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.

Monday, March 25, 2019

I join an impromtu run at the last minute and have great day

Saturday morning I lazed in bed a bit, no plans for the day just the way Janet likes it. I got up around 07h30 and made some coffee then went and turned my computer on. I don't have facebook on my phone, just "whatsapp" so I don't see group notices that are posted on our facebook page until I'm at my desk.

There Rinette had posted yesterday that they wanted to go for a ride to Riebeek Kasteel for a brunch, who wants to go with? Leaving from Juffroushoogte at 09h30. I went through to the bedroom where Janet was still happily contemplating her day; pedicure, nails, tea and "Candy Crush" with maybe a bit of her favourite series on TV later - "Hey Babe there's a ride out to Riebeek for brunch, shall we go?"  She said I'll miss my home so I headed off alone, with apologies to Bob Seger.

Under a leaden sky with the temperature at 17,5C I rode through to our meeting spot and as I turned into the gate I could see light rain just ahead, cars coming towards me had their windscreen wipers on. I had a coffee as the others arrived and soon we were nine on five motorbikes roaring out in our customary staggered formation up the R45. It was still grey overcast but there was no sign of the rain and even as we turned onto the road towards Moorreesburg the sky was clearing with the promise of a lovely day.
We were so chilled we didn't even care about the Stop/Go, we rode up to the front of the queue because we can and waited patiently. At least they are working on our roads, not like some of the other provinces in this troubled country of ours.

From there through to Moorreesburg where we pulled into a vacant parking lot next to the garage for a smoke break/leg stretch and while Willie filled his tank we chatted,

and sipped Anton's fine old brandy from his flask, lovely stuff! I have a flask full of good whisky in my other jacket which I hardly ever wear anymore, hang on...............(rushes off to change the flask over to the leather jacket pocket.)

From there a pleasant cruise, just short of 40km to Riebeek Kasteel and the temperature was just up into the mid twenties with very little wind, really a perfect riding day, all we really needed to make it perfect was a few corners! We parked our bikes in the central square and wandered over the road to "Mama Cucina's", I hadn't been there before so it would be interesting.
A pleasant rustic looking place in the centre of the little town, as is usual for a Sunday there were plenty of bikes parked outside the many restaurants.

Not many people when we arrived just after 11h00 but it filled up rather quickly. They have a rather limited menu and I found it difficult to choose something appealing, they do not serve chips here and I eventually settled for "Pulled Springbok Lasagna" which was rather disappointingly small when it arrived;
I'm a big boy and I like my food, this was more like a large starter than a main meal but I must say that it was very tasty. At R120 I'm not sure that I will be back there in a hurry, dare I say these are more like ladies portions?

Willie is also a big boy and he had the same as me, looking a bit dubious there, Sooi had "Osso Bucco" made with oxtail which he also declared to be delicious.
We had a great time, after all the company makes up for any minor concerns and by the time we left the place was buzzing so maybe it's just me.

We decided to take a different route home so we headed back to the N7 where we said goodbye to Willie and Antoinette, they had family business to take care of in Stellenbosch. The rest of us thundered up the National road some 30kms and turned off just short of the town of Piketburg where Anton pulled into a layby for the leg stretch - and for Sooi to have a smoke.

Sixty km along the very pleasant R399 and soon we were parking up outside the Wielhuis bar in Velddrif for our last dop. We rode home together down towards Vredenburg with Anton and Heine peeling off at the Saint Helena Bay turn off, Sooi and I rode together into Saldanha and that was it, a very good day out on the bike with lovely people. Sometimes these impromptu, unplanned rides turn out to be the best, thanks guys. A 273km round trip.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

7th Book Club meeting since inception in September 2018

A fine bunch of bikers on our seventh Book Club meeting and we have gained two new members, Willie was unable to attend being away on business. From left Anton, Daan, Murray, Johan, Sooi who has just returned from an extended overseas visit and myself.
Johan is on his second meeting now and will qualify for the coveted "Book Club" breast patch on the next one. We were very happy also to welcome Sooi on his first run. We met at the Phoenix bar as usual where the discussions started, generally light hearted banter interspersed with a bit of bullshit.
 It was a lovely day for riding so the suggestion was to head through to the Hopefield Hotel, 34 km along the R45 and thereafter take the back link road through to Velddrif. We were so chilled that we didn't even mind the Stop/Go, we chatted some more while waiting for it to open.
We lined the bikes up opposite the Hopefield Hotel, there was only one other person in the bar so they must have been very happy to see six bikers walk in.
Six thirsty bikers boost the bar takings.
From there it is 44km through to Velddrif along the link road which runs along the Berg River, although the river can't be seen from the road it is a lovely biking road since it was resurfaced a couple of years ago and we cruised along at a comfortable 140kmh, enjoying the calm weather and just being out on a bike.
The Wiehuis bar, home of The Clique Mcc
Sooi and Anton in deep discussion

We weren't sure if the Wielhuis bar would be open on Wednesday afternoon, it is the home of the Clique Mcc so we like to support our brothers, happily it was open so we pulled in. It is a very pleasant pub owned by our brother Dennis, a welcoming oasis in the little town.
One drink there and we hit the road again, a 28km ride to the Gull and Bell in Saint Helena Bay for the A.B.F. I hadn't been there for a year or so and it was nice to see that it had been changed and improved, very neat and nicely arranged for groups like our club. Something to consider for after our annual Tin Run maybe.

Thirsty Springbok - Book Club emblem?
The consensus seems to be that the Book Club is a good idea, it gets the guys together riding bikes and talking crap with the occasional drink thrown in and I don't think we are overdoing it. We are all mature and experienced bikers and we do not take chances, long may it continue.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Back to the Westcoast Farm Stall and another great meal

After our enjoyable breakfast run and my meal I think Janet was a bit sorry that she had not ordered the same as I had, she also likes that particular meal; 'offal' which is made from the stomach and intestines, in this case of  a sheep or lamb. Perhaps it would be appropriate here to tell you how we came to like a meal that a lot of people wouldn't consider eating. This is more for my overseas readers more than the local ones because offal is popular here to a certain extent.

We happened to move into the then independent homeland the Transkei in the Eastern Cape during mid 1977 and lived in the small village "Idutywa" which is on the N2 close to Butterworth until mid 1987. We did various jobs there, met a lot of lovely people during that time, many of whom are friends to this day. It was during this period that I learned to speak the local Black language; "IsiXhosa" which has stood me in very good stead, to this day I am one of very few "Whities" who can speak the Black language in this area.

There we were first introduced to Offal, or as the locals call it "Nqweme" (and the 'Q' is a hard click. made with the tongue on the roof of the mouth.) The locals do not clean the entrails as well as others might so the flavour can be quite harsh but we came to love it and the rule was that if our staff wanted to use our stove to cook their food they had to make enough for us as well.

After we left the Transkei in 1987 and moved around to the western cape we missed the meal and started looking for places that served it, albeit in a "less flavoursome" manner, and so it was that I was happy to find it on the menu at the West Coast Farmstall.

To get back to my story then; on Tuesday the electricity for our area and Vredenburg went off at 08h00 and was supposed to be off for the whole day, what the hell do you do if there's no power? You get on the bike and head off somewhere, that's what. I suggested to Janet that we head down to Yzerfontein and have lunch at "Lula's Portuguese retaurant" on the beachfront. They do a very good Peri-Peri chicken that I'm hooked on, so off we went.

It was a lovely day, mild and warm, a light breeze and I held the bike back at 120kmh, relaxed and loving it. It's a nice enough road, the R27 but it's boring, soon I was blipping down through the gears for the turn down to the coast but I pulled over to the side after the turn and stopped to talk to Janet; "Would you rather like to go to the Farmstall to try the Nqweme?" I asked, knowing that she likes it too. She agreed that she would so we pulled in there, perhaps I would have it again.
Pleasant, shady garden
Old biker in a rustic area

Janet's happy with her choice
One of the pleasing parts of this meal is that you usually get, included in your pot, either the stomach lining made into a bag containing the brains which I got on Sunday or you get the whole tongue which I got this time. This is real excitement akin to winning the lottery, Janet got the stomach bag this time.
If the pot is properly made there will also be a lot of ankle/foot bones with skin and gelatin intact which are a delight to suck, the pot is usually served with samp meillies (corn) our favourite or in this case with rice. We both thoroughly enjoyed our meal washed down with a nice bottle of local Sauvignon Blanc.

Before we left we wandered around the extensive aviary having a look at the exotic birds and then it was time to head for home.
We will be back, that's for sure and for the not so adventurous eaters they have a good menu, steaks, burgers, pizza etc. and the prices are very reasonable.
This has made me think about another "Skaapkop" (Sheep's head) meal though, long time since I've had that. Cheers for now, ride safe.

Monday, March 11, 2019

March Breakfast run, a tea break disaster as my memory lets me down

Our scheduled breakfast run for March was to be to Velddrif to support the Mac's Mc jol at a pub in the harbour, this had been scheduled as a full weekend event so we were going to show support. We gathered at our usual venue; Juffoushoogte for coffee and eventually we were sixteen in number on ten bikes, a pretty good turnout.

It turned out that the event closed early, the traffic department had been victimizing bikers with road blocks directly outside the venue all weekend to the extent that a lot of guys left and went home on Saturday. There has been a lot of dissatisfaction with the traffic department since the weekend so the Mac's and the West Coast Motorcycle Association are going to have discussions with them. Velddrif businesses such as other pubs, bottle stores, general dealers and accommodation venues lost potential and much needed revenue due to their heavy handed actions. It will be interesting to see what develops from this.

So, where to go for breakfast? A discussion ensued during which Metjie suggested the West Coast Farm Stall on the R27, about half way to Capetown. It had been a long time since we had been there, some good reports and some bad had been heard but we agreed to give it a go and so it was that we roared off in staggered formation down the R27 instead of up it. Ten bikes makes up a nice group and in fact there were quite a lot of bikes on the road that morning, lots on their way home from Velddrif it appeared.

It was pleasant cruise, no hurry and I led the group into a convenient layby about halfway to our destination for the obligatory "tea break" stop,

and then disaster!  Everyone was standing around looking at me, I still didn't catch on until Murray asked me "Where's the tea?", I was supposed to have brought the tea this time, I really didn't remember - old age creeping in! This is going to cost me. Anton had my back, he stepped in and passed his flask around so we could all sip some fine old Brandy,

Murray has a sip, Floors looks worried
Gerda has a taste while Kathy recovers from hers.

 Once we had depleted Anton's flask we saddled up for the rest of the ride, only about ten minutes but it was a very mild day, lovely to be out on the bikes although Sampie was having a bit of trouble with his bike misfiring.

The outside dining area behind the West Coast Farm Stall  is very pleasant, shady with big round tables made from old cable drums, these have also been cleverly used for shade and have been artistically decorated, altogether a very comfortable and rustic atmosphere.
Everyone seemed happy with their food choices, certainly the service was good and the prices are very reasonable. I saw that one of my favourites; "offal potjie" was on the menu so I ordered that and was very pleased with my choice even if it was a bit "too clean" for my taste.
Slightly curried
The stomach lining with the brains

Let me explain; they take the stomach lining and make a small bag or pouch out of it into which goes the brains and other small tasty morsels which would otherwise be lost in the "stew". Finding this in your pot is akin to winning the lottery! My meal was only R120 and I will certainly be back for more. Well done Metjie for an inspired choice.

After a very pleasant morning and a beer or two we set off back up the R27, Sampie's bike was running very rough by then and in the true biker spirit Metjie and Johan stayed back with him to make sure that he and Kathy got home alright. We had an Absloute Bloody Final in Langebaan after which I dropped Janet at home and went with Murray to the Captain's Cabin. It had been a good day.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

February was a busy biking month, the weather's getting better

Various reasons for not having posted in a while, and quite a lot has happened, quite a lot of local riding even though most of the time the weather has been almost unbearable hot, especially when one has to don riding gear. I have not posted anything since Valentine's Day, must be the romantic in me?
March usually starts the more moderate weather and so we will surely start riding more.

In the interim we have had a couple of breakfast runs, two Book Club meetings, one of which was unfortunately to attend the memorial service of a young biker who was killed in an accident. Six of us went on a run to Capetown to visit our sister in hospital and Janet and I have done a couple of local cruises, so as I said; quite a lot has happened.
We had nothing on on Sunday 17th so I suggested a ride, as it was hot we decided to stay local and headed through to the "Sand Bar" pub and restaurant in Langebaan, arriving there at about 11h30. We had a beer, I wanted to try their pork ribs but the kitchen only opens at 13h00 (?), we didn't want to wait that long so we decided to go to our old favourite standby, Juffroushoogte. Good choice!
The place was buzzing and the food is consistently good, we sat in the shade and enjoyed our lunch.
A generous portion of spare ribs
Janet's burger was very good

On 20th February Johan joined us for his first Book Club run and unfortunately it was the day of the memorial service for a brother; Vernon Van Schalkwyk who had died in an accident. We took part in the mass ride which must have consisted of at least forty bikes, to the venue in the harbour where he used to work and where a huge crowd of friends and family had gathered. It was obviously a sad and sombre affair.
After the mass ride to the harbour
and we trudge up to the venue

After the ceremony we headed around to the Captain's Cabin for a much needed ice cold beer. Revived and refreshed we rode through to the Phoenix pub for an A.B.F. and split up, heading for home.
2nd left, new member Johan.

Captain's Cabin afterwards

Earlier in the month one of our sisters, Stefanie who has been stoically battling various problems for what seems like ages was rushed to hospital with liver problems and Sampie suggested a group ride down to visit her, six of us met at Juffroushoogte after deciding to make a lunch trip out of it as we could only see her in the afternoon.
We always have a tea break stop halfway
parked up at Eden on the Bay, Blouberg Strand

We went to a well known and very busy restaurant; "Saint's" at Eden on the Bay but I won't be going there again, disappointing food and wine at tourist prices there are far better places than that. We spent some time with Stefanie and Henrico as well as Daan and Bev at the hospital and then had a very pleasant ride home.

Wednesday 27th turned out to be a very nice day so Janet and I went for another ride, this time to the nearby little town of Darling, some sixty odd kilometres away. I cruised down the R27 at the speed limit as we weren't in any hurry and we arrived at the Darling Motorcycle Works just before lunchtime.

According to social media sites it is a popular place with bikers and they do good burgers but unfortunately for us, only on weekends. We'll have to make a plan.

It is a busy workshop doing services and repairs as well as buying, restoring and selling bikes and there were many gorgeous old bikes on the floor for sale, if I only had money! The owner Shane Uren is an old school biker still involved in racing and an interesting guy to talk to. We'll be back!

We went around the corner to Brig's Barn where the burger was only R75 and much better than the one at Eden-on-the-bloody-touristy-bay and the local wine was reasonably priced.
After that a pleasant cruise home and that, my friends was February. Roll on March, we're starting with a breakfast run. Damn it's good to be a biker, ride safe.