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Offline cloudgazer

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Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« on: September 28, 2018, 02:27:28 pm »
The continuing mis-adventures of the Cloudgazer.
In this semi-exciting episode:
Cloudgazer rides again
Cloudgazer loses a pannier
We settle the BMW/KTM debate once and for all
And we discover the best bike ever made.

The Back Story:
It’s been 3 years since I’ve ridden an adventure bike, or any bike other than a Vespa for that matter.
And it’s been even longer than that since I’ve been to the Cederberg.
In fact the last time I was there, this happened:
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=85369.msg1699396#msg1699396
Hard to believe that was almost 7 years ago.

About a year ago, I started hankering after getting another bike, and then a few months ago the craving became unbearable.
So I set my sights on getting another bike. I couldn’t get another Dakar, as life is too short not to experience other bikes, and as much as I love the big GS Adventures, I think that kinda bike is too big for me.
So I looked in the 650 class – and it boiled down to the Tenere or the KTM 640 Adventure.
KTM won that battle.

Anyway, a mate of mine got himself a Sertao a few months back, and has been pestering me do go for a ride.

And so it began, on a god-awful Tuesday morning with the rain bucketing down that we headed off to the Cederberg.
We took the N1 out of town, and went through the Paarl tunnel, as the rain and cold, made Du Toit’s pass unappealing.
From there we turned up into the Slanghoek valley, but just before we reached Michell’s Pass we were stopped by the Bree River overflowing.
We had to turn back and take the alternate route to Ceres along the Goudini road. Under other circumstances this looks like a great road, littered with interesting looking farm stalls, but in the rain… meh… not so much.

As we climbed Michell’s pass I realized I’d made a big mistake leaving my winter gloves at home. The temperature started dropping rapidly.
It’s also been so long since I’ve ridden these roads I’ve forgotten the distances between places.
I thought it was a quick jump from Ceres to Op Die Berg. I’d completely forgotten about Gydo Pass, and how quickly you gain altitude. Memory is a funny thing… especially when you don’t have one.
My fingers were fucking freezing, to the point of actually aching.
We finally reached Op Die Berg, and I knew the Cederberg was just a few minutes away.
Again, in my mind the distance to Oasis was much shorter than it actually was.
It was quite a thrill hitting the dirt for the first time in years.
IMG_1231" border="0

Although, I immediately panicked at the sight of all the mud, but thankfully it wasn’t too slippery.
I rode with great caution, my heart jumping into my throat every time I saw a muddy patch.
IMG_1282" border="0

It also dawned on me that for the last few years when I was riding I always rode solo, and so was naturally cautious and slower.
We finally reached Cederberg Oasis.
IMG_1236" border="0

Instead of setting up camp we opted for one of their A-Frame tents. After a hot shower, we settled down at the bar for some drinks and one of Jacque’s famous Rump steaks. Soooo good.

Wednesday morning dawned as grimly as the day before, cold and grey and spitting with rain.
So we took our time getting ready. I wasn’t keen to do the Wuppetal loop in this weather, but Justin finally convinced me.
And so we set off at about 10:30.
IMG_1255" border="0
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Once again the intervening years have played with my memory.
The only soft sand I remembered was just before Esselbank. I’d totally forgotten about the road out of Esselbank before you descend to Wuppertal.
IMG_1284" border="0
The rain had actually made the sandy sections easier than expected, and I had a great time on the road. Finally, getting to put my new bike through it’s paces.
We stopped at Wuppertal to relax in the sunshine, and for tea and scones. What a rip-off though. R94 for 2 scones and tea.
IMG_1280" border="0

Justin and I decided to swap bikes at this point.
Wow, sitting on the Sertao was such a different experience from the 640.
On the 640 you sit on the bike, and somehow on the Beemer you feel like you’re sitting in the bike.
The next thing I noticed was how soft and easy the Bm’s clutch was compared to the 640.
The Beemer is a much more refined bike than the KTM. While the 640 is loud, and brash and fun, it feels so primitive in comparison.
And don’t get me started on the stupid fucking side stand that doesn’t stay down and wants to break your shin bone at the first available opportunity….
That stupid design alone makes the BMW a better bike.

As we approached the final pass before Clanwilliam the weather turned sour again. The wind and rain lashed us mercilessly those last few miles.
Once again I was mostly toasty and dry, except for my poor hands. And since I was back on the 640 I couldn’t enjoy the Sertao’s heated grips.
At Clanwilliam we had a terrible choice to make.

The guys at Cederberg Oasis warned us that the top of Nieuwoudts Pass was damn slippery (about 10kms worth of snot), and in this weather Justin and I weren’t too keen to deal with that kind of treachery.
Our only other option was to take the much longer route (120kms) down to Citrusdal, and the R303 back to Op Die Berg.
We opted for the softer and longer route… which unfortunately meant we’d be chasing the light as the day was wearing on.
As you exit Citrusdal on the R303 there are a couple of sand roads, and  the first truly slippery patches we’d encountered all day, but thankfully that didn’t last long at all.
IMG_1279" border="0

We arrived back at the Cederberg Oasis just as the day was fading.
Time to jump into another hot shower, and to feast on a mammoth sized portion of spare ribs.
The next day when I settled my bill for 2 nights stay, a rump steak, spare ribs, 4 beers, a bottle of wine, coffee and a chocolate it only came to R694.
Wow! That is insanely cheap. I couldn’t quite believe it.

IMG_1271" border="0

Thursday dawned crisp and clear, but literally freezing cold.
We packed up our camp, and before heading home decided to do the 35kms Kromrivier route.
What a blast. The weather was perfect, the roads were drying, and the views were insanely beautiful.

IMG_1281" border="0

IMG_1266" border="0

We stopped back at Cederberg Oasis to pick up our kit and head home.
I really enjoyed the ride out. Two days on my new bike and I was finally getting comfortable on the beast.
When we finally got back onto the tar, I realized in horror that one of my panniers had fallen off somewhere on the 50km stretch of dirt.
Arghhhh.
There was nothing I could do about it. I didn’t have the time to go back to search for it.
So be it.

The ride home was uneventful, and even though I was pissed about losing my pannier, I was very happy.
Happy to have another adventure bike, happy to be experiencing the thrill of riding dirt roads, and experiencing breath-taking beauty, happy happy happy.

And now… as promised to settle the BMW/KTM debate.
There is no doubt that the 640 is a thrill to ride, and that it’s probably better in the rough stuff than the BMW. But that doesn’t make it a better bike.
I asked myself if I could only own one bike for the rest of my life. If I could only have one bike that could do everything I needed: commuting, going to the shops, riding off-road, multi-day trips, endless hours in the saddle. Something I'd be happy to ride if I was young or old. What bike would that be?
It would have to be capable and comfortable, and reliable, and have the ‘brand’ pedigree that both princes and paupers would be happy to have, and that my friends leaves only one bike that ticks every single one of those boxes.

The BMW GS650 Dakar is probably the best bike ever made.

(I do love my KTM though and I’m sure our bond will strengthen in the coming years, but there you have it.)

The End.




 
The following users thanked this post: genie, ultraflight, wilfwalk

Offline Ri

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Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2018, 06:03:26 pm »
Great trip, glad you had fun and no incidents after 3 years off the bike  :ricky:

Thanks for nice photo's too
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Offline ultraflight

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Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2018, 07:34:10 am »
Wow! Lekker ride report.
Yesterday afternoon I decided on a whim to ride solo to Cederberg Oasis today and maybe do the Whupperthal loop tomorrow.
Waking up at 5am to pack the bike, I stepped outside into hard pouring rain. I had neglected to check the weather forecast!
So here I am back in my warm bed again with a hot coffee, reading about you guys doing that route in the rain...
and now I regret not going ahead with my plan.
Well done, and thanks for the inspiration. Tomorrow, come what may, I ride!
« Last Edit: October 02, 2018, 07:34:57 am by ultraflight »
 

Offline cloudgazer

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Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2018, 07:48:18 pm »
Wow! Lekker ride report.
Yesterday afternoon I decided on a whim to ride solo to Cederberg Oasis today and maybe do the Whupperthal loop tomorrow.
Waking up at 5am to pack the bike, I stepped outside into hard pouring rain. I had neglected to check the weather forecast!
So here I am back in my warm bed again with a hot coffee, reading about you guys doing that route in the rain...
and now I regret not going ahead with my plan.
Well done, and thanks for the inspiration. Tomorrow, come what may, I ride!
Do it. At the least the wet sand is easier to ride than when it’s dry. Didn’t encounter any seriously snotty mud. And it really is a great fun road to ride.


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Offline 2StrokeDan

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Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2018, 09:18:09 pm »
Hei kyk hierso, is dit n fokken ride report of n BMW advertensie?

 :thumleft:

 

Offline cloudgazer

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Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2018, 11:34:33 pm »
Hei kyk hierso, is dit n fokken ride report of n BMW advertensie?

 :thumleft:
Lol. Sorry. Had to try make it interesting.

KTM sheer riding pleasure.


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Offline Roxtar

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Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2018, 03:08:24 pm »
Nice read  :thumleft:
« Last Edit: October 03, 2018, 03:08:57 pm by Roxtar »
Long live the Underdog.........
 

Offline wilfwalk

Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2018, 11:08:08 am »
Nice to read, thanks, and the photos always make it more interesting.
 

Offline Jacobsroodt

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Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2018, 11:20:42 am »
Well done Cloudgazer! Thanks for the RR☺
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Offline JonW

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Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2018, 11:28:10 am »
Nice one Cloud  :thumleft:

Great to be back on a bike, isn't it  :ricky:
How can I be lost when I have got nowhere to go?
 

Online the ruffian

Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2018, 07:01:54 pm »
‘Gazer, what a re-entry!

I can relate so closely, not only to the route and the weather but to your unadulterated joy in your renaissance ride.... I had also been out of a bike for 7 years until 2 years ago, when a combination of circumstances and psychodynamics compelled a return to the saddle... and that quiet joy, underpinned by pre-ride angst has been a regular feature of my life since.

Thanks for a brilliant RR!
 

Offline Ri

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Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2018, 07:21:34 pm »
‘Gazer, what a re-entry!

I can relate so closely, not only to the route and the weather but to your unadulterated joy in your renaissance ride.... I had also been out of a bike for 7 years until 2 years ago, when a combination of circumstances and psychodynamics compelled a return to the saddle... and that quiet joy, underpinned by pre-ride angst has been a regular feature of my life since.

Thanks for a brilliant RR!

Really? I thought it was only me! I have the worst nervous attack until I'm on the bike and riding :imaposer:
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Offline benreaper

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Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2018, 09:50:30 pm »
Great RR cloudgazer, sounds like you guys had an awesome time.
 

Offline benreaper

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Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2018, 09:52:07 pm »
‘Gazer, what a re-entry!

I can relate so closely, not only to the route and the weather but to your unadulterated joy in your renaissance ride.... I had also been out of a bike for 7 years until 2 years ago, when a combination of circumstances and psychodynamics compelled a return to the saddle... and that quiet joy, underpinned by pre-ride angst has been a regular feature of my life since.

Thanks for a brilliant RR!
‘Gazer, what a re-entry!

I can relate so closely, not only to the route and the weather but to your unadulterated joy in your renaissance ride.... I had also been out of a bike for 7 years until 2 years ago, when a combination of circumstances and psychodynamics compelled a return to the saddle... and that quiet joy, underpinned by pre-ride angst has been a regular feature of my life since.

Thanks for a brilliant RR!

Really? I thought it was only me! I have the worst nervous attack until I'm on the bike and riding :imaposer:
Seems the feeling is more common than I(we) thought.
 

Offline Edgar

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Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2018, 09:52:15 am »


And now… as promised to settle the BMW/KTM debate.
There is no doubt that the 640 is a thrill to ride, and that it’s probably better in the rough stuff than the BMW. But that doesn’t make it a better bike.
I asked myself if I could only own one bike for the rest of my life. If I could only have one bike that could do everything I needed: commuting, going to the shops, riding off-road, multi-day trips, endless hours in the saddle. Something I'd be happy to ride if I was young or old. What bike would that be?
It would have to be capable and comfortable, and reliable, and have the ‘brand’ pedigree that both princes and paupers would be happy to have, and that my friends leaves only one bike that ticks every single one of those boxes.

The BMW GS650 Dakar is probably the best bike ever made.

(I do love my KTM though and I’m sure our bond will strengthen in the coming years, but there you have it.)

The End.

There, I fixed your ride report for you :deal:

Jokes aside, beautiful pictures and a lekker ride report :thumleft:

 
 

Offline andrew5336

Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2018, 03:58:57 pm »
So keen to ride this area.

Also, having owned an early 640 that I loved, I can possibly agree with the assessment about the hardcoreness. It is a bit of an all or nothing machine.

Having said that, memories of dirt hairpins in the Dusi / Umgeni Valley, popping and crackling on the overrun into a bend, standing and power sliding out with that gloooorious LC4 thumping away...goosebump stuff.

 

Offline cheesy

Re: Return to the Cederberg: Cloudgazer Rides Again
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2018, 08:39:06 pm »
Cloud it's good to see you back in the saddle. Tx for another good report.
Bum in the saddle, always.