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Author Topic: Lyndhurst Frost Bite Run: Sunday 4 June 2006.  (Read 744 times)

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Offline SGB

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Lyndhurst Frost Bite Run: Sunday 4 June 2006.
« on: June 10, 2006, 08:49:06 pm »
?Here?s a list of 40 mad guys who want to ride 800 km in freezing temperatures just to have bacon and eggs? announced Mike over coffee at Lyndhurst. Mike and Alistair were pleasantly surprised at the interest in the Frost Bite Run and soon had to think a little more about the logistics of meeting people departing from all over and how to break the crowd up into manageable groups.

Our interest in the Frost Bite Run had little to do with bacon and eggs or low temperatures. We had a special occasion to celebrate. MikedaBike managed to put at least five of our friends on new bikes thus far, the latest being Bruce, all the way from KZN.  (Advice ? be careful of having tea with Mike during working hours ? you will very likely walk away with some unplanned financial commitments and a shiny piece of riding metal). After driving up from Durbs and taking delivery on Friday, Bruce naturally had to take his brand new blue 1200 GS down home again. A maiden voyage comes about only once in the lifetime of any bike and the occasion was too important to miss, so escorts were arranged. The plan was that Piet and Jaco from Pretoria would ride down with Bruce on his new GS and that Gaukes, Stefan, Hein and friends would ride up from KZN to take over escort duties for the second part of the voyage.

When Lyndhurst announced the Frost Bite Run, we decided to join in the fun by combining it with Bruce?s maiden voyage. Everybody knew that it would be cold and watching the weather forecast the night before destroyed our last hopes of better temperatures.

Nevertheless, 40 riders departed for Harrismith in the cold and dark early on Sunday morning, final destination being Montusi in the Drakensberg. The mist near Villiers was a bit unwelcome, but the temperatures did not disappoint ? freezing cold as predicted! Ice was soon forming on gloves, jacket sleeves, wind shields etc. How anybody without heated grips and appropriate gear survived, nobody can tell. We truly felt sorry for the souls in jeans, casual jackets and inappropriate shoes ? been there ? done that!

In the mean time, the Pinetown bunch departed in a comfortable 11 ?°C, but that was short lived and it took only until the top of Town Hill, where Gerbrand and some friends joined, to see sub-zero temperatures.  The alternative route was taken to skip the toll gates, and Nottingham Road resembled something from a fairy tale.  The whole place, from tar to grass to crash barriers to roofs to tree tops, was covered in a white frost blanket, with Gaukes?s thermometer sitting at -4.5 ?°C.  The section from Notties through Rosetta to Mooirivier was spectacular with wire fences looking like glass beads in rising sun ? the scenery kind of made up for the cool weather.  Mooirivier was hidden away in a cloud, perfectly filling this ice cold hole someone decided to build a town inside, and the team slipped past towards Estcourt, Colenso, Ladysmith and then up Van Reenen?s pass to Harrismith.

From Villiers, the Lyndhurst team also took the alternative road to Harrismith, avoiding a toll gate and the R31.00 rip-off. After a brief stop in Harrismith for a quick refuel everybody shot off to Montusi via the Oliviershoek pass. At the Engen in Harrismith we bumped into a few returning participants of the Byanesfield WFO Enduro with war stories of steep hills and some magnificent riding. As usual, Louwrens Mahoney and Darryl Curtis proved to be to fast for the rest.

Bruce?s escort from KZN arrived a few minutes after most of the Frost Bite runners left the Harrsimith Engen. Apart from our regular rider buddies Gaukes and Stefan on 1150 GS and KTM 950 respectively the KZN escort also included Hein on a KTM 640, and Gerbrand and friends on two Honda Pan Europeans, a Honda VFR and a very fast BMW K1200S.  After a quick refuel and chat, we all set off down Oliviershoek pass.  By now it was after 9:00, but still far from summer!

At Montusi, warm coffee was understandably very popular and everybody enjoyed an excellent breakfast. Lyndhurst kindly sponsored the breakfast and handed everybody a branded cap and keyring. Even the KTM and Honda participants can now proudly wear the Lyndhurst BMW Frost Bite Run caps!

Lyndhurst has been the number 1 motorcycle dealer for BMW for some time and it does not look like this title will be in jeopardy soon. More than R 70M was spent on a very impressive dealership facility recently, but just being big did not save the dinosaurs from becoming extinct. Lyndhurst?s success is the result of excellent service with knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff catering for all their customers? preferences, whims and superstitions. Many staff members work on Saturdays and the regular organised monthly rides and tours take huge further slices of personal time, but enthusiasm for bikes and riding is never dampened.

On top of this, Lyndhurst is heavily involved in the very successful Boxer Cup racing with sponsorship of the front running Wian Erasmus. Motor sport is never inexpensive but the regulations of the Boxer Cup are designed to keep costs down by eliminating expensive modifications, thereby levelling the playing field. A few cheats were caught out early on with expensive and illegal engine management software but since this was routed out the results now reflect talent and raw speed.  Brilliant racing to follow!

After socialising at Montusi and enjoying the view everybody had to ride back home. We planned a detour for the homeward trip via Bloodriver. This detour was the brainchild of Gaukes and Bruce but the team was easily convinced after Stefan remarked that unlike Surrender Hill on the official route, we at least won the battle at Bloodriver.  This ride took us via Bergville, and across the N3 to Ladysmith.   Here we realized that time was unfortunately running out, and the 200 plus extra km could not be fitted in before dark, so we left Bloodriver as an excellent excuse for a future ride.

The team scattered in all directions, Pietermaritzburg team decided to take the freeway, Pretoria team headed north and the Durban team took a detour via Glencoe, Pomeroy, Tugela Ferry, Greytown and Pietermaritzburg, then home.  See, Bruce needed some distance to ensure that we maintain the tradition of collecting a new bike on Friday PM and do the 1000 km service on the Monday morning following.  

Everybody arrived home safely on Sunday, just before dark, after some enjoyable long distance riding.  Bruce was safely past the 1000 km mark, and we were all satisfied that the goal had been accomplished.  We South Africans are spoilt. Unlike Europeans and others we really have the weather and the roads to enjoy our bikes. With a little preparation and investment in the right gear we can enjoy our magnificent country on motorcycles all year long.

A special word of thanks to Alistar and his team at Lyndhurst for making the Frost Bite Run possible and thanks to Mike for putting our fiends on the right bikes. To Bruce and new 12GS-ZN ? many happy miles ? keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up!

The point about the tea has been proven again by Natasha, Bruce?s wife who only met Mike on Friday when Bruce collected his new bike.  Whilst Bruce was drooling over his magnificent piece of engineering and getting ready to take off, Mike offered Natasha a cup of tea. One thing lead to the next, and on Tuesday we received an e-mail with pictures of a shiny 650 with Natasha?s name on it, all ready to be shipped to Durbs.  Things happen fast around here ? and now there is another bike in the family garage!  

Our favourite threat::  We?ll be back?.  Just try and avoid the tea!

Riding a bike is not just about riding the bike....
Do not believe everything you think....