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.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Breakfast at the Viper Lounge, courtesy of the Gypsy Jokers

After our Book Club ride last Wednesday I said to Janet that I really wanted to go for a longer ride, we haven't been for a decent ride for ages so she was also keen. I cannot remember the last time we went for a long ride, we've done several local runs like the Book Club and our breakfast runs but nothing of any distance. I fear I am no longer "bike fit" so I need to do something about it.

In December before he went on leave Eduardo, President of the local Gypsy Jokers chapter gave me a breakfast voucher for two at the Viper Lounge in Tableview, Capetown which was due to expire on 31st January, "How about we go down there for breakfast?" I suggested to Janet. So it was that at about 08h30 this morning, Tuesday 28th we saddled up.

It was a mild day with a gentle breeze and as we roared down the R27 south towards the Mother City I saw 22 Celsius on my readout. The ride was pleasant, the road was not too busy and most of the cages we encountered moved aside for us, I was not in any hurry so I maintained an easy 130 to 140kmh, just enough to stay ahead of the traffic. I did not take any photos or any video because it is such a boring road, we just cruised along in our own bubble, contented thoughts in our own helmets.

I turned right at the Melkboss traffic lights and took the coastal road through to Tableview, enjoying the drop in temperature, the coastal air redolent with the heady scent of ozone carried ashore from the breakers by the gentle breeze. I was happy to be in that space at that time.

and the beast

I parked the bike right outside the Viper Lounge to lend the place a bit of class, after all it is predominantly a Harley Davidson shop. Obviously at that time of day on a Tuesday the place was not busy.
Once inside Janet spotted the "VIP Room", euphemism for the Slots room so she bummed some money from me and headed in, I was happy to chat with the mechanic and then placed our breakfast orders. Janet wasn't in there long, apparently she pressed the wrong buttons!
Interesting table
A colourful biker bar

I ordered the "Banting" breakfast because it had a nice cheesy meat patty, loads of bacon and mushrooms which I then had with toast, for R95 which I thought was reasonable, it was a really good breakfast.
Janet had the "Mini" breakfast for R60 which was great, I know because I also had some of it when she couldn't finish. Nice pork sausage there, and again lots of bacon, good value.

After that it was back out onto the R27 and a cruise home with an A.B.F stopover at the Pirate's Bar in Langebaan.
A nice morning out on the bike and a free breakfast, Thanks Eduardo!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

First Book Club meeting for 2020

What a great day it was, yesterday Wednesday 22nd we gathered at my favourite pub; the Phoenix bar in Vredenburg where we were greeted by the owner Anna who had been away for a month on holiday,
the pub had been closed since mid December so I had been suffering with withdrawal symptoms, I had missed four or five Friday afternoon pool and bullshit sessions! Welcome back Anna!
The weather was perfect for riding, not too hot at the moment and very little wind, this was the crew who enjoyed a welcome shot; Murray, Daan, Johan, myself and Anton. We missed Willie who has had health issues and Sooi.  I had placed a notice on our local whatsapp group hoping to attract more guys to join in, this club is not only for Meeulanders, any guy who is able to ride on a Wednesday can join us.

From there a short ride through to Blue Water Bay at Murray's suggestion, it turned out that Anton had not been there before so it was good one.

Just to put you in the picture so to speak; the Book Club is not only about riding our bikes, it is not only about drinking it is a combination of those two for sure but another vital facet of the monthly meeting is intellectual discourse and this flows freely. 
The Blue Water Bay lodge is a lovely place, the restaurant and bar overlook the bay and on a calm day like that one was the doors and windows can be opened to the gentle, cooling breeze coming over the water.

Some tourists had hired a helicopter and had flown up from Capetown to eat fresh mussels and oysters in the charming, rustic boma right down on the beach, that's the sort of thing you can do with your foreign money in this country. The mussels and oysters are grown right here in these cool, nutrient rich waters and the flavours are amazing, trust me I know having been involved in the industry for 26 years.

We enjoyed our drinks and the lovely view and then saddled up for a short ride through to Langebaan and another favourite spot; Pirate's Bar,
I always have a bit of a problem telling the attractive young barmaid what beer I want but she's heard it so often, "Fokof" is a local craft beer and pretty much the best one in my humble opinion, not generally a lover of craft beers.

The conversation continued, along with a large plate of fried chips which we shared to line our stomachs, we do not drink excessively I must emphasize although if we were to be stopped in a roadblock we would not pass any tests. However another advantage of meeting on a Wednesday afternoon is that we are not likely to encounter breathalyzer roadblocks.

We split up after that and went our own separate ways, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride home after what had been an excellent afternoon, long may the Book Club continue.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Biker church and another breakfast run with us in a cage

Last Sunday started out well, I awoke before the alarm clock sounded in anticipation of a nice day out on the bike. The wind, which had been hammering us for the past week didn't seem to be blowing and the sun was shining through broken, patchy cloud. Seemingly a lovely day for riding.

I got up and made a lot of noise making coffee, let the cats in and got our jackets and helmets ready, we would have to leave the house around 07h30 and I didn't want to give Janet the opportunity of saying "I don't think I'll go with you today, you go, leave me here." which she is often wont to do. We were suited and booted just before 07h30 so we'd be at the church in Vredenburg before the biker blessing service started, time to meet and greet.

I turned the key, the engine tried to fire and cut. It had been doing this a bit lately but it usually started straight after, not this time, again and again I tried but to no avail, she was not going to start. The awful realisation that we would have to go by car took shape, the embarrassment, but mainly the disappointment, now we were running out of time. We hurriedly divested ourselves of our riding gear and got the bakkie out of the garage.
Pissed off and embarrassed biker caging
I soon cheered up, my people were there and they were understanding and sympathetic, Pastor Errol conducted a lovely biker blessing service and as usual the Meeulanders made up a large part of the congregation.

Various clubs usually ride off somewhere for breakfast after this monthly service, sometimes together, sometimes as a club. This time our club had been invited by our new Prospects to have breakfast at the Langebaan Yacht Club of which they are members and were able to sign us all in. We would go through to a viewoint in Langebaan for a tea break first.

 The Langebaan Lagoon is a beautiful natural inland body of water comprising the Saldanha Bay and the lagoon, from Saldanha in the north to Church Haven in the south it is 27 miles, there are spectacular views and it is extremely popular for water sports, the almost constant wind makes it a favourite with the kite surfing set. The fishing is also excellent.
Gilbert and Roleyn lead the pack in
Parked up in the viewsite

Janet pours the tea
At least the bakkie was useful

An old Meeulander tradition

It is just a short distance, literally down the road to the Yacht Club and the management were so pleased to see us they asked if they could take a group photo of us, naturally we obliged.

The Yacht Club is very comfortable, plenty of space but unfortunately the bar did not open until 11h00 much to the chagrin of some, especially Vice Pres Murray who was dying for a beer!
Breakfast was excellent, this for R60, Janet could not finish hers so I got extra.

After breakfast some left, other business to attend to, those of us who remained found a cosy corner with a great view where we could chat over a beverage or two. It was another excellent day with fantastic people and this was our view;

Friday, January 17, 2020

Magical moments are created on motorcycle trips, this one in 2010

This picture was taken at the hotel in Paternoster one evening back in 2010, Paternoster is a fishing village on the west coast some 30km from home. It is still a lovely place to visit, there are some really good restaurants there but it has changed enormously since then; many more houses have been built and because it is a popular holiday destination there are hundreds of accommodation places, it becomes pretty crowded in holiday time. We haven't been down there for some time now because there are long Stop/Go roadworks but at least the road is being attended to.

Anyway I digress, it is usually on this kind of occasion (or when we are relaxing together in the spa bath at home with a bottle of bubbly) when road trip plans are formulated. It was on this afternoon over a couple of cold Castles that I suggested a round trip to Hermanus on the south east coast, via Capetown with a return via the Tradouw's Pass, Barrydale and the R62. We would visit with long time friends John and Tina in Hermanus. Janet jumped at the idea, we would go soon.

We took a couple of days leave and left home 06h30 on a Wednesday, it was a cold and foggy day but we didn't let that deter us, the fog would clear soon and the anticipation of spending a few days out on the road made us eager to get going.
In Capetown we had a few things to take care of but by lunchtime we were at Quay Four restaurant at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.
We both enjoyed a pan of lovely fresh prawns with chips and then it was out along the lousy, busy N2 all the way to Botrivier. Not the best of rides, it is just over 240km altogether and we arrived mid afternoon. We got settled into our accommodation and then met up with John and Tina for a drink and then dinner at a lovely little seafood restaurant in the harbour.

I am an absolute sucker for seafood so I love places like this, we had plenty to talk about because John and I were in the BSAPolice, the Rhodesian Police force together so it was great to sit and chat with them. We had a lovely evening.
The food was outstanding, I had the freshest Yellowtail fillet in ages, that fish is caught right there so you can be sure it's fresh.
The next morning we had a breakfast together and we were on our way. We headed up through Stanford and up the fantastic R326 - R316 to Caledon on the N2 where we had a stop. That R326 and R316 are fantastic biking roads, wide smooth surfaces winding and undulating their way through the golden wheat fields, with occasional views of the river down in verdant valleys with picturesque farm houses. I must ride it again.

We carried on north along the N2 past Swellendam and then turned off away from the traffic onto the incredibly picturesque R324, a winding narrow road that takes you through the little hamlet of Suurbrak and then into the beautiful and rather demanding Tradouw's Pass.

On a previous ride through this pass on a Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 we had a breakdown and Dereck, the owner of the Country Pumpkin in Barrydale where we had booked to stay, rescued us with a trailer. On that occasion he told us of a clear, ice cold water mountain spring into which he had fixed a pipe and I was determined to find it and taste that water, for which purpose I had a couple of glasses and a bottle of Johnny Walker Black label in my topcase.
Found it! A double tot of whisky and a small dash of ice cold mountain spring water, heaven!

We sat there for a while enjoying the quiet, only interrupted by an occasional passing vehicle and a couple of delicious whiskies and then it was time to leave before having to find a place to camp (and we didn't have a tent!)

We arrived home late in the afternoon after a truly excellent round trip of some 600km. We have subsequently been back to that magical spring with Frank and Janet, and we did another visit to our friends in Hermanus but I think another one is on the cards. Magical moments like these are only created when traveling by motorbike, I don't think any cagers even know of that spring and I'm not telling.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

We start the new year off extremely well, let's see what it brings......

Welcome to 2020, 🎅our Christmas and New Year festivities were awesome. Here's wishing all of you, I think it's twenty or so of you all of the very best for the year ahead. There are going to be some huge changes this year, but more of that later.

Christmas day was a quiet but lovely day and New Year's eve we were with friends, we even managed to see the new year in which we haven't bothered with for a few years. After that on the 4th of January one of our club members, Anton had a "coming of age" (70th) birthday party which was held at a local restaurant and which was absolutely awesome. The whole club was invited and most managed to attend, that party, the camaraderie and the sense of brotherhood set the tone for the rest of the year so we know it's going to be a good one.
There's going to be more of this.

 We have already had our first club run for the new year; fourteen club members and six guests took part in our January breakfast run so that really started the year off on a good note. Unfortunately two of our members; Willie and Frank are in poor health and were not able to join us, we wish them a speedy return to good health.

l to r; Heine, Gerda, Anton and guest "OuBill"
Johan and Jannie

As usual we gathered at Juffroushoogte and promptly at 09h00 we walked out to the bikes as Daan was walking in, he usually arrives at the last moment!
We had decided to keep the run coastal and fairly short because of the heat at this time of the year, I personally would not have liked an inland run and this will probably be the same for February as well. The heat is just too intense and if you have to stop for twenty minutes at road works you melt.

Our whole loop was probably just about 180km, I didn't bother to set my trip meter, we headed through some back roads to go past Langebaan, then crossed over the R27 and up the R45 to Hopefield. It was just a cruise for the group comprising ten bikes, we traveled at around 130 to 140kmh just to stay ahead of what little traffic there was.

Just over half way between Hopefield and Velddrif on the now nicely surfaced road that runs along the Berg river, (although you can't see it) there are some grain silos, conveniently directly across the road from which is a large cement parking area. This made an ideal place for the traditional tea break.

 Here's me leading the group in, followed by Mike and Barbara, then Gilbert and Roleyn and the others. Soon we were all parked up in a bit of shade, it had been a lovely ride so far.
Murray's got some homemade liqueur
"Wild Africa" seemed appropriate

Ladies first
Visitors are not sure what to expect

We spent twenty, maybe thirty minutes there enjoying a "cuppa" or two, I had to try Murray's homemade Irish coffee which tasted very good too. Then it was a short hop through to Velddrif and down to the harbour in Laaiplek where we lined the bikes up outside "Die Vis Vlekhuis" restaurant.
Janet tries to sort her "helmet" hair
Die Vis Vlekhuis

The restaurant is run along the lines of a typical English pub, you go inside and place your order and then you pay for it and you are issued with a numbered receipt. When the food is ready it is brought to the table; "Number 6?" and you wave your hand to attract the waitress attention. It is an efficient way of doing it and the wait is not long at all, usually long enough to enjoy a beer from the bar next door.
A great breakfast for R48 - excluding the beer
Some people have said they have been disappointed by the place but I have been several times and have always enjoyed it and it is excellent value for money, I have no hesitation in recommending it to you.
Two weeks before myself, Daan, Bev and Murray had been there for an early lunch and my meal; two hake fillets, a portion of lovely crispy fried calamari and a salad cost only R82 ! That is good value and it was delicious. Disclaimer - I do not have shares in the place!

After that breakfast we decided to go to "De Palm" pub in Saint Helena Bay for an A.B.F, it being so hot by then I was picturing a tall frosted Draught beer, the wind was starting to come up as well, this would cool things down a bit but the wind would be unpleasantly gusty by the time we rode home. That was an excellent start to the new riding year.