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Author Topic: Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan  (Read 7137 times)

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Offline Ri

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Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« on: December 27, 2015, 10:41:32 pm »
Credits
The Lord, for a mostly trouble-free journey and some truly astounding rescues.

Kodgehopper + Tracks4Africa for a phenomenal road and gravel trip

Background
So after one riding lesson and a lot of research, in January 2015 I bought a Suzuki DR650 with a long range tank, dropped the suspension, and covered the seat in purple. I also fitted a windscreen, which turned out to be unsuitable for off-road riding or, more accurately, off-road falling.

Everyone said I should start with a smaller bike - and everyone was right. But I love my bike and I've learnt to ride it, more or less.

The Journey
For one reason or another, I only had the bike for the last 4 months or so, and I wanted to do a long adventure tour before 2015 was over. I asked Kodgehopper to organise something that went through Anysberg Nature Reserve, which I really REALLY wanted to do since I went through it in a SUV in 2014.

Kodgehopper managed to do a little better than that, and on 18 December 2015 we set off on a 4-day ride.

Day 1 - Cape Town/Stellenbosch to Montagu
We started late in the day due to heat and me trying to pack my bike for the first time. After dropping the bike 3 times before I'd even left the yard (twice while only strapping on soft luggage), I was a little apprehensive about the whole trip. Luckily the bike had seen some rough times before me and was already pretty scruffy. There are after all only so many bits that can bend  :biggrin:

Stopping at the outlook on Franschhoek Pass, we met a friendly photographer, also a biker, who took some photos:
« Last Edit: December 28, 2015, 01:19:46 pm by Ri »
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
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Offline Ri

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Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2015, 10:52:58 pm »
Day 1 - Continued

Friendly biker/photographer folk on Franschhoek Pass.

After passing the dam at the bottom, we found ourselves on a nice gravel road - Draaiberg I think? Kodgehopper can't give me the route because I don't have GPS/maps, and from there on to Montagu.

The hostess at the B&B was nowhere to be found when we arrived, but rocked up a little later. It's a beautiful place, covered in little gnats and flies, and no fans to blow them away. It was a hot, humid and uncomfortable night. Breakfast more than made up for it though, served very early in the morning on the veranda.

It was going to be another hot day.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2015, 11:47:41 pm by Ri »
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
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Offline Draadwerk

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Re: Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2015, 10:58:21 pm »
👀
 

Offline Ri

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Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2015, 11:30:20 pm »
Day 2 - Montagu to Klaarstroom via Anysberg Nature Reserve, Seweweekspoort and Swartberg Pass

I don't know whether it was the new Mitas E07 tyre on the back or the few kgs of luggage I carried, but the bike felt more stable on the gravel than when I did the Tankwa Toy Run. I also knew that my scruffy little DR had a performance carburettor and exhaust, but I didn't really know what it meant until we got to Anysberg.

Anysberg isn't too bad, really, but it has these steep little dips, covered in loose shale and gravel, twisting down and up again. Hard to do when you refuse to stand coz you haven't learnt how yet  :lol8:  It also has some dry river beds with big rocks, low thorny branches and thick sand beds.

Whenever I got into trouble, which was very often, the bike would go into hooligan mode, helped along by my nervous hand clenched around the throttle. It would skip and slide through the sand and jump from side to side over rocks and ruts like a boisterous goat, with me barely hanging on, until somehow, miraculously, we had hopped over whatever obstacle was in our way ("don't look at the rock DON'T LOOK AT THE ROCK") and I was again more or less in control, praising the Lord and shaking with adrenaline.

And then, turning into the Anysberg camp area, I fell over in the soft white sand...  :eek7:

After Anysberg, whenever I hit a bad stretch of gravel, I'd mentally shout "Hooligan mode!", open up the throttle, pray and hang on, and my bike would power through screaming like a banshee.

Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
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Offline Ri

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Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2015, 11:41:50 pm »
Day 2 - Continued

At Seweweekspoort I strapped on a GoPro, and then because of the windscreen decided to try standing. Because I'm so darned short, you'll notice that the GoPro didn't clear the windscreen entirely. I swept through Seweweekspoort towards Zoar/Calitzdorp at about 40kph, and experimented with body movement and leaning on gravel. Fun times! Until I took a turn too wide and almost went over the rocky side. Kodgehopper behind me couldn't believe that I'd managed to recover, and I give glory to God.

See if you can spot the my bad turn.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2015, 11:48:44 pm by Ri »
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
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Offline Ri

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Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2015, 11:46:21 pm »
Day 2 - Continued

After that we swept over the pass into Calitzdorp for the cheesy garlic roll Kodgehopper had been dreaming of. Turned out not what he expected, LOL. Saw some other bikers there, but they left as we arrived.

Then it was backroads to Swartberg Pass, the last challenge of the day. The road was stony with ruts in inconvenient places, and I went pretty slowly. At the top, the wind tried to blow me away. After my ordeals, my nerves were a bit shot and I crept down in 1st gear, braking often. I'm surprised I didn't burn out anything. But what a stunning ride!

Then it was lovely tar all the way to Klaarstroom, and the friendliest B&B with the best food I've ever come across.
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
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Offline Ri

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Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2015, 12:23:33 am »
Day 3 - Klaarstroom to Barrydale via Montagu Pass, Gouritsmond, Stilbaai and Gysmanshoek Pass

Our lovely host and hostess, Jeremy and Sharon, wave us off. They like having bikers to stay, apparently we're a polite and friendly bunch. When Sharon heard I had my own bike, she exclaimed "But you're small!" Yes. Yes I am  :ricky:

I wanted to go say "hi" to the family in Stilbaai, so we rode over Montagu Pass, which is absolutely beautiful. Sadly it was a bit gridlocked due to all the tourists. The surface wasn't too bad, but a bit rutted in places.

Then it was horrible, seemingly never ending stony and windy gravel roads turning off at the Gouritsmond sign, past Reins and another nature reserve whose name I can't recall. Leaving Stilbaai, we headed for Blombos and then turned towards Vermaaklikheid.

After a bit of tar, we turned off onto a nice gravel road. The most beautiful vistas stretched ahead, and Kodgehopper mentioned Gysmanshoek Pass. I'd seen it mentioned in a post by Robin Brown, and thought, "This isn't so bad". Then we turned off again... onto the REAL Gysmanshoek Pass.

The road became narrower and rutted, with loose sharp stones and gravel. The views were breathtaking though. We struggled down a long, narrow and twisty downhill, and when I saw the long, steep uphill covered in the same I nearly lost my nerve. I stood up, opened the throttle, pointed the bike in the general upwards direction, and hung on. My little hooligan slithered and slid and bounced around, and finally reached the top, where Kodgehopper was waiting.

I slid to a stop without paying attention, shaking with nerves and adrenaline, and promptly fell over because of the uneven road surface. We lifted the bike up and put down the side stand and the bike fell over again. We lifted the bike again, and I rudely left Kodgehopper holding my bike while I ran to photograph my ordeal for posterity, as we had to hurry. Sincere apologies, Kodgehopper!

I managed to roll down the next downhill in 2nd gear, only now and then tapping the brake. At the bottom of the hill my bike gently coughed and died. My heart stopped. I can't be out of fuel yet!! I leaned down to twist the petcock to reserve, and noticed that it was still in the off position I'd put it in when we'd stopped up on the hill. I was so grateful that there had been enough fuel to get me down! Not a mistake I made again.

Finally, after another tar stretch, with the wind buffeting me like a ping pong ball, we arrived in the pretty little town of Barrydale.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2016, 10:53:18 am by Ri »
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
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Offline Ri

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Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2015, 12:46:25 am »
Day 4 - Barrydale to Stellenbosch via Tradouw Pass and Malgas

Tiredness was setting in. My left leg was bruised from ankle to knee from dropping the bike on it at Anysberg, and my right thigh was bruised from a stone kicked up by a passing vehicle. My hands were cramped from hanging on, and wouldn't close properly anymore. My calves and knees were throbbing from continuously lifting and shifting my weight around corners. My back and shoulders ached.

We left Barrydale and headed down Tradouw Pass and then hit the gravel road to Malgas. It started to rain and the wind was buffeting me terribly, pushing the bike around like it weighed nothing. The road surface was washed out and covered in sharp stones, and I nearly came off on a sandy corner.

I stopped the bike and threw a wobbly, demanding almost tearfully to be taken to the nearest tar. Kodgehopper complied patiently, turning around and starting to reroute the GPS, and assured me that he wasn't upset, but I felt terrible. I wanted to ride dirt, I wanted to ride to Malgas pont, it was only 4km away, and wasn't my Lord bigger than my fears? I gritted my teeth, and we carried on with our planned route. Once I'd pushed past that point, mentally I was fine again - I could do this!
« Last Edit: December 28, 2015, 01:27:23 pm by Ri »
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
PROJECT SAS WILDEHOND III Contributions: R Snyman Capitec Savings Account 1545860511 Balance (2017/12/07): R3005,00 - R1,600 for steel purchase
 

Offline Ri

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Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2015, 12:59:14 am »
Day 4 - Continued

Home at last, tired and pleased. I'd survived!! I'm an adventure rider now  :biggrin:  :ricky:

Damages were minimal - mostly the windscreen that had to be kept on with cable ties, and my crank casing which leaks a bit of oil; it looks worse than it is. It's just annoying that my boot is always covered in oil. My soft luggage over the exhaust took a bit of a hit because, well, woman packing, but the heat proof material seemed to handle the heat well enough (thanks, Flying Brick!!), and I want new plastic covers anyway. My handlebar protectors and back brake need a bit of attention from a hammer to get them in shape again  :-\

Can't wait for the next trip though. So many places to go, and a hooligan ready to get me there  :imaposer:
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
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Offline JFE

Re: Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2015, 06:15:48 am »
NIce RR. Don't sweat it, you need to ride more to learn more and you'll get the hang of things in due time. Gary Player once said the more he practice the better he gets, hang in there. Not everyone has the guts to get into a 4 day ride just like that as you did, that is guts. And to answer you, yes He is bigger than your fears!
Respect for your effort and accomplishment.
 

Offline Crossed-up

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Re: Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2015, 06:27:38 am »
Well done on your real Adventure ride. Many of those roads are not for the faint-hearted.
 

Offline BMWPE

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Re: Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2015, 06:37:26 am »
Great RR thanks for posting  :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline Oubones

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Re: Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2015, 07:17:19 am »
Thanks for the RR
 :thumleft: to both of you!
You will remember this trip forever!
Well done!



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Offline Coxwain

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Re: Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2015, 07:21:53 am »
Great ride report Ri..... :thumleft:
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Offline Vis Arend

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Re: Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2015, 07:41:46 am »
Very nice rr and beuatiful roads you travelled.  Thanks for sharing.   :thumleft:

You did just fine and with time it will even become better.   :deal:   Well done to both of you.   :thumleft:  :thumleft:
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Offline Blob

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Re: Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2015, 07:46:59 am »
Great RR Ri, and congrats on conquering your first big trip and not letting your fears get the better of you!

Looking forward to the next one  :thumleft: :ricky:
 

Offline Ri

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Re: Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2015, 07:58:35 am »
Thank you!

I'd love to do this trip again, hopefully I'll be able to take in more of my surroundings and not have my eyes glued to the gravel the entire time  ;D

On this trip I learn about turning. I still suck at it, especially right hand turns - there's always that moment when it feels like the bike buckles - but I improved heaps. One of my prouder moments was doing a 20kph slow turn while standing... which turned into a head-first dive over the handlebars when I let go the clutch and the bike stalled - I was still in 2nd gear   :lol8:

Also I bounce pretty well for an old lady  :imaposer:
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
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Offline Peppi

Re: Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2015, 08:07:50 am »
Congrats - I am so impressed by your determination!! I am still learning and envy your experience!! Well done!!
 

Offline Andy660

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Re: Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2015, 08:09:45 am »
Ri !
Im so proud of you , Excellent first ride  & report.

This is a lady that went against all advice of the smaller first bike , bought the DR650 that didnt even make 10km when she got Kodgehopper to fetch it for her.

The front sprocket nut fell off and the chain came off.
The bike had to be recovered and it then spent time from place to place being serviced and upgraded as she went.

Kodgehopper, You are an "Yster" Standing by this lady , encouraging here and being so patient , taking her out on rides and teaching her about riding.

Ri , you have a good friend there,

Very well done on your trip , I thoroughly enjoyed your RR.
Going like this , you will be able to come with us in the rainy season on the Alternative route next year, and be one of those 7 ladies that came with us last year.

Oh , and keep a firm grip on that "Hooligan"
Lol
« Last Edit: December 28, 2015, 08:15:43 am by Andy660 »
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Offline Bring It On

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Re: Old Lady and the Purple Hooligan
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2015, 08:19:56 am »
Well done Ri on your first ever Big trip & thanks for a great RR. May you be truly blessed with many more awesome trips ahead filled with many wonderful experiences & great memories.
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