Cape Classic Annual Ride 2015

all and sundry


“It was a dark and stormy night” is how Royal Enfield Chris suggested a good story begins……………

The CMCC’s annual ride began on the last Friday in October, a day before such a dark and stormy night, with the weather still mild and sunny and good for riding. The bikes brought warm comfort with highly polished British, German, American and Japanese machines elegantly gathering.

“Ground hog day” came early as Norton Thom’s wife brought his coffee at exactly 8.30am again. The usual optimistic banter before we embarked, slipping through the morning traffic on our way to work; a work of a more satisfying nature.

Murray Neville had phoned earlier telling me to bring my mountain bike (this must be a first; taking a bicycle on a motorbike ride). Unfortunately Wally and De, who were travelling by bakkie, could collect. Next time I will have to specify that all bikes must have engines.

We were soon heading down the N7 with its rolling rollicking wheat lands and tall blue gums, then the long straight to the Engen stop outside Philadelphia. With faithful 4Wheels Martin and backup trailer in place, and after the usual changes to logistics, we followed Neville down to Kalbas with promises of beautiful landscapes.

Beautiful it was, but only once your eyeballs stopped bouncing off the bumpy, winding road. In this country setting you can find calmness and happiness, seeing locals around the fire, smoke rising for morning coffee.

Swannie was the biggest complainer eventhough he rides a modern BMW 1200 with auto adjusting uber suspension; Swannie maintained that it was something good to complain about, uber suspension or not. (Swannie was unaware of the prize waiting for him).

Then it was down the Bothmanskloof pass, sweeping dramatically past Riebeeck Kasteel, onwards to Tulbagh. A lot of things were perfect………the weather, no traffic, quiet, bike purring along. Reluctantly I took the orange R90S machine to the front as I was tasked with finding Freddie’s place without stopping or getting lost. Well there was a very brief stop, at a stop sign, then a right and another right just as I was starting to panic and then I found it , Nuwe Straat!. My own triumphant YES wasn’t going to save me later at prize giving.

Well Freddie and Toni have a fabulous place and a more fabulous welcome what with the braai going, our wors, rolls and drinks ready. But that was nothing compared to the bikes in the lounge and even a famous Honda 250 race bike anchored upstairs as a balustrade. Tulbagh is for artistic people and Freddie’s place is its best example.

We finally managed to drag ourselves outside, brief thank you’s before another welcome from Freddie in the form of a big box of LRP additives for the club. THANK YOU Freddie.

Our accommodation that night in Tulbagh was fertile ground for Swannie; oh boy! , first it was the driveway then the “garage” then the pool’s green water. Others jumped in with moaning about the grass cutting, the extra noisy fowls, no outside lights……..but our moaning worked when PJ the owner arrived with 3 bottles of red. This was unplanned drinking but I didn’t see anyone holding back.

A real quirk was the 3 * Howard’s and 2 * Thom’s. It was HD Howard who quickly said his Tim Noakes diet was on hold, he did the braaiing and after singing “Don’t Cry for me Argentina”, we watched World Cup Rugby. We had a better world cup us bikers as there were no losers and we had no Japanese riders!

Well we did have a Honda Blackhawk but with Barry onboard it was welcome. Barry’s Honda is a magnificent sleek machine and when you see it in your mirror, it’s already past you. The Boks know all about this.

Then BMW Thomas arrived on his 1973 R75/5 and it was less than 10 seconds and he was onto his tablet looking up a technical issue for Neville. BMW Thomas is our MotorCMCC testrider and techdata guru. Later he took the R90S through Michells pass scrapping the footrests and even had fuel starvation round a corner!

Saturday dawned bright and cheery; there is something special about breakfast and coffee before a bike ride, with lots of anticipation served up. Then we set off for the passes………….

Outside Ceres we cheerfully waved at the not so cheerful traffic cops; I love doing that knowing what we know. I soon passed Royal Enfield Chris riding at > 110 kms per hour on his smart 500 machine, and she showed him her displeasure later. But at least he got further than 2014……

It takes some time for the surreal, cosy, pleasure factor to set in when riding. Well we had the Koo valley and Burghers Pass to carry this to new heights. But don’t forget to look around ……Dieter told me he saw elephants and giraffes but seriously this is the surreal factor taken too far. (next year we need a prize for “superior powers of observation”)

Honda Barry reminded me that I also missed the old wingless Dakota on the right in the air force area. The joy of riding in the Karoo is immense. A special place. You can get lost in your own thoughts there.

Later BMW Thom told me that it in fact takes 20 minutes at over 4000 revs, for the surreal cosy pleasure factor to set in ; he knows this because he’s the techguru.

Lots to savour at the “KIESIES welcomes you” board, in a big shady curve overlooking KOO town. This turned out to be a bit of a technical stop with BMW Thom helping Norton Thom as soon as they dismounted. Well we were pushing it having ridden about 150 kms on old bikes.! Norton Thom rides a magnificent, prize winning 1952 Norton Commando which is real eye candy on the road. After resting body and soul, we powered up the machines, hugging them first for bringing us so far.

We reached Barrydale about 2.00pm. Barrydale is a party town for out-of-towner’s and we were tempted to oblige. Anticipation was rising for our planned prize giving and that night it was a full house with prizes awarded to much fanfare and applause .

Then it was time for the fun prizes. Swannie the “dummy moaner award” by unanimous decision and BMW Thomas the “Dora watch always late award”. Other awards were much closer contested like mine, “the getting lost award”. Finally it was Norton Thom (aka Scotsman Thom) who got the “Barry special interest reader award”; an Afrikaans short stories book !.

The next morning we jumped up full of energy despite the late night; us bikers are tough and fit (core muscle exercise whilst riding you know); we indulged in the Country Pumpkin breakfast like so many times before.

But dark clouds were brewing and our ride anticipation became tingled with fear. There are 3 types of weather riders, the optimistic with no rainsuit, the “whatevers” with tops only and the wet weather riders with full suit.

Tredueax pass shared her splendor with us, then it was through Suurbraak . I love this ride, with the locals again all smoke and coffee, with fresh steamy cowdung, and us riders quietly heading towards our dark horizon. Over the N2 and then it was wild, wet and windy . It was so bad we had to ride at 60 degree angles against the side winds. Oncoming trucks were terrifying and it was core muscle time * 2 plus white knuckle time * 10.

Nervous moments for us brave souls, some without any fairings and BSA Howard without a rainsuit or fairing !. But he’s extra tough because he took his gearbox off before breakfast.

I was hunched behind the bikini fairing grateful for the 900’s power. What a relief to see 3 guys around Norton Thom and the trailer (wet wiring, no spark) , so I could open throttle and catch up to R67 Lukas then keep guard all the way to Bredasdorp. First stop at Steers for reinforcements of irish coffee and more hot chocolate that tastes especially good when you wet through.

But here I was amazed again at the interest the old original 1952 BMW R67 was getting. Farmers and wives, young girls even, all swooning over it. Same with Mikes R 69. My bike is not even noticed. Don’t talk about price, it’s all about value……….. “Ek will een van die kry”, at any price, ja.

The night before was indeed a dark and stormy night.

Finally tired, bedraggled and wet, we reach our haven, the Mermaid Guesthouse in Struisbaai. There were many reasons to savour the excellent fireplace, braai, bar and real mermaid Christine and Norton Nick; good company around the fire is the best for recovery.

Well recover I had to because Neville insisted we ride to the Cape Agulhas point on mtb bikes; our second mtb ride !. But at least we passed the southernmost shipwreck and it was a Japanese ship succumbed to our shores ! The Meisho Mara No 38; one for the Boks.

Another club gathering to warmly thank our hosts (we even got plates , mountainous plates of hot chips when we arrived) , then to the bar for some hilarious jokes, shooters finally soentjies all round. We all slept well , it must have been the fullness of the day.

It’s about camaraderie and adventure for sure, but also self expression. On a motorcycle ride, people express themselves in new ways such as HD Howard who has a demur joke telling side. And Cagiva Brian who has rowdy bar-room talk……

Final day : Breakfast and lots of hugging, more soentjies, and we were off for the long way home through Akkedis pass . Can it get better than this all on quiet roads lots of space, bit cloudy no rain, fresh clean air ! . But no its Clarence drive that’s the best; you can see, smell and feel the sea.

It’s magic to ride at the back with the bikes snaking through the passes, our green CMCC emblemed safety bibs proudly on display. Closer up and you get sound attenuation from the various bikes exhausts. Its pure indulgence to open the throttle and make some noise.

We are horribly spoilt here in the Western Cape us bikers, who know best how to enjoy the place.

Until next year and a new route, 2016 you’re welcome.

A big thank you to our sponsors.

Howard Boetcher
For the Classic Motorcycle Club Cape
November 2015

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