Monday, July 14, 2008

The first tour - August 2008

It is Friday morning, 29 August 2008. What's special about that, you may ask. Well, our long awaited "first tour" with the bikes will start in a few minutes. Mags and I bought the bike to tour. That was the primary reason. Yes, commuting is a huge added advantage and weekend brêkkie runs a definate bonus, but touring was the main plan.

I had booked this weekend months previously, after guessing how long it would take Mags to get to a riding level that would make her safe on a long weekend ride. We were both very excited and a tad nervous as we waited at the Bapsfontein BP for Neil and Jolie to join us. They were on their way to Fick's Memorial Run (a fellow biker who passed away in a horrific accident) and we had decided to ride together. The more the merrier type of thing.

They arrived and we were off. A quick Coke 'n smoke stop at the Middelburg Ultra City, a really nice lunch in Dullstroom and all too soon we bode them goodbye as they continued on to Sabie and we booked in at Klitz Gras Chalets in Lydenburg. Time certainly flies when you are having fun. The ride for the day was 270km.

Saturday morning Mags and I hit the road. There was no fixed route plan in my head, but had some ideas of where we should go. Obviously, Long Tom was first on the agenda. Mags was very nervous and to be truthful, so was I. Many, many years had passed since I screamed up and down Long Tom on a howling two stroke. There was no reason though. Pretty soon we were taking a break at the Long Tom canon that lend its name to the pass and both of us were smiling from ear to ear. This was fun!

Brunch was had in Sabie at the ThinkBike Pancake place. My! What a nice touch, them bringing the visor cleaning stuff.

With the bellies look after, I aimed us at Hazyview and the "22". What a ride! I had to smile when I saw the markings on the road from the Auto Alpina Chickens weekend a while back. That Tazzman dude must be a seriously meticulous sort of chap.

At Hazyview we turned for Graskop and a quick jaunt over Kowyns. On this bit I had to laugh as two gents on superbikes were enjoying Kowyns as well. One is obviously a bit of a learner as he went through a bend, hanging of the side of the bike to a lean level (body) that would have Rossi and Bayliss applauding in awe. Only problem is, Mags and I were catching him from behind and so was a taxi!!! Since we are both nice people, we didn't overtake the poor guy and hung back, allowing him the opportunity to disappear in a howl of Gizzer exhaust noise, once back on the straight.

We had a Coke 'n smoke in Graskop before diving down a very twisty road to Pilgrims Rest. Some more Cokes and smokes and stuff in Pilgrims before we hit the Robbers Pass and back to Lydenburg. We did just on 215km for the day. The pace was leisurely and I could see how Mags was building confidence.

Sunday arrived all too soon and it was time to point the bikes homeward. We decided to go via Roossenekal, i.e. negotiate the Steenkampsberg Pass. What an awesome mountain pass. It was designed for old farts who think they can still ride like a demon. It will definitely see me again.

The rest of the ride home was a bloody nightmare from Middelburg onward. By now the wind was blowing at "blast all bikers to kingdom come" velocities and we battled a side wind for the 40k's that was no fun at all. Wow! Another 270 odd k's behind us.The total distance for the weekend was about 750 or so k's and every meter of it was fun filled. The best is, before my very eyes I saw Mags develop from being a NOOB to being a BIKER.

I wonder .... where is my route planer?