01 July, 2016

Brexit and the consequences for the next generation

I don’t usually worry or get involved with politics, but this Brexit fascinates me.

If I was a Brit, I think I would have voted to exit.
But that was with very limited info … and the implications now seem much worse.

The one main reason I have changed my mind is this:
Source: (http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/politics/blogs/why-recent-brexit-vote-should-be-warning-young-americans)

It seems like the older generations that remember a time before the EU were slightly more prone to leave.
The younger generation seem to be part of and identify with the EU.

From the article it seems like if 16 yo were allowed to vote the outcome would possibly have been different.

This means that in 10 years time, or at the most 20 years time, most (of the working class) people in the UK would want to be part of the EU. If they are out then they are out for quite some time to come.

I hope the new UK government takes this into account, as the new millennials that will shortly join the work force, and they feel part of the EU.

Interesting times ahead.

03 April, 2016

9 Passes, 2 tunnels in 1 day (Gauteng - South Africa)

Some time ago I was going through the web site mountainpassessouthafrica and saw Gauteng has 9 official passes.
Since Gauteng is quite a small province it got me wondering where they all located, and plotted them all from info on the web site into Garmin's BaseCamp.

Then I wondered if it would be possible to ride them all in one day. Did a quick route calculation from point to point and soon enough saw that if one started in Johannesburg, and end up in Rayton the total distance is around 300 km. And so the idea was born.

I created an event on the Pretoria BMW Club page, and added it to the forum. From there it was past along word of mouth to a few people out side of the club and some contacted me if they could also join, which was not a problem.

On the day we were 17 bikes, and 3 had pillions, and 2 were lady teams.
As I thought the group was far to large to be going through Johannesburg and Pretoria traffic as one big group that we split up into 4 or 5 smaller groups. After some discussion we broke up into 3 groups and about 6 bikes per group, each with a lead and GPS. There was the 'Marius'es and Leon' group, the 'Lady group' and the 'Sweep group'. I was part of the 'Sweep group'.

We set of about 2 or 3 minutes apart at 08H00.

The 1st pass was Munro Drive, and then we ascended Sylvia's Pass heading north. Stewart Drive was amazing. I have never driven or ridden this pass, and very unexpected in a big built up town such as Johannesburg. As we travelled through Yeoville I could see people stop and look at us, with the expression ... "wow lots of bikes out today".

We travelled past Ellis park and got onto the highway towards West Rand direction Roodepoort / Magalies. This was slow going with many stop streets and traffic lights. 

We had not discussed stopping for smoke breaks within our group, and since we were now about 40 or 50 minutes into the ride, my wife (and pillion) wanted to take a smoke break. As luck would have it the 'Ladies group' had stopped for a break and we stopped as well. [09H00 - S26° 10.061' E27° 52.312'] This afforded us a nice view of the Johannesburg city sky line from the west. They left shortly after we arrived. Again proof that the smaller groups were perhaps the better idea.

Once we got out of Krugersdorp (by the game reserve) the we could we get to over a 100 km/h for the first time. Just after Magalliesburg we turned right and headed for Hekpoort with some awesome roads to be travelled by bike. As we were doing the Hekpoort pass we had a motorbike group pass us from the front. I thought the bikes as being part of our 2nd  group (I later learnt that it was indeed the ladies group. Something wet wrong with their routing). As we turned onto the D400 heading towards Poeiernek we stopped for our second break [09H55 - S25° 58.291' E27° 41.124'].

Once over the pass our next stop would be Chameleon village where we would stop for breakfast. The brief was we would all meet up at the place, but it was a lot larger then I remembered. I did not see the 'Marius'es and Leon' bikes around ... and thought they might still be on their way, or putting petrol in, or something ... but they would be riding a lot faster than we would ... so it did not make sense. As it happened they were at the restaurant at the one end of the village, and we were at the other end of the village. So, Anton, note to self, do a little bit more homework next time and get a specific restaurant to remove the confusion caused.

Once breakfast was done the we got back on the bikes. As we were about to leave one guy saw some oil coming from his bikes drive shaft and opted to rather go home. (He got home safely). The route took us through the Hartebeespoort tunnel, and boy was it busy. Since we were 6 bikes in our group, we did not "split lane" to the front, but patiently waited out turn in the sweltering heat.
After the town, we turned left and headed towards Pretoria where we did Horn's Nek pass from south to north. This was a nice, fast, and sweeping pass. To me the 2nd best pass of the day (Stewart Drive was the best).

Then we followed the old Pretoria Hartebeespoort dam road (R513) into Akasia, and going over Theo Martins Poort towards our second tunnel for the day. A few kilometers before the tunnel Trish and I were yepping at each other about something with bike lights. This was a VERY good indication that we need to stop and have a break and cigarette [13H30 - S25° 43.174' E28° 08.147']. Here we learnt that the ladies were at a garage just on the other side of the tunnel and waiting for us.

We headed their way going through the Daspoort Tunnel and saw them at the Shell garage. They joined our group, and we did the last 2 passes as one group.

After going through Pretoria town and out east on R513 we did the Baviaanspoort pass ... and I had totally missed it. This is such a slight change in elevation I missed it completely. Luckily I could relive it later at home from my action camera.

We travelled through Mamelodie and turned left onto the R104 heading Rayton, and did the last pass Donkerpoort. At least this pass was a lot more "entertaining" then the previous one.

We stopped at the garage in Rayton, and bought some cold items to quench our thirst. We chatted a bit about what was awesome on the day, and then took a group photo. The one lady mentioned she had never seen Johannesburg and Pretoria on the same day from the east and west. So true I thought ... neither had I till today.

So the event can be renamed to something like "The 9 pass, 2 tunnel, 2 city east/west view ride".

Thanks all who joined me / us on the ride, and hope you all got something out of the day.

Now to see if we can do 9 passes in another province in one day!
Or 9 dirt passes in one day?
Or perhaps all 19 Freestate passes in one weekend?

The stats:
Route distance : 270 km
Route Time : 5H20 = 6H50 (total) - 1H30 (breakfast)
Breakfast stop time: 1H30
Breakfast cost : R 200, 2 burgers, a cooldrink and coffee.
Highest point: 1800 meters, in Yeoville just before Stewart Drive.
Lowest point: 1170 meter, at the Hartebeespoort dam wall.

Home to home distance : 362 km
Home to home time : 9H25

Lessons learnt
1) Breaking up into smaller groups helped, but routing was a problem.
2) Smaller groups made the stops quicker and more manageable.
3) As it happened the groups we broke up into happened to be a "faster" and "slower" groups. Next time better to announce it that way, so people can choose and ride within their capabilities.

4) Need to get routing to work correctly on multiple versions of Garmin maps.

Pictures of the passes and tunnels on order they were done:

 Munro Drive:
Sylvia's Pass
Stewart Drive

Hartebeespoortdam Tunnel

Horn's Nek
Theo Martins Poort
Daspoort Tunnel



29 July, 2014

Bike Ride 62 - Groot-Marico to Home

The last day of our 3 day outing, and it turned out to be quite a long day with all the stops we made on the way home.

We woke up after a good night's rest, and I got myself and Trish a cup of coffee and tea from the kitchen. Had it with some rusks we had over from the previous morning.

I went to the store room and got out my bike, and parked it with all the others on the lawn. then we sat down to a scrumptious breakfast, which contained some venison livers. It was delicious. Then we went back to the room packed all our stuff and then made our way home. Slowly. We stopped for photos at  8 Places (7 for the BMW Challange) and 3 geocaches.

We first went back into Groot-Marico for the Town Photo (Photo 1), and then got some petrol. Then made our way to Swartruggens (Photo 2) for a town photo and geocache. I must say the toll road costing R75.00 is ludicrously expensive, and must be the worst toll road I have ever ridden on. It is bumpy as hell.

We stopped at the Selons river bridge for a quick smoke break and geocache, and the onward to Boshoek for another town photo. We also stopped at a "Welcome to" sign by Pokeng (Photo 3).  I found it funny when I thought of "Welcome to Pokeng (nothing)". There was a huge stadium to our right as we approached Boshoek from the south. I thought it might be a 2010 World-cup stadium, but I was later to learn that it was not as we saw the real 2010 stadium later on in Rustenburg.

Photo 1
Photo 3
Photo 2

We took our Boshoek town photo by the post office (Photo 4), and then also stopped at a small antique store just up the road to buy some small souvenir of our trip. Trish got a "Love is patience" tile, and I saw a small knife which I wanted to add to my small collection.

Then it was through Rustenburg on the  R104, and we stopped at Kroondal for our next photo (Photo 5). We also looked for a place to have a drink, but we saw non to inviting. Then by mistake we got onto the N4 and off again at Buffelspoort where we had something to eat and drink at the garage. There were lots of other GS riders stopping at the garage, and riding past. There must have been some weekend thing on the go nearby for them. We took a photo here as well, but it was not part of the BMW Challenge (Photo 6).
Photo 4
Photo 6
Photo 5
Then onward over the N4 to Marikana, where we took a town photo in front of a hardware store. Then carefully road further in to get to Wonderklip, but since there was a sand road going to Wonderklip and Wonderklip is a tar town challenge decided to turn around, as the dirt road looked a bit dodgy. But looking at the GPSr I saw it was only 3 or 4 km away and the route around would take us a lot longer. Also if we did not do the town now then we would not be back this way in a long long time. So we turned around again and rode there along the train tracks and past a big mine. We were also stopped at a train crossing before leaving Marikana by a passing train.

Must say we did not feel to safe riding through Wonderklip. There was some uneasiness for both Trish and I so we decided to rather turn around and take a photo at the hospital sign as we entered Wonderklip. After the photo we got back on the bike and looked forward to the tar road ahead. It took us at lease 4 km before we hit the first patch of tar. I dont think a RT will make it there in one piece. The dirt road is quite bumpy.

Photo 7
Photo 8

Once we hit the N4 is was plain sailing all the way to Tant Malies where we stopped for a smoke break, and decided to get some Dutch goodies from the Windmill on the other side.

Its lekker to e on a bike. There was a long queue of cars to get through the tunnel, and us with 2 other bikes just split laned past them all, and without the need to stop got through the tunnel no problem.

We drank a quick milkshake at the Windmill, and then bought our goodies inside, and then did the last leg of our journey home. We arrived home just after 5PM. A long day ... but a good day.

We did a total of  980 km in the 3 days, and a total of 13H30 hours moving time.


26 July, 2014

Bike Ride 61 - Delareyville to Groot-Marico

This was an awesome day, although we arrived at Groot-Marico an hour later then I had planned / wanted to.

We took our town photo in front of the B&B where we stayed and headed north around 08H15 through to Sannieshof and then Biesesvlei, and then further onwards to Lichtenburg. In Lichtenburg we took out town photo, did two geocaches (one was by Gen Delarey's grave site), visited 2 petrol stations to get to the loo, and then headed further north to Ottoshoop.

Ottoshoop is a strange town. Seemed like it had one street, and lots of bumps. A bump about very 150 meters. I went over the first few but soon enough looked for ways around them. And I was not the only one all other verhcles had made new paths around the bumps as well. So much so that there was almost a permenant dirt road next to the tar road. We saw quite a few houses, and it seemed like of people who had retried here. The police station looked like the only "business" in town. The libruary was closed where we took out town photo.

After the photo we went for coffee at "Die Gat - Pub and Grill" just outside of town. They had to rush out and buy some coffee and milk. We also had a quick plate of chips and then left for Groot-Marico knowing that we were now somewhat late.

We did a quick town photo stop in Zeerust, and then arrived at Groot-Marico just after 12H30. Most of the BMW club members were there already. But they were just moving into a small building where we were entertained by some Herman Charles Bosmad stories, poems (set to music). I did not think it would be that great, but I was blown away by the way they presented. 10 out of 10 for the living museum at Groot-Marico.

Then it was off to the farm where we would be staying for the night, and where we would get to sample some mampoer. Johan the farm owner entertained us the whole afternoon, by telling us how he makes mampoer the traditional way, and the whole process involved to get to the final product. After the lessons in making the mampoer, we were then escorted to the log veranda were we were now instructed in the proper way to consume the mampoer. Stoelle!

After the sampling we then had the most amazing dinner of venison meat, potatoes and veggies. It went down a treat. Then it was off to bed to get some rest after the whole days excitement.