through to Stanford because I was feeling the cold and was thus quite tense, it took me a while to relax and get into the ride.
We passed through Riviersonderend (which I think means "River without end" or perhaps "Endless River") and took the R317 at Stormsvlei. An interesting back road that winds up through the pass on the "Riviersonderendberge" (Endless river mountains?), a rugged and dry area with huge aloes growing wild next to the road
The R317 then winds down through picturesque wine country and in this valley area we were somewhat protected from the wind, it was a lovely ride and by 10h00 we were back in the Wimpy restaurant in Robertson enjoying a welcome cup of coffee and a good breakfast.
Back on the road and now in familiar country, high speed along the R60 to Worcester and then the R43 via Wolseley and Tulbagh and by then the wind was slamming us, the Nuwekloof pass was busy and so was the 17 kilometer stretch to Hermon where I was leaning over to the left to counter the buffeting wind, not so pleasant.
Past Riebeek I decided to take the Malmesbury route to avoid the dreadful roadworks outside of Moorreesburg, it's slightly longer but there were only two stop/go sections and we didn't wait long.
It's almost 90 kilometers to the R27 and most of the time we were traveling like a yacht leaning into the wind, I was not enjoying this part very much and just wanted to get it over with so I pretty much ignored the speed limit.
I stopped at the intersection between Vredenburg and Saldanha and we chatted deciding to go in via Vredenburg to the Phoenix bar where the wake of my brother and friend Vincent Van Vuuren was taking place, we missed his funeral earlier in the day but at least we could go and pay our respects to his family and to his club members; the Gypsy Jokers.
Rest in Peace my brother, you will be missed.
Saturday we would rest, take it easy and then Sunday would be the memorial service to fallen bikers at the Biker Church with the local toy run afterwards, I'll tell you all about it.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Worcester to Hermanus

Day two was a lovely ride although it started out cold and grey. Janet did not win big at the casino unfortunately but she enjoyed her evening which was the main thing.
We rode the fifty odd kilometers to Robertson with fairly heavy traffic and had a really good breakfast at the Wimpy. By the time we had finished the weather was starting to clear and it had warmed up considerably, I could see patches of blue sky to the south and east which was where we were going.
The sixty kilometer stretch from Ashton to Swellendam has always been one of my favourite biking roads, a really good surface with wide shoulder areas and plenty of long sweeping bends. I had my new gopro camera mounted on the bike and when I tried to use it I found that the battery was flat! Still no photos to show yet.
At Swellendam we stopped for a beer and a bum stretch at a local biker pub but at that time of the day on a Tuesday there was nobody else around.
Swellendam to Caledon is 89 kilometers on the N2, one of the national highways, it is a very good road to ride on, well maintained with some really good bends and undulating hills, nearer to Caledon there are hundreds of acres of well manicured golden wheat fields stretching away into the distance, then around the next bend and over a rise and we saw huge areas dotted with large neatly rolled bales of hay.
We were taking the long way to get to Hermanus because we could. We stopped for another beer in a slightly less salubrious pub on the outskirts of the town and then headed back out for the run down to Stanford.
This is a lovely ride, we have done it before, the road twists and undulates through the wheat fields with very light traffic and soon we were taking the coastal road past the lagoon. There was a slight drizzle, overcast and the aromas coming from the fynbos alongside the road were absolutely refreshing.
I phoned my friend John and he gave me directions to their house, a couple of years since we have seen John and Tina but the friendship bond is still strong, we go back a long way to the days in the Rhodesian Police Force, the BSAP when we were on the same Detectives training course.
They offered us accommodation so I happily cancelled my previous arrangement, I'm sure that the young newlyweds were also relieved when they heard the news!

What do Rhodies do when they get together? They braai, and they do it with sadza! We went downtown for supplies and then settled down to a lovely evening of eating, drinking and of course reminiscing. It was a fantastic night and the red wine flowed like water.
That was only 295 kilometers and the next morning we only had some 50 kilometers to do to get to Gansbaai so we were not in any huge rush.
John took this photo of us leaving, we'll be back soon my brother.
Hermanus to Gansbaai is only 43 kilomteres and it has been many years since we were last there, I was amazed at how much the area around Gansbaai and Kraalbaai had grown.
We had two nights with Linda in a friend's cottage, a very pleasant place and between the town and the area we stayed there was plenty to keep us busy; some nice restaurants and a good bar across the road, one good braai before the bad weather kicked in but it was fun.

Janet and Linda at one of the harbour restaurants and some lovely fresh seafood, we spent Janet's birthday and our 43rd wedding anniversary there but unfortunately the weather turned bad and on Friday morning when we were ready to leave it was raining and the wind was pumping, not conducive to an enjoyable journey.
We're bikers!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Saldanha Bay to Golden Valley Casino, Worcester

It is Janet's birthday and our anniversary this week and it has become our custom to get away for the week and do something nice, our friend Linda wanted us to join her in Gansbaai for a couple of nights so we planned a trip around that.
It would have to include a Casino visit because that is one of Janet's favourite things so we decided on the Casino at Worcester on the first night. Plans concluded and bookings made we eagerly awaited the departure date. Monday 7th November duly arrived.
I had some work to do at the mussel farm so I wasn't able to get on the road early but seeing as we only had some 220kms to ride I wasn't in too much of a hurry.
We eventually rode out of town at 14h15 and by then the southerly wind was pumping! Not very pleasant, it was slamming into our right hand side most of the way but at least it wasn't a cold wind. Still I was happy to be out on the bike and we made fairly good time to Moorreesburg in spite of the three stop/go maintenance sections still in operation.
A welcome beer at "Die Oude Stoep" and we were on our way although I will not go that way again in a hurry, it is terrible on the motorbike because of the road works on the 22km section from the R45, alright for the guys on dual purpose bikes but it is really bad for us touring types, in future I will go via Malmesbury until the work is finished.
After Riebeek I was able to open it up a bit and Janet thought I was going too fast, more speeding fines but I think I had it under control. From the "Nuwekloof Pass" the wind died down and and I wound it up, sweeping past the numerous 18 wheelers holding up queues of cages as they avoided the toll road, hell in a cage but heaven on a bike! 
We are now at the Casino, as I write this we have had dinner and a bottle of wine, Janet is at the machines while I am in the pub drinking dry white wine, we're both happy and I hope that she wins some money, usually she's quite good at this so we'll see.
We won't be coming back to this place again in a hurry, the prices have gone up astronomically, the accommodation rate is exorbitant so enjoy this while you can you expensive casino you.
Tomorrow we will be in Hermanus on the southern cape coast where we are booked into a two bedroom cottage where we will be sharing lounge, kitchen and bathroom with a young married couple on their honeymoon! Not too sure what to make of that one although on the positive side the accommodation is cheap.
We will be spending some time there with an old BSAP (Rhodesian Police Force) comrade of mine so I'm looking forward to that.
It's nearly time for me to pack it in, I'm going to leave Janet where she is so that she can have some fun, there's football on the big screen which leaves me stone cold.
No photographs today friends, nothing much to see but I'm sure we'll take some tomorrow.
In the meantime it's great to be out travelling.

Year end function 2016 and a party of note!

What a party that was! Another very successful Meeulander function and all but seven members attended, a great turn out. We left home at around 12h30 in our bakkie because I was transporting my mussel pot, gas cooker, tray and ten kilos of fresh mussels, no way we could have gone on the bike.
On our arrival Steve had already chosen a good spot for us and had his caravan on site,

Henrico had his disco music set up and he got the party started, he played excellent music right through the night until we were eventually kicked out of the bar. When everyone had arrived I cooked up the mussels and we all made short work of the whole ten kilos!

Steve never goes to any function without his 5litre box of red wine. While we were partying the lamb was already on the spit and at around 19h00 we were called in for a really good dinner.


A bit later we were approached by the management to say we were making too much noise for other guests, could we move our party into the bar. Not sure how much difference that made but it was better in the bar anyway, the party raged on into the night.

We were eventually kicked out of the bar because they wanted to close or something stupid like that, those that survived headed back to the caravan. I'm not sure what time I went to bed but it was in the early hours of the morning.
I woke up with a fright and a dry throat at 06h40, badly in need of a couple of cups of coffee but when I eventually got downstairs we were told that we could only get coffee at 08h00, that was a long half hour!

Gradually more and more members filtered down, gathering in the garden eagerly awaiting the time for a cup of coffee, actually we had a very nice breakfast and then took our leave of everyone and headed home.
It had been a great, festive time and the rest of Sunday went by very quietly, my dancing muscles were sore so I took it easy. What a good bunch of people, I'm proud to be a Meeulander!