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, August 18, 2015

Lunch ride to Wellington

We haven't done much riding lately, it's winter down here and although we do get good riding days during our relatively short winter, they are usually on a weekday when I have to work - as per Murphy's law the weekends are usually crap!
We have been on leave for the past three weeks with our family visiting from the UK so also not much time for riding although I did take my oldest grandson for a bit of a cruise the other day,
He loved it and I know that my daughter and son in law would never let him get on the back of anyone else's bike, I dropped him off at the supermarket where they were going shopping and then I stayed on the bike for about an hour cruising locally just to get the battery up, it was great.
Our family went back home on Saturday and I have to go back to work on Wednesday but as luck would have it Monday was a clear and sunny day, it wasn't very warm, 16'5c when we started and 18,5c when we got back but it was an ideal day for the bike and you can dress for the cold weather.
We headed out of town around the lagoon bypassing Langebaan and out onto the R27, by the time we were cruising under the first of the speed trap gantries I was settling in, shoulders relaxed, feet centred on the pegs and smile on the face - damn it's good!
We took the rather bumpy 15km road to the little town of Darling and then through to Malmesbury at a steady pace, no rush just enjoying being out there. From Malmesbury I took the road out towards Durbanville, this is wine country and it's beautiful.
 Sweeping curves, good surface and fantastic scenery. These pictures were taken on the 27km stretch leading through to Wellington, our destination for lunch.
Just look at this scenery, what a ride! (Click on the picture to see it full size.)
Just over 160km from home to Wellington and we stopped outside the Gecko lounge at around midday, well satisfied with the ride.
We have eaten at the Gecko lounge before and it has been good, I thoroughly enjoyed my 800g pork spare ribs with onion rings and chips;
Janet was not very happy with her crumbed pork chops, although the meat was tender it lacked any flavour, rather bland. I have had this dish there before and was very happy with it, perhaps a different chef or an off day? We spent a good hour and a half there, two beers and a bottle of wine from one of the local estates plus a shared starter of stuffed peppadews (actually also rather bland) and then a coffee to end off with came to R440 with the gratuity, good value for money as far as I am concerned.
Time to head home, this time a different route - out of Wellington I turned right on the R44 for the 26km blast to the Hermon turnoff, an excellent road, wide enough to sweep easily past the slower traffic and then down through the farmlands to Riebeek Kasteel, Riebeek West and then the R311 to the N7. This is an excellent fast road through the Swartland, undulating but pretty straight and very little traffic, Janet slept most of the way until we slowed down to go through Moorreesburg and then it was the lousy 22km stretch to the R45.
Lots of roadworks on the go here, deviations and stop/go sections so it was slow going but at least the local government is maintaining our roads, not like the other provinces!
Somehow my speed crept up to around 150-160km/h on the R45 and I soon left all of the other traffic behind, just adjacent to the airforce base there is another stop/go section, a long one and as we approached I saw the stop sign up but in the distance I could see the traffic that had just gone through, I swerved around the stop sign and accelerated after the disappearing vehicles ignoring the angry protestations of the attendant, hell man I caught up before the end of the roadworks and felt very happy with myself.
You all know that feeling of being at one with the bike, when you are sitting relaxed, you look into a corner and the bike takes it, a slight wrist movement and it straightens up from the apex and you are accelerating towards the next one, brake and dive in, look through and open up with the road flashing by inches beneath your feet - how can you explain it to those poor souls who don't ride?
Stay safe.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Paul's funeral

Picture by Gerrie Pieterse.
Unfortunately I was not able to be at Paul's funeral as I was on leave with my family, but I include here a passage written by a friend, Rinette Tallie which certainly tells the whole story;
~ We saw again yesterday at Paul Brandt's funeral service what bikers mean to each other, "The Brotherhood" as Frank calls it.
The family had asked bikers to escort the hearse to the service but had not expected that so many would show up, and most had not even known Paul. It makes Anton and I proud to be part of the biker community. ~
Rest in peace my brother.

Monday, August 10, 2015

R.I.P. Paul Brandt

I am sad to report the loss of another biker brother and friend, an accident on the R27 on Saturday claimed his life. Paul was a prominent businessman and a keen biker, we attended many rallies and biker events together and he also came occasionally to our Friday afternoon pool games.
Sincere condolences go out to his wife and family, he will be sorely missed - rest in peace my brother.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gypsy Jokers damn party, a good one.

Last Saturday saw the Gypsy Jokers' "damn" party at Eduardo and Anna's Phoenix Bar in Vredenburg, hopefully it was the prelude to the opening of the bar. It was a sunny and clear day but there was an icy bite to the wind that kept most of the revellers inside the pub.
I arrived at about 15h30 and the party was well under way.
 The usual scene at a biker jol, the acrid smell of tyre smoke and people gathered to watch the demise of a rear tyre, a potential thousand kilometres of riding wiped out in a minute or so but somehow very entertaining to watch.
 As always the local clubs were well represented, here including the infamous "Kreefsmokelaars" and the "Mohicans", Frank and I represented the "Meeulanders".
This is Anton of the Mohicans, avoid him at a rally or day jol because he is the "shots man"! I had to drink a concoction that was served up in two small glasses, the first of which made my eyes water and the second went straight to my head - Bad news!
Hardy souls were busy setting up their tents for the long haul.
 A particularly good aspect of rallies and jols in this country is that they attract both young and old bikers and all party together.
 I was pleased to see my favourite young barmaid again.
The host club was well represented with members riding in from far afield, it was building up to be a great party but unfortunately I could not stay long, I had a very important family commitment the following morning and I did not want to be hung-over.
I had one rather unpleasant episode where one brother (not a member of any of the clubs I have mentioned here) reacted vociferously and angrily to me taking a photo of him so I deleted it, my fault though I should probably have asked first. Being a biker blogger can have it's dangerous moments! I know the bro., and have seen him at many biker events so no doubt I'll see him again and we'll be fine.
I know it turned out to be a good party because Frank phoned me after just having left mid afternoon on Sunday! My old biker buddy sure knows how to party.
I'm not sure if there is anything else on for me until the end of October when we will be going to the Beaver Rally in Montagu, that was an excellent one last year and I'm looking forward to that.
Next weekend sees the eighth annual "Polar Bear Run" which I will not be attending because my family is here on holiday, they are going back to the Hotel in Porterville and I wish them all a successful and safe jol.
Keep the shiny side up brothers and sisters and we'll talk again soon.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Buffelsfontein breakfast

Last Sunday was the first Sunday of the month (July already!) so it was time for the monthly breakfast run, a lovely day but incredibly dense fog as we rode out of town. I kept the speed down because visibility was down to about fifty metres and I kept an eye on my rear view mirrors, not wanting any fools or idiots speeding up behind me.
Here on the west coast there are a lot of fools and idiots; fools are cagers who think that in bad visibility their parking lights are sufficient and idiots are the ones who don't bother with lights at all, I don't know if it's only here - maybe it's universal, but on our way out of Langebaan heading to the R27 I was riding cautiously up the hill that goes past the municipal dump, at the top there is a gentle left and there an idiot was coming towards me on my side of the road! He had swerved to avoid a small bloodied bundle that once was a little animal, instead of letting it go between his wheels, luckily I wasn't going fast but please, I ask you with tears in my eyes! In thick fog?! I hope his ears were burning from the things I called him.
We were the first ones at the One-Stop, I had misread the starting time, the coffee went down well anyway. The fog was starting to lift by then.
 The Meeulanders President, Divi was the next to arrive and shortly after him Frank and Jenny.
It wasn't long before the mob arrived, here's Murray's orange BMW.
It pretty much matches Anton's beanie! Anton's bike is yellow so his wife is going to knit him a yellow one soon.
After a chat and some tyre kicking it was time to head out, a brief blast down the R27 through now patchy fog to "Buffelsfontein" nature reserve, a short but well packed gravel road leads up to the restaurant and bar area, it was an interesting visit because although this place is virtually on our doorstep this was our first visit and it's very pleasant.
A very pleasant tradition is the liqueur that gets dished out during the ride and here Divi poured some of his homemade "Milk tart", a delicious vodka based drink with a sprinkle of cinnamon that closely matched the dessert. After everyone had had their libation it was time for brunch.

 Daan and Bev stopped in on their way down to Capetown, they weren't able to join us for breakfast but they weren't going to miss out on the dop! True bikers.

Divi ordered a "Call the doctor" burger, which he seems to be contemplating here, I ordered the venison and cheese burger which was pretty good if a bit small.
I attacked it "Guy Fieri" style, but this place does not match up to any of the "Diners, drive ins and dives" that he visits. It is, however a pleasant place that possibly warrants another visit, the service was good and the beers were cold, the veranda was comfortable and the place certainly was busy.
After the meal we decided to gather at "Vlakvarkgat" for an A.B.F. and it was a fast run back along the R27, we ignored the speed trap gantries because Gerrie said the local municipality does not have the facilities to operate them - I hope he's right, we'll see.

We occupied the bar and the veranda for a while, it had been a very pleasant outing with a great bunch of people and we got a farewell display from one of the peacocks as we left.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Memories of Rallies past

It's winter time and although at the time of writing the weather is absolutely fantastic, so much so that we are going on a breakfast run tomorrow, it has been absolutely crap over the past two weeks. I have boasted to my American friends that here in South Africa we do get wonderful riding days throughout the winter so we don't have to put our bikes into storage or drain the fuel tanks or anything like that, we do get snow on the mountains which are some 200 to 250kms away and that does affect our daytime temperature but I don't think that there has ever, in recorded history been snow here in Saldanha Bay where I live.
I must admit we haven't been riding much, last Saturday we rode down to the little town of Darling which is only about 100kms away and visited the Darling Wine Shop where we bought some lovely Camembert cheese and six bottles of un-wooded Chardonnay, it was nice to ride with a destination in mind because for the most part we have just done local circular cruises and ended up at a local restaurant.
Tomorrow our club has its regular breakfast run and we are going to "Buffelsfontein" which is not very far but is interesting because we haven't been there before, trust me - I'll tell you all about it.
This afternoon I was going through old photos from rallies past, actually I was looking for a specific picture which I haven't yet found but I did find lots of interesting and amusing ones that I thought I would share, you might recognise them if you're a regular reader because most of them were posted years ago;
From the Beaver Rally in Heidelberg some five years ago, quite a long ride and we were offered the stables in which to pitch our tents, quite a comfortable place sheltered from the wind and with a thick straw ground cover, what a good rally that turned out to be!
This was at the end of the Cobra Rally in Worcester in 2009, you've all no doubt been there, you wake up to the sound of rain on your tent and you have to pack everything away wet and ride all the way home in the rain. It makes for good memories.
From the Slangkop Rally 2007, here Frank is with two lovely people; Dudley and Carolyn who both tragically passed away in a car accident, Rest in peace wonderful friends.
This was my tent at 02h00 on Sunday at the 2008 Slangkop rally, the wind came up so strong that it would have blown away if it wasn't for my luggage. Frank and I packed my stuff away and then while we were dismantling his tent it started to rain! We eventually left the site at 03h00 and it rained all the way home, we stopped at the Engen Wimpy near Langebaan for breakfast and it was still raining. While we were there dripping wet bikers arrived at regular intervals and as they walked in the staff were following them to their tables with mops. Again, that's what memories are made of isn't it? You can't ride a motorbike and not get caught in rain sometime.
Also at the Slangkop rally, this time in 2009 and I get to get a picture with some lovely biker woman, if you ride bikes you get to meet women like this; our friend Janet.
Slangkop Rally 2010, I was staggering bladderfully to the ablution block when these brothers shouted out "Hey Whitey, come over for a dop man!" A "dop" is a drink and in this case it was whisky, of course I joined them, the day has to start right doesn't it? Unfortunately the Slangkop rally is no more.

This was taken at the Venom Rally in Kleinmond in 2011, Frank needed to sit down during the early hours of the morning and I managed to talk this young lady into giving him a lap dance. He loved it.
I don't think there are any more rallies coming up before the end of October, the Beaver Rally in Montagu but if there are you can be sure I will tell you all about it, in the meantime stay safe and keep the rubber side down!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Saturday, June 6, 2015

First annual WMA mini rally at Wingerd a resounding success

The days leading up to the weekend had seen some seriously bad weather so we were all a bit concerned that the West Coast Motorcycle Association's first day jol or mini rally would be washed out,  but the weather gods decided to be kind to us and bestowed clear if not entirely warm weather upon us.
You can say that it all started on the Friday afternoon really, because while Frank and I were at the Rooikrans bar for our regular pool session the Mohicans arrived en masse, with their National President who was down from Pretoria to meet new members and to attend the rally. "Die Mohicans maak die jol vol!" it was going to be a good one if their enthusiasm was anything to go by.
I arrived at about 14h30 to an already crowded, happy venue and it was great to see the large number of bikes parked outside. I had gone in my bakkie (pick-up) because it was my intention to sleep there rather than drive home in the eraly hours of the morning.

There were already a large number of the Meeulanders, here I joined (from left in both pictures) Anton, Heinie, Mike and Barbara for my first beer of the day.
I was most impressed with the work that Anton had done on his old motorbike, this is absolutely beautiful. I'll dig up a photo of what this bike used to look like and compare them in another post.

Plenty of happy people, the crowd was growing all of the time and the usual acrid smoke from spinning tyres permeated the chilly winter air. Ahh rally! Nothing quite like it is there?
I watched a bit of the games for a while, tyre throw and slow race,
the ladies were very active participants which was really great to see, here's Mercia a lady who really knows how to rally and who enjoys every moment.
From there I decided it was time to head inside and see what was going on,
I bumped into these two old biker scums; Frank and Fungis, we've done a lot of miles together over the years and attended many rallies, the party was well under way by then!

The disco was pumping out excellent rock 'n roll and heavy metal and the pretty girls were dancing on the stage. The organisers never did manage to get the wet tee shirt competition on the go, South African biker chicks are a bit too conservative it seems. But we danced!
 There were a lot of pretty girls around!

And the party raged on into the night. Sometime in the wee small hours I started to fade, it was time to get some kip, these were the last photos;
 Alex, Eduardo and me.
 At this stage it appears that Vincent is holding me up, he is a great brother this one he tried to get me to give up my vehicle keys thinking that I was going to drive home but I assured him I was sleeping there.
I think that at this time the place was pretty much empty, it had been a great party, a huge success for the WMA and all of the oprganisers who put in a lot of work behind the scenes and on the day. If that is what the first one is like then I cannot wait for the next one, well done guys and thank you for an epic jol.