A Motorcycle tour of the KwaZulu Natal, Memel area
Author: Steve and Carole Eilertsen. firstname.lastname@example.org
Now here is the question. Is it safer to ride with a group or ride at your own pace? I know I am a safer rider on my own because when I ride in a group I stretch my riding abilities. This question is relevant because the next section of 60km from points 9 to 12 were difficult ! Traction? What traction? I spent the next hour and a half encouraging the upper half of my bike to follow the lower half. You do not get any traction when your tyres are skimming over a thick layer of marble-like stones. Riding two-up with 20 liters of petrol with dual-purpose “road” tyres, my heavy bike floated across the surface like a bee looking for honey. “Give it gas”, you say? If I gassed my bike for an hour and a half just how fast would I be going? My round-the-world-trip, starting in Memel, would have been over before the braai that night! Fortunately, I found some good road surface (every few kms) where thankfully I could come off the gas for a while.
Finally, the surface changed at point 12 and I pulled off the road and waved the other riders on. I turned to face Carole. She was not happy! In addition, the hard rear suspension had compacted her spine every time we went through a shallow pothole at speed. Her breasts were also sore from her continued milk supply and no baby to feed, (did I mention she was still breast-feeding?) I told her that they looked very impressive but this did nothing to ease her sense of humour. This was a turning point in the ride for us. With the sound of the battery driven breast pump and Carole’s naked breasts bobbing about, I softened the tail of the bike. We had some lunch and enjoyed the afternoon warmth and stillness. The last hour and a half of riding had established that the GPS co-ords were reliable and that we did not have to follow the Crazy-Man up front. Now we would start our own ride – on our own.
The first 158km had been pretty in a country-farm kind of way but from point 12 onwards the scenery became more impressive. The narrow road offered excellent traction and a smooth riding surface. We loved the tightly twisted path as it wound its way through the hilly countryside towards Chelmsford Dam and Nature Reserve.
Once at the summit, we joined six other riders to enjoy the vast expanse of valley far below us. Standing 6 inches from a drop of 500m with the wind in your face is intoxicating. Unlike similar events, this ride is open to all makes of motorcycles, allowing you to see other big dual sport bikes in action. One of the other riders also had a woman riding pillion. I think the great-unsung heroes of biking are those chicks that put their lives in the hands of their motorcycle-crazy partners. Would I ride on the back of a bike scratching for traction on a high-speed dirt road? Never!
In my early days riding off-road, I feared the steep downhills, especially on the loose stuff. As a new rider, you do not appreciate the capabilities of your motorcycle and regard “downhill” as an uncontrolled plunge into the abyss. In my previous life, I recall heading down a steep slope on loose stones. A sharp corner rushed up on me. Too terrified to turn I jumped my bike off a small cliff into the virgin bush below! Incredibly, bike remained upright and I rode out! Thankfully, a better rider now, I slipped the gearbox into second and let gravity do the rest. The occasional jab on the front brake and we eased ourselves off the mountain and into the valley below. Experience and training are wonderful things! and we arrived at point 19, 249 km into the ride.
Also to Dion for allowing us to publish some of his photos!