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Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #200 on: April 29, 2018, 09:27:53 pm »
Damn Intook forever to read this RR. Except for you lot that cant decide if tubeliss is the worse thing or mooses are the best since sliced bread, on this RR the pictures dont show on my work pc while normally Xpats's stuff do show. Finally caught up on the phone now.

Another great report xpat. You are a lot more relaxed/informal than normally it would seem. Great and motivational riding as always.

How many days are there left to the trip? And then add another day to get to there and another to get home?
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #201 on: April 30, 2018, 06:54:35 am »
About 5 days of riding still to go. Will be back from lesotho on Friday, so will try finish once back. The best scenery still to come - though i may be the only one to enjoy it...
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 06:56:50 am by Xpat »
 

Offline SchalkL

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #202 on: April 30, 2018, 09:57:27 am »
About 5 days of riding still to go. Will be back from lesotho on Friday, so will try finish once back. The best scenery still to come - though i may be the only one to enjoy it...
Sounds like its getting a bit rough out there  :peepwall:
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #203 on: May 02, 2018, 07:13:55 pm »
Day 7 - part 3
(pictures from this episode can be viewed in higher resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmg4D71M)


Ok, letís get this thing wrapped up. Back to the bottom of Van Zylís pass at about 11:00 am of Day 7.







To my eternal confusion, so far the other two seemed mostly unimpressed by the best riding sceneries this side of Mars. But when I mentioned that few km ahead we will be passing a bakkie that has been blown up by a landmine, they popped right up, jumped on the bikes like two ADHD teenagers on adderall and I could barely keep up with them. Next time Iíll save myself a trouble and expense and take them to a scrapyard.



















Weíve made it to the car wreck at the bottom of the Marienfluss valley and the other two clearly in their element started playing at forensic experts, analysing where the blast came from, the velocities of shrapnel and bullets at different impact zones, and such. Here is something for your domestic forensic experts to comb over:













Once satisfied with the wreck, Justin turned his attention to two Himba ladies sitting next to the wreck in the shade of a bush, selling little trinkets. One of them was pregnant which gave Justin smooth opening for his usual jiggy-jiggy research. Who would have thought that in this remote valley he will be able to entertain so fully two of his main passions - carcasses (in this case a car one) and babies (or rather the production process).

To his credit, he also bought a bracelet or something, that increased his handsomeness to about 500% for the rest of the trip and gave me a distraction to scavenge a photo or 10:

























From the wreck it was another 15 or so km the sandy bush and rocky track to the Red Drum. Red Drum is exactly that - a shot-up red drum in the middle of nowhere that serves as a main navigation point in these parts. As such it is prominently marked on all maps of the area giving the impression of major settlement. But there is none (well there is actually little settlement about km away, but nothing at the drum itself) - just the drum itself.
















Iím rather not going to comment on these, except for this legal disclaimer: no goats were injured in the making of these photos:







After the goat play we continued south on the rocky tracks running over the mountains to Onjuva village, location of Marble campsite, about 35 km away.













On the way we had to negotiate the last slightly technical pass for the day - Red Drum pass:





































In Onjuva we turned into the village (i.e. about 10 huts spread on about 2 square km) and stopped at the very empty spaza shop (not even drink) - but to our nice surprise they had petrol in the next hut. I got petrol here in village before but few km away in the separate hut in the bush and was surprised to find it here in a very shoddy dwelling. The price - 107 rand/dollar for 5 liters solved this mystery to me. Iím pretty sure that the dude out in the bush was still selling probably for standard price of 100 Dolars for 5 liters, and these guys were just buying from him and adding their 7 Dolar margin.













After refuel we moved to the next hut about 500 meters away, where we stopped again this time for a cold soda or three.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:43:48 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline armpump

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #204 on: May 02, 2018, 08:28:07 pm »
More awesome ,thanks for updates
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #205 on: May 02, 2018, 08:56:29 pm »
Day 7 - part 4
(pictures from this episode can be viewed in higher resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmg4D71M)

At the stop in Onjuva I checked with Bertie how he was feeling. It was past 2 pm, we were out of the mountains now and it was fast open plain and riverbeds riding most of the way to Puros, 130 km away. Alternatively, we could call it a day and stay in Marble campsite about 1 km away.

Bertie felt good, so we decided to push on. Justin took a while to get ready, so I just gunned it down the valley first keen to stretch 500s legs a bit on the open sandy bush plain, a nice break after the slow slog over the mountains we had for past day and a half. I made it to the T junction at the bottom of the valley about 10 km away in no time and stopped to wait for the other two.







The other two were nowhere to be seen. Initially I just thought they took it easy - I enjoyed quite some speed coming down - but eventually I realized something was not right, and with an uneasy feeling in my stomach slowly rode back. I found them about km or two back. Bertie was sitting on the ground in the shade visibly shaken trying to get his breath back, while Justin collected debris from Bertieís crash. This one was a good one - Bertie lost it at about 80 kmh and ended up again in crashing against a tree/bush. All things considered, he got away lightly - he was badly bruised and shaken, but luckily not harmed seriously. The bike required little bit of maintenance such as straightening the bars and such that Justin attended to, but again luckily was also OK.

We took a long break allowing Bertie to recover a bit. I suggested that we can return 10 km back to Marble campsite and call it a day, but once he caught his breath, Bertie opted to continue on to Puros. I gave him half heartedly by now very overused spiel about taking it easy, and reverting back to our usual riding order with Justin upfront and me sweeping behind Bertie we set-off again.

We had about 20 km of open track running on the west side to Khumib river to the D3707 and Orupembe turnoff, where we would jump into the river and follow it for another 50 km south, at which point we would jump over one of the most scenic passes I know to my favourite - Hoarusib river and follow that another 25 km down to Puros.



















We have made it to the Orupembe turn-off without glitch. Normally I would turn into the village to get some drinks  and photo at the famous Orupembe Shop 1, but we just had some in Onjuva, so I decided to skip it and we just jumped into Khumib riverbed and rode down the river for the next dozen km or so.

About half way through in the riverbed Bertie had another mishap, nothing too dramatic, but still he ended up with the bike facing the wrong way and more importantly his feet stuck under the bike in unnatural direction. Again, we got lucky - he just scored bad bruise on his feet that would bother him for the rest of the trip, but no broken bones. But I sensed that he is more or less out of it. So I took a lead and took us out of the riverbed onto the double track running on the open plains east of the Khumib river. Bertie, keen to get to Puros asap pulled his head down and pushed steadily first without any stops or so much as a glance to the beautiful scenery. Justin followed with with occasional stop to take picture of particularly interesting Himba female, and I swept, stopping to take picture of every new rock I came upon.









































We regrouped again at the turn-off to the Hoarusib river. Bertie was waiting silently, not enjoying himself one bit. By now even Justin was hurting. He suffers from carpal tunnel ailment and his throttle hand was giving him a lot of pain. None of them complained, but it was pretty clear that both of them just want to be done and over with the day as quickly as possible. It was sad really, as we were entering in my estimation the most beautiful part of Kaokoland - the pass between Khumib river and Hoarusib, followed by the upper Hoarusib section. While Khumib river is a nice river on its own merit anywhere - except for Kaokoland, it is very poor cousin to Hoarusib.
















I was torn - on the one hand I didnít want to hold the other two, who were clearly both hurting, back. On the other hand I was about to ride one of my all time favourite areas in the golden hour of setting sun.

Bertie and Justin heading up the pass:





« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:43:11 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #206 on: May 02, 2018, 09:20:29 pm »
Day 7 - part 5
(pictures from this episode can be viewed in higher resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmg4D71M)

Ultimately I couldnít just gun it over the pass and did end up holding Bertie and Justin up quite a bit- sorry. Hopefully the pictures will make up for it a bit, as Iím pretty sure that they didnít notice much of the scenery they were riding through (that is why Bertie believes that Khowarib was the most scenic). Here are few examples:






















I kept up with them for a bit until the top of the pass, after which I just had to stop almost at every turn to get a picture and they rode away:

















































Hoarusib river stretching underneath:





« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:42:53 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #207 on: May 02, 2018, 09:42:52 pm »
Day 7 - part 6
(pictures from this episode can be viewed in higher resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmg4D71M)


I eventually caught up with very silent Bertie and Justin under a tree at the beginning of the Hoarusib river section. By now I realized there is very simple solution to this conundrum - both of them had Tracks4Africa, so I just showed Justin, where the Puros Community Lodge is on T4A and they headed off leaving me behind basking in the late afternoon sun.






















Yet, even in their sorry state they couldnít resist to stop at one particularly scenic viewpoint, where I caught up with them for the last time:

























After that, I was on my own for the remaining 20 km of magical Hoarusib goodness:


















































































Jan Joubert's koppie & viewpoint:































When I arrived at the lodge, they were both already spread out on the beds in their chalet. To compensate a bit for the hold-ups, I gunned it to Puros village about 5 km away and brought back few grape sodas (prefered drink of my hardy riding companions), some beer for me and some sweetened condensed milk for me and Justin. After quick dinner of variety of cans, we hit the sacks early.


Route ridden on day 7:


« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:42:32 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline Straatkat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #208 on: May 03, 2018, 10:24:06 am »
Martin, thanks for writing this all up so eloquently, there sure was some very good riding and beautiful scenery on the way to Purros, your photo's really does the scenery justice. You must have used a lot of zoom on those Giraffes, we saw them but they were quite far from the road. It really is special to be riding among such majestic creatures. A little bit disappointing that on the whole trip we saw not one pachyderm, probably missed some narrowly on the first day going by the fresh spoor we found.
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Offline armpump

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #209 on: May 03, 2018, 01:54:18 pm »
Incredible terrain.
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #210 on: May 03, 2018, 09:02:39 pm »
Day 8 - part 1
(pictures from this episode can be viewed in higher resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmjWDWMi)

The night before we agreed to take the day off to hopefully get the gang recovered sufficiently for the last part of the trip. Everybody had their own plans for the day. Bertie opted to stay within 5 meter radius of bed - well most of it unconscious on the bed. Justin also wanted to get some rest, but was also keen to get a glimpse of the elusive elephants - so far we had no luck even though we have come few times over of what to these inner city rangers looked like fresh spoor. Locals told him that elephants were grazing down river in Puros canyon, so he decided to make a quick dash down there for a look-see.

I wanted to explore the upper reaches of Hoarusib ideally all the way up to D3707 running between Orupembe and Opuwo. I.e. the route I have originally planned for us to take up to Opuwo on the way up from Uis, but was warned off by Hardy - or rather baited away by his suggestion to try Robbieís pass instead. Hardy told me that a month or two ago two mates of his riding up there also on KMT 500s had an accident when one of them crashed into deep hole in the riverbed covered up fesh fesh and broke his collarbone. According to locals there is some kind of phenomenon occuring once every few years at the confluence of Hoarusib and one of its noname tributaries, when (my utter speculation) the whirls at the confluence of the two rivers dig out deep holes in the riverbed, which then get covered by soft sand. Basically creating a trap for an unsuspecting victim riding merrily perfectly fine dry riverbed one moment at enjoyable 40 - 60 kmh, and the next moment coming to a sudden stop in deep hole up to their neck in soft sand.

Hardy recommended to stay off, but I decided to go and have a look anyway - just take it easy and check carefully riverbed for potential traps.


Puros community lodge and surrounds in the morning:
















As it was the rest day, we got even more than usually sloppy with the breakfast made out of variety of whatever we could forage out of our bags. So Justin and I managed to set-off only at about 11am, each of us heading in opposite direction - Justin south and me north.

First 25 km I was basically backtracking the route we came down the river yesterday. Iíll let mostly the pictures and their captions to tell the story - and some of the images will inevitably be repetition of the scenery from yesterday. But the beauty of the place can easily bear some (a lot of) repetition in my view, so you will just have to deal with it  O0







Jan Joubertís koppie, overlooking the upper reaches of the Hoarusib river on the one side and Puros valley on the other:













Himba kraal to the east of the koppie:










Viewpoint at the top of the Jan Joubert's koppie:










View south at the Puros valley and its dunefields:










View to the west across the Hoarusib river:



















View north following the river towards the pass to Khumib river where we came from yesterday (to the left of the peak/mountain third from the left on the horizon):





« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:40:01 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #211 on: May 03, 2018, 09:32:27 pm »
Day 8 - part 2
(pictures from this episode can be viewed in higher resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmjWDWMi)


Middle part of this section of Hoarusib between Puros and the passover to Khumib river:













Viewpoint on a dune in the middle of the valley:


View to the north towards the pass to Khumib river (the saddle in the middle on the horizon):







View to the west across the river:




Jan Joubert's koppie to the south:







More of the middle section of the Hoarusib river north of Puros:































Heading up the river towards the Khumib turnoff:
















The point past the Khumib turnoff where Hoarusib enters the mountains. This was the new unexplored territory for me (very few vehicles head this way, most of them turn off west before this point, cross over to Khumib and continue to Orupembe - i.e. follow the track we came on the day before):


« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:39:39 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #212 on: May 04, 2018, 11:06:29 am »
Day 8 - part 3
(pictures from this episode can be viewed in higher resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmjWDWMi)

Conscious of Hardy's warning, I proceeded cautiosly up the canyon Huarusib has carved out of the surrounding mountains. There were fresh car tracks and initially I stuck religiously to them, the reasoning being if there is any dust trap, I would see where the car fell through. Otherwise they are obviously safe. But within few km I relaxed and rode whereever I liked best, just keeping an eye out for any unusual patch of sand ahead of me.

The scenery change from the wide open valley to a narrow passage carved out in the mountains by Hoarusib river:


































After about 15 km I arrived to the confluence of Hoarusib and the non-name tributary.







This was the place Hardy warned me about specifically so I approached it with caution and sure enough found few of what I believe were the traps, one of which caught up his mates. They were about 3 meters deep craters in the otherwise flat riverbed, now fully exposed. Now, I cannot be sure that this was really what caught those guys, but I have never seen craters like this anywhere else in the 100s of kms of riverbeds I have ridden in Kaokoland, so feel pretty confidents this was it. They were fully exposed now with sand washed/blown away, but would be deadly if covered by what I can only imagine was soft fesh fesh. Even if you survive the sudden surprise crash into one of those, you were still IMO in accute risk of drowning in the sand - Hardy mentioned that his mate ended up up to his neck in sand. So if you are heading this way, take extra caution at this point - it's where a noname river (at least noname on T4A) joins Hoarusib from the north west, I believe it is the only distinct river joining Hoarusib between Puros in the south and D3707 north.







I had to decide which way - follow the Hoarusib up to 3707 as originally planned or take the noname river which according to my map also run all the way to D3707 and intersected it west of Hoarusib. Hoarusib tracks were on T4A and there were fresh car tracks headin up the river. There were no tracks on T4A for the noname, so naturally that is the one I took - no need to ride something other people already have done.

Initially I couldn't see any tracks going up my chosen river, but soon enough I found some less frequented ones - so no, I did not discover this river for the mankind unfortunatelly (western mankind that is - there was little Himba settlement on a hill over the river further on).



































It's a very scenic ride and I will definitely explore it more on one of my future rides up there. The scenery matches in places some of the best riverbeds in Kaokoland like Hoanib, or Puros canyon.. I haven't seen much wildlife except for occasional springbok. And I have came upon two stray dogs feasting on dead donkey, but they weren't that happy to see me and vere wery aggressive, so I didn't linger.

Eventually, at about 3pm I have stopped in the shade for a lunch break, about 10 - 15 km shy of D3707. I pondered my options - baring some big surprise like huge staircase or some such (which was unlikely seeing the car tracks) it was clear that I will make it do D3707 no problem, which I was very tempted to do - I don't like unfinished business. But I was also conscious of time and the fact that I shouldn't push too hard to keep some energy reserve for the rest of the trip. So far I didn't have a single rest day and thanks to 500 felt still strong, but didn't want to push my luck too far.







So I decided to turn back and backtrack to Puros. On the way back I made a detour up that pass between Khumib and Hoanib river we came through yesterday. I found shortcut from Hoarusib running behind that big rocky outcrop dominating the pass and made it up the pass where I connected to the tracks we took day before and rode down the valley all the way to Puros on the same tracks.
















Khumib - Hoarusib pass:































Puros valley - with Jon Joubert's koppe featuring prominently in the distance in the middle of the valley, and Hoarsib again:






















Before returning to the lodge I gunned it past to Puros where I got drinks for the evening and got filled up on petrol. I was surprised how readily available petrol is nowadays in inner Kaokoland - the guy selling it in Purros seemed to be fully focused on this business and doing well. It is the green house just off the D3707 in the direction of Sesfontein. This one:





Route for the day - the magenta is what I have ridden, the blue one is Justins track:


« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:38:56 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline aka.Goliath

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #213 on: May 04, 2018, 06:14:04 pm »
Those giant holes in the river bed, could they have not perhaps been made by the likes of elephant digging holes to reach water in the dry season?
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #214 on: May 04, 2018, 07:54:13 pm »
Those giant holes in the river bed, could they have not perhaps been made by the likes of elephant digging holes to reach water in the dry season?

I don't think so - never seen anything like it anywhere else in Kaokoland in 100s of kms of rivers we did (they do it though in Botswana). Plus locals say that this is a strange phenomena occuring at this particular confluence and there were couple of them only there.

Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #215 on: May 05, 2018, 10:32:39 am »
Day 8 - Justin version

Since he wouldn't say anything, I'll show you how Justin's day was: He went down the Puros canyon and back and saw 0 elephants. He took total of 5 or so pictures, here is the best of selection:

His day started on a bright side - he scored a carcas even before breakfast. Luckily I was there to stop him munching it down:




Puros canyon is one of the most scenic places in Kaokoland with new stunning grand vista opening after each turn of the 35 km ride down the river (I'll show you in the next episode). This is Justin's take on it:




On the way back he stopped for a shopping spree in Puros mall (or rather Manchester United mall). Bertie was in such a dire condition, that he asked Justin to get him a can of condensed sweetened milk as well. So far it was just youngsters who were doping, but now Bertie could clearly see wrongness of his ways and that he is not going to make it through if he remains clean:









Justin spent the rest of the day doing what he likes the most - playing with rubber:












Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #216 on: May 05, 2018, 12:56:14 pm »
pictures are really good!

Xpat what stood out for you in this trip?
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Offline JustBendIt

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #217 on: May 05, 2018, 01:25:39 pm »
This riverbed was probably the highlight for me - the most scenic beautiful game rich area I have ever ridden in

I had not had a puncture that I could remember in probably 3 years ...and on this 10 day trip I had 8 punctures ...all in the front wheel ...on one day I removed and refitted the front wheel off 3 times in blistering baking heat ...not fun at all
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #218 on: May 05, 2018, 02:08:41 pm »
pictures are really good!

Xpat what stood out for you in this trip?


Two things - 500 and to lesser extent the group ride.

The group ride (i.e. for me showing somebody else what they didn't know they were missing) was the initial impetus of this trip (if I would go solo I would go somewhere else as I have done this area already 4 times - 3 times on a bike). And while I enjoyed riding in a group for a change, it didn't work out 100% because of Bertie's exhaustion and Justin's ailments plagued the last part of the trip to the point when they couldn't really enjoy it anymore and eventually bailed out before finishing the whole route as we will see in the next episodes. Which was a shame really as I planned the trip so that we will hit the best parts - Hoarusib river, Hoanib river and Valley of Desolation) last, and they missed most of those, and couldn't enjoy as much as I thought they will the parts they did.

500, because it is the best tool for this job out of the bikes I have used here before (GSA1150, Husky 630 and Tenere) and as such made the whole experience much more enjoyable than those prior 3 bike trips up there. It gives one peace of mind because it is so simple and reliable (Tenere left me stranded there, and fuel pump on 630 died just about as I made it out in Sesfontein where I had car) and because it is so light and well suspended, one can anjoy the riding aspect (pushing it for pure joy of riding) as well as the tourist aspect (enjoying the scenery) so much more without constant 'oh shit' moments one has on hippo like Tenere and concerns if I'm giong to make it out or not due to exhaustion. It is so much less tiring - as a result I was able to ride 9 days through this trip straight without rest day - on Tenere I had to take every 3rd day out, usually sleeping the whole day. And as such it enables one to explore much more within limited period of time and having a blast while doing it.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2018, 02:14:42 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline Straatkat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #219 on: May 05, 2018, 02:08:42 pm »
This riverbed was probably the highlight for me - the most scenic beautiful game rich area I have ever ridden in

I had not had a puncture that I could remember in probably 3 years ...and on this 10 day trip I had 8 punctures ...all in the front wheel ...on one day I removed and refitted the front wheel off 3 times in blistering baking heat ...not fun at all

Yeah yeah, I bet you secretly indulge in the rubber play when bike riding comes to an end,(sometimes quite unplanned) to satisfy some inner need to be busy with something you construe as useful.
Next time just go mousses!
18 till I die.
If hard work pays, show me rich donkey.