Category Archives: Travelling

Why we Ride

Why we Ride

It’s an early spring morning, you can smell nature and the open road. You make sure your tent and luggage are securely fastened on the bike. The leather smell of well worn gloves, leather jacket & boots sends a tingly feeling of excitement through your nerves. You put on that helmet that’s gain the occasional scratch or few over the years. Key in the ignition, a slight twist of the throttle and off you go to a destination of choice….this is a common scene for many motorcyclists.

But why do we ride motorcycles?

For some it started as a form of rebellion, for some it’s a means of escaping circumstances and reality, for some it’s all about family and a sense of belonging, for some it’s a lifestyle and for some it is simply a means of transport. No matter how it started out for you, eventually it will become part of your genes and you will most certainly experience the “leave no man behind” moto in some or other form in the course of your lifelong two wheeled journey. For many of us the first few years of biking is the lone ranger on his iron horse, building character with his two wheeled companion and gaining mountains of knowledge and experience through many road side repairs, late nights riding in the rain and the occasional “oops” moments. Few things in life are as satisfactory as working on a motorcycle that has made a connection with your heart. Stepping back upon completion, give a deep sigh filled with pride and satisfaction as you look, even stare at that part you’ve successfully repaired, serviced, or customised.

Somewhere along the way you will meet like minded motorcyclists and riding with these mates, these brothers in biking is for many the ultimate form of biking…group therapy at its best. These are the people that are always there to help…their ability to help only exceeded by their willingness to help and support a brother or sister of the motorcycle fraternity. With these folks you build friendships that last a lifetime.

Then there is the risk or the thrill of motorcycling. Some call it dangerous, but us bikers call it “living life to the fullest, one kilometre at a time”.  Yes motorcycling is dangerous, but so is showering-you can slip, fall and break an arm in the shower. Does that prevent you from getting in the shower…NO!! In the same way a biker chooses not to live life in fear, but rather in excitement. The occasional “close-call” merely helps us to appreciate life and encourages us to live life to the fullest. Acknowledging the risks simply helps a true biker to respect the road and the limits of his own riding abilities.

Riding a motorcycle is in my opinion the best remedy for anger or an aching heart. It is the best medicine for a stuffed nose, blocked sinuses or headache. It’s the ultimate expression of joy and freedom.

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“Motorcycling, being a biker is all about hanging out with real people, without pretense and sharing the respect we have for our motorcycles and each other. This is how great stories and legends are made.”

 By: Hector Jamieson

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Motorcycle Essentials – Touring

In our many years of motorcycle travels all over South Africa and to countries such as Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana we’ve learned through trial and error which equipment is essential for most bike trips. Here is a list of some basics you can look at when saddling up your bike for that dream holiday with you motorcycle as your only companion to explore the freedom of the open road and unbeaten tracks with

  • Well ventilated helmet with a high safety rating. Arai, Schubert, Shoei and AGV are some of the helmets you can look at.

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  • Well ventilated gloves for summer riding or properly insulated waterproof glove for winter riding. Some of the companies manufacturing good gloves are, but not limited to BMW, Triumph, Richa, AlpineStar and IXS

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  • Comfortable all-round motorcycle specific boot with decent ankle, shin and toe protection. Most all-round boots are usually waterproof as well. Some of the companies manufacturing good riding boots are, but not limited to BMW, Richa, Forma, SIDI, Dianese and Xpd

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  • A good all-weather motorcycle jacket with good ventilation, enough pockets and long enough to cover your entire lower back. It is essential that the jacket not only have foam padding but decent…..padding on the back, shoulders and forearms. Some of the companies manufacturing good motorcycle jackets are, but not limited to BMW, Triumph, Richa and IXS
  • The same goes for riding pants with good hip, knee and shin protection. Companies manufacturing good riding pants are, but not limited to BMW, Triumph, Richa and IXS

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  • Thermal underwear as base layer for cooler conditions. Something with a climate controlling membrane such as First Ascent, CapeStorm and K-Way
  • Thermal gloves to provide that extra layer of warmth
  • Buff to keep your throat warm and protected from bugs
  • At least two pairs of comfortable riding socks
  • Rain jacket and pants if your motorcycle jacket & pants are not waterproof. Look at something that can easily be slipped over your gear within minutes.
  • Ear plugs to subdue the buffeting of the wind against your helmet
  • Photochromatic sunglasses with lenses that change colour depending on the light conditions. Also look at glasses with interchangeable lenses for the different light conditions. Look at brands such as Oakley, RUDY PROJECT and BMW.
  • GPS that you can operate with your bike gloves. Look at GARMIN & TOMTOM
  • A quick drying, super absorbent shower towel that when folded up is no larger than 30cm in length.
  • Wet wipes that can get the hands and strategic parts of the body squeaky clean if there’s no water.
  • At least one roll of toilet paper
  • Headlamp – to pitch camp or fix your bike in the dark. LED Lenser makes some of the best headlamps you can get. Also have a look at Zartek and TrailBoss
  • A hat to protect your face and neck from the sun when your helmet is off.
  • A thin mattress or compact stretcher that will give you a good night’s rest without taking up too much space. Look at brands such as First Ascent, K-Way and ATG.

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  • Sleeping bag – make sure the temperature grading is sufficient for where you are going. Most modern sleeping bags are also waterproof and keep in mind that you need something that can roll/fold up as small as possible to compensate for the limited space on a bike. Look at K-Way, First Ascent, Deuter and 360°
  • Tent – Look at a compact, lightweight and well ventilated tent of about 1.7-2kg. Most decent tents are double-walled and can stand in water of 10-20cm deep. Look at brands such as E3 Gear, First Ascent, MSR and K-Way.

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  • Lightweight compact kettle, cooking set and gas stove
  • Tarpaulin – this is something to consider if you have some space to spare on your bike. This slightly bulky item will provide extra shade, cover for your bike or serve as groundsheet.
  • Emergency Kit
  • Basic tool kit that will include the following; tow rope, Pratley putty, puncture repair kit, air compressor, multi tool and a CRUZ tool kit with all the essential for your bike.

CRUZ Tools

  • Solar battery pack that can charge your phone and other essentials
  • Cash
  • Enough cargo straps to securely tie down all your kit

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Depending on your destination and distance to travel your list might be longer or shorter. Also note that the brands referred to is not necessarily the best or only brands on the market but rather the brands the Jamiesons have used over the years and found to work best for their specific needs.

As a final thought, it is advisable that you always inform family and/or friends of the route you are traveling and estimated times of arrival. This is specifically important when traveling alone and will enable rescue parties to find you quickly should anything go wrong and quite frankly this might save your life.

 

By: Hector Jamieson

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Emergency Survival Kit

Whenever one leaves the comfort of your home or travel to places that are a far cry from civilisation you need to be prepared for the unexpected. Always pack & prepare as if you are packing for the “worst case scenario”. What you take with you may greatly vary depending on what you travel with, who you travel with and where you are traveling to.

But here’s a list of some survival equipment to give you a basic list to work from the next time you are preparing for your adventure. Please note that the list is not in any specific order of importance;

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  • Rehydrate or something similar to put back essential electrolytes in case of diarrhoea.
  • Charcoal capsules or something similar that will remove toxins from your digestive system
  • Pain killers/pills
  • Savlon or a similar disinfectant
  • Mecurochrome or something similar that will keep a wound sealed & dry
  • Roll of bandage
  • Few pieces of Band-Aid
  • Pocket knife and/or multi-tool
  • Flint – to start a fire with
  • Handsaw – usually a piece of thinly twisted steel cable(approximately 30-40cm) with a key ring on either end
  • Fishing line and two hooks
  • Packet of Peanuts (150-300g) – or a similar food source with a long expiry date that will put back essential basic vitamins and energy back in your body.
  • Space blanket – also known as thermal or emergency blanket
  • Cable ties
  • Water purifying tablets
  • Plastic bag
  • Compass

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It is vital that all the above be packed in an air & water tight container.

In extreme survival conditions your priorities should as follow;

  1. Scan the area and determine the direction you need to head in order to get rescued for example East or North.
  2. Find water – other than the obvious sources you can also look near vegetation, inside bamboo, dig on the outside bend of dry river beds….these are some of the many sources of water (purify it by boiling, filtration or water purifying tablets). An average person can survive 3 days without water.
  3. Shelter to protect you from the elements – the terrain will determine the type of shelter required ( e.g. swamp, desert, forest etc.)
  4. Fire to stay warm, boil water, cook food and keep animals at bay.
  5. Food to put essential energy and vitamins back in your body. Fish, bugs, crabs and reptiles are some of the best food sources. It is extremely important to cook the food properly (over cook is better than under cook). The average person can survive 2 to 3 weeks without food.

I trust that these tips will come in handy if ever you find yourself in a desperate survival situation. But for detailed survival tips and techniques you study books like “The SAS Survival Guide”

By: Pavlovski

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3-Friends vs. The Road to the Western Cape

PART 1 – A two thousand kilometre bike-trip is what happens when three friends with a combined age of over a hundred years are bored and looking for something to do over the festive season.

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On 13 December 2014 Werner (on his Kawasaki ZX14R), Gerhard and Andy (both on Suzuki V-Strom 650’s), left in the early morning hours for the first leg of their journey to the Western Cape Province, leaving a cloudy and rainy Pretoria in their wake. IMG-20141213-WA0010[1]

The fact that this trip is underway is a miracle in its own as a couple of months ago Werner had a small “spill” with his bike, when he dropped it in a slow corner on oil.  But all worked out perfectly, cutting it down to split seconds with repairs as he literally put his bike back together the night before the trip.

Cruising at 120km/h they were off to a steady start on the first day of their journey down to the Western Cape.  Passing through small towns such as Petrus Steyn, they made their first stop at Reitz, in the Free State where they stretched legs and made sure that all luggage was still firmly secured on the  bikes.

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For the true biker there are few things as relaxing and rejuvenating as spending some time in the saddle and conquering the long road…it does things for the soul that can’t be explained but rather needs to be experienced.  Sooo…to get back to the story, these three “musketeers” soon left Reitz and were on their way to Clarens which is most probably the most picturesque area in the entire Free State Province.

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Here they refuelled the bikes and enjoyed lunch before they headed off to Golden Gate close to Clarens where they pitched their camp.  It seems as if the rain from Pretoria followed them to Clarens where their tents’ waterproof capabilities are put to the test by mother nature.  Unfortunately Andy’s tent did not withstand the test as he is forced to sleep in his motorcycle rain suit in his leaking tent.

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PART2 – So this morning, the senior member on the trip woke up first to brew a decent cup of coffee for his biker brothers.

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The guys packed up & left Golden Gate around 08:00 to ride to Ficksburg where they arrived at 10:45.

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Here they appreciated the little there was to see, filled the fuel tanks and soon got back on their iron steeds to head to the Gariep dam (30º37’25.43″S and 25º30’23.81″E). The Gariep dam is the largest water reservoir in South Africa and is situated approximately 208km south of Bloemfontein in the Orange River. The guys arrived there shortly after 16:00 this afternoon and enjoyed an uneventful and relaxed ride today.

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And for super they are having the cheapest meal on the menu….vegie lasagne.

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PART 3 – These guys are living the dream and they are enjoying every second and every kilometre of it. Werner got up very early this morning to admire and appreciate the stunning sun rise and clean air. There is absolutely no rush with this trip so whenever the opportunity presents itself to stop and stretch legs, they do it.

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Doing a fuel-stop in Graaff-Reinet (32º15’08″S and 24º32’26″E) one is reminded of the European influence in some of the towns in our beautiful country. Graaff-Reinet lies on the banks of the Sunday’s River in the Eastern Cape and established in 1786, it is the fourth oldest town in South Africa.

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The “Grotekerk” is probably the most famous building ins this town and it is clear that this stone church was inspired by Salisbury Cathedral in England. Sticking to the N9 highway the guys finally arrived in Willowmore where they will spend the night and enjoy a well deserved pizza.

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Overall it was a good ride today with the elements challenging the guys on some stretches where they experienced severe temperature drops, fog and severe wind as they rode over and passed the “Sneeu Berge” (mountains situated close to Graff-Reinet).

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PART4 – So today the three musketeers’  paths parted with Andy off to Port Elizabeth and Werner & Gerhard heading to Swellendam (34º2’S and 20º26E) in the Western Cape. Andy took the scenic R75 route to Port Elizabeth and went past some small towns such as Wolwefontein.

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Wolwefontein is a small, quaint village situated between Jansenville and Uitenhage on the border of the Karoo. One gets the impression that this small town is stuck in time as it retained much of its early 1900’s heritage.

Andy arrived safely at his destination and enjoyed a quick swim in the south coast waters. In true South African style he’ll braai a juicy T-bone steak for supper.

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Werner & Gerhard took the R341 route past the town of De Rust towards Oudtshoorn and eventually the legendary Route 62 where they made a stop at the famous Ronnie’s Sex Shop.

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At last they ended up on the N2 highway towards Swellendam (their final destination). Swellendam was established around the 1740’s and lies about 220 kilometres from Cape Town. Its well known for its Dutch architecture and generally relaxed atmosphere and nearby Langeberg mountains.

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TO BE CONTINUED – WATCH THIS SPACE FOR DAILY UPDATES

 

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AN EVENT FOR THE REAL BIKERS

Gauteng is probably one of the provinces in South Africa with the most bikers and motorcycle events. In the capital, Pretoria there is close to a 100 motorcycle clubs of which about 70 are members of the Pretoria Biker Council (PBC). Being in a CMA (Christian Motorcyclists Association) chapter who is part of the PBC, we have the opportunity to attend many of the motorcyclist gatherings. There are so many events that you can almost attend one every day of the week.

One of these events, called a “Day Jol” that we attended recently was great fun. It was held on one of the sports terrains of the police service in the North of Pretoria. We rode about 35 kilometres from the East of Pretoria to attend this event and arrived there just as the gates opened. Entry for these events average about R60 per person and includes a metal/cloth badge and a lucky draw ticket.

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Initially it was all very relaxing but as the day progressed and the temperature soared to 35°C more bikers from all over Pretoria and surrounding areas arrived….and no later did the “burn-outs” and dounuts” start. The DJ eventually “unfroze” and soon the music was pumping and the smells that filled the air from all the food stalls teased the taste buds. One of these food stalls even sold hamburgers for which there were different fillings available for the burger patties (sounds very weird, yet interesting).As we walked through the site and all the stalls we noticed many bikes with very unique custom paint jobs and even a few URAL bikes with side cars and even a hearse used by one of the clubs to transport their refreshments, gazebo and chairs.

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There was also a mobile DYNO on which the guys could put their bikes to compare quarter-mile times and power output. By 12:00 the festivities were running at full speed with a tyre throwing completion, drinking competition, arm wrestling and many other competitions….and was all ended with a prize giving ceremony and huge braai (barbeque in layman’s terms) for supper. And for those who took in too much of the “strong stuff”, facilities were available to sleep it all off till the next morning.

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Unfortunately I only had my mobile phone at hand to take some pics.

It is always great fun to attend these events that can draw up to a thousand or more bikers. We are looking forward to the next Day Jol.

By: Pavlovski

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Momentos – Fochville

Momentos – Fochville

Being a guy who likes to take to the open road at any given opportunity, myself and two mates decided to ride to an idyllic restaurant in the far west of the Gauteng province. We felt it necessary to “stretch the legs” on our bonies and get some mileage on them. After a short discussion on what route to take earlier that week, we met up close to the Waterkloof Air force Base in the East of Pretoria at 06:00 on a cool Sunday morning. As usual I was on my ever trusty BMW R1150GS and the mates were each on their three cylinder 2.3litre Triumph Rockets. I had the GPS and was tasked to ride at the lead. Helmets & gloves on and off we went…. We rode around the Air force base to finally end up on the N14 highway to Krugersdorp and cruising at a “chilled-out” speed of 120km/h. This gave optimal fuel consumption on all our bikes and helped to keep the highway patrol or as they are more commonly referred to, “The Metro” at bay. We stayed on the N14 through a picturesque Krugersdorp and soon turned onto the R28 route heading to Randfontein. Riding through Randfontein, one could not help but notice that it seemed only a shadow of its booming days a little more than 20yrs ago. Nevertheless, we were soon riding through one of the mining settlements called Westonaria before we turned off and were on the road running to Potchefstroom in the North West province. We soon had to switch from “cruise mode” to “alert mode” when we got to a long section on the road with numerous road works and chevron boards channelling you in a different direction ever so often. We safely navigated through this minor obstacle and no sooner did the lady on the GPS speak in her British accent to tell us we were in Fochville. Now, either I am a bit technologically disabled or the auntie on the GPS has limited skill, but I was unable to find our final destination on the GPS when I programmed the route to the GPS. So into Fochville we rode searching for a restaurant named “Momentos”. Eventually and after a few “u-turns” we were forced to do something that’s totally against “guy-code”…..and that was to stop and ask for direction (the ladies at home will off-cause never hear of this). Turns out my “built-in GPS” had us heading in the right direction and after receiving direction from an extremely helpful petrol attendant and 144 kilometres later we soon arrived at Momentos. It is a truly iconic place situated next to a small body of water and sort of makes you feel as if you are in a small village somewhere in Europe.

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Inside the place is filled with old memorabilia on shelves and lots of stuff from days gone by. From an old coal stove and juke box, to old record players, radios, irons, dinky toys etc. For a R100 we enjoyed a buffet breakfast like no other and were even allowed to go dish up for 2nd’s and 3rd’s. We rode to Momentos on invitation from the Christian Motorcyclists Association’s (CMA) Randfontein chapter who held a “Day-Jol” there to raise funds for the printing & spreading of Bibles and the production and screening of “The Jesus film” that’s shown to villagers in remote parts of Africa. It was a huge privilege to spend the day with brothers & sisters from the motorcycle community. It is most certainly a place that will see us three again and surely was worth the 280 kilometres we did for the day.

By: Pavlovski

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Riding To Richards Bay Caravan Park

In July of this year me and a group of friends rode to Richards Bay for the annual Bikers Church Men’s Camp. This is a trip that I’ve been planning for with my two best (we are known as the Three Musketeers) mates since 2013. So when the 24th of July finally arrived we met up with some other biker brothers 07:00 on that Thursday morning at the Sasol garage just after the Diamond Hill toll plaza on the N4. I was fortunate to do this trip with my dad, my two best mates and six of our biker brothers. My uncle rode ahead two days before to reach the camp site before us so that we may 20140724_165853have the best camping spot of all the more than 200 men who attended the camp on their motorcycles. After doing a quick road-side repair to my bike’s exhaust system we took to the road with our first stop being Ermelo. At each of our four stops enroute we stretched legs, rehydrated ourselves, filled the bikes and checked that all our luggage was still properly fastened. From Ermelo we headed to Piet Retief traveling at an average speed of 130km/h. My dad lead the group of nine motorcycles with his BMW K1600GTL and I rode at the rear of the group in the “sweeper” position….that way the group stayed together and it also enabled us to help a brother should something go wrong with his iron horse. Honouring our “no man left behind” moto for the trip. From Piet Retief we rode to Pongola where we had a refreshing break and enjoyed lunch at the Wimpy restaurant located at the Engen garage in Pongola. About 13km from our destination in Richards Bay, one of the boys experienced issues with his motorcycle. After an investigation of a 20140724_152449few minutes we discovered that the alternator was not charging the bike’s battery….but never fear when the CMA is near. We speedily made a plan and within in several minutes were we on our way. My two mates riding at the front with me following and towing the “dead”650cc V-Strom Suzuki at a steady 60km/h….and at the rear was Ryno on his BMW K1200GT riding with his hazard lights on. We were met by friendly staff at the Richards Bay Caravan Park. The camp site is well maintained and has more than enough clean ablution facilities. The site does however have a large troop of monkeys that can become a menace of you don’t keep your tent zipped closed. The park is only a few meters from the ocean and clean beach. We enjoyed our three day stay there, which gave us more than enough to explore Richards Bay on our bikes. 20140725_071800Three of us decided to be adventurous and left Richards Bay 23:30 on the Saturday evening and took the N3 toll route back to the capital, Pretoria. We experienced dense fog and sub-zero temperatures heading to and from Van Reenen’s pass. All-in-all we had a problem free journey and arrived back home safely.

 

Mens Camp 2015: www.cmasa.org.za

Richards Bay Caravan Park:  http://richardsbaycaravanpark.co.za/

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By: Pavlovski20140725_07183420140725_07203320140725_122310

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A Windgat Breakfast-Run

We had one hell of a windgat breakfast run
this morning (12 Aug 2012). Windgat cos the wind gooi-ed us all over the place
as it came from all 16 wind directions. Windy August as the older (older than
me cos 53 means I’m still a sterk seun) people say. The wind was flippin cold
as it cut through the everyday biker attire, if you didn’t have ouma’s jersey
and a lang onderbroek as under layer. We were about 16 brave bikers with a few
chicks (wifes & meisies) between us who all met at Café Bugatti’s in Menlyn
Retail Park for departure. We were also joined by two new faces; one dude on a
R1 and the other one on a blerry beautiful Italian machine…MV Agusta
Brutale….the big one. We rode to a well-known destination in the Moot (Waverly
PTA) called Oppi Plaas. The ride was good except for the occasional skelm wind
that surprised you at times. The ouke leading group got even more windgat as he
opened up in the corners to try and get the “chicken strips” off the knee pads
on his full leathers….probably the weather that made him do it.

Oppi Plaas is a lekke plek with a genuine Afrikaner boere atmosphere.

Truly felt as if we were on some Vrystaat boer’s
farm. The guys that didn’t have a proper breakfast at home filled up their
tanks with the “Billie Breakfast”. True to its name as only a boere antie can
prepare it….pap & kaiings included. My wife and I finished up & headed
to Harties to stretch the GS’s legs. My son phoned us later and informed me of
the unfortunate incident that one of the guys had. He bought a piece of tar
close to home as he put down his BMW800ST. All because of some simple groot
klip that waited for him in one of the slap-draaie close to his home. Praise
God the man’s okay. Poor bike got a lot of cosmetic damage. Some of the guys
rode out to assist him and made sure he got home safe. He’s a true biker,
riding his boney everyday to work in Isando. So they striped all the damaged
plastics so that the bike can be ridden without all those irritating rattles of
damaged plastics. The beemer somme looks like a bikini model now with the
engine exposed….only the bare essentials to cover the important parts.

Anyways, it was a lekke day that we all
enjoyed…even the ouke that crashed cos God spared his life and the beemer can
still ride.

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