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Author Topic: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)  (Read 1925 times)

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Offline Ri

Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« on: December 25, 2019, 11:06:31 pm »
The second Wild Dog I ever met is @Andy660 , an institution in the Western Cape adventure riding scene on his pimped out Yamaha XT660Z, racing towards the horizon as fast as the bike can carry him. Despite him arranging rides almost every other weekend, somehow we seldom ended up riding together, mostly because Andy doesn't ride slower than 100kph, and I don't ride faster than that, and I didn't want to slow them down.

But I did manage to go on a few rides with him, and I learnt a lot. He was the first person to help me set up my first DR650, and he taught me a lot about motorbikes as well. Andy is a fount of knowledge and what he doesn't know, he knows where to find out. He is also quite the party animal and just an all-round nice, helpful guy, especially where flat tyres are concerned. Andy is a good friend, and it is always great to run into him at one of the Bashes which he religiously attends.

When he said he is emigrating to the UK, I was shocked. Andy giving up Karoo gravel for the soggy soil of Ole England...?! You lie... :eek7: But it was true. And there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to hang out with him before he left our dusty shores, when he posted an invitation to join his last ride on the forum.

I couldn't join for the whole weekend, as I'm saving leave for when the family visits from foreign shores, and I decide to ride through on the Saturday morning. Andy won't give me the route but the next moment @Robin Brown contacts me and invites me to ride along with him. I enjoy riding with Robin, and I'm happy to fall in with his plans. We arrange to meet up at the Winelands Engen on the Saturday and I feel my heart bump in excitement.

Saturday morning I find Robin and @Chris Heunis waiting for me at the Winelands Engen, and notice with a little envy that Robin now rides a lovely Husqvarna 701. Chris has a big KTM and he likes to "gooi", so I'm a little hesitant whether I can keep up, but Chris roundly admits that although he is super impatient, he has the the sense of direction of a house fly. He sometimes sticks behind me until he becomes impatient, then races off to wait for us at the next turn.

We head over Du Toitskloof Pass and through Slanghoek Valley, and stop at Ceres to fill up on fuel and coffee. I'd just filled up at Winelands, but top up again at Ceres. A friend of Robin's has just opened a coffee shop opposite the Engen garage, and the coffee is lovely.






This is a good looking bike, to be sure... :drif:






After our caffeine refuel, we find more people waiting for us at the Engen: Albie and Rory Young, a Scotsman with a proper burr, are joining us for the rest of the ride. I love accents, so sexy, and the Scotsman himself is not hard on the eye either. Albie is riding the new KTM790 and Rory has a Honda XR650.

As Albie is the same height as Robin, he decided to add a lowered seat, and tells me how he battled to get the suspension set up just right for him. He experienced bad head shake until he installed a proper steering damper, but now he can't praise the bike enough, and he looks really comfortable on it. I am interested to test ride a 790 some day because it sounds like it handles more like the DR650 with its lower down weight and slender profile, but is more modern and comfortable, especially for touring. The weight scares me a little; will I be able to lift it? With a low centre of gravity, I just need to lift it past the tipping point. But also I don't want to pay that much for a bike and then worry about dropping it. Guess I'll wait for all the hooligans to pull put their 790s through their bums paces and keep an eye on the "pre-loved" 2nd hand market :patch:






Chris heads off to buy us a roadside lunch of rolls, cold meats, cheese and tomatoes, and Robin briefs the rest of the crowd on our ride. He tells everyone that I ride slowly, and I'll follow at my own pace, and not to worry. I appreciate that, it relieves the pressure of having to keep up and I can relax. When we get going again, sometimes Albie sweeps after me but generally when the roads become rougher, they zoom off to go have their fun and I follow at my speed.

We head up my favourite tarred pass, Gydo Pass, and turn right onto the Baviaanshoek road.








From there, we make our circuitous route to the Oppi-berg to Cederberg road.



 

Offline Ri

Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2019, 11:40:46 pm »
Close to Oppi-Berg we stop for an impromptu veld lunch, and the simple fare is delicious.






Top box lunches rule! And as we're a responsible bunch (most of us), there are only water and cool drinks for refreshment.








Lunch quickly disposed of, we head out again. It is quite hot and unpleasant to be stationary for too long. At Oppi-Berg we turn towards Cederberg Conservancy area, but then turn right towards onto one of my favourite roads ever: Katbakkies Pass towards Tankwa Padstal and our destination for the evening, Bike X Cape.






We stop at the lookout on Katbakkies Pass to regroup and admire the view. I enjoy all the photo opportunities, as this is a view I can never get tired of. It is much greener since my last visit, which really gladdens the eye and the heart.












We stop again at Tankwa Padstal to say "hi" to everyone, and find a group of bikers cooling down in the cement dam. It is really hot and our group decide to push on to Bike X Cape, but I have a debt to pay from my last visit, and I head into the bar and ask for a cool drink (possibly alcoholic) and walk outside to drink it. I'm about to expire, and when I notice the cement dam has been vacated, I struggle out of my sweaty suit and slip into the "pool".

It is really cold and I struggle to catch my breath, gasping like a fish out of water. I dunk down until only my head sticks out, still gasping, and then elegantly hop out of the pool again. Except the edge is a bit high and I'm low on energy. I don't give it enough hop and end up oozing over the edge like some primeval slime.

It's so hot that by the time I finish my drink, my cotton leggings and t-shirt are almost dry and I don the riding suit again, say good bye to Padstal, and head onwards to Bike X Cape. I find out where my tent is and quickly unpack and ungear to find some refreshment at the bar.




At the bar, we find Ignatius waiting. He also rode through that morning to party with Andy that evening.








Baby JoJo Tank.




Bike newly washed and serviced. @Chris Heunis emulates Rudi Tour Neethling in casual biker couture



« Last Edit: December 25, 2019, 11:41:47 pm by Ri »
 

Offline Ri

Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2019, 08:41:44 am »
Not long after, Andy and his daughter Amber660 arrive back from Die Mond, where they went hiking up the river and floating back down on lilo's. That sounds like amazing fun, something I'd definitely like to do some day. Then more bikes arrive: @Ewald and his mate Marco rode from Nama Bike Camp that morning to come wish Andy well. Turns out on the first ride Andy ever organised, Ewald was the first person to join and ride along. Apparently Ewald was quite new at adventure riding, and had a hard time keeping up with Andy, whose newbie rides are more advanced than one would expect.






I would sometimes visit Andy's workshop, to find him manufacturing something specific for Robin. Robin would come to Andy with a design for something for his bike or Jimny, such as a specific style of luggage rack or a broader foot peg, and Andy would make it happen. He is very creative and has made some very interesting furniture from discarded bike and motor parts.




Albie searching for Wifi






Marco and Robin






In the Karoo, you can almost see time pass, it is so peaceful here.










At R350 per night, these en suite rooms might just be the best value for money in the Karoo, and definitely much cooler than tenting it in this heat.




The splash pool is hidden away from any wayward guests...




Peep-cock




Michelle's vegetable garden behind the tents is doing quite well.




The braai is fired up and the evening's pleasantries get going. The braai pack at Bike X Cape is lekker, and you have the choice of braaiing it yourself or asking the proprietors of Bike X Cape, Michelle and Rael, to prepare it. They also provide salads to go along, in all tasty and great value for money.




More people arrive: a husband and wife, Neels and Anneke, with Neels pillioning Anneke on her Tiger 800 XCX. Anneke, close to me in age, recently decided that she would like to learn adventure riding, and being a lovely tall lady, went big immediately with the Tiger. She is certainly not dof however, and she and hubby visits Bike X Cape many a weekend where Michelle and Rael show her the ropes on one of the 450s from their stable. I'm keen to see her take on the gravel roads by herself soon on that big bike of hers.

After dinner, the lights are turned down and the music is turned up. Michelle is the DJ and soon us ladies circle the fire, head-banging to Rammstein like savages, while the guys slink off to bed, mumbling about the loudness and style of the music. Not long after, we start dancing on the bar counter, which thoughtfully has a few upright poles to keep the ladies up right. I muse about the music: is heavy metal heavier than a 1200GS?





I end up chatting to Neels about Anneke's bike riding and he says with a laugh, "She gives me grey hairs". They are a sweet couple.

I head off to bed at a fairly decent hour (I think), plug earplugs into my ears and fall into a deep sleep. I wake somewhere in the early morning and crunch to the ablution facilities before falling into a good slumber again.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2019, 03:28:10 pm by Ri »
 

Offline Ri

Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2019, 09:30:11 am »
I'm awake again fairly early and lie snoozing, wondering whether I should get up. The next moment I hear Albie outside my tent, offering a very welcome cup of coffee. We planned a fairly early start and he is checking up on me.

The coffee kicks me into gear and I quickly sort out my stuff and head for the showers. The bike is quickly loaded and ready, and then I head to the lapa to wait for the others and make payment.

To my surprise, Gawie had also showed up last night to visit with Andy one. He rides a BMW1200GS but is fairly new to adventure riding and prefers to ride at his own pace.

Gawie is the head mechanic at Yamaha Helderberg, a quiet, introverted and very knowledgeable guy who has sorted out my DR650 a few times. Where everyone else told me to just remove my bike's fuel guzzling pumper carb, Gawie understood that a girl needs a Mikuni carb, but can't be spending all her shoe money on fuel, and tuned it to a perfect balance of power and fuel consumption.




Air heads




Blue sports a new purple fuel hose, courtesy of the cute Scotsman who offered to swop it out for my hose when I told him purple is my favourite colour.




Marco's 1150




Andy's Yamaha XT660Z




Ewald's Yamaha 1200 Super Ténére




Albie's mint KTM790 with lowered seat




Robin's sexy 701




The previous afternoon Robin suggested we return the same way we came, unless someone wanted a different route, and I asked whether we could ride through the Kareekloof Conservancy.  Robin lead a ride through this pass a while ago, and I wanted to ride it again. I marvelled at the fluke that brought along Chris and Albie, who I met on that previous trip. Everyone likes the idea, and Ewald and Marco decide to join us, as they haven't ridden it before.

Not long and we are all ready to go, waiting for Michelle so we can pay our bills. Eventually everyone has left and after some searching for cell phones etc, I make payment and race off to find the group waiting for me at Tankwa Padstal. We turn towards Ceres on the R355 and start the 30-odd km slog to the turnoff into the Conservancy. Here we wait in the shade of some trees while Robin heads off to say a quick hallo to his friend Carel, who manages the Conservancy.

Robin soon returns to ask whether we want to join Carel for a cool drink, and we gratefully head up to the house. It is warming up already, and the lemon concentrate Carel has waiting for us goes down a treat! He has a few cottages and rooms to rent in the Conservancy, which I plan to visit some time soon.

Leaving the R355












Robin returning with the welcome invite




Very interesting old house




Guest room




Shooting the breeze






Beautiful and rustic interiors




Cute but slightly unfriendly dog. His sister is much friendlier, rubbing her head against me like a cat

« Last Edit: December 26, 2019, 03:26:23 pm by Ri »
 

Offline Ri

Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2019, 09:32:12 am »
Then we are off into the kloof strewn with sharp shale and rock. Left to my own devices at the back, I merely open up carefully, fighting to keep my balance and control of the throttle as I slip and bounce over the rocks. It is scary fun!










Albie offers to take a photo of me with my bike and I reluctantly agree. I'm more comfortable behind the scene.














Chris has something leaking on his bike somewhere, and is trying to force his impatient self to ride slower to avoid more damage. "Fall in behind me", I tell him, "I'll keep your speed right down"
















I offer to open the next gate and go racing off to open it, and stand by to close it while everyone takes off again.












 

Offline Ri

Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2019, 09:32:42 am »
This innocuous little uphill with a bend at the top hides a nasty surprise of rocks and dongas just around that bend.






We continue to braap through the kloof until we reach the long straits beyond, and one of the guys asks whether we can ride the Bo-Swaarmoed road. When we reach the Baviaanshoek road, we turn left torwards the N1, and left again at the fork to exit Droëhoek road near the turn off to Bo-Swaarmoed.










The landscapes around here are simply amazing






 

Offline eberhard

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Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2019, 09:35:35 am »
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Great report! Thanks.
Also terrific pictures.
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Offline Ri

Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2019, 09:52:09 am »
:thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Great report! Thanks.
Also terrific pictures.

Thanks eberhard. My poor camera was making terrible cranking noises, and would start zooming and not stop until I switched it off and on again, had me quite worried for a bit. Need to have it serviced but I need the money to ride :imaposer:

Looking forward to your next RR ;-)
 

Offline BMWPE

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Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2019, 10:06:55 am »
Great ride report  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Thanks Ri
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Offline eberhard

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Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2019, 11:32:20 am »
Yet you managed very well. :thumleft: What is that saying about multi tasking …?
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Offline Ri

Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2019, 12:41:20 pm »
In Ceres we stop at the Pink Lady for a brunch of mince on toast (vetkoek sold out!!), as it is still fairly early. The coffee is great and the service is friendly.








Serious perusal of the menu going on there








After brunch it is the last stretch home via Slanghoek Valley and over Dutoitskloof Pass. I need to visit the bathroom and get away late, hurrying to catch up with the others.  But Albie is a gentleman and waits for me at the turn off into Slanghoek Valley. I pass him and swing to the left, then brake to swing right again to cross the low water  bridge but the front wheel swings side to side so violently, I almost lose control! Shaking with adrenaline, I roll across the bridge and come to a shaky stop at the other side. Luckily Albie realised something is very wrong, and waits for me at the other side. My front wheel is so flat it almost climbed off the rim by itself.






Blue doesn't have a centre stand or a crutch to prop him up, and I start looking around for rocks to put under the bash plate. A helpful person, part of a group having a picnic next to the stream, ambles over to give assistance, but gets in the way a bit as he doesn't know what he is doing either, and we thank him warmly and send him on his way again. Albie and I manage to get the front wheel off the bike, and then thanks to my Bead Breakers, get the wheel off the rim.




A few motorcycle riders and even cars pass us during this time, all asking whether we are OK and whether we need assistance, and we wave them on as we seem to be handling it. I have a spare front tube and all the necessary tools to change it, even if I don't know what they are or what I need them for. Then a single motorcycle stops unnoticed and without fanfare or waiting to be asked, Nick @blikmetwiele quietly joins us to add a hand and advice. He hasn't needed to change a tyre on his own bike yet, but has helped others and comes in really handy.

At Albie's instruction I stick my hand into the tyre and feel around the circumference for any sharp bits or protrusions that could've damaged the tube, but I don't find anything. I wouldn't have believed me though, as I don't know whether the search was thorough enough. Albie looks at the tube we removed closely, but it has no visible signs of damage. He does notice that it has been patched already, and that the patch seems very...er... patchy and loose. I hope that is all it is.

Don't judge a biker by his (apparent lack of) ATGATT




The spare tube is quickly if inexpertly inserted into the wheel, Albie miraculously managing to  persuade the awkward valve through its opening, and inflated slightly. Then the tyre is wrestled back onto the rim by Nick and myself working on both sides of the wheel, without a shred of soap or lubrication because I'd completely forgotten about the bottle of dishwashing liquid in my tool bag..... I've heard about pinched tubes, and try to be careful, and Nick as well. Finally the tyre is ready to be inflated and the compressor urgently whirrs while we gently expire under the hot sun.




The urgent whirring brings no visible change to the shape and thickness of the tyre, and my expectation deflates as quickly as my tyre did as premonition sinks a whole in my stomach: tyre pinch... The men aren't eager to wrestle the tyre off the rim again unless very necessary, and working under the premise that my compressor is faulty, they attach their compressors to the tyre, to no effect. It turns out Albie's compressor is in fact faulty, while Nick's compressor is working fine but basically just blowing hot air.

We wrestle the tyre off the rim again and the grim truth is revealed: a pinch, right through the new tube!! Albie resignedly tells me to phone for a trailer to take my bike home, and I ask, can't we just patch it? I tip out my tool bag and show him the various sizes of patches, the tyre glue and the various other tyre and bike-related nicknacks I carry along on every trip. Albie gets a gleam in his eye, and we start patching the tube.

From experience watching others patching tubes, I know that a patch takes a while, and warn them not to rush it. Nick patiently stands holding and gently testing the stickiness of the patch until, after quite some time, he proclaims it solidly stuck. Lesson learnt, we inflate the tyre before shoving it back into the tyre, and dismayingly it still won't hold air. Albie closely inspects the whole tube and finds another pinch opposite the first double pinch. It seems in our inexperience we inflicted on the poor tube not one, but two mortal wounds.

I probably have enough patches for the Tankwa XC Rally, though, and Albie and Nick patiently apply another one. We wait, me somewhat impatiently, the sun beating down on us relentlessly, until Nick declares the patch well an d truly stuck. The compressor goes on again and this time the tube holds its air. Halleluja!!  This time we insert it into the tyre even more carefully. The bead breakers barely touch the rim, and Albie, holding on to my and Nick's shoulders, "walks" the tyre back onto the rim. Finally, the tyre is on again and one last time Nick hooks up the compressor, which quickly inflates it to 2 bar. Success! The tyre can finally go back onto the bike!




Tired and hot we head for the hills, and Nick joins us for the final stretch over the pass. We turn up the alternative route over Dutoitskloof Pass and make good progress when we notice a biker down on the wide corner just past the trout farm, his bike standing in the ditch next to where he is lying. There are however 4 cars and many people standing around, and they give us the thumbs-up and wave us on. When I get to the top of the Pass however, I notice that Albie is no longer with us and I pull off at the sight seeing spot to ask Nick whether Albie stopped.

Nick confirms that Albie stopped at the scene of the accident, and I wonder whether we should turn back, or wait, or carry on. What is protocol in these matters? It also turns out Nick knows some of the people who were standing around the scene of the accident as they are biker friends of his, and I'm a little surprised that he didn't stop and offer support, as Albie did. Not that I thought he could do much, which he clearly agreed with.

Soon Albie joins us to says the biker appears to have overcooked the corner and left the road, ending up in the ditch. He seems very injured, but the ambulance has been called. Nick decides to stay at the lookout point for a while, and Albie and I carry on home. Next to the lookout point, the tar is raised quite a bit, and I aim to get onto the tar road at the end of the lookout point where the tar and the gravel are on an equal level.

I completely miss it and hit the raised tar bit side on while accelerating. Blue unceremoniously crashes down and flips me onto the tar, hard, and I stop the impact with my elbow and head. I flinch a little - another deep gauge to my brand new Shoei, worn on it's second or third trip. At this rate, it will soon be destroyed. Picking up the bike, the damage isn't too bad; the clutch lever is bent into the casing, but a tyre lever quickly sorts this out. I pull away again, but quickly realise I'm not going to get far: the handlebar is very skew, and I coast to a stop not far from where I pulled away. Albie grabs the wheel with his knees while I tug at the handlebars to straighten the alignment to a manageable level, and we pull away for the last time.

The ride down Dutoitskloof Pass is beautiful and uneventful although I am slightly rattled. We join the highway and at the Paarl turnoff towards Klapmuts, I wave Albie goodbye and gooi to get home in the falling dusk. At home, I park the bike, remove my bags and limp into the house thinking that even a bad day on a ride is still a good day because it was spent riding.

Andy, thank you for inviting us along on your last ride. May you find some great roads all over England and may the cops never find the source of that loud roar along the green lanes :ricky:
 

Offline BMWPE

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Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2019, 03:41:27 pm »
And where was Andy660 now that you need him  ???    :laughing4:
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Offline Ri

Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2019, 03:51:20 pm »
And where was Andy660 now that you need him  ???    :laughing4:

Would you believe... traipsing around the Bike X Cape farm with his daughter... :dousing:
 

Offline dual

Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2019, 04:23:16 pm »
Saw this now on Facebook, on his way, safe travels and good luck with new venture

 

Offline Crossed-up

Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2019, 04:56:53 pm »
You always give us such detailed and interesting reports.

Thank you.

Go well, Andy. We'll miss you.
 
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Offline the ruffian

Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2019, 11:50:34 am »
Very lekkah report, Ri.

Glad that you were able to use your tyre repair schtuff at last... :biggrin:

 

Offline 2StrokeDan

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Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2019, 10:38:02 am »
Once again a great report Riana, and a bit of a ode to one of the greatest people I have ever met.

Andrew Ross, we salute you!!
 

Offline Kaboef

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Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2019, 10:52:11 am »
Go well Andy!

Thanks for the report Ri.
The Tankwa Karoo looks lovely.
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Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2019, 09:11:34 pm »
Thanks Ri, a very nice RR

Can we start talking behind Andy's back now or is he still on the forum?  :pot: Man, I have got some stories to tell you!  >:D
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Offline Leo

Re: Farewell to Andy: Andy660's Last (SA) Ride (7 - 8 Dec 2019)
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2020, 10:00:08 am »
Nice report. Thanks Ri.

Sorry about the few mishaps, at least you lived to tell the story.   :ricky:

You Capetonians are very fortunate -  you have biking heaven right on your doorstep.  ;)

All the best for 2020 and may your year be filled with numerous trips  :thumleft:
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