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Author Topic: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!  (Read 13199 times)

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Offline Just Blip It!

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Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« on: July 07, 2014, 06:11:31 pm »


The roughest, toughest Zim Gravel Travel Tour to date. Now that the pins and screws are in, the bones are set, the staples are out, the bikes are repaired and the dust has settled I can finally sit down to the task of writing the ride report for the Khwela Adventures Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014 (ZGT).

Here is a little preview to get the juices flowing;




We had lots of this................!









A little of this.......................








Plenty of this!









.................and this!








....................and this!








Which lead to a lot of this!! ;D















There was also a bit of this!  :pot:











Those that made it were treated to lots of this..........................



















So make yourself comfortable, get some  :sip: and some  :happy1: and standby for the ride report!  :ricky:

« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 10:53:42 pm by Just Blip It! »
Riding Africa's lesser traveled tracks, discovering true adventure!
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Offline JustBendIt

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Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2014, 06:46:38 pm »
looking forward to this  :thumleft:
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Offline Jakkals

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Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2014, 07:04:40 pm »
Sit in spaning en wag, :thumleft:

Hierdie is 'n great foto met 'n lekker los en sagte landing,,,,,, lyk my julle is 'n paar ouens wat nie k@rk vat van bike ry nie,,, :thumleft: :lol8:

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Offline Heddles

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Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2014, 08:57:46 pm »
This looks like it was an awesome riding experience. Had I not been called away to work, I would have probably joined you guys with Jagsding..
Gonna keep an eye on this thread..
 

Offline XTFREAK

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Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2014, 09:04:50 pm »
I met up with one of your guys on his way back on the first Sunday of your ride. He had a broken shoulder, collar bone and was tackling his second puncture when I met him on the side of the road. A very despondent fella he was. Unfortunately I could help fix his puncture cause he had ripped his tube to bits. Hope he is ok now.
 

Offline Vosperd

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Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2014, 09:29:42 pm »
Lekker Mark HIT IT!!!!

Beers are on me!
Back on the horse!
 

Offline Just Blip It!

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Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2014, 10:42:12 pm »
I met up with one of your guys on his way back on the first Sunday of your ride. He had a broken shoulder, collar bone and was tackling his second puncture when I met him on the side of the road. A very despondent fella he was. Unfortunately I could help fix his puncture cause he had ripped his tube to bits. Hope he is ok now.

Yip, that was Grant, crashed about 50km into Zim in the thick sand. Tough as nails, refused any help, he rode the last 50km to the lodge, fell a few more times then rode back home to Gauteng with broken collar bone and a few broken ribs! Big respect! Will ride again with him anytime anywhere!
Riding Africa's lesser traveled tracks, discovering true adventure!
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2012 KTM 990R Adventure.
 

Offline COLES

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Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2014, 08:38:15 am »

great adventure great pic,s thank u
 

Offline punisher

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Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2014, 09:26:41 am »
lemme see ...... lemme see
just wanna have fun , and ride ... and ....... ride
 

Offline Brandt

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Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2014, 11:17:00 am »
 :sip: One day
 

Offline Fred4stroke

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Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2014, 02:47:13 pm »
 :sip:

NICE!!
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Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2014, 08:32:52 pm »
Subscribed! Wish I had the skill, time and budget to do this (maybe bike too)
Dooie visse gaan saam met die stroom...
 

Offline Bushcat

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Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2014, 08:40:53 pm »
Bring it on Shamwari! Looking forward to this RR!!
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Offline BLK

Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2014, 08:41:05 pm »
Looking interesting.The "Roof" is only in November?
« Last Edit: July 08, 2014, 08:41:36 pm by BLK »
 

Offline Ilan-san

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Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2014, 11:10:18 pm »
 :sip:
 

Offline Jackol.

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Re: Re: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2014, 11:19:36 pm »
Subscribed! Wish I had the skill, time and budget to do this (maybe bike too)
Haha. Trade your gs1200 for a gs800 or a ktm...

I agree. I definately need more skill to do a trip like this.

Very nice trip and report you have on this!!!
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Offline Jackol.

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Re: Re: Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2014, 11:31:22 pm »
Subscribed! Wish I had the skill, time and budget to do this (maybe bike too)
Haha. Trade your gs1200 for a gs800 or a ktm...

I agree. I definately need more skill to do a trip like this.

Very nice trip and report you have on this!!!
Time wait for no man
 

Offline Just Blip It!

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Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2014, 11:34:10 pm »
Day 1 “Baptism of fire!”


Our annual Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014 (ZGT) has come and gone and I find myself regularly remembering the trip every day since we got back, wishing that I was still lost in those remote majestic mountains negotiating another steep rocky path on the big Katoom. Damn! Reality is a bitch!
Instead it’s back to work, back to the rat race and the comfort of the tedious rituals of the daily grind that rule our lives. Fortunately it’s just until the next bike adventure that I now enthusiastically plan and start to tick off the days till I climb on the Katoom!
I started the Zim Gravel Travel ride in 2012, and this year was the 3rd such tour of Zimbabwe. I am a born Rhodesian and grew up on the eastern border of Zimbabwe till I was 16 years old when I emigrated with my family to SA, so Zim is close to my heart and I love sharing my previous stomping grounds with my fellow bikers.  It was here that I learned to ride a bike exploring the remote areas of Zim fresh after the bushwar which had kept us all locked up at school and home.


12 of us all converged on our meeting point at Mashovela Lodge about 20km other side of Louis Trichaardt. Most of us trailered our bikes to this venue to avoid the tediously long tar road journey. Our 13th rider was to meet us on the Zim side of the border.






Mark, WD Name;  Just Blip it. AKA “Knight Rider”. KTM 990R





Treffon, WD Name; Treffon.  AKA “Chuck Norris”. KTM 990





Lee, WD Name; Steel Image. AKA” Pades”. KTM 990R





Alan, WD Name; The Edge AKA “Zulu”. KTM 950S





Eddie, WD Name; King Edward  AKA “Steady Eddie”. KTM 1190R.





Dries, WD Name; Vosperd.  KTM 990.





Justin, WD Name; Jagsding  . KTM 950 SE.





Mario, (Not a WD) AKA “The Butcher”. KTM 990R.





Paddy, (Not a WD) AKA  “Jesus”. Triumph 800XC.





Steve, (Not a WD)  AKA “Fingers.” Triumph 800XC.





Antony, (Not a WD)  AKA “The Rabbi.” BMW 800GS.





Johan, WD Name;  JohanJvR. KTM 990R







As everyone arrived in dribs and drabs, we would gather around each arriving vehicle and check out their chosen “weapons” for the trip whilst we helped unload the trailers. For me there were a few new faces on the trip, I had ridden with most of these guys except for  5 of them. The guys came from far and wide with Justin from Cape Town who had already been on the road for 3 days!  We had started a “Whats App” group months before and as the date neared and the excitement gathered momentum the group got busy with friendly banter bouncing back and forth. Based on this, I knew we had a good bunch of guys with a few humorous characters that promised to bring a light hearted side to the trip. The average age of our group was 46 years old, so all of these guys are life experienced already.






After a lekker supper at the lodge and a few beers, it was time for myself and partner Treffon Smith(Chuck Norris) from Khwela Adventures  and my riding buddy who I met when I invited him on the  1st Zim Gravel Travel trip who also convinced me to join the Khwela Adventures team as a Tour Coordinator  to give the route briefing and hand out the traditional Pink Tie to a deserving person that had earned the privilege of wearing it for 24 hours.

The first tie bearers were Grant and Eddie. This was for getting their vehicle stuck in the bush enroute to the lodge!








The PinkDrive is the  indispensable, tangible breast cancer Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) powering South Africa’s first mobile  PinkDrive Mammography Unit and PinkDrive Educational Unit through our country, driving home the fact that ‘Early Detection Saves Lives’. It has become a Khwela Adventures tradition to bring a PinkDrive tie on the trip to be worn by the 2 riders that are deservingly nominated by the riders for a specific incident, happening or personal fark up they may have made during the days ride, they then wear the tie for 24 hours till they can hand it out the next evening after supper to the next deserving candidate. At the end of the ride each rider can sgn the tie and dedicate his ride to the memory of someone who has succumbed or beaten cancer, Khwela Adventures also donates an amount of R1200 to the PinkDrive after the tour. A very nice gesture started by “Chuck” years ago!



Khwela Adventures motto is “Ride for a reason” and is known in adventure biking circles to support many charities and communities including Malaria Net distribution, Rhino Force, PinkDrive and our latest mission for this trip was sponsored by Bic Pens who donated 3000 pens for us to distribute in Zimbabwe  in the rural areas to encourage literacy.

After a hearty breakfast and the traditional “before” photo shoot we left Mashovela Lodge heading for the border. The 80 odd kilos of tar gave us the chance to relax before our border crossing.









Our experience at the border turned out to be a 6 hour ordeal of incompetence and absolute organised chaos!  We were convinced to use a “runner” by one of our group who lives in Zim, ( no names mentioned) , this turned out more of a frustrating hindrance and amounted to the good meaning culprit being dealt out some serious straf dops and the Pink Tie. That’s all I have to say about that!







We got through to the Zim side by 15h00 and met our last member of the group there. 13 strong we decided to tackle the 100km gravel route which turned off the tar less than 2km from the border right in the dirty border town of Beit Bridge. (True to my reputation for hating the black stuff)
We split into groups of 2 riding in the “buddy” formation to reduce the dust gaps. My riding buddy was Lee, (Forum Name Steelimage) although I call him Pades (Dutchmen in Porra). Pades has probably ridden more than 20000km next to me through the best and worst terrain that I have experienced and although we have crashed into each other on occasion we know exactly what to expect and predict of the others riding style. We also communicate through our Sena’s which also helps!












What we found was people in the remote areas had probably never seen Adventure Riders like ourselves and it became a challenge to give these pens out! As soon as we would stop at a settlement adults and children would head for the hills and it would take a lot of encouragement to convince them we were friendly riders on a generous mission to give pens away! Once the ice was broken and the suspicion overcome however we were met by really friendly people who were positively jolly and happy, truly inspirational given the absolute poverty that they live in. You will notice that I said poverty and not “squalor” because they definitely do not live in squalor, they are tidy people with very little litter or wastage visible, living a traditional subsistence farmer lifestyle. They live in beautifully built huts with neatly thatched roofs a cattle kraal, a few goats, a donkey or 2 to pull the scotch cart. The sad part is that the farms that they have occupied are no longer the big productive commercial farms of the old Rhodesia which were once the bread basket of the country, but have been divided into little farms where every family now struggles out a meager existence for themselves only.  The natural beauty still exists though, now more rural and tribal than before, but really beautiful with little huts dotted here and there dwarfed by massive Baobab trees and rock kopjies. As we ride through the settlements you smell the cow and goat manure and the smell of the cooking fires and when you stop anywhere there is always the sound of distant cow bells.








Little did we know that this would be the “Baptism of Fire” for the group as we immediately encountered goat and cattle tracks with thick sand for the first 40km! The guys were still getting used to the heavier than usual loaded bikes when the sand dragon reared its nasty head biting the front wheels of the bikes and succeeding in shaking a few riders off their steeds! First Anthony, then Steve and Zulu were rudely introduced to the dusty Zimbabwean earth in unceremonious fashion!













At first it was quite amusing, but after picking up the bikes a few more times the amusement faded and the sweat started flowing for some.






<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/ygM-Ae0pKFg" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/ygM-Ae0pKFg</a>

 Sand is a “mind fuck” in most cases and once you master it things turn in your favour, I find that tackling it aggressively applying large throttle inputs and hard rear braking normally slays the “sand dragon”. Some mastered it on that dusty afternoon, some mastered it a few days later and only one never got the chance to as the ‘dragon’ struck hard as the sun slinked behind the hills the road opened allowing higher speeds but every now and again the sand would jump out and attack! Grant went down hard on one of these occasions and immediately he knew he had broken his collarbone. Bravely he climbed on his bike and soldiered on falling another few times due to the lack of support in his shoulder more than anything else. Johan and I took turns at lifting him and riding his bike through the thick stuff till we encountered more solid ground where Grant rode his bike.





 It was here while waiting next to the sandy track with the sun leaving its last glow of light that I realized how lucky we were to be in this beautiful place, what a hard ride we were going to have, this wasn’t going to be your average Adventure ride, this was going to be rough and tough! Were we all up to it? Were the bikes going to survive?

We eventually reached our overnight accommodation The Lion & Elephant Motel at around 19h30 where we all went straight to the bar and downed a few Golden Pilsners to wash the dust down and numb the aching muscles and in one case broken bones.  Despite the tough ride, the guys were all in good spirits and as we feasted on a few Eland steaks washed down by a couple more beers my nick name “Night Rider” was born.




Grant on the left with his broken collarbone and as he found out later in SA a few broken ribs too!




That night the PinkDrive Tie was handed on to Dries and Chuck for their "wonderful" organising skills at the Zim border!




My immediate thoughts turned to the months and months of Google Earth tracks that I had plotted looking for the most challenging routes for the tour.............”Shit I hope I didn’t make it too difficult else there may be many more night rides and broken bones in store!” Only time would tell!
In my mind I summed up our group for the day and came to the conclusion that this was good bunch, some slight greenhorns and some really good riders in fact some really impressive riders! It was a pleasing though to see that these guys were physiologically strong, positive and  no one had cracked no matter how many times they picked their bikes up or how challenging the route had been today, there was still a dusty smiling face on every photo and after every wipeout!
One thing though; I was determined to get this group of Adventurers through the whole route, those that have ridden with me have witnessed my  determination to ride the set route from start to finish no matter how challenging or what pitfalls lie in the way! For me it is the whole route and nothing but the route!

« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 09:47:52 pm by Just Blip It! »
Riding Africa's lesser traveled tracks, discovering true adventure!
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Offline JustBendIt

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Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2014, 06:02:39 am »
awesome stuff JBI - keep it coming ... :thumleft:
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Offline evansv

Re: Zim Gravel Travel Tour 2014. Rough, tough and rewarding!
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2014, 07:05:52 am »
 :sip:
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