Thursday, January 3, 2013

First Ride 2013

3 January 2013. And what better way to get the year going than a good old bike ride!

Just a quick day trip to blow the cobwebs out and get us going for the year. December has been busy with all the lying on beaches, late night parties etcetera. It's hard work living in this part of the world.
Early start - some riders not quite awake yet... *cough* Dirtcopper & Albert! *cough*!

And joining us for the first time today Bigandaft on his magnificent Triumph Scrambler that had us absolutely green with envy.

The plan for today - Ride the seven passes to Knysna, ride into the Knysna Forest and have breakfast somewhere on Kom-se-Pad, cross the mountain via Prince Alfred's Pass to De Vlugt and ride West through the Klein Karoo and cross the mountain to the coast again via Montagu Pass. An easy 300km.

Some scenery along the Seven passes route - Kaaimans Pass:

Silver River Pass:

A quick stop at the Touw River bridge.

This is the last surviving iron bridge on the old road (Seven Passes road) between George and Knysna. The ironwork of the 95ft clear span was built in 1897 by Messrs Braithwaite and co. of West Bromwich, England and shipped out to Mossel Bay. It was then conveyed in fourteen wagon loads to the site over two months. The estimated cost of the ironwork was 3850 Pounds and the approximate weight of the entire bridge was 57 English Tons. The completed bridge was opened for transport in 1898.

The view from the bridge:

Another quick regroup on Phantom Pass near Knysna.

The day started out as a glorious day, but rain had been predicted and we could see the cold front stating to move in by the time we headed into the forest. The view towards Knysna Heads:

First scenes as we head into the Knysna Forest:

Breakfast stop. If you go on a breakfast run and you end up at a Wimpy or something rather than a spot like this, you're doing it wrong.

It's good being out on my own bike again.

Another shot (one of many) of that magnificent Triumph:

Next up - a leisurely ride through Kom-se-Pad *Jeremy Clackson voice* the best Dual Sport Biking road... in the world...

Interesting tree growth next to the road:

This expanse of forest is huge and dense. In march 1999 a helicopter crashed in this forest and it lay undetected until it was found seven years later by a forest worker who was preparing cut lines for the harvesting of indigenous trees.

Fresh Elephant dung was found on this road not more than a couple of weeks ago. Every time I ride on this road I expect to see a Knysna Elephant around the next corner. Seeing one of those elusive elephants would be a dream come true.

According to forestry records 12 elephants survived by 1920 and in 1962 only 10 were counted. After having remained static for 50 years, the Knysna elephant population decreased rapidly and in 1983 only four were recorded. Recent research, including DNA analysis of the dung, puts the herd count at around 6, with young animals present.

Kom-se-pad joins Prince Alfred's Pass, which takes you over the mountain into the Klein Karoo. Just as scenic!

On the Northern side the Flora and scenery changes quickly, adapting to the lower rainfall.

But when the road dips into valleys you find yourself in forest area again. Albert taking a break:

Albert looking happy. This was the first ride he's organized.

In De Vlugt we make the compulsory stop at Angies G-spot:

Lots of other bikes around, including Berm_Rooster and HP Freak.

The whole time we were there bikes arrived and left. Awesome riding country. And then the rain came...

We waited that shower out and left before the roads got too wet. This specific section gets notoriously snotty and it took me an hour to cover the 20km in the wet with my CTX200 once. Luckily it wasn't that wet yet!

Regrouping at the Langkloof road, and using some hypothermia prevention.

Crossing the mountain into the coastal belt and the rain was really coming down. But we have a custom to stop on Montagu Pass so that's what we did. It's an awesome spot to officially end a ride. Adventure rides don't end in a Wimpy!

And a last shot on the way down, and home.

Thanks for an awesome ride guys. And Bigandaft - we hope to ride with you again soon!

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