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Author Topic: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof  (Read 8509 times)

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Offline gwild

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Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2014, 09:52:22 pm »
Nice keep it coming  :thumleft:

Offline Bernoulli

Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2014, 02:34:01 pm »
Day 2

A last picture to say good-bye to our excellent hosts! The young man in the green T-shirt turned 7 that day and was all revved up for his pirates party. (He removed the eye patch and hooked hand for the photo.)

Onto the seven passes road to Knysna.

I was searching for words to describe the experience to my wife. Meandering through the forest, criss-crossing streams, at times riding under the canopy, until I decided best would be to just say to her that this is the closest I have ever come to doing a hiking trail on a bike.

Into Knysna and the photographer uses the boredom of tarred roads to play with his camera.

Then straight to Ile de Pain for the best croissant outside of France (and equally expensive!)

A short stint on the N2 takes us to the pass leading down to Nature’s Valley, and up the other side to the lookout.

We cross the N2 to ride Bloukranz Pass only to be confronted by another futile attempt by officialdom to discourage us in our valiant attempt to ride any pass we came accross.

The signs of neglect (or should that be “non-use”) are all too apparent, but a brilliant ride nonetheless.

Another short stint down the N2 for a fuel-stop at the Stormsriver Bridge.

Whilst admiring the view, we started chatting to locals who were out enjoying a day-long ride to nowhere. Our plan was to stay on the N2 up to Jeffries and then head up to Patensie on the tar. They quickly convinced us that going via Kareedouw and then gravel to Patensie holds much more promise to seasoned gravelleers such as we obviously were (and we were not going to disagree with them!)

So we changed plan and took the road to Suuranys/Boplaas.

Stopping at the turn-off to deflate tyres, the photographer discovered he actually had to inflate his bike’s  rear.

And I learnt that a bicycle pump in the hand of McGyver can do wonders!

What a hold-on, your-teeth/tonsils/testicles-will –be-shaken-from-you, marble-infested trail of corrugations this turned out to be! I am afraid our attention was so severely redirected to keeping everything mentioned above in place, that the idea of a photograph escaped even the photographer’s thoughts.

It did not last long, though, and was interrupted by some of the surprises Mother Nature tends to conjure up to those that endure some of the curved balls she sometimes throws at us.

In the distance, crazy giants wave at us as if to say: “Continue enjoying your carefree experience, we will look after you in a sustainable way!”

And the gods seem to agree…

Approaching the end of our day in the saddle where we knew a festive braai was awaiting us, we decided to augment it with some fresh pickings from the road reserve.

Vegetarian road-kill I suppose?

Our lodging for the night, after having re-fuelled in Patensie.

Tomorrow we tackle the title of the trip!

Offline cloudgazer

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Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2014, 03:19:49 pm »
great route.
keep it coming.

Offline Malibu

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Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2014, 04:42:32 pm »
They call me Judy or Judes...

You need chaos in your soul to birth a shining star!

Offline Bernoulli

Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2014, 01:20:41 pm »
Day 3

Breakfast, enjoyed in the company of the locals

Before we can proceed with the serious business  of tackling the title of the trip, first a lesson in the sophisticated way to have a flat on a trip, in 3 easy steps:

Step 1: Ample warning. Remember the need to inflate rather than deflate yesterday?

Step 2: Correctly parked on a flat, clean surface with sufficient space to sit comfortably whilst doing the repair and of course

Step 3: With a tubeless tyre and a real-life McGyver on hand to finish the job before our breakfast guests could utter a sound!

And then we are off!

Some interesting rock formations on the way. (Could the geologists explain why these densely packed, very round almost marble-like constructed walls do not come crashing down at the slightest mention of rain?)

Suddenly we were there! Baviaans, that place that filled my thoughts, that I wanted to ride but simultaneously was apprehensive of doing so. I had read every report on a trip there, studied every photograph in detail. If prompted, I suppose I would be able to recite Jup’s entire thread on Baviaans from memory.  And here I was, blessed being, actually starting the ride!

I am not going to describe the route, for that you can go here


but here are our photos. Indulge!

All too soon we were here.


In my mind it loomed large. It was going to be long. Upon entering I was not going to see the exit. The riding surface will be rocky. But Jup’s thread said the current water level made for easy crossing. I had rehearsed the crossing in my mind several times in the previous days. I just had to relax, concentrate and focus, and all will be OK. With all this still racing through my mind, McGyver (sorry, that should be the photographer) set off and with a slight hop, skip and jump disappeared around the corner, obviously having crossed successfully.

He set up camera awaiting my heroic appearance…

But it was not to be. I set off on the concrete surface, took the right-hand spoor and entered the rocky section doing well. But somehow things fell apart, and soon I was jumping and swerving all over the place. I sat down, stopped, had no footing and promptly dropped Margaret into the water. Going down my first thought was to cut the engine as soon as possible to limit the intake of water. I heard bubbling noises just before I could. Hell no!

By the time the photographer reached me (and it was very soon), I had lifted Margaret, and a cage was waiting for me to clear the road. I did not want to swing the engine, fearing that water might have entered, so we started pushing. But Margaret is a middle-aged lady, built for comfort, not for speed, so soon we were properly out of breath. We still faced some distance to go on the rocks in the water and then there was a slight uphill onto the lawn of the picnic area. It looked higher than Everest.

We made way for the cage to pass, and - they offered to tow me! What gentlemen! Surrounded with people like these, I was willing to take on the world!

Once on dry ground, we went through the drill:

•   Remove spark plugs;
•   Try and get water out by lying Margaret down on her side;

•   Swing engine with plugs still removed;
•   Insert one  plug in “driest” side;
•   With apprehension, push start.  And yes, she did. Dearest, reliable Margaret spluttered once or twice and then, making an unholy racket through the open plug-opening sprang to life and promptly ejected all the unwanted liquid from her innards. Most impressive was an arch of black muck from the exhaust. (Remember the bubbling noises I heard?)

Oh, and of course all of this was taking place whilst the entire contents of my topbox was hung out to dry. Water, water everywhere…

An hour later we were back on the road.

Enjoy some more of the majestic Baviaans…

I knew we were heading for Uniondale. Today was, like all the preceding days of this trip, being done in glorious autumn weather. So at some stage I fell so far back to avoid the dust that would not clear the road, that I took a different road to what was planned. The photographer saw this, and set off trying to catch me. The road was beautiful gravel highway, and I enjoyed it tremendously. After a while, I realized that there was no sign of any traffic in front of me, not even in the distance, and began wondering how this was possible. And then the photographer’s distinct triangle of lights appeared in my rear-view mirror. I stopped, and it turned out that he had a good time chasing me whilst I was completely unaware of the excitement I was causing!

We re-fuelled in Uniondale and did a last bit of gravel direction De Rust, and then, in the stretching shadows of the late afternoon, ended a perfect day riding Meiringspoort to our overnight destination in Prince Albert.

Tomorrow we head home...

Offline Lem

Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2014, 01:50:34 pm »
fantastic read, Bernoulli  :thumleft:

yeah in April 2009 I did Baviaans after some heavy rain.

Smitskraal was deep, about halfway up the 1150's pots. I'm also a very careful rider, and at that time much less experienced. No need to risk a 2000km trip in 200meters, so I packed my plakkies. We rode from West to East.

When I got to Smitskraal I took time out, put on my plakkies & parked the bike in the water, feet down & just pulled clutch in 1st and tried to look 200m ahead! Also bashed from side to side, but stayed upright & through  :thumleft:

I'm laughing now when I look at these pics. Guess the road surface underneath will be quite bad by now, 5 years on.

that is DCR, just behind me in the pics. He sat co-driver in that Landy in the back. ...Dewald, now that you've got a DS bike, I think we must return to Baviaans!
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 01:52:57 pm by Lem »
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Offline DCR

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Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2014, 02:39:58 pm »
Hey Lem, what good memories! We should definitely plan to get back out there.

Offline Lem

Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2014, 02:48:24 pm »
Hey Lem, what good memories! We should definitely plan to get back out there.

ja, daai was nog voor jou Landrover romanse...

ek onthou net jou gesigsuitdrukking die dag wat ons by Hel afgedraai het, en vlugtig gesels het met die twee manne op die Dakar & die KLR wat van Prins Albert af. Sal maar immers moet teruggaan  :thumleft:

hijack af.
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Offline spoedvark

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Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #28 on: August 10, 2014, 08:39:41 pm »
Lekker RR! Thanks for sharing!
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Online weskusklong

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Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2014, 08:41:01 pm »
So in my kraal, gaan einde Maart daai trip doen.
Lekker gelees.

Offline Bernoulli

Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2014, 09:11:24 am »
Thanks for the responses and comments!

Will hopefully be able to post the last bit later today.

Offline Bernoulli

Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2014, 04:38:43 pm »
Day 4

Once again we woke to a beautiful autumn day.

We had breakfast, refueled and headed out on the tar in the direction of Prince Albert Road, but only for a short while. About 20km out of town, we turned left onto gravel to follow what I later learnt is referred to as the hekke pad here on Wilddogs.

Early on in the day’s ride, the GPS and us could not quite agree on which way to go at a split in the road, so we agreed to disagree. It quickly transpired that we were heading down a dead-end when we ended up in front of a farmer’s barn with nowhere to proceed to! So we turned around and went back to where the disagreement started.  Now during normal travel, something like this could be upsetting – extra distance travelled, time lost, petrol wasted, etc. But to us it was not an issue at all. We were enjoying the road, the time in the saddle and the experience that is travelling by bike. After all, it is about riding, not the destination.

And our riding was in this environment.

When we were planning the trip in the safety and comfort of a coffee shop, the leader suggested we ride this road. He mentioned that it might be “a little sandy in places” but that we should be fine.  My frame of reference, however, was that at the mere mention of the word sand, I fall over. I bravely held onto the coffee shop table and managed to stay upright. Was this a good omen?

Back to the trip. Somewhere on the road, we came upon a farmer enjoying his breakfast in the veld and chatted to him. He said that, until about two weeks ago, the road ahead was seriously sandy, but had recently been graded. It is better now, so we should be OK. He commented on the “serious machines” we were riding and wished us well. Another good omen?

And suddenly we were into the sand. Nothing monstrously deep, but enough to require us to employ the techniques required to survive (and maybe somewhere in the future actually enjoy) sand.

And we did it! Some serious snaking was involved, but we kept the rubber down. Much later I realized that I focused on the photographer’s back wheel, inadvertently practicing the “look up” part of stand up, look up and open up.  And it worked.

Now, months later, browsing through the photographs and reliving the events, I am again stunned by the simple beauty of this part of our wonderful country. Just look at this:

And yes, this is the hekkepad!

Towards the end of this gravel, we came to the Floriskraal dam.

Did you notice something unusual on the bikes?

Initially we did not, but take another look: The photographer lost his topbox!

He turned around, and not too far back, found it.

Underside bust!

Just beyond the dam wall, we stopped at the caretaker’s home, and McGyver did his usual magic.

Having now acquainted ourselves with the caretaker, we were given permission to ride onto the dam wall.

Then it was a short stint on tar before turning onto the Witteberge road. A gravel highway gem, interspersed with sightings of game.

At one stage I was riding next to an ostrich on full speed (on the other side of the fence) doing a comfortable 60 km/hr!

We refueled body and bike in Touwsriver, and when readying ourselves for the return journey to Cape Town, saw this:

A stop-and-go in Touwsriver graphically reminded us of the perils of the N1. So we decided to head home via Ceres, Bainskloof and Agter Paarl.

And so we come to the end of our road this time. The riding was varied and wonderful, the weather perfect, the company exceptional. How priveleged I am.

Thanks for reading. 

Offline Difflock

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Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #32 on: August 16, 2014, 05:40:27 am »
Dankie vir die deel, lekker saam gery.  :thumleft:
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Offline Laban

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Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2014, 09:22:44 am »

... :thumleft:...
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Offline Mr.T

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Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #34 on: August 16, 2014, 09:02:57 pm »
Going to Baviaans next weekend. Should be fun for the 4 of us.
Going to sleep over in Steylerville on a farm that Saturday night and then dirt home on Sunday.
Nice to see you enjoyed our part of the country.
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Offline T Rex

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Re: Bucket list 2: Baviaanskloof
« Reply #35 on: August 17, 2014, 04:12:43 am »
Thank you , very nice story and awesome pics !  :thumleft: