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Offline BrandsiekBrak

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Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« on: December 16, 2018, 07:10:36 pm »
Ben 10 Eco Challenge discovery:

This whole Adventure expedition started in early October when SWAMBO was taking me home to fetch my Pajero after dropping my bike off for a service…

On our way home, we noticed a sticker on the top box of a KTM 1050…the sticker read “I completed the Ben 10 Eco Challenge” …

“What is the Ben 10 Eco Challenge?”, SWAMBO wanted to know…
“I don’t know…”, I replied
After asking my dear old friend Google….
“It seems to be an Adventure challenge that requires you to visit sign boards on top of 10 chosen gravel passes in the Eastern Cape, and complete this within 7 days”, I told SWAMBO
“That sounds interesting, we should do this some or other time”, SWAMBO replied


Ben 10 Eco Challenge locked in:

Fast forward to early November….and our holiday plans for early December was not panning out, luckily nothing was set in stone…
‘So, what are we going to do for our holiday early December?”, SWAMBO asked one fateful afternoon.
“I don’t know…but I think I need to go where cell reception is little and nature is a lot…”, I replied.
“What about taking on the Ben 10 Eco Challenge with the Pajero?”… SWAMBO laid the seed.
“Well, it should be a lot of fun…wonder how it would be to do it on the back of my GSA beast?”
SWAMBO then suggested I contact Aaklige Attie and find out if he and his family would be up for the challenge, then the 2 SWAMBO’s can party in the Pajero, and Aaklige Attie and myself can play with the bikes.

Next day I ring up Aaklige Attie and briefly enlighten him on the Ben 10 Eco Challenge, as well as tell him about SWAMBO’s plan.
Later after he checked out the Challenge set out on the Mountain Passes of South Africa website, he gives me a call….

Aaklige Attie with a sarcastic tone, “ This does not seem like the sort of thing that I like doing on the back of a bike…”

My sarcastic tone, “I feel you bother, also not the type of thing I like to put my bike through, but SWMBO has her heart set on this, thus as a supporting husband…I am willing to make an exception in order to make her happy”

Aaklige Attie (sarcastic tone): “I hear you my friend, and seeing that I was your best man at your wedding, I will once again stand by your side on this one…”

My sarcastic tone:  “Thank you bother, will be nice to have another one suffering through this thing in order to keep the wife happy, but hell…if the wife says that that we have to go Adventure biking, we should not dare say no…even if we don’t want to…”

Thus it was less than a month to the planned week of starting the Ben 10 Eco Challenge, and we found accommodation in Rhodes at Walkerbouts Bokhuase, and we started gathering more information from whatever sources we could.


Expedition party expansion

A few days later I spoke to my father, FrancoisTz, and told him about our plans for this holiday…and he sounded intrigued, so I asked him to think about it and let me know.
He mentioned it to his SWAMBO, and left for work….
Later the day he gives me call…
FrancoisTz, “I told Natasha about this plan and left for work, when we met for lunch she decided to do the challenge. But not with the Landy…she wants to do it on the back of her own bike!”
My reply: “That is wonderful! As long as you guys know that we are not going to a SPA, but it will be a hard working holiday for the body and a relaxing experience for the soul”
FrancoisTz, “We understand it as such, and will have a look at the website and watch the videos”
My reply: “ Great stuff, and don’t worry about being new to the Adventure riding scene. Attie and myself will be there the whole time, and we do not leave anyone behind.”

Aaklige Attie, also decided that his 16 year old son will be joining us on the back of his Honda 250 Rally.
So we had a nice group of bikes, and the SWAMBO Pajero at the back.
Ben 10 Eco Challenge was set to be done during the second week of December.
Everyone will gather at my place in Bloemfontein on the Friday, and we will set off for Rhodes on the Saturday….


Group as from this point:
Myself with 1200 GSA A/C (some riding experience)
Aaklige Attie with 1200GSA LC (some riding experience)
FrancoisTz with 1200 GSA A/C (Newbie)
Rynhard with Honda 250 Rally (Newbie)
Natasha with 650 GS (Newbie)

Lizanne, my SWAMBO, with Pajero 3.2 GLX (very little 4x4 experience)
Jana, Attie’s SWAMBO, will join in Pajero and has good 4x4 experience


Quick over view of gathered information:
1)   Mountain Passes of South Africa, wealth of information with regards to how and where to access the passes. Videos give you a good over view of the passes.
2)   Recent videos on You tube, good idea of recent road condition
3)   Forums, some useful information and scattered recent experiences
4)   Safari4x4 in Bloemfontein, recent information on some of the passes

General consensus on passes:
•   Passes are ridable/driveable if conditions play along
•   Bastervoetpad pass is not for the novice rider, and should be approached from a west-to-east direction, but not in the rain
•   Ben McDhui is tough but you will need to find out about current conditions at Tiffendale Ski Resort.




Preparations on vehicles started and regular phone calls kept everyone in the loop of the preparations.
Aaklige Attie’s excitement could not be controlled any further, and the Oosthuizens arrived the Thursday in Bloemfontein…
Thus we braaied, drank Rum, and laughed while waiting for FrancoisTZ and Natasha till Friday afternoon.

Everyone found themselves in Bloemfontein on Friday (7 December 2018), ready to depart on Saturday Morning for Rhodes.
Plan is to do Joubert’s Pass on Saturday, out side Lady Grey, on the way to Rhodes…

« Last Edit: December 16, 2018, 07:12:31 pm by LYCAN »
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Offline Ri

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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2018, 08:30:22 pm »
The things you do for SWAMBOs...

This looks pretty epic, definitely subscribed :deal: :sip:
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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2018, 08:30:50 pm »
Bliksem daai ding is Aaklig jong.

Ek ry sommer saam
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Offline BrandsiekBrak

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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2018, 10:56:19 pm »
Journey to Rhodes starts:

Plan for the day was that Aaklige Attie and Myself ride our machines to Rhodes
Rynhard, Jana and Lizanne tow the Honda 250 behind the Pajero.
FrancoisTz and Natasha tow their bikes behind their Defender.

At Lady grey, we would take the bikes off the trailers, and head over Joubert’s Pass, then come back and get the trailers again and onward to Rhodes.


Plans change...

The day started nice and early, and for the first 50km all went according to plan.
I discovered a nasty rattle in my gear box of the GSA, and outside Reddersburg decided to check the filling bolt of the gearbox…

We found a single metal shaving and very low oil…decided to swop the GSA and Honda. GSA would be towed to Rhodes and along the way we would get new oil and flush. Then drain the gearbox, flush it and put new oil…then check to see what happens

Rynhard was tagged into the riding seat of his Honda, and followed his dad on the road the Rhodes.
I took the Pajero driving seat, with the GSA towed behind.
Attie then rode for Aliwal North in order to get his hands on oil for the gearbox.

He made it to Auto Zone 10min before closing time…

Aliwal North had us take some lunch, and one of the guests at the restaurant we had lunch went on to share with us his experiences of the Eastern Cape gravel passes…

He was adamant that if there is a little bit of rain, we will not be able to ride over Bastervoetpad Pass. He was also convinced that the GSA’s were too heavy and won’t be able to handle the pass if it was wet. He was however convinced that the 650 GS and 250 Rally were the only bikes that would be able to make the trip over most of the passes…

After a long explanation of the difficulties and wet conditions of the passes from this informant, I replied to his concerns with:
“Thank you Sir, but you don’t need to try and convince us any further…We are already going to do the pass (Bastervoetpad)”

Shortly after this, his wife’s stories became interesting, and he started listening to her more atently and left us to our only conversations.

Due to my bike acting up with the gear box, we decided to skip Joubert’s Pass today, and head to Rhodes and change the Gearbox oil…And here I was all dressed up and driving a cage..


End of tar, and start of Gravel travel:

The tar road stopped at Barkly East on the way to Rhodes, and the 2 bikes were already making their way to Rhodes when the 2 towing vehicles went through Barkly East.

FrancoisTz’s GSA was fed up with traveling on the trailer, and we had stop every 10km to either fasten the tie down straps, or replace them as some of them boke.

The gravel road between Barkly East and Rhodes is about 60km, with surfaces changing from compacted, to corrugations and loose gravel. But this road is not too bad if taken at speed, and the road is wide enough to enable you to travel at 60-80km with ease.
The scenery is very beautiful, and it is not necessary to speed past everything.

Soon after coming into Rhodes, we found the Walkerbouts Bar/restaurant and had a couple of cold ones

Side note time:
From the start we did realise that Bastervoetpad pass would be a tricky peace of road, especially with 3 novice riders…
Thus the plan was to keep an eye on the weather, and tackle Bastervoetpad as soon as there are a few dry days in order to bake the trail.
The rest of the passes were not really that reliant on the weather, and the weather forecast had a couple of wet days planned for us



Rhodes information gathering time:

As the Rum was flowing, the locals were interested in our Quest…
Most of the locals were of the opinion that Bastervoetpad should not be attempted this week, but this sounded like loser talk to us…and we kept on asking and talking..

(Finally, we found the right information that we were waiting for)
The owner / manager of Walkerbouts was of the opinion that Bastervoetpad is easily doable, and that the right time would be the next day (Sunday 9 December 2018).
According to him, it has been dry for the past few days and thus the route will be dry.

After a few more cold ones, we agreed that the best time would be the coming Sunrise…


Changing Gears:
After taping my GSA gearbox oil, and evaluating the oil…it seemed to be that the oil was long overdue for change and no more metal shards were found.
A little flush, and enough oil…the gearbox felt better than ever

All set for early morning departure
And my mood had drastically improved from earlier the day when I had to put my GSA on the trailer


Planned rout for the next day:
•   Take road from Rhodes, back towards Barkly East
•   Take the Bokspruit / Riflespruit road
•   Link up with the 393 road towards Eliot
•   Turn onto the Bastervoetpad Pass road, just before Fatcanni Pass
•   Bastervoetpad Pass
•   Turn onto tar road near Ugie, and ride to Eliot
•   Afterwards we could either go via the 393, or Barkly east to Rhodes

No problem!!!! ….. Or maybe the riding Gods may become angry with us  :peepwall:
If you are packed for adventure, you can never be lost or late

Previously know as Lycan after getting bitten...
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Offline TinusBez

Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2018, 05:45:50 am »
 :sip:

We did the surroundings a few years' ago. Couldn't do Ben Mac (snow) and since read there is a (service) road mmm.
Bastervoetslaan (for me at least) one of the most beautiful scenery around. There is that first bit that can get tricky especially after rain. One spot on that pass that reminds me a lot of Paradise pass in Lesotho near Malealea - view just goes on forever.
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Offline BrandsiekBrak

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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2018, 07:47:52 am »
I will take your word on the views from Bastervoetpad, as we did not get to appreciate the views for more than 100m in any direction

I will work on the story for you, and share with you the trials and trails
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Offline mike gs

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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2018, 07:54:35 am »
Awesome RR, keep it coming......Rhodes is so special

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Offline BrandsiekBrak

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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2018, 09:44:41 am »
The Bastervoetpad Pass day…the “voetpad” part is literal

The day started off very good, the sun was out and we were all very excited.
Last few bike preparations, like taking of screens from the GSA’s. These Beasts look really mean with their screens taken off.

FrancoisTz allowed us to take his screen off as well, even though I did see that little glint of worry in his eyes.
Tyres were deflated, and coffee was had.
The Pajero ‘fun-wagon’ was stocked, and everyone was ready for a great day of riding.

Bastervoetpad is reported to be dry, and current weather conditions did not inform us of any other sinister change


The expedition group left Rhodes, and the games started off easily.
Road from Rhodes to the Bokspruit/Riflespruit turn off was dry and we continued on a leisurely pace of 40-60km/h.

This road continues until it meets up with the 393 road between Moshesh’s Ford and Bastervoetpad.
Even though this road has some deep erosions and smaller loose rocks, it rides easily and only had a few wet spots.

We came across a quarry next to the road, and there was a large muddy pool. Shallow enough not to have water enter the GSA’s air intake, with deep enough mud to cover the bike’s under parts with a "protective mud layer".

After some of us had our little fun, the group moved further along this road, shortly after getting on the 393 road again we realised that the Pajero ‘fun-wagon’ was far behind. So we stopped and waited…and waited…

Eventually I turned back and went searching…luckily found them just around the next bend…the 2 SWAMBO’s laughing their asses off…

Apparently…they came across a couple of sheep in the road and decided that they were in the mood for some farming….and as fate would have it, they had the perfect herding vehicle at their disposal in the form of the Pajero ‘fun-wagon’….
Thus with Co-pilot Jana as the gate keeper to the one farm, and pilot Lizanne as shepard, they convinced the sheep that the grass is greener on the other side of the fench…

My question to them: “How do you know that you put them on the right farm?”
Their answer: “Shit…did not think about that, but sure they can figure it out”

Group all together once more, we continued onward to Bastervoetpad Pass’s Western entry point, we did encounter a couple of muddy sections and water pools on the way…
The warning signs were probably there, but what is a little bit of water when it has been dry for days beforehand…


Bastervoetpad Pass western entry point…

We all stopped and had a great talk and laughs, and noticed that the heavens are sweating on us, and it appeared that there is a lot of mist around the mountain peaks….

We concluded that this should not be a problem due to the “FACT” that it has been dry for a couple of days before hand….so we donned our rain suites and climbed our beasts, pointing them in the directions of Bastervoetpad Pass….

Pajero ‘fun-wagon’ pilots finished making their coffee, and shortly followed us.

The first few kilometres were wetter than we expected, but HEY…it has been dry for a couple of days according to our respected local informant…and this is the best time to attach Bastervoetpad Pass


Rocky Road is not just an Ice-cream flavour…

We found ourselves on the cement bridge that marks the official start of the Bastervoetpad pass…
It is a relative steep climb, with a couple of plateaus to allow for bike parking, and every time you think you are close to the top, you find another little climb.

It is a nice technical climb in the wet with big rocks, and lots of wheel spin…no problem if you have some experience…..did I mention we had 3 novice riders with us…AND for an added benefit…

FrancoisTz did purchase new rear rubber for his GSA a few months back from a reputable place, the guy convinced him that the combination I had suggested (Mitas E-07) was inferior to the only tyre he had available…and that this tyre that he had available has been specifically designed for off road conditions and the tread pattern clears mud very well….this amazing tyre is the Metzler Tourance Next

Due to my mistrust in the above information and advice, I brought an extra rim with a used Mitas E-07 on….which Aaklige Attie and myself suggested putting on FrancoisTz’s bike at our comfortable level area in front of our accommodation the previous night and again the morning before departure…but why do things the easy way..

Think the promised grip and performance in the wet was maybe not installed during this specific tyre’s manufacturing, and after a couple of falls, slips and burning clutch…we swapped the rear wheel of FrancoisTz’s GSA with the one we brought with us…luckily we only needed to put the bike on it’s right side on the rocks, and change the wheel in the mud….easy is not fun though.

After this change in rubber, things went a little better for a while…

After many falls and walks up and down the hill of Bastervoetpad and picking up bikes, we did reach the top…the heavens did provide some lightning for added effect, and the mist and rain provided some relief for us from possible over heating

Due to the “perfect” conditions on top of the mountain, we almost missed the summit marker…but did find it for the photo opportunity.

The organisers of the challenge do go through the trouble annually to erect their own boards, but these do get stolen/blown away at times, thus my advice is to take a picture at the origin summit markers and not only look for the challenge boards.

At the summit it was decided that we will take the same route down, as we came up…..shortly after we changed this decision and turned around to go down the other side…

“It has been dry for days, and now is the right time to conquer Bastervoetpad”
"We came all this way, no use in turning around now!"



Bastervoetpad Pass was not happy that we were disturbing it’s shower….

Luckily for us, the ruts were deeper, rocks were bigger and drop offs were higher…and best of all the riding surface was slippery and tended to accumulate on the tyres when going slowly making sudden stopping impossible…hell…even the Pajero had these issues and the ‘wagon’ lost the ‘fun-‘ portion.

After a few hours and lots of stops to pick up bikes, Aaklige Attie and myself decided to split up the main jobs:
•   I would guide the other 3 bikes down and sort out any issues we encounter
•   Attie would guide down the Pajero

A few hours later the group was back together again and the mood was not delightful, we realised that we were averaging 2-3km/hour…

At 16h00 we all have had enough, and the realisation dawned that we still had 14km to go before we are off the pass….an ‘executive decision’ was made that we would leave 3 bikes on the mountain (Rynhard, Natasha and FranciosTz). They would get in the Pajero and Aaklige Attie and myself would ride our bikes down the mountain and head home.

We can return the following day with the bike trailers and recover the bikes, but currently we needed to get off this mountain pass…or spend the night in the elements.

The rest of the road was slippery and traction was a luxury not afforded us too often.
The river crossings were not too bad, and bikes were not drowned.
The tar road trip towards Eliot was not the best one Aaklige Attie and I have ever had, and hypothermia was starting to rear its ugly head by the time we stopped in Eliot.
The 2 of us waited at a filling station in Eliot, and got our hands on warm coffee…

The Pajero rescue vehicle drove into Eliot and Attie and myself left our bikes at the local police station for the night.

Pajero fully packed with 7 people, and everything wet and cold, we recovered from hypothermia with aid of the heater and made our way back to Rhodes in the dark and rain….

All and all, our perfect time to conquer Bastervoetpad pass turned out to be a relative disaster…but hell….Aaklige Attie and myself completed Bastervoetpad in the worst of conditions, and the Pajero performed well throughout
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Offline Ri

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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2018, 10:58:10 am »
Geeeeee!! Glad no one got hurt and nothing got broken!!

Well done on conquering that Bastidvoetpad! And you got the worst over with first :thumleft:
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Offline BrandsiekBrak

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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2018, 01:26:04 pm »
Return to Bastervoetpad…

So…the previous day 5 bikes and 1 Pajero left Rhodes for Bastervoetpad Pass, 2 bikes made it off Bastervoetpad, but only the Pajero made it back to Rhodes under cover of darkness

It is day 2 of our adventure, and we need to go fetch all the bikes before we can even think of carrying on with the Eco challenge…

We set off from Rhodes with the Pajero, Defender and 2 trailers, armed with a plan of action…
We will approach Bastervoetpad from the Eastern slope. The defender is a short wheel base, and has a smaller turning circle and better off road tyres. The single bike trailer is easier to manoeuvre in the single vehicle pass…

Plan was simple….take the defender and single bike trailer up Bastervoetpad pass for the 14km till we find the bikes. Load the 650gs on the trailer and tow it out with the Defender. Attie will ride the Honda 250 off the pass, and I would ride the remaining GSA off the pass. When we are off the pass, the 2 bikes will then be loaded on the trailer behind the Pajero. Then we will head to Eliot to gather the GSA’s left at the police station, and head back to Rhodes…

With plan in hand, we left Rhodes and turned on the 393 crossing Fetcanni pass and Barkly pass, through Eliot and onto Bastervoetpad…the day seemed nice and warm with only a few clouds to be seen in the sky…

The gravel roads were nice and hard, with only a few wet spots, and we made good time with the cars and trailers.

Aaklige Attie and myself were in our riding gar when we climbed into the Defender, and FrancoisTz took us up the pass to go and recover the bikes… like rescue divers being taken out to see by boat to go and perform their duties…

The metaphor of rescue divers is not merely chosen at random… for when we closed in on Bastervoetpad Pass the heavens opened up again, and we once more found ourselves in the rain, mud and Mist on the Pass…

In the back of our minds we were all worried that the bikes might be buried by mudslides, or that there may be a lot of water damage.


Bikes in the Mist…

We found the Honda first, just as we started to get worried…still standing on its side stand as Rynhard left it. As this would be one of the bikes to be ridden down the Pass, we drove around it and went up further the pass towards were the other bikes were left the previous day.

To our delight, there was no mud slide. And the bikes were still stuck in the deep rut, where we left them… and best of all, they started easily and we were able to get them out of the rut with little effort.

The Defender and trailer were turned around, the 650 GS loaded on the trailer and fastened securely. I climbed the GSA and Attie started the Honda.

Our now newly formed convoy was ready to move down the pass, we moved slowly due to the 4x4 nature of this pass and the loaded bike on trailer following the Defender.

An hour later we were of the pass, and quickly loaded the other 2 bikes on the 2 bike trailer behind the Pajero….Attie and myself were once more soaking wet….but the rained eased up when we reached the end of Bastervoetpad Pass.

We headed to Eliot Police station and found Aaklige Attie and my own GSA’s waiting.
We once more donned our riding gear and made our way to the 393 gravel road towards Rhodes.. this gravel road makes the distance between Eliot and Rhodes 90km.The other road via Barkly East puts the distance at 130km.

It being once again 17h30 in the afternoon,  we opted for the gravel road. And took off towards Rhodes. As the sun set, we all made it safely home.


Another challenge raises its ugly head…

50km from Rhodes on the gravel back, I discovered that my GSA had no rear brakes. But seeing that we were chasing the setting sun… I gunned further with front brakes and engine braking.

The next morning Attie and myself investigate the problem….
My rear brake reservoir was empty, and no reason was obvious at that moment, after a brake fluid donation made by the friendly Pajero…. the problematic leak was found, and after stripping the rear of my GSA…the scope of the problem was established…


Braking bad news…

The brake line transition point / elbow was cracked and every time I stepped on the rear brake, brake fluid would squirt out through this crack and the system loses pressure.

Thus, we needed to have this fixed and thus the day’s riding was called off, and a much needed rest day announced.

This meant that a couple of cold ones will be taken, and we set off for Barkly East to find a brake and clutch place to make us a temporary connection, or at least try and find someone who can do aluminium welding

Foot note time:
There is a local guy and his son in Rhodes, who have a small workshop and are willing to help where and how they can. We were able to get copper washers from them, but my particular problem was out of this workshop’s scope.

Braking good news…

After visiting a couple of shops in Barkly East we found friendly guys who was able to do aluminium welding and understood what we wanted, he also suggested we go have breakfast and cold ones while he does his thing..

An hour later we were on our way back to Rhodes with a welded brake coupling, and new copper washers and braking fluid

We quickly reassembled my GSA, and the braking system was back in play…

FranciosTz and Natasha used the rest day to visit Tiffendel resort with the Defender and scouted the top of the mountain and local knowledge for the coming bike ride the next day.

Armed with new information and another fixed problem, we braaied and chatted the night away, excited to start the next day and continue chipping away at this Ben 10 Eco challenge

The difficult Pass has been conquered, thus the rest of the trip should be a breeze from here on out...


During our Bastervoetpad difficulties, FrancoisTz and Natasha had decided that due to there skill level, they will rather tackle the rest of the Eco Challenge with their Defender and leave the biking for us...
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Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2018, 01:57:51 pm »
nice adventure you guys had!
I also did it wit TinBez in the dry which was easy. What stood out for me is the great scenery from Bastervoetpad pass, its never mentioned but its top stuff. I have done a fair bit of riding and cant think of anything better.
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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2018, 02:58:36 pm »
Also think that Baster should be easy in the dry, would like to go and have a look one day if ever I am in that area again.

If you have some riding experience, then it is not too bad in the wet
If you are packed for adventure, you can never be lost or late

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Offline TinusBez

Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2018, 06:47:06 pm »
Also think that Baster should be easy in the dry, would like to go and have a look one day if ever I am in that area again.

If you have some riding experience, then it is not too bad in the wet

Bring home the message of trying this pass in the wet especially on a big bike. Sure a few well deserving beers were had that evening. Makes me feel taking my 500 there will most certainly be cheating.

With that rain I'm patiently waiting for Wartrail (Lundin) pass. Heard it was in pretty bad shape.

Makes me want to pack up and head for Rhodes this.  :sip:
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Offline TinusBez

Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2018, 06:55:26 pm »
Like so.
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Offline Highsider

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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2018, 07:31:53 pm »
A group of us are attempting the Ben 10 in less than two weeks time.  I have previously ridden all the passes but never “in one sitting” so to speak.  My last attempt earlier this year, with a group of very experienced riders, was thwarted by snow and ice and the TTT was reportedly under 1m of snow!
You’re at the mercy of the elements but if your timing is perfect and Lady Luck is on your side, the Ben 10 is not beyond most rider’s reach. 
Will do a RR on our ride in Jan.
In the meantime, keep it coming!


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Offline BrandsiekBrak

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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2018, 08:01:15 pm »
Also think that Baster should be easy in the dry, would like to go and have a look one day if ever I am in that area again.

If you have some riding experience, then it is not too bad in the wet

Bring home the message of trying this pass in the wet especially on a big bike. Sure a few well deserving beers were had that evening. Makes me feel taking my 500 there will most certainly be cheating.

With that rain I'm patiently waiting for Wartrail (Lundin) pass. Heard it was in pretty bad shape.

Makes me want to pack up and head for Rhodes this.  :sip:

Wartrail was a surprise to us, as no big mention was made with the little research that was done... but this is jumping the story ahead

Lundean Pass is however different from the Wartrail portion of Volunteershoek Pass
If you are packed for adventure, you can never be lost or late

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Offline BrandsiekBrak

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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2018, 08:05:15 pm »
A group of us are attempting the Ben 10 in less than two weeks time.  I have previously ridden all the passes but never “in one sitting” so to speak.  My last attempt earlier this year, with a group of very experienced riders, was thwarted by snow and ice and the TTT was reportedly under 1m of snow!
You’re at the mercy of the elements but if your timing is perfect and Lady Luck is on your side, the Ben 10 is not beyond most rider’s reach. 
Will do a RR on our ride in Jan.
In the meantime, keep it coming!


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Snow is definitely a whole different ball game!

I agree, that with lady luck on your side, most rider can tackle and complete this Challenge

Safe riding in a few weeks, know our excitement was still building during those 2 weeks before the ride started
If you are packed for adventure, you can never be lost or late

Previously know as Lycan after getting bitten...
but then became infected
 

Offline spoedvark

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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2018, 09:30:43 pm »
Subscribed!

Bucket list: Ben 10 Eco Challenge added.

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Offline BrandsiekBrak

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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2018, 09:55:20 pm »
Challenge continues…

Bikes fixed and we are ready to tackle a new day…
The plan was to meet up with FrancoisTz and Natasha in front of the place they stayed at

As we came around the bend, we saw 2 bikes standing in the road, with eager riders awaiting us…
FrancoisTz and Natasha had a talk the previous day, and decided to continue tackling the Challenge on the back of their motorbeasts…

Thus our expedition group was back in force, and today was going to be a shortish ride with the plan to complete a couple of the passes…

Planned route:
•   Ride Naude’s Pass up to the summit, and take a photo
•   Turn on to the Tenahead Tiffendale Traverse (TTT pass)
•   Ride to Tiffendale, and conquer Ben McDhui
•   Go down to Carlisleshoek pass board, take a photo.
•   Then turn towards Volunteershoek Pass
•   Complete the day with a ride back to Rhodes



Expedition team visits Naude’s Pass-tures

The ride along Naude’s Pass route is rather relaxing on the bikes, and the hard rocky surface runs easily. It turned out to be a little bit different in the 4wheeled vehicles, but with deflated tyres this is not too bad.

A leisurely pass was followed and the most difficult portion was the sharp hairpin bends that see you climbing for the summit between the first and second Tenahead boards, 20km left and 10km left respectfully. This is a 10km stretch of road that rides nicely with lots of 1st and 2nd gear changes…

We found a couple of shepards being propelled forward by single horse power beasts, and well as some wild life.

The views from the top of Naude’s Nek were breath taking, and the Challenge board was still in place


Tenahead Turn ahead…

The turn off towards Tenahead lodge, and the start of the Tenahead Tiffendale Traverse (TTT) can be found on top of Naude’s pass, roughly 25km outside Rhodes.

We started on the TTT, and from the start some mud invited my GSA for some bath time and to add some UV Protection on the metal and moving parts…others opted for a ride around approach.

3km from the turn off, we found ourselves at Tenahead Lodge. I rode their rocky driveway in both directions, just to make sure the people we knew we were there…and I did not want to startle them by just walking through the front doors.

We had a relaxing coffee, and deck sitting…and admired the lodge luxuries.


Onwards and later upwards, after some single events of downwards…

The road from Tenahead is quite rocky at times, but the ever so often wet ground is not sticky or slippery that much.

A few small river crossings, and unavoidable mud puddles made this initial portion a quite easy run.
A few kilometres down the trail, saw a small miss step by the baby GS and she went down on a rocky descend…she then had an ABS and throttle misshape and dived for the bush next to the road.

Natasha was a little banged up, but all parts still moved and were attached the main frame.
The baby GS had opted to lose some weight and wanted to stay behind and graze next to the road, until we could come fetch her later the day again.

Natasha then continued the rest of the day in the Pajero, as we carried on with our set out plans.

TTT spoiled us with some beautiful scenery and steepish climbs, and a lot of lose rocks guaranteed that our back wheels travelled many more miles than our odometers led us to believe.

The sun was not leaving us today, and our ATGATT filled with salty water faster than our sweet water flowed from our camelbacks.

The TTT is roughly 27km long, and takes a good time to complete if you want to keep your front rims from developing smileys…

The TTT challenge boards can be found on either side of the traverse, and the traverse comprises a couple of smaller passes.



The Ben of Ben 10 Eco challenge…

From the TTT board we headed up to Tiffendale Ski Resort towards a much deserved cold one, and some food.

From the Tiffendale bar we could see the switch backs of Ben Mcdhui, and the sign post.
After a small lunch and an encouraging word from Caption Morgan, we set to off to climb to the top of the Eastern Cape.

FrancoisTz opted to stay behind with Natasha in the comfort of Tiffendale bar, thus it was the SWAMBO Pajero and 3 bike to start the climb

Ben McDhui switch backs are not too steep and the real challenge comes from the large amount of loose rocks that make up the largest portion of the road surface up the hill…the Pajero did not seem to both too much with this fact and it climbed easily to the plateau a few hundred meters from the top.

On the bikes we attempted another strategy, called aim and throttle. Idea being to use the wide turning areas on each switch back to aim for the next turn, and then give good throttle to climb…this worked well up to the initial plateau.

There we found a good rocky step, loose soil and rocks in front of this step convinced us to rather walk the rest of the way to the Ben McDhui summit board.
The convincing came in the form of no traction on the back wheels equating in no turning of front wheel

Climbing to the top in riding gear takes a lot of effort, but is worth the trouble.

Riding down Ben McDhui is equally interesting, compared to ascending it. But we all made it safely down, and Captain Morgan was waiting to congratulate us.



Carlisleshoek Pass runs deep….

Due to the Baby GS still grazing next to the road on TTT, we opted to take Carlisleshoek pass back to Rhodes and fetch the bike

Carlisleshoek Pass is steep pass, that had the GSA’s revving high in first gear as we descended to Rhodes.

The first portion is not bad, and the road is well maintained due to being the main access road to Tiffendale Ski Resort.

The steep portions are cement road portions, that assist with a controlled descend.
3 of the bikes enjoyed the road so much, that they rode past the Carlisleshoek Pass challenge board. And after I stopped at the board, Aaklige Attie came back searching for me. The Pajero also joined us in a photo opportunity…we would return the next day in order to produce a photo of Rynard in front of the boards as well.

After the steep descent and everyone safe in Rhodes, FrancoisTz and Myself set out with the Defender and single bike trailer in order to bring the grazing Baby GS back to it’s stable in Rhodes.

The Baby GS was so lazy after its extended grazing, that it did not want to climb on the trailer under its own power, and we had to use man power to convince it on. Strapped in place, we headed back to Rhodes and ended the journey as the last sun light went to bed.
If you are packed for adventure, you can never be lost or late

Previously know as Lycan after getting bitten...
but then became infected
 
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Offline BrandsiekBrak

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Re: Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Challenges were had
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2018, 04:08:55 pm »
Right Honde... ek was bietjie besig by die werk die laaste paar dae

Het darm nou weer tyd om die storie uit te brei
If you are packed for adventure, you can never be lost or late

Previously know as Lycan after getting bitten...
but then became infected