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, October 28, 2019

W.I.M.A rally Cradock March 1982

As soon as I got back into biking, when I bought my Yamaha 1.1 I decided to start going to some rallies and the first one I chose was the Woman's International Motorcycle Association rally in the pretty coastal town of Port Alfred, a distance of some 280km from where I lived at that time. This was back in 1982 and as I booked accommodation at the hotel Janet was happy to come with me although she didn't spend much time at the rally!

Janet stopped accompanying me to rallies when I started camping at the rally sites, which I did for two main reasons; firstly I enjoyed being where the action was and secondly I was (still am to a slightly lesser extent) a party animal and I didn't want to be riding my bike late at night under the influence of alcohol.

The Woman's International Motorcycle Association was established in 1950 in the USA, I do not know if they are still active in South Africa, I was not able to get much information from Google but the rallies were not restricted to women, we were welcome to attend. It was not a very big rally but it grew in popularity and by the time I attended my third one it was a lot bigger.

This dude has a pistol on his hip, he's 37 years older now, I wonder if he's reading this? Leave a comment if you recognize yourself in these pictures.
You often see this at rallies
and there are often minor falls

Evening in the main tent
drinking beer

This guy wearing a BSAP cap wasn't an ex member
The mass ride took place around the town and the harbour and the following year the W.I.M.A rally was held in Cradock, I don't know if they were not wanted back in Port Alfred but I attended two more and was accompanied by more riding friends on those, along with wives. As a first rally it wasn't too bad and I was to go on and attend many, many more over the years.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Looking back to years gone by

My love of motorbikes goes way back to my teenage years but I only bought my first motorbike in 1973 in Durban when I was 24 years old, that was a Suzuki GT750 "Water buffalo", it was second hand but in lovely condition.

My first brand new bike was a Yamaha 1.1 shaft which I bought in 1981 for the princely sum of R3,500 if I remember correctly, man that was an exciting day!
 We lived in a little village in the Eastern Cape from 1977 until 1987 and there was only one other bike owner, my mate Dirk so obviously we used to ride together whenever we could, usually on weekends because we were both working.
Our children were very young then so our biking was limited but our wives loved the bikes too.

When we could get away for a day, thanks to the kindness of friends looking after the children there were only two directions to go, these being road bikes it was either north up the N2 towards Umtata or South towards East London, it got a bit boring.
 It wasn't long before I added a couple of scramblers, we had lots of bush tracks and dirt roads to play on.
I also used to "tootle" around the village with the children on the bike, Christie on the back and Simon on the seat in front of me. Later on I would use the bike to go and fetch Christie from school, she had her own crash helmet and became a fearless pillion passenger.
I added the "Windjammer" fairing and "Wedge" panniers a bit later in preparation for an extended trip around South Africa which we had planned. I wrote about that trip earlier in which we traveled 8630km in a month around the whole country.
I sold that Yamaha a bit later and bought the first of my Honda Goldwings but I wish that I could have kept every single bike that I had previously and subsequently owned. Now it is more than thirty years since these photos were taken and I am still riding, hopefully there are a good few riding years still left in this old biker.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The monthly breakfast runs

I really enjoy the club scheduled monthly breakfast runs, the first Sunday of every month sees us gathering, usually at Juffroushoogte farm restaurant for a cup of coffee before the start. I personally feel that club members should get together and ride as often as possible, this solidifies the camaraderie and keeps the club together as a family. These runs however are not limited to club members and we welcome other riders, whether club affiliated or not who wish to join us for the day, indeed last Sunday's run had four visitors, three of whom were past members of the club.
Fourteen people on eight bikes gathered for last Sunday's run and as the weather is definitely improving we decided to go for a slightly longer ride this time, still only just short of 130km to "Opikopi" restaurant in Porterville. I usually phone the restaurant on the Wednesday prior to the run to alert them that their establishment has been selected - (You lucky restaurant, you.) but I am obviously not able to tell them how many will be in the party, this I can only do on the Sunday at 09h00 "Kickstands-up"

This is usually quite acceptable because they then have an hour to an hour and a half before our arrival to prepare. On one occasion a couple of years ago, it was February, our breakfast run attracted 29 bikers! When I phoned the place at 09h00 the manager said to me "Oh no, sorry that is too many people and we are busy!" this was unacceptable and I said to him; "We are on the way, I am bringing 29 hungry bikers, make a plan." and off we went. Well they did make a plan and we ended up having a very good time, that manager must have panicked a bit!

We headed up the R45 with the ambient temperature at a lovely 18,5 celsius and very little other traffic. I kept the speed down to around 130kmh because we had a couple on a smaller bike riding with us. I was really enjoying the ride, my BMW which is now 13 years old and has done more than 135,000 kms was feeling really good, powerful and responsive and sounding great - damn I love that bike!

We swung a left onto the 22km stretch that leads into Moorreesburg and then pulled into the Caltex service station, a couple of the guys needed petrol, a couple needed a smoke and anyway it was "tea" time.
Tea break next to the service station
Leg stretch chatting with Laureen

A brief struggle to open the bottle
Heine and Gerda pour the tea

Tea with a smile
Everyone enjoying a cuppa

From there it is 30km along the N7 to Piketburg, a very pleasant stretch because of the light traffic on a Sunday and also because the road is in excellent condition, then 25 km into the small town of Porterville which is also the home of our annual Polar Bear run sleepover venue.
We lined the machines up outside the "Opikopi" restaurant and went inside, we had not been to this one before but Laureen had seen it advertised and suggested it. It is a pleasant place, seemingly an old house converted with a large "stretch" awning out front making it into quite a large venue.
A large, pleasant venue
Seated, checking menus

Good conversation
Home made chicken pie

Some had breakfast, some like me ordered from the lunch menu, my home made chicken pie and chips was pretty good, washed down with a couple of cold Castle lagers.

We took a different way home from Piketburg 62km to Velddrif under a leaden grey sky, the air got cooler, would we get wet? It was still a lovely ride but by the time we lined up outside "Vis Vlekhuis" in Laaiplek my bum was decidedly sore, need to do some longer trips! 

One for the road there and then we split up, everyone heading for home. What a lovely morning on the bike with like-minded people, the round trip had been less than 300km, I didn't set my trip meter but I think we'll have to increase the distance slightly as the weather improves.
Next Sunday is Biker church at 08h00 and usually another breakfast run somewhere, in the meantime stay safe everyone.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Clique mcc "Wheels of Steel" dayjol

I haven't been to a bike rally for a couple of years now, sort of lost my enthusiasm for the whole camping thing, maybe getting too old for scrambling in and out of a tent that I can't stand up in. Falling down onto a bed on the ground is easy but getting up off the ground is not, especially when there is nothing to grab hold of! I always used to camp onsite at rallies rather than hire a bed somewhere for two reasons; firstly I liked being in the centre of the action and secondly when I party I don't like to ride my bike.

So now what I prefer is attending the local "dayjols" run by the various clubs, spend a couple of hours socializing, trying to be careful with my alcohol consumption and then going home. Some take the form of sleepovers where one pays a bit extra for a bed for the night, those are eminently preferable but not quite as frequent.

This past Saturday saw the running of the annual "Wheels of Steel" dayjol held by the local chapter of the Clique mcc in Velddrif which is some 40km from home. Our patches must be seen there as there were quite a lot of them at our recent Dart run. Reciprocity is important and eleven of our club members rode through to visit.
Photo by Gerrie

Four of us met just before 14h00 and rode through together, the others had gone through earlier. It's only about 25km but it was a pleasant ride and the bike was feeling good, I had already done a bit of riding before the meeting point.

The Clique jols are always well organized and well attended and that day was no exception, when we arrived the parking area was full up and the bar was buzzing. Lots and lots of familiar faces, local bikers both club affiliated and solo riders from all over the area and as far as Capetown were milling around the bar, listening to the DJ in the garden, watching or taking part in the games that had just started. Happily enjoying the vibe and partying as bikers know how. There were also some craft, accessory and food stalls selling all sorts of things from sheath knives to home made biscuits.

The usual games were on the go, the tire throw for men and ladies and then the slow races, also for men and ladies. There was also a burn-out pit where one could burn out a second-hand tire for R50 and stand a chance to win R1,000 prize, that also had quite a lot of entrants.

Some of the Meeulanders members seeking shelter from the sun, the weather has been great lately and it is definitely getting warmer.
Part of the crowd watching the games
Better get that fixed or you're walking!

I spent a very pleasant few hours at the jol chatting with friends and then headed for home, there had been warnings of road blocks circulating on one of the whatsapp groups so just in case I rode home the back way, I didn't see anything neither did I hear of any police activity subsequently but it pays to be cautious.
I didn't see Michelle Liebenberg take this photo, she always takes lots of photos at bike events, I appear to be having a contemplative moment and I think at that stage I was deciding whether I had had enough beer or whether there was room for one more. As it turned out I did have one more.
Cheers everyone, stay safe and keep the shiny side up.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Stuffed, rolled lamb rib - not a braai but goes with beer

I know this is supposed to be about braais but in that sense it is still a food related blog and this meal may well benefit from flame so perhaps that's how I'll do it next time, all meat benefits from flame but bear with me it was good food.
I got a nice little piece of lamb rib, expensive but what the heck it was a once-off treat. I then carefully cut the rib bones and the cartilage out, a bit finicky but nowhere near as difficult as I thought it was going to be.
Season with your favourite rub, I used a lemon and black pepper.

We then made a stuffing out of chopped mushrooms, chopped pepper dews, olive paste, feta cheese and garlic and packed it onto the meat, then came the difficult part; rolling it up and tying it but we managed without making too much of a mess.
Then into the oven at 180 for one hour, it weighed just on one kilo. Next time I will do it at 200 degrees for an hour to firm it up more. It was cooked but could have been crispier.

A simple meal with garlic potatoes and gem squash, delicious. The most expensive part was the lamb which cost R94 but it actually made three meals so not too bad. I'll certainly do it again.