Saturday, June 21, 2008

A "Small" Ride

Recently we spent some time on the farm. Quality family time and quality riding time. Grin

My eldest invide a friend who also has a bike and before long we headed for the mountains.

This was to be a ride with a difference – my 200 would be considered “the big bike” for a change.

We were planning to ride around on the farm first, but as usual we headed for the forest soon. Look – there in the distance – that’s where we want to be!

There are lot’s of things happening on the farm. This dam is in the process of being enlarged.

And the road to paradise:

There is an indigenous forest on the farm. Yellow wood, Stink wood, Black wood, ferns, you name it. Unfortunately some sections have been infested with Wattle and Bluegums, but these are being cleared and the area rehabilitated.

The farm borders onto the Forestry land to the North. These plantations are being harvested but not replanted. This area too will be returned to it’s original state. As such the area is eco sensitive and entry to this area is strictly prohibited. Imagine the damage hooligans would do if let lose here.

We have a good relationship with the powers that be and every once in a while we get permits to explore the myriad of routes. There is an understanding that we will not be on noisy bikes, no 2 stokes or quads, no speeding or spinning and behavior befitting a sensitive eco area.

We guard this privilege jealously to make sure there will be a next time, another opportunity to explore. Last time we were allowed in here was in February.

In the pic above you can still see part of the plantation. You can also see the farms and how high we already are.

There are lots of rivers and in these "kloofs" the indigenous forests are breathtaking.

While riding along we came across this group of horse riders. Must be great to experience this area on horseback.

We stopped and turned around. Our bikes run very quietly, but there are lots of other routes and we did not want to spook the horses unnecessarily.

We explored some more before returning to the farm for lunch.

Dead end? Not if it’s your farm on the other side Grin

View over the farm (South)

Here you can see the indigenous forest (left) and the land that is being rehabilitated on the right.

Riding through the indigenous forest is a sensory experience. You smell the forest, the damp earth. It’s cooler and you can’t stop looking around. There are lots of life – monkeys, bush buck, birds (including Knysna Loeries) – wonderful!

Young Andre is turning into a real little Dual Sport rider. He knows where he can let rip, where we take things easy (like on the mountain) and he enjoys both. He stops at scenic spots and even takes photos with his cell phone. I wonder how long it will take before he does his own ride reports Grin

Next up we took some of the farm roads. Here they can go faster and they certainly do. Andre tops out at about 80 km/h.

For some speed bumps are a nuisance, for others it’s great fun! Grin

Then on to the bridge that washed away in the last flood.

This presents an excellent opportunity to improve those water crossing skills Grin

On Sunday my friend Yellowfewer was going to pass through George on his way back to Cape Town from a Baviaans trip. I wanted to show him the forest area, but he had two traveling companions I’ve never met. I discretely tried to find out what bikes they’ve got, if they’ve got noisy performance pipes and whether or not they are hooligans. As it turns out they had standard bikes and Yellowfewer vouched that they are well behaved gentlemen Grin

So the plan was set in motion. I made the necessary arrangements and soon they arrived for a trail ride with the smaller bikes. As far as the bikes were concerned we were quite a diverse group.

Andre – CRF70
Myself – CTX200
Sweeper – NXR125
Wingman – NXR125
Yellowfewer – GS1200
MellowYellow – GS1150
The KTM Rider – KTM990


On our way to the forest MellowYellow showed us that his Pig is very capable and would have no problems on the trail ride.


We rode up the mountain towards the viewpoint and soon we found our first obstacle:

I was afraid that we’d have to turn around, but the big bike riders were adamant that this was not a worry. They approached the tree started making plans. Some-one suggested that maybe we could move the tree? Well, I’ve never been in a situation were we thought the tree might be lighter than a bike Wink

A ramp of sorts were built right at the edge where there was quite a drop-off. They were going to ride the bikes over.

MellowYellow said that the Pig would go first. I was expecting the worst so I got the video camera out Grin

With the Pig successfully over the pressure was squarely on the KTM Grin

Next up: Yellowfewer on the GS1200

Suddenly, after all the banter and laughter, the pressure was squarely on me to negotiate the obstacle. Imagine if the big bikes got over and I fell Grin I would never hear the end of it! Everybody (and I mean everybody) had their cameras ready… But in the end it was a non-event. I rode over the obsticle as if I did it every day. Grin (Don’t tell them I was nervous as hell Wink)

Next we had a long slippery uphill. I took the lead.

Yellowfewer coming up the hill:

We heard later that Yellowfewer fell on his way up Grin Sweeper has got the pics Wink Will be added later.

Up on top we had an incredible view.

Next we headed down into the forests.

I love this place! It’s breathtakingly beautiful, spiritual even.

We took another road I’ve never been on before. Unchartered territory Grin Exploration at it’s best.

We came across this uphill road turning off the road we were on. Mellowyellow wanted to go see what was up there.

He returned after a while saying there’s a very nice road up there. It was a steep and slippery uphill so the consensus was that we carry on on the road we were on. Remember this spot though, I will refer to it again in due course. Wink

How do you describe this? Amazing? Breathtaking? Words don’t do it justice.

The road deteriorated in places, but nothing too hectic.

I didn’t know where we were, but I knew we were going away from the farm. We needed to find a road going back at some stage. Then I found this steep downhill road – my guess was that it would exit at the same spot where MellowYellow went up. “The nice road.”

Andre led the way.

Notice in the next pic – the rear wheel is spinning but the front wheel is stationary. Yellowfewer got a face full of mud Grin

We kept riding until we ended up at this:

It’s a steep loose downhill with huge rocks and big step-downs. I decided to ride down to go and see how bad it gets. It was pretty bad.

We decided to push the CRF70 (with it’s small wheels) down.

Yellowfewer walked the whole section and decided that the risk factor is just too high for the big bikes.

Taking a big bike down this over big rocks is not a joke and we certainly didn’t want to damage an engine casing all the way up here. It was decided that the big bikes would turn around and ride the same road back to the spot where this road exits.

So just after turning around MellowYellow dropped the pig. Eish. Grin

Meanwhile we carried on.

Andre waiting for the NXR’s to come down.

The rendezvous point:

Andre waiting for the big bikes…

…who eventually arrived. Wink

By know we had to get back to the farm as I was expecting guests for dinner, but not before we played in the dam some more.

It was 'n very enjoyable day. These big machines are truly all purpose vehicles. From highway touring to Baviaans to the nitty gritty forest stuff. Amazing.

Thanks Guys! It was a pleasure having you and showing you around.

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