Saturday, March 5, 2011

Trail Ride!


This was an opportunity I was not going to let pass by!

Regular readers to this blog will know that I do write-ups on bikes for the regional paper. As it happens, this weekend that bike was a Trail Bike. And what a Trail Bike it was! Big Grin

My steed for this ride: The Yamaha TTR250: Cool

Brand spanking new. Cool

And it gets better... I didn't have this bike for an hour, I had it for the weekend! Head Bang This afforded me the opportunity to do a proper test of this bike - a real trail ride.

I invited Cassie, Smidty and LGF on this ride, a small group on small bikes, to join me riding the trails and spend the night camping in the forest. We had great weather forecast with a minimum of 20 degrees Celcuis that night so we packed light and hit the road.

Our first destination was Montagu pass. This is such a great location with lots of spots perfect for bike photography.

I also loved the fact that we had four scramblers, four different scramblers, on this ride.

Four cousins: Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki & Honda:

These days it seems a lot of the Ride Reports I read feature pictures where all the bikes on the ride are the same model of the same brand. I don't know if they intentionally only ride with the same brand & model, or if it's simply a case of all the riders happening to ride the same bike (and wear the same clothing and helmets) but I found just looking at this picture pleasing. Something different for a change! I have always prefered mixed rides.

Riding up Montagu Pass I was really surprised at how well this TTR soaked up the bumps. This bike probably has the best suspension I have experienced on a small trail bike. It's light, sure footed, handles easily and has a real quality feel. And small bikes are fun! I was already regretting that I don't have a small bike in my stable any more. Undecided

With the necessary photos taken we headed down the mountain and out to the farm. LGF enjoying the ride:

The day was heating up. At the farm we dropped the backpacks, jackets and helmets and headed out again. Smidty has not been here before so I decided to show the group around the farm a bit first. As can be seen in the pictures we were full of jokes already!

We were riding without helmets because it was slow going on grass, often chatting while we were riding. It was the first time LGF has ridden without a helmet ever and as luck would have it he fell barely 500 meters into the ride. Being over enthusiastic with the throttle on a slippery patch is not always the best idea. Smile

Luckily no damage done.

Some more farm photos:

The farm and neighboring farms have some indigenous forests. These forests are being conserved and not turned into arable land. Also, damaged areas within these areas are being rehabilitated. We treasure these areas for their beauty and diversity and enjoy them with carefully picked out picnic spots. This particular spot was dubbed "The Fairy Place" by some small kids once and the name stuck.

(Photo by LGF)

Next some trail riding to and in the forests:

LGF's second incident: Evil

Cassie Botha:

In certain spots the intruder trees are destroyed so the the indigenous forest can reclaim those areas. There has not been a lot of movement here recently so we had to clear trees from the road to able to continue sometimes. Sometimes you pick up the trees and sometimes you pick up the bikes. Cheesy

Situations like these often arise during a Trail Ride. Luckily these bikes are Super light! Cool



Before we headed off too far we decided to turn back and get the luggage. It was late afternoon already and we wanted to set up camp when we saw a suitable spot.

Some more obstacles in the road:

I mentioned it was HOT? We stopped for drinks breaks often. This is one of my favourite pictures of the weekend:

LGF and Cassie swam a bit to escape the heat.

Some more scenery:

These forests are alive. We have some pine plantations just North of our farm (no go area), but those are not nearly as nice as this. Very little grows beneath those trees and it's generally not as pretty.

Cassie's turn to take a tumble. Cheesy

With this drop we decided that this will also be the place where we spend the night.

We travelled light today. Cassie and I only had hammocks, Smidty only had an air mattress while LGF still opted for the tent. We didn't even bring extra clothes as we are so close to home that we can change tomorrow. In fact, with a minimum of 20 degrees forecast I did not even bring a sleeping bag.

Cassie looking for a place to set up his hammock:

He's never slept in a hammock before. In fact, he's only bought this hammock this morning. It was quite small and he wasn't to sure this was going to work. Smile

(Photo by Smidty)

We were just settled in when we heard the first thunder... Eek!

The next moment it was bucketing down and we even had some hail!

(Photo by LGF)

LGF dived into his one man tent while we took shelter under my "bivvie". We were soaked - right down to the underwear and socks! Cheesy

These are the kind of trips you remember! Smile

After the shower we did our best to dry out.

(Photo by LGF)

(Photo by LGF)

(Photo by LGF)

And we joked, laughed and chatted late into the night.

(Photo by LGF)

It's on these smaller trips where you get to know people better than you would when in a large group. And what a great group of guys these were. A1 Spending a night wet in the forest might not be everybody's idea of fun and one unhappy camper complaining the whole time can spoil it for everybody, but we had none of that here. On bike trip you have to roll with the punches and we certainly did. Smile

Scenes around camp the next morning:

Cassie and I set up our hammocks next to each other (so we could both make use of the bivvie). His hammock is a lot less "stealthy" than mine. Cheesy

(Photo by Smidty)

As per usual we left the area as we found it, with no sign that any humans were ever there.

With everything packed we headed back to the farmhouse.

(Photo by Smidty)

The king of the mountains:

And down into the mist.

(Photo by Smidty)

(Photo by Smidty)

Back on the farm my dad was very glad to see us. As it turns out the lightning set the mountain (plantations) alight the previous evening and he was worried about where we were. We never even knew. Eek! Luckily indigenous forests don't burn.

This whole trip, from George, up and down Montagu Pass, out to the farm, riding the trails and all the way back to George was only 87km, but it felt like we were on holiday. Small bikes and Trail Riding is the bizniz! Big Grin

Thanks guys. This was one to remember.  Evil A1



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sheesh, what an awesome area and right on your doorstep. You sure are blessed.