Ride Report : Off Road Day Ride 1st July
Arranging an Off Road ride in the middle of Winter is a bit like playing Russian Roulette, you never know when the hammer is going to strike the bullet!
The run up to this Sundays ride was no different.
The booking's in the run up to the ride had been quite brisk and then as it neared the day of the ride the bookings poured in meaning I had to turn away many people who wanted to come along with us. To avoid disappointment in future I strongly suggest that you book as soon as you receive the invitation/notification of the ride.
The week before the ride I was eagerly eyeing the different weather web sites as cold fronts kept battering our Fair Cape.
By Friday lunch time I had to make a call on where we were to ride, the Swartland got the nod!!
The rain on Saturday had me nervous but fortunately the sun peeped it's head out of the clouds in the late afternoon. I was still holding thumbs tightly.
I purposely made our meeting and departure time later than usual as I was hoping that the predicted Sun would dry the roads a bit.
Sunday dawned not too cold and I scooted along the N7 to our planned meeting and breakfast place at the the Swartland Engen 1 Stop. Although I was quite early there were already about 6-8 riders filling up and or already having breakfast. As I sat down for mine the riders kept arriving and I was very happy to see loads of new faces that I had not met before.
Just before 9am we had a chat about the ride and at 9 left for Malmesbury which would signal the start of the dirt roads and where we would deflate our tyres and disable the ABS and traction control.
After our short stop in Malmesbury we were straight onto the dirt roads. Well I guess it would have been fine if it was just dirt however it was "mud" with some normal dirt in between. I had specifically chosen this route as most of these roads are "sand" based and not clay based so even if wet they should still be ride-able, which they were!!
My Adventure was a little skittish as I settled in to, like riding a horse, giving the bike it's head and letting it find it's own way through the muddy roads. The bike and I were soon into a rythem and quite quickly I was able to let it choose where it wanted to be with me just rectifying the steering from time to time. At our first re-group the guys were all on about their narrow escapes and slips and slides while others adjusted their tyre pressure further.
What I had not mentioned was that by this time we were riding in thick mist giving us visibility in places of not more than a few bike lengths. This made the riding just that bit more exciting.
We entered Morreesburg in lovely sunshine and exited out the other side on our way to cross the Berg River over a low water bridge. I had a second option if the bridge was flooded but this would entail quite a long detour. Much was my relief when we arrived at the river crossing only to find the water just starting to flow over the bridge. Here we stopped for some time to just chat and thaw out from the chilly morning.
From here we followed our route via Kapteins Kloof and through the little village of Eendekuil (pity the Hotel is closed) and then on dirt into Piketberg where we stopped to refuel and grab some snacks to eat/drink.
After our "lunch" we took a dirt road to Gouda then dirt from there to just outside Wellington we we stopped and said our good bye's! I arrived home just before 16h00.
The bike was caked with dried mud and it took me about an hour to get it back to it'd normal clean self. It took me about another half hour to clean all the mud of the driveway.
Our next Off Road Day Ride will be on the 5th August.
Thank you all for joining me and I hope to see you all on a ride again soon.