27 December, 2011

Washing and waterproofing my bike gear.

I was chatting to a good old friend of mine, Roger, who had moved to the UK, about the bike, and the clothing and told me about a product called "NikWax" he uses to wash his motorbike gear with and re-waterproofs it as well.

I did a bit of a search, and found out that Trappers sells the stuff her in South Africa. When we came back from Heidelberg, and were looking for an African Grey, we saw the shop in Boksburg, but they were already shut.

On the Friday before Christmas, I decided, that I wanted to go buy the stuff, as my jacked was looking rather dirty, and it needed a good wash.

I bought the stuff. I got two bottles. One to wash the clothes with, and a second to re-waterproof my jacked and pants. The reason for the re-waterproofing is that I Trish washed my jacked with normal soap some time ago.
The nice feature of NikWax is that the tops are colour coded. Grteen to wash with and Purple to protect with.
The guy at the counter had a look at my jacked and suggested, I rather get spray on water proofing. He disappeared, and came back a short while later. They were out of stock of the spray on stuff, and expect a new shipment by end of January. I'll go back then and get the spray on stuff.

We washed the pants and jacked, and then put it on the drying rack, with a fan blowing air over it. By the next morning it was dry. The feel now when rubbing them is a silky feel. Almost a little plastic-ky. I still waiting to ride through the rain with it though, to see how water-proof it is.

16 December, 2011

On the Bike to Heidelberg and back via Nigel

The 16th December is one of many public holidays in South Africa.

Trish had wanted for a long time now, go and do a some historical geocaches. The most historically themed geocaches seemed to be in Heidelberg, about a 40 minute ride / drive from Edenvale.

The idea was to make a bike trip out of it, doing mostly historical caches. Doing more research I found 2 in Alberton, and so the plan hatched to ride from Edenvale to Alberton, anti clock wise around Suiker bos rand, into Heidelberg. Then back home via Nigel and Springs.
If all went well this would bag me about 8 to 10 caches, but it was more about the outing then the geocaching.
We found one in Alberton, and DNFed (Did Not Find) the second. I entered the co-ords of a one stop, where Trish could have a smoke break, but as it happened it was not the one on the Alberton to Vereniging highway, but the one from Alberton to Heidelberg highway.
I had a feeling we we were going in the wrong direction, but since I did not know the area, I thought the GPSr might know  a shorter or better road. Once we got close to the highway it was I realised what had happened, and decided to just go with the flow, and go past the eastern side of Suikerbos Rand to Heidelberg.
The ride on the N3 towards Heidelberg was quite uneventful, except that my head was bobbing around like one of those little men in the back of old cars. We did a geocaching about the woman and children dying in the concentration kamps in the Boer war, and then entered Heidelberg.
I have been past the town many a time in my life, but I think this is the first time I have actualy entered it. It seemed small,and quaint, but there were signs of the big city as well. Nando's, Wimpy, and FNB. 

After attempting a geocache or two, we looked for a place to eat. We wanted something small town. We tried the "Plaashuisstoep Coffee Shop". But it was closed. Trish had seen some sign boards, and we went looking for them again, and that is how we found "Her Majesteas Salon" (link)

Its a small quaint little place, with lots of interesting hooks and crannies. We sat down, and of the over 100 teas they had I ordered my plain old Rooibos tea. Trish had coffee. My tea arrived in a glass teapot, and not in one of these modern tea bags. Oh no, it was once of those tea leaf holders my parent used to use. After the drinks arrived we ordered toasted sandwiches. The sandwiches were tripple layered, and well worth the R45.00 odd each. It filled the spot.

After lunch we explored the house a little the walls were almost half a meter thick, and when I asked the lady when it was built, the answer was shortly after the stone church around 1860, and this it was the second oldest building in Heidelberg.
We bought my mom a arm band, which was in the "R10.00 or less basket, but by the time we got to the till it was R75.00. "Oh well, mom will like it so lets just get it".

We did a few more geocaches in Heidelberg, most notably one at the grave yard, where the last person who was shot in the Boer war is buried. Then it was off towards Nigel, and then home via Springs.

As we passed East Rand mall, I thought it might be a good idea to stop off at the Pet shop. I want to Trish an African Grey for Christmas. We looked, but they didn't have any babies. They did have a breading pair for R2900.00, but Trish wasn't interested.
Although our bums were sore from sitting, we decided to go past another pet shop in Kempton Park, and see if they had any. Also none available there.

All in all we did about 175 km on our trip. We were both tired, and went for a nap once we got home.

12 December, 2011

To Deneysville and back on the bike. Our first long distance ride

 We, being Trish and myself, with Oliver went to Deneysville on Saturday on the bikes.

It was a total round trip of 240 km. It was cloudy with a chance of rain. From accuweather.com it looked a little better in Deneysville so we decided to take the chance hoping there would be no, or very little rain. Bike riding is fun ... as long as one doesn't get wet. The clouds were looming over us the whole day, but we only had 5 or so drops on the helmet on the way home.

We left home just after 7H30,. I had to fill up, and once we got onto the highway I was very happy to sit at 120 km/h on the clocks. Soon that got boring. Then it was 120 km/h on the GPS. Then that got boring, and the bike still had lots to give. Then pushed her for a little to about 130 on the GPS. That is about 140 on the clocks or just under

Once we passed Vereeniging we got off the highway and the ride became a lot more enjoyable. I had to be a lot more alert, and the scenery becomes so much more interesting as well. We passed a hill, which was on our right, with what looked like steam coming off it.

We stopped for two geocaches at the dam wall by the bridge going over the Vaal river. I also took some photos of the fishermen by the river, the slues gates, and two lonely wild growing sunflowers.

Afterwards we entered Deneysville, with lots of people setting up small stalls for the Saturday. We went to the Motorbike museum, and had breakfast at the inn. We started off with coffee for Oliver and Trish, and Rooibos tea for me, and each ordered a English breakfast.

Just as my tea was about finished, the breakfast arrived. 2 Pieces of toasts, 2 eggs, bacon, a sausage and half a tomato.  It went down well. Trish had another cup of coffee, a smoke, and after I paid the bill we went looking at the bikes in the museum.

I loved looking and taking photos of the old bikes. Some were pre ‘60s and I found these the most interesting to look at. Lots of race bikes as well. I suppose those are really the ones which make history.

I am still amazed at how the old front shocks work on those old bikes. I spent about 5 minutes or so figuring out how the mechanical advantages worked on them front shocks. I wonder how the ride would be in relation with today’s front bike shocks. It must have been marvellous technology in the day.

Then it was off into town, to do another geocache at an old gate which allowed access into a small reserve. I found it quite quickly, and Oliver was gob-smacked at the ingenuity of the cache. I knew it was a sneaky hide, and I was myself quite surprised ... and relieved ... at how quickly I found it.

Then on the spur of the moments Trish and Oliver decided to allow me to do one more cache close to the water edge. 

On the way there we passed this most amazing castle-looking house, with "moat and all". It had big signs, stating it was " Private Property" and other things of being prosecuted should one trespass. Should have take a photo. The moat was empty, but it must be beautiful with water and fish in. We arrived at the cul-de-sac and it took me a little while to find the geocache. I signed it, and by now the sun was coming out, and we were all getting quite hot in the motorbike gear.  The higher speed riding would soon welcomed to cool us down a little.

I had hoped to ride back home over Heidelberg / Nigel and pick up a geocache or two on route, but Oliver was leading and he took the same route as we came. We had to stop twice for road works being performed on the road. Looking at the sections where they were supposed to be working, and all the weeds growing in the road, it must have been months since they did any work on the road.We “pulled rank” and stopped in front of the cars already there, and once we were allowed to get going sped off, leaving them far behind.

At home we had a nice relaxing cup of tea, spoke about the day’s events, and once Oliver left Trish and I went for a snooze. It was quite tiring, all the concentration I had to do on the bike.

It seems like I am not yet bike fit. With more and more rides over time we will get there. Looking forward to the next outing. Sounds like it will be to Hartebeespoort dam and surroundings.There is a geocaching event in Rustenburg on the 17th. Maybe a bit to far on the bike with two up. But maybe we feel up to it. Lets see what happens.

29 November, 2011

Bush braai, Xmas dinner and Toyrun 2011

 Another tick done this year: I participated in the Toy run 2011.

Rewind many a year to when I was still at school, and I partisipated in the toy run with Roger. We both did it on our 50cc bikes. He had a RZ and I had a DT. Both Yamahas. I year or 2 later we did it again. Him with his then girlfriend, now wife, and as Roger's mom wanted to go with she was on the back of my bike.
One other thing I remember as that the going was very slow, and we took our helmets off while riding in convoy to the final venue, which was somewhere in Primrose if memory serves me right.

When I got the Bajaj, in December last year, I wanted to again experience the Toyrun, but I got the bike a few days after the Toyrun, and I hoped at the time to do it next year. Since its a small 180 cc, maybe Anya would be able to come with me. But those hopes were dashed when the engine ceased.

A few other things came together and I was able to purchase a F650GS twin. It's a bigger bike, and that meant Trish could come with me, and we could experience it together.

But before I can get to the Toyrun we need to get throguh the rest of the whirlwind weekend of the 26 / 27 November.

We are going live in less then a week with a new system at work, with lots of late nights being put in, finalising some issues. My boet was out here from the UK with his girlfriend, and the extended family were all invited for the weekend away in the bush near Mokopane (p.k.a  Potgietersrus). Trish and I also had my companies Xmas dinner on the Saturday, and the Toyrun on the Sunday. The plan was to leave early on Friday, if I had resolved all my issues at work, spend the Friday night in the bush, leave the kids there with the others, come back Saturday afternoon, go to the Xmas dinner Saturday night, and do the Toyrun on Sunday, if the hangover was not to bad.

There were a few later nights then expected, and I had a feeling that I might not be able to leave early on Friday for the 3.5 hour drive. If I could not leave the weekend would be spoilt for the whole family. So I organised that my sons could drive with their Ouma and Oupa early in the morning. Anya's aunt was kind enough, wanting to leave a little later, and give her a ride. So now if I would need to work late at least it is just Trish and me who wont be able to make it.

Friday night: Thaba-Nkwe
Luck was on my side, and I resolved all issues by 2 PM, and with all other parties using my module left for home. By the time I arrived, Trish had packed our bag, and we left just after 3PM for the long drive to Thaba-Nkwe near Mokopane.

The time at Thaba-Nkwe was realy nice. We had T-bone on the braai, potato salad which Trish made and some garlic bread. Saturday night I slept not to well. The room we had didn't have a headboard and the room being round meant that my pillow kept falling off the bed. The bed being quite short for me, also did not help, as my feet were hanging off the other end.

Saturday morning I got up just after 8 AM, Quite late for me, but much earlier then my Aunt and Uncle, as well as Julie and Jerome. Once everyone was up we made breakfast bush style. We made a fire, and added the coals to a oven come hot plate. Oupa cooked the onions, tomatoes, bacon and eggs on it, while Alex and me did toast over some other coals using a grid.
Afterwards, at around 11 it was cake and tea time, and also my aunts birthday. We did the traditional "Happy birthday song" and the Damhuis tradition of clapping each year the person is old. ... Lets just say it took quite some time. I hope to get to the same count one day.

At about 1 PM Trish and I said our good byes and left for home so we could shower, and prepare for the Xmas dinner.

Xmas dinner:
As I was getting dressed all in black, I realised my black shoes were still at work. (I ride home on a motorbike with proper riding boots). This was now a problem and as we had to leave in 10 minutes there was no way of getting the shoes in time. So on with some tekkies. Not posh but the only option I had available. The dinner was held at held at Scarlet Ribbon at Greenstone Ridge, not to far from home. AS all Investment Solutions Xmas parties, I was really looking forward to it. I was a little disappointed in the amount of food. The starter was tasty. The main was also tasty, but the lamb was undercooked, and almost raw. Pudding was also good, but not enough.

Each person got 500 play play money, and after dinner we all went to the gambling tables which was part of the night's theme. I tried my hand at roulette. Initially I made quite a bit of money, but tried to double it on red after it fell 3 times on black, and lost all my chips. It was fun playing any case. We left at about 12, and went past some friends who had a braai. I could fill up on some left over braai meet, which went down with a sprite.

Eventually we got into bed at about 1 AM. I was pretty sure we would be missing the Toy run. But would see what the morning brings.

The Toyrun:
 Sunday morning I awoke at about 7AM. I tossed and turned and tried to get back to sleep, but could not, eventually getting up by about 7H30. I left Trish sleeping while I got the bike out, packed the rucksack and got the rest of the riding apparel ready. I had taped a little squirrel to my front bike visor, and added a few other toys to the rucksack with their faces sticking out. Trish had a cup of coffee just before we left

Arriving at ground zero, I have never seen so many bikes together in one go. There were possibly around 2 or 3 thousand bikes. We rode through the crowed and stopped at the back of the group. I took a few photos. I little later we got the signal that we were about to leave. It took some more time, before we actualy left.

We left Checkers Hyper car park, with police blocking off the road for us bikers and then got onto the highway towards the airport. I was even impressed that they stopped the cars on the highway for us. We rode past the airport and got off by the Atlas road off-ramp, then left and right at the next traffic lights, and then followed the long "Great North Road" into Benoni.
 Trish and I stopped along the road to take some photos of the bikes, and then re-joined the group right at the back. Arriving at the sport grounds we saw even more bikes. I looked for a few other GS's and park my bike close by. Safety in groups I say.
I saw the one GS had a top box and went to speak to the owner, who introduced himself as Mark. After some more chatting I excused myself and Trish and I went to drop off our bears. Then we went looking for a tent which sold some food, as we both had not eaten yet.

One tent was not to busy, and the burgers seemed like a decent size. Trish ordered a Cheesy something or other I had a burger. Nice in size, but the meat was still raw. I had a byte of Trish's breakfast and it tasted a lot better then mine. We had another bit of a walk throgu hall the stalls and then left for home.

On the way home we drove past a pet shop, and I thought we could quickly stop and look how much the African Greys cost. No baby birds, but a nice breading pair for R2900.00. Still a bit expensive.
Since we weren't in a hurry decided to go past another bird shop we had passed, and their birds seems quite expensive. I also saw a beautiful stone from for R100.00 with would look nice next to the pond. Also an eagle on a rock for R190.00 which seemed very reasonable priced.

We visited two other pet shops but they either did not have babies, or it wasn't to our liking.

We got home shortly after 13H00, and the GPS said we had travelled just under 80km.

In the afternoon I helped Trish make home made lasagna and we entertained my folks, and Rudi and his girfriend for dinner.

All in all a very busy weekend.

05 November, 2011

BMW F650GS Twin

Today was the realisation of a 20 year old dream. I got my BMW F650GS bike.

When I was young, and still at school I rode a 50cc and later a 440cc motorbike. I loved it, but as I got to the dating scene, decided a car would be better, and left the motorbike scene. At the time I decided some time later in my life I'll get a bike again when I could afford a "proper" bike.

Fast forward quite a few years to 2005.

My brother Rudi is a bit of an adventure freak. One of the trips he had undertaken was ride his bike from London to Cape Town all on his own. He did it in just under 2 months, and he did it on a F650GS. The 15 000 km went without indecent. With hind sight I would have loved to have been at our parents house when he arrived, but we had people over that day, and I felt bad leaving them. This was another lesson learned. Be there for other peoples mile stones and achievements. Any case. When speaking to my brother before he left for Cape Town about his trip, I realised what a good bike he had, and at that point decided when I get my "big" bike it will be a F650GS.

At the end of 2010 I got a Bajaj 180 very cheap and used it to work and back, but it gave up the ghost a few months ago, and a was bound to the car, and lots of traffic. I missed the little bike, but wanted more power. I was also looking forward to joining the Toyrun at the end of November. Now it looked like I would be missing that as well.

I applied at my bank (ABSA) for a personal loan, and after 6 weeks still had not heard if the loan was either approved or declined. Very bad service from ABSA if you ask me. I lodged a complaint and then for the 1st time in 6 weeks there was some action, and eventually the loan was approved at a rate I thought was quite high.

I started looking for a bike. The plan was to get a bike with panniers. Trish and I have been talking for some time that we would like to go away for weekends once in a while. Just the two of us and my idea was to do this on a bike. A bike is cheaper, and I think much more thrilling way of enjoying a weekend away. This is also where the panniers come in. One for her. And one for me.

My heart was set on a canary yellow BMW. To me its an awesome colour. But as the cookie crumbled none were available when I started looking. I cant (or rather don't want to) afford new. I find it just to expensive. But I wanted to buy from a reputable dealer, and the only real dealers would be BMW Motorrad.

I looked and looked for a bike. None at Corlett drive. None in Boksburg either. Only place where there seemed some were available was in Pretoria. We took a drive out there last weekend. There were 2 possibilities, and neither of them were in yellow. One was a Dakar, and the other a blue GS with panniers. I liked the bike with the panniers, but from internet research thought it was a little expensive, since the panniers were home made, and the milage was also a little high. We went to another BMW motorrad dealer, and a 650 Dakar which was available was snatched up already. It seems the 650GS and Dakars go like hot cakes.

We spoke some more, and looked at various options. Ideally we would like a slightly bigger bike
which would easily accommodate us on weekend trips. But the 800 I think is a little bit to big for town commuting, as I want to save petrol to work and back. The idea of the 'F650GS Twin' or better described as the 'K72 F650GS' came up. Maybe it would be worth it to now spend a little extra, get the stronger 650, and be set for quite some time to come. Looking on the internet there were a few twins available, and a specific one at Zambezi Motorrad. I phoned them up, and a long story short found out the interest rate BMW finance would charge me was 1.5% less than what ABSA offered. The service from Zambezi was excellent and I therefore decided to buy the bike there and then without seeing it. Some friends found this strange. But honestly...if you know what the colour is (Silver / grey). Its a 2009 model (How much can be wrong with it), and only 13 800 on the clocks (Its still brand new). Why the need to see the bike before hand? I signed the OTP, emailed it through and organised to pick up the bike on Saturday morning. This all happened on Wednesday.
That night I could hardly sleep. I woke up at around one. Adrenalin pumping through my vains in the anticipation of getting the bike. Same with Thursday. I felt a little bad, as it affected my concentration a little at work, and I felt a little tired by 2PM.

Saturday morning came and again I woke up very early, and eventualy getting up making a cup of tea, and get through the last 4 days of personal emails. By 5AM I felt tired again, and tried to sleep. Couldn't. Its only 4 hours before I can get my new bike!

On the way there we stopped of for a cache in Pretoria. We doing the Play play park series by Villagegoers, and all caches are in the Johannesburg area, except one. And since the only one not in Johannesburg is in Pretoria and that is where we getting the bike from decided to grab it on the way. We found the cache, after phoning a friend for help, and then I really started to get excited. I think the last time I was this excited was on my honeymoon night.

Arriving at Zambezi Motorrad I saw the bike properly for the 1st time. The silver was a little darker then I had expected. But later on out in the sun it was more the lightness I had expected.

With hind sight I maybe should not have bought a silver bike. Although silver is the most common colour for a vehicle, it is the least visible colour. I compensated for this by purchasing a "Think bike" jacked to make me more visible. More about that later. Either way I liked what I saw.
Then it was time to sign the papers. And lots of them. But all was well prepared, and it went quite quickly. It felt that every thing was well explained to me. I also got a 2 year mechanical warranty on the engine, which I did not expect. Nice "bonus".

Oh yes .... Oliver, a good friend of mine has the F800, and he sent me the user manual on the F650GS. I had read most of it before Saturday.

The only issue I could have with the bike is that the grips were in a bad state. Quick explenation: BMW bikes, as an optional extra have heated grips. The previous guy must have ridden with them on for a long time, and they had melted a little. But then it is a second hand bike. If that is the only thing which is wrong, then I can more then live with it.

By the time I had to take delivery of the bike and I was taken through all the functions, knobs and lights it was really only a recap of what I had read. And I felt I could ask the questions the manual could not answer when I was reading it. I think the Motorrad guy was quite impressed with what I knew. It really paid of to read the manual before hand.

On delivery I also got a rucksack, T-shirt (which was exchanged for a bigger one), and a 'cramp buster'.

It was only then that I for the first time rode the bike. And boy what a lovely feeling. I did a quick figure 8, just to feel the heaviness of the bike, and then parked it and suited up for the trip home.

My helmet got passed on to Jerome who just turned 16 and got his own bike, licence and freedom. So I used an old Aero helmet (or whatever it is called).

After suiting up it was off the Auto Glass to get it approved for insurance purposes, and then it was time to go home. I promised myself that I would keep the revs under 5000 until I am used to the bike. And yes I did. We got to the highway and just before we got on my hands got really hot. For a second I got a fright and thought the bike was overheating. Then I realised the heated grips must be on and saw the setting was on 2. Whew!! Panic station over. Once on the highway I opened her up a little after 5 km or so. Nice! I like the power. But boy .... there is a lot of wind at 120 kph. I never had that on my Bajaj. Then again the Bajaj never got over 90. It took quite a bit of getting used to. Also the indicators are different from other bikes I had ridden, but by the end of the day I am almost used to it.

The noise within the helmet was also really bad. So much so that I wished the trip over because of the noise, long before my butt got sore. Also the pressure of the helmet of my forehead gave me a headache. So much so that I decided to just give in and buy a new helmet (see further below).

The bike has 6 gears. I think all the other bikes I have had have only 5. So it is something to get used to as well. To gear up to 6, instead of leaving her in 5th.

Once we got off the highway back in Edenvale, I opened her up a little from the stop street. The throttle was not even half way I think, and the acceleration was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. When we arrived at M&A I had quite a headache, and decided to get a new helmet at Full Throttle.

At Full Throttle I got Nitro helmet (with complementary cap). It is a flip up helmet, and it has a sun visor. It makes one feel like a fighter pilot. Trish saw a black Mars helmet which she liked, and I decided to buy that for her as well. Then at least she has her own helmet when we go on our Sunday morning breakfast rides.

At first I was very sceptical on the hinged helmet idea, but pulling down the hinge it felt and sounded quite solid. I wore my helmet on the way home, and took it on the highway for a short ride. Wind noise still quite loud but much better then the old red helmet. I will definitely use the earplugs, and we got Trish some as well.

With the "Go Live" of our software project at work being only 18 days away, I have been putting in some extra hours to try and get everything done which has to get done. Which means I usually get home at around 7PM, and it is quite dark. With a silver grey bike being less visible, I decided to buy a "Think Bike" vest, just to be more visible.

Once home, I added my GPSr holder to the bike, and then took Trish on a short ride too her brother to show off the new bike. The way she held me I knew she was very nervous. But she seemed excited as well. I took it very easy with her, and only opened it up a little once we were in 6th gear doing about 60 and took the bike up to about 90. Just to give her a feeling.
I also left my sun glasses at home, and opted to try my normal glasses with the flip down sun visor. I think it works quite OK.

Once home I took my daughter to my folks so they could see the bike. She had been wanting to go for a ride the whole morning, but I had promised myself that once I got a bigger bike Trish would be the 1st on to get a ride.

All in all today was a milestone day. One I had been looking forward to in a long long time. BMW made the experience very nice, and was the cherry on cake. The cream was the new helmets.

Tomorrow after church and Rein's first communion I will take Trish on a breakfast ride to a nearby coffee shop. A shop where we did a geocache some years ago, which she enjoyed at the time. Then the weekend after a little further. And hopefully in no time we can go away for a weekend.

21 February, 2011

Bajaj Pulsar DTS 180

I have now just filled up for the 3rd time after getting my Pulsar 180.

With the very first tank I got 4.663 litres per 100 km or 21.45 km per litre.
Then I had the bike serviced, and then got 2.926 litres per 100 km or 34.18 km per litre.

I found out that I had a lose sprocket on the rear wheel, and had that fixed.

I am also trying to ride the bike in a more economical way, and with the last tank I got 2.868 litres per 100 km or 34.86 litre per km.

I think that is pretty good for the bike carrying just over 100 kg of rider.

This tank I will attempt to get the to 40 km per litre mark, but I doubt it is possible with the hills and valleys I have to travel through from Edenvale to Sandton.

I also got the right front indicator replaced as the same time the sprocket had to be fixed, so now she is ready to go through roadworthy. If all goes well it will happen later this week, or early next week.

On the 16th March we are joining a geocaching group on their bikes, and going for a bit of a geocaching run in the Hartebeespoort dam area. It will be very interesting to see what consumption I get on the "open" road, and with a pillion (my daughter). Anybody care to join us?

03 February, 2011

Why I no longer ride the Gautrain.

I was a avid supporter of the Gautrain. So much so, that I was there at 5H30 on the morning of the 8th of June 2010, to take the very first public ride on the Gautrain to work. I even got 3 or 4 guys I work with to join me that early morning.

I liked riding the Gautrain. So much so, that I wanted to see if it were possible to ride the Gautrain to work and back for 6 months, and not one time use my car.

There were a few times that taking the car in would have been easier, but my determination to make it to 6 months persisted. All the other guys, after 2 months or so, for what-ever reason stopped riding the train.

I made it! On the 8th of December I rode the Gautrain for the 6th straight month, making my "not using the car to work" milestone. This was also the last time I have ridden the Gautrain.

To date I have spent just over R 6,000.00 with Gautrain. But my relationship with Gautrain has not been plain sailing.

Somewhere in the first 3 days of riding the Gautrain, R80.50 was taken from my card which they, Gautrain, did not, could not, and are still not accounting for. I have tried numerous times to contact the help desk, send emails, ask for updates, having them make promises, and having them break promises to me.

This has now left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

A guy I work with had R400.00 taken from his card, and only after 3 months of fighting, emailing, and phoning Gautrain, did he get his money back. Why is this? Is there no "easy" way for Gautrain to resolve the issues logged with helpdesk?

And this was the last straw:
I received an email from Winnie Mposula dated 11 December 2010
Dear Mr. Damhuis

We are looking into your lost card enquiry, we have escalated your complaint to senior management.

Please note you will get response from us before Wednesday.

Winnie Mposula
Customer Service Information Officer
Bombela Operating Company

To date, and it is a mere 2 and a half months later, or 8 "Wednesdays" later, and still no follow up email, nor a phone call from them. Maybe I have it wrong, but I would think she was referring to the first Wednesday after she sent the email....

I thought long and hard about it, should I follow up "yet one more time" or just leave it.... I decided to leave it, but to write a blog entry post to "vent" my anger at Bombela and Gautrain.

I have also sent Mrs Winnie Mposla the link to this blog post. But if history is anything to go on, I'll never hear from her/them.

Also at the beginning of December I got a very good deal on a motorbike. It is a small Bajaj Pulsar 180cc. I have now opted to ride it to work and back each day if it doesn't rain.

So far in the 6 odd weeks, I have been riding her, I have saved just over R1,300.00 on the Gautrain, or paid for 14.2% of the total cost of the motorbike. Each day I ride the bike to work, I save R51.00 on the Gautrain fare, and this comes of the total cost of the bike. (I am keeping a spreadsheet)

The total cost of the bike, includes the cost of the Bike itself, the services, the helmet, jacket, gloves, and all the petrol. This little bike gets almost 35 km per litre.

And I think that my carbon footprint, is less then using the Gautrain as well. But that is perhaps a calculation and blog post for some other time.