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, October 27, 2017

Farm murders in South Africa

I wrote a while ago about the Bikers Ride Against Farm Murders initiative which has since then gained nation wide prominence with bikers riding throughout the country raising funds and awareness. The killing continues and it is not making overseas news, our own government is doing nothing about it and there is a danger of this reaching boiling point.
People rally behind slogans like; "No Farmers, No Food." Farmers all over the country are feeling understandably insecure and vulnerable and already many have left. Farms are becoming fortified with electric fences, floodlights and the farmers are heavily armed, the Police force is severely stretched and in most cases unable to respond in time. There is a feeling of helplessness in South Africa.
In one of the latest incidents which took place here in the western cape last week intruders gained entry to the farm by raising the electric fence with logs and slipping under;
Once inside they shot the farmer, killing him in front of his terrified wife and child. The motive for these crimes is not hunger, they could take food and money easily but there is a common denominator which is the sheer brutality of the robberies, in many cases beatings of both men and women and torture.
There is a gathering which we will be attending on Monday, taking place on the R44 opposite Kanonkop before heading down the N1 to Capetown and it looks like it is going to be a big one, Farmers will be attending and the call is for people of all races to gather and rally against these murders, something needs to be done. The word needs to be out there in the international community.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

How it all started for me, this love of motorcycles

When I think back to my teenage years growing up in Salisbury in the then Rhodesia, I was introduced to the joys of two wheelers by a family friend who owned a Lambretta scooter and who was quite happy to let me ride it.
I remember roaring, albeit quite slowly, around the streets of Lochinvar, the suburb where we lived back then. In those days we didn't worry about things like crash helmets or any form of safety gear and I certainly didn't have a licence but the seed was sown and I loved riding that scooter. 
At some stage a Velosolex came onto the scene, I cannot remember who owned it but I did use it to go to school a couple of times but eventually the engine packed up and wasn't repaired.
The first bike that was actually my own was a 1962 Jawa Manet and I thought I was quite the man on that one,
I was in high school in Bulawayo then so probably my parents bought it for me, I had great fun on it, here with my old school friend John on his Honda fifty.
I found this picture on the net and it could have been a picture of my bike, the same colour and general appearance, it was a scooter with motorcycle wheels.
When I finished school and started working I used it extensively and then when I joined the BSAP in 1968 I took it to the training depot in Salisbury with me. I was stationed back in Bulawayo after the training was over and used it then but gradually it deteriorated to the extent that one day it just died on the side of the road and I walked away from it. It stood there for about a week until one day someone took it and I never saw it again.
I got my licence in the Police driving school so I became a legal rider and rode the British bikes that we had back then; the Matchless 500cc and the BSA 650cc, both of which I really loved riding. After leaving the force and moving down to South Africa I soon acquired another bike and have been riding virtually continuously since then. Now it is almost fifty years since I got my licence and I am still riding.
and just look at me now! Hopefully there's a good few years riding left in me too.

Monday, October 23, 2017

West Coast Motorcycle Association potjiekos competition

Moving on from the sadness as life inevitably does, Saturday saw the previously postponed W.M.A "Potjiekos competition take place at the Beach Club in Saldanha. It was a lovely early summer's day with a light breeze coming in off the sea and there were eventually, I think eight teams which took part. Some took it more seriously than others, erecting themed cooking areas with decorated gazebos while others took a more casual approach but all were there to have fun.
Teams had to bring their own equipment and the main ingredients of their pot, but vegetables were sponsored for all contestants by one of the local suppliers. The official start was at 14h00 with judging taking place from 17h00.
The Beach Club was a very good choice for the venue being well grassed with a lovely view and with a well stocked bar in the clubhouse, good music was supplied by Wayne of the Clique and by mid afternoon there was a good crowd in attendance. Many came for the good food which was dished out after the judging took place.

The Meeulanders were well represented by prospects Sampie and Kathy who prepared a delicious lamb tail and waterblommetjie pot.

Left; the judges had an unenviable task trying to pick a winner. Right; Antoinette and Willie sample Sampie's pot.

Left; photographer Gerrie in conversation with Greg and right; Dennis, president of the Clique and chairman of the W.M.A with his son in law who is recovering from a recent motorbike accident.
My friend and dedicated follower of this blog "Tots" enjoying the warm sunshine, whenever we see each other he's after me to "Update the blog!"  - Thanks Tots.

The afternoon progressed as did the team of judges, tasting food, sipping wine and turning down all sorts of attempts at bribery from the various teams, including, it is rumoured one contestant trying to slip a credit card into the lady's bra! 

 After the judging the people could eat and the food was good and plentiful, everyone enjoyed the day. Unfortunately there was one unpleasant incident which took place after I had left, and hopefully when most of the public had left, but this is being dealt with at club level so "No names, no packdrill", we don't need that sort of thing happening here.
My buddy Greg was there, now the organiser of the annual Polar Bear run which I hope to be a part of  from now on.
Here Dennis presents the trophy and R1000 cash prize to Johan of club Undaunted, the winners of the competition. (Photos by Thomas Ashbury)
Second prize, R500 here being presented to the Nimrods president, and
third prize, R300 went to the Highway Pirates. Well done indeed for a well organised and very enjoyable afternoon to the West Coast Motorcycle Association and to all who took part, I am sure this will become a very popular annual event.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Great photo of the mass ride

This great photo of part of the mass ride behind Mercia's hearse heading down the main street in Vredenburg to the church was posted on facebook, I had to share it. It gives a good idea of just how many bikers took part. Click on the photo to view it full size.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The funeral, Saturday 14th October

Bikers from all over the western cape as well as many from as far afield as Johannesburg, I saw the Mohicans' National President and his wife there, started gathering at the Phoenix bar from 09h00. Within minutes the huge parking area was crowded and they kept on coming, this was something the likes of which we had not seen before in Vredenburg, testament to the popularity of Mercia within the biking community.

Many, many Capetown clubs were represented with lots of them traveling up specifically for the funeral and then heading back afterwards to attend another biking event in the Cape.
The mass ride was a sombre affair, we formed up in a double column and followed the hearse slowly across town to the church, the Traffic department did an excellent job ensuring that we did not have to stop at traffic lights and intersections along the way.
 Someone said that there were 160 motorbikes in the mass ride, the streets were lined with people taking videos and photographs as the bikes proceeded slowly but noisily along, I saw women crying on the sidewalks, people with hands raised in solidarity and the tears dripped out of the bottom of my helmet. It was an incredibly moving experience.
Pastor Errol conducted the ceremony in a church filled to overflowing, people lined the walls inside and some had to stand outside. After the ceremony the coffin was placed back into the hearse which left through the columns of bikers holding helmets high in salute to our departed sister.
 Back at the Phoenix bar after the ceremony the crowd was enormous and the sombre mood lightened as Mercia herself would have wanted it.

We wish Alex the strength to overcome his loss, the amount of love and brotherhood surrounding him that day hopefully helped to ease his burden and he will not lack for support locally.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

An obituary, sad beyond words, for Mercia

We lost this beautiful lady on Saturday, she unfortunately was in a motorcycle accident which claimed her life.
Mercia was a friend of mine and I, like many hundreds of bikers, loved her. She was the life and soul of any rally or dayjol and was extremely proud of the Mohicans MCC of which she was first lady.
Mercia rode her own bike and was very supportive and encouraging of any lady riders, she was a mentor to many new lady riders in the western cape.
She, with her man Alex attended many biker functions all over the western cape as a result of which the Mohicans dayjols were always extremely well attended through reciprocal visits, Mercia is going to be sorely missed and for certain the parties will never be the same.
We extend our sincere condolences to Alex and their family, words alone are insufficient to express the deep sorrow we feel.
Mercia's funeral will be held on Saturday 14th, we will gather at the Phoenix bar in Vredenburg for the mass ride to the church leaving at 09h40, sad times. Having known her I am certain it will be a massive crowd of bikers who gather to pay their respects.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Quite a lot of biking lately as the weather improves

Last Saturday we attended the Clique westcoast dayjol at their clubhouse, the Wielhuis pub in Velddrif and what an excellent turnout they had. We arrived at about 14h30 and by then the place was buzzing, the parking area crammed with bikes and happy bikers enjoying the warm sunny weather and the company of like minded people.

The bar was of course doing a roaring trade and biker music blared from a DJ set up on stage in the garden area.
I spent a lot of time meeting and greeting old and new friends as is always the case and it was good to see a lot of representation from clubs in Capetown. People moved between the garden, the shaded pub and the games area outside where the usual entertainment was on the go throughout the afternoon; the tire throw, slow races and burnouts, and as usual our own local Kreefsmokkelaars were good for the latter;

As you all know there's not a lot of action for filming or photos in the slow races;

but isn't it great to see the ladies taking part? Back in the garden it was time for the beer downing competition and Wayne of the Mohicans won the men's one as usual, I'm sure he was just there for the free beer!

Everyone's Uncle Frank arrived, here with Dan and Gerrie and as usual it took him about forty minutes to get from the carpark to the bar because everybody wanted a piece of him. 
It was a polished, well organised event with all of the Clique members pulling their weight to ensure that things went smoothly. Most, if not all of the local clubs were represented with twelve Meeulanders there and a large contingent of different Capetown clubs. Well done and congratulations to Dennis and his team for a most enjoyable day.