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Offline Lancer

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Plett Adventure Bike Week - 1 Day Route Recce
« on: October 22, 2013, 10:09:49 am »
Plett Adventure Bike Week Ė One day route

As part of the route planning for the Plett Adventure Bike Week, I set out on a long ride this last Saturday. The route is one of the recommended 1-day routes for the Plett Adventure Bike Week and I plotted this route quite some time back. I had planned to ride this route about two weeks ago, however there was a lot of rain that particular weekend and I am a firm believer that itís better to be at home wishing you were on the bike than on the bike wishing you were at home. I was joined on the ride by Ken on a BMW R 1200 GS.

With the planned route being some 360 km, I suggested an early-ish start. We had agreed a meeting point for 08:00 and both being early birds, we were at the Wittedrif/Avontuur turnoff from the N2 about 15 minutes early. Unfortunately, I had failed to specify that I meant the one between Plett and Knysna, so Ken was at the one near the Keurbooms River. Thanks to our mobile phones, we resolved the problem and so it was that we met up just outside Wittedrift at the start of the Prince Alfred Pass.

It was a mild and sunny morning with clear skies as we rode out of Plett. The wind had not yet picked up and riding conditions were ideal. As we headed along the R340, I thought of how lucky we were to be in this area and able to enjoy such beautiful scenery, right on our doorstep. We made short work of the tar road along the R 340 and soon were on the dirt. A quick stop for Ken to switch his ABS off and we were mobile again. I have ridden the Prince Alfred Pass many times Ė and it is one of those roads that is just brilliant every time I ride it.

It took us almost no time to get to the intersection of the R 340 and the R339, where we turned right into what I believe is the real Prince Alfred Pass. Being that it was early in the morning, we didnít make a stop at Angies G-Spot (even though we did think about it) and we rode through De Vlugt across the Keurbooms River and onwards towards Avontuur and Uniondale. The little waterfalls near De Vlugt were beautiful, and the sunlight and the shadows made the towering mountains seem both majestic and ominous. We came across a troop of baboons and they scampered off the road and then sat and watched us as we passed. If you have never ridden the Prince Alfred Pass before, it is spectacular; the riding is sublime and the scenery, breathtaking. It is not a technical ride, but it is best taken at leisure as there appears to be a photo opportunity at every turn.

Once over the top of the pass, it is a short ride into Avontuur where you take a right turn onto the R62 and then a left for Uniondale. The tar road between Avontuur and Uniondale is fantastic. It is twisty and winds alongside a river bed and is one of those roads that you want to ride again and again, just because you can feel so in harmony with your bike when riding it.

When we reached Uniondale, we turned left and headed for the N9, and then turned left heading in the direction of George. About 6.5 kms along the N9, there is a sign showing Kamanassie to the right. We took this turn as our plans were to track along the Kamanassie Mountains all the way to Dysselsdorp.

The roads in the Kamanassie Mountains are in great shape and there are stretches where you can really open up. To the north are the huge Kamanassie mountains and to the south, in the distance are the Outeniqua Mountains. Riding along these roads, with a huge open sky above me; uncountable shades of green surrounding me; my bike beneath me, song in my heart and the incredible feeling of serenity Ė a feeling that I am truly blessed to be able to enjoy this experience.
This part of the world is Ostrich farming country and there are several camps with thousands of Ostriches in each one. Riding past the Ostrich camps, the Ostriches seem to want to race and it is amazing to see so many of them all running together. We took it easy riding past the Ostrich camps as we didnít want to upset the farmers. There are some spectacular ranches along this road and in one place, the road winds right past one of the homesteads.

We got to Dysselsdorp, which is a lot bigger than I anticipated it being, and at the T-junction took a left. Had we gone right, it would have taken us to De Rust. Itís not a long ride out of Dysselsdorp to where you can see the Kamanassie Dam, but itís not really possible to get to the dam at all. We rode to a point as close as we could get to the dam wall, but we couldnít get any closer than this:

From the dam, we continued south towards George. With the Outeniqua Mountains looming ever larger in front of us, we reached the N9, where we turned right, and then almost immediately left onto the Montagu Pass. The Montagu Pass is awesome. From the top of the pass (at Amandaís Grave), you can see into George and to the sea beyond. The pass was built between 1844 and 1847.

At the end of the pass, we joined the main road into George and we stopped for fuel, having covered some 250km already. We rode through George heading towards the N2, and then took the turnoff that takes the old Knysna road. This road is also known as the Seven Passes Road Ė no prizes for guessing why.

The Seven Passes road is a must ride. There are sections of tar although the bulk of the road is sand, but the scenery almost defies imagination and you have to be careful that you donít ride too fast as the road is really tight and windy.

The final pass into Knysna is the Phantom Pass and this comes out at the waterís edge along the lake/lagoon. It then joins the N2. By the time that we got there, the wind was really blowing hard and we decided that it was time to head for home, to watch the Currie Cup semi-finals. We breezed through Knysna and onto the N2 headed for Plett.

I decided to take the Plett airport road (near Harkerville) as this has one more stretch of dirt road before home. Ken barrelled on along the N2 with a wave and a hoot and with the promise of riding again sometime soon.

The surface on the airport road is quite loose and with the strong wind blowing into me, my bike felt a little ďlooseĒ at high speed, so I slowed down. All too soon the dirt road was finished and I was back on tar and then it was a short ride to my home.

We covered about 370 km (there was one slight navigational error) and I go home at about 15:15 Ė meaning that we had been out riding for just a little over 7 hours. We didnít make a lot of stops on the way and we didnít have lunch, which would have added to the time spent on the ride.

This is definitely a one-day ride and there are many options to either extend the ride and go on to towns like Oudtshoorn and onward from there, or shorten the ride and get onto the tar roads at several stages. All-in-all, this will be one of the exceptional route options for the Plett Adventure Bike Week.

Remember the dates: 26 April to 4 May 2014 (and the Monday and Thursday are Public Holidays).

« Last Edit: October 22, 2013, 10:24:05 am by Lancer »
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