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Author Topic: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020  (Read 1216 times)

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Offline RobC

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Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2020, 11:13:07 am »
 :thumleft: one day...
 

Offline Tom van Brits

Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2020, 11:25:09 am »
Lekker  :thumleft:
 

Offline Crossed-up

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Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2020, 12:09:35 pm »
Good one, as always!
 
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Offline Tuareg

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Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2020, 12:13:30 pm »
Keep it coming, please....
I still need to tick the side-entry box......
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Offline Ri

Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2020, 01:50:15 pm »





From here on the riding becomes really hectic. There are short, sharp, steep switchbacks sporting deep ruts and piled with boulders. One day I'll ride it again and see that the boulders are only pebbles, but today my sphincter chows my seat and my palms are sweaty. I try standing to allow the bike to jump around as it wants to, but my short legs and arms have me hanging off the handlebars and I can't control the throttle. I sit down, paddle around the corners, point Blue upwards and gently twist the throttle. Blue, the mechanical goat, sturdily grumbles his way to the top, climbing any obstacle in his way, sometimes hopping from one side of the track to the other, with me hanging on with knees and teeth. At some point Jan-Lucas carefully suggests that maybe I should try standing more, but I tell him that the muscles between my shoulder blades are cramping. He accepts this without arguing, which I greatly appreciate, stressed as I already am. This terrain is terrible, the worst I've ever ridden by a LONG shot!! How on earth did Zanie get her little pig up here?!!












Under my steady throttle Blue climbs hill after hill, jumping ruts and rocks without hesitation - oh how I love this bike! - and suddenly we reach the top. Wayne unexpectedly takes off ahead and quickly disappears from view down the steep corners; he probably decided that with Jan-Lucas there, he doesn't need to stick around, and I'm happy to think he can have a carefree ride down. Around the second corner I come to sudden grief: for no reason I can fathom, Blue's butt steps out and I tip to the right.

It is just a small, slow-speed fall and I'm up on my feet quickly and lifting the bike with Jan-Lucas' help. Barely 20m further I lose my balance and fall to the right again. This time I land with my knee on a rock next to the road, and the suit's protective armour connects painfully with the fleshless tibia right below the knee. I curl in pain for a moment, unable to stand up, and Jan-Lucas quickly comes to lift the bike again.

Jan-Lucas is really concerned. Even though I don't complain or say a word, he feels that I'm losing concentration, and that it would be safer for him to pillion me the rest of the way. We ride past Side Entry again the next day, and can fetch Blue then. Light is waning fast and we need to get down. I tear up a little. I really REALLY want to ride all the way down Side Entry, but he gently insists. I accept his wisdom and don't argue. I also really appreciate that he is willing to pillion me down at some risk to himself. He starts unstrapping my pannier bags while I quickly take a few photo's.

Then I notice a splash of bright green through the foliage almost right below us. I take a closer look, and excitedly call to Jan-Lucas that Wayne is right below us, waiting! I wave down at Wayne and without hesitation he turns around and rides back up again. It turns out he's lost his clutch, but rather than abandoning us, he simply rode ahead to wait for us on friendlier terrain. He agrees to strap my panniers on the back of his bike so Jan-Lucas doesn't have to carry both my luggage and myself down the mountain. Then he tells us that the terrain improves significantly from around the next bend onwards; why don't I ride my own bike down, without luggage? Jan-Lucas looks at me hopefully: am I willing ride down? The light in my eyes and my big smile answers him. His relief is palpable. He'll ride my bike down this last bend, and I'll take over from there.

It looks like Jan-Lucas is writing a traffic ticket











I look out over the daunting terrain and pray: Dear Lord, I'm finished. I'm so tired, I don't know if I can do this. But You are good and faithful; where my strength ends, Yours start. I trust in You. Then I walk down around the bend to where Jan-Lucas has taken my bike.

It is easier to ride without the weight of the pannier bags, and I'm up on the pegs, backside in the air, crawling down in first gear with my foot awkwardly on the back brake. It is much easier standing going downhill, with my knees gripping the seat to keep my hands light on the handlebars. Then we reach a really steep, washed out little switchback covered in loose pebbles. I ask Jan-Lucas to please just take the bike around this one little bend, because it will take me forever to carefully paddle down. After that the road becomes smoother and less steep. I crawl around every bend thanking the Lord: every kilometre closer to the main road is a kilometre less to fetch the bike tomorrow. Dusk falls and I switch on my lights, thankful for the bright spotlights, and keep on crawling. Suddenly we are crossing a dusty farm yard and Jan-Lucas takes the lead again. We've reached the bottom, we are in Baviaanskloof!

However, we still have to ride 50km back to Makkadaat's Caves where we are sleeping, in the dark, about another hour's ride. Jan-Lucas asks me to set the pace and I roar off at a conservative 60kph, the eyes of cattle standing in the road catching my glance now and then. Along the way I have to stop to add some layers of clothing - it is freezing and my hands are becoming too stiff to control the bike. Finally we crawl up to Makkadaat's caves. Our fearless leader has rejoined us, and we are welcomed without much fanfare. Jan notes that it is only 19:45 - he hadn't expected us until much later. Back-handed compliment? Sarcasm? I'll leave you to judge, dear Reader.

John remarks that Mark told him that Side Entry was quite rough, which consoles me a bit, as Mark is one of the most experienced riders in the group. It seems the recent rains had made the route a bit more challenging

After our braai dinner, I follow Mark to the other cottage where I'm sleeping tonight. I have the room next to the bathroom with the bath, and I lay in the hot bath for a good 30 minutes to soothe my throbbing foot and knee. I sleep uneasily, and need to use the bathroom during the night. My foot is so sore I can't put any weight on it, and I bite down on my involuntary exclamation to not disturb the other inmates. I shuffle slowly to the bathroom and back and lie in the bed, unable to sleep, wallowing in painful misery and self-pity. I can't ride like this! What to do? I'll tell John in the morning that I'll ride back to Prince Albert and stay at the guest house while they finish their trip. Satisfied with this solution, I doze off miserably and wake up tired and unrefreshed.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 02:56:18 pm by Ri »
 

Offline MildlyWild

Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2020, 02:16:03 pm »
Good report Ri, and well done going beyond your comfort zone.
I've got to go ride that side entry soon...
As a man thinketh, so he becomes...
 
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Offline Amsterdam

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Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2020, 06:31:27 pm »
Nice one Ri but you forgot to mention the one most spectacular move you pulled off on one of the uphills.  Picture the scene - Ri had just had an off on one of the uphill corners.  Together we had lifted her bike back on its wheels.  When I asked her why she had 30 kgs worth of tools in her luggage she gave me a look of "you silly man, are you not prepared for every eventuality?" jumped on her bike and sped off. 

Well, more an attempt at speeding off as the back wheel stepped out and she was riding on top of a series of fairly large boulders on the mountain side of the track.  And with the good gaps between the rocks the bike was jumping from rock to rock before the whole ensemble suddenly turned 90 degrees to the left and crossed the track.  At that point I fully expected her to disappear over the side of the track and down the very steep hillside.  But she managed to stop, looked back at me as if to say "this is my signature move, show me what you can do to better this" and just carried on.  And that was the spirit that eventually got us to join the others again later that evening at the caves.
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Offline elandsrider

Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2020, 07:49:32 pm »
Great story Ri
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Offline WildWood

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Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2020, 07:51:48 pm »
Cool Ri, No slacking now. Keep it coming
 

Offline Ri

Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2020, 08:34:30 pm »
Cool Ri, No slacking now. Keep it coming

 :lol8: Yes Sir


Nice one Ri but you forgot to mention the one most spectacular move you pulled off on one of the uphills.  Picture the scene - Ri had just had an off on one of the uphill corners.  Together we had lifted her bike back on its wheels.  When I asked her why she had 30 kgs worth of tools in her luggage she gave me a look of "you silly man, are you not prepared for every eventuality?" jumped on her bike and sped off. 

Well, more an attempt at speeding off as the back wheel stepped out and she was riding on top of a series of fairly large boulders on the mountain side of the track.  And with the good gaps between the rocks the bike was jumping from rock to rock before the whole ensemble suddenly turned 90 degrees to the left and crossed the track.  At that point I fully expected her to disappear over the side of the track and down the very steep hillside.  But she managed to stop, looked back at me as if to say "this is my signature move, show me what you can do to better this" and just carried on.  And that was the spirit that eventually got us to join the others again later that evening at the caves.

Nooooooo I didn't forget but I had forgotten at the time. You told this story the next evening at Bucklands outside Steytlerville, so rather than tooting my own horn I was planning on having you toot it... which you now effectively did, slightly denting my narrative  :laughing4:

It was pretty spectacular though, wasn't it? I seldom have anyone witness my near misses. I also expected to disappear over the edge at any second, I was shaking with terror and adrenaline when I managed to stop at the top :o

And that tool bag weighs 20kg, tops  >:D
« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 08:36:35 pm by Ri »
 

Offline Ri

Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2020, 11:09:47 pm »
Everyone in the cottage has left for breakfast at the other cottage, and I try to keep walking to a minimum while I pack and get dressed. I'm still heartsore at the thought of turning back to Prince Albert, but I see no other choice. Last, I pull on my riding boots and slowly make my way downstairs to put my bags in the panniers, hanging onto the rail, expecting agony at every step, but ... what's this? The boot effectively immobilises my ankle, reducing the pain to a tolerable level, and my heart cautiously lifts. Maybe I can ride the rest of the tour...? I slowly ride over to join the others, testing the foot.

Trying to manoeuvre the kickstand is searing agony, I can't twist my foot inward to push it back, and I end up hooking it back awkwardly with my heel after pushing the foot peg out of the way. Tapping through the gears isn't fun, but it's doable. Standing doesn't seem to be a problem, the foot just hurts a little at first. I start to feel more optimistic. At the other cottage I hobble quickly to join the guys for breakfast, thankful that I'm not called upon for kitchen duty, as I'm useless at it. John, aware of this fact, asks me whether I'm not expected to help cook on group rides, seeing as I'm of the female persuasion, but I can honestly say I've never been on a ride where meals weren't provided. The one time I did have to cook my own meals on a long tour, I'd dragged along a friend who was handy with the pots, and I took along food that even I couldn't botch - canned sardines, tuna, and couscous, which you just cover in hot water for a few minutes. I did help scrub the pots after breakfast, though.




Makkadaat's Caves is an interesting place. The cottage is build over a cave, and you sleep in the cave. There are different sizes accommodation. Wayne's bike hassles seem to be sorted, thankfully.




The organisation is great in terms of food. Everywhere we stop, provisions are laid on for dinner, mostly braai meat, and breakfast goodies, and we only needed to prepare it. The guys are pretty handy in this regard, and we eat well.






Breakfast and washing up done, we pack up and turn in the direction of the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve. The crisp clear morning makes riding a joy. Signing in at the Nature Reserve takes a bit of time, but because we're still on some level of lockdown, we don't have to pay, as far as I'm aware. There has been some rain recently, but John says it's the driest he's ever seen it. Yet Baviaanskloof is wetter than the last time I rode there, in 2018, and there are some puddles to get through. Leon captured one of the water crossings. First is Gustav on the GS800, I think, followed by Marais.  The second video is me, making the mistake of following the same line as Marais, with disastrous effects.






I drop into a dip in the road and water splashes up to my thighs. Without a screen to protect me, even my teeth are flecked with mud, but I'm just delighted I didn't buy a plot - maybe should've walked that first....? Nah. Where's the adventure in that?




Marais looks squeaky clean, by comparison.




Not long after, it's time to face Smitskraal. It's not very deep, but the underwater tracks are treacherous and Jan-Lucas, who crosses first, admits that he took a tumble. He captures a few of the other crossings, directing us to exit at the middle of the lip. I shamefully lose my balance at the last moment and although I catch the bike, it loses momentum. Jan-Lucas grabs the front wheel and drags it over the lip to help me up.










Everyone else passes through Smitskraal without incident, but Leon now has a flat tyre. Mark and Jan are long gone, and Marais and I are waved on while Leon, Gustav, John and Wayne fix the tyre.










Such a stupendously beautiful area...






Marais soon pulls ahead of me, and I see him again much later, waiting on top of a turn to capture some video. I crawl past cautiously and carry on. At the next turn I stop and take a picture of the bend where Marais is waiting, but the resolution isn't good enough to see him just above the cut of the previous bend.










Even though I take my sweet time, as always, no one catches up with me and I crawl up Holkrans Pass and eventually reach Patensie all by my lonesome. I stop to fill up and forlornly post on the WhatsApp group, wondering where everyone has disappeared to. Then the rest of the group start arriving, and after filling up, we head up the road to where Jan and Mark are waiting. I can't remember the name of the place, but the prices are very reasonable and the food is fantastic! I manage to dibs the last bowl of smokey bacon, leek and blue cheese soup.


« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 11:11:21 pm by Ri »
 

Offline Ri

Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #31 on: January 01, 2021, 12:14:19 am »
Tummies full and energy levels revived, we push onwards. We head back in the direction of Baviaanskloof for a few kilometers, and then turn onto Elands river Road. The road is in a horrible condition, unpleasantly hard and bumpy with sharp stones sticking up everywhere.  We eventually pass the masts on top of the hills and in the next dip, we turn left towards Grootrivier Poort. John decides to babysit me for this leg of the journey, and Wayne has a chance to open up his throttle a bit.

The first part of the journey is beautiful, with gentle rolling green hills where you'd expect the Von Trapp family to appear at any moment, singing "The Hills are Alive". I stop for a moment to take it in.






John waits for me patiently.




The tracks starts to drop steeply and the road condition deteriorates - a lot. The rains have washed deep, wide ruts and steps that cut across the road at crazy angles, and here and there it swerves suddenly from old tracks onto new tracks. I'm on the pegs, knees gently clasping the saddle, steering lightly as I let Blue and gravity do its thing, dragging us ever downwards. When fear lightly feathers the back of my neck, I remind myself that I've crossed Kareedouw; this is quite doable by comparison. It is amazing the confidence this thought inspires and I sing praises in my head. Unexpectedly John stops next to me and says, you are doing fantastically well. I look at him in open mouthed disbelief. No really, he says, this is hardcore. This is proper. I'm not convinced he isn't just plumping my ego, but hey! I'll take it.

Even at my slow crawl I miss a sudden deviation in the road and skid to a careful halt in the veld. I turn the wheel and gently paddle over overgrown and uneven terrain towards the new tracks. Suddenly the ground gives way and Blue's front wheel rolls into a big aardvark burrow, disappearing up to the axel. Well, darn. I frantically wave at John to stop. He whistles at the depth of the hole, and manages to manhandle Blue out of his predicament. I carry on again, crawling onwards down the steep reddish brown tracks and corners covered in loose rocks. There are boards warning about trucks using this road and I stare in amazement - what trucker would dare to drive down here? Finally we cross the river and take a small breather.









 

Offline Tony the Boney

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Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #32 on: January 01, 2021, 04:42:08 am »
Lovely scenery :thumleft:
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Offline Ri

Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #33 on: January 01, 2021, 05:26:17 pm »
We carry on with the Grootrivierpoort Road in the direction of Steytlerville, a long long cold ride. More snow is apparently going to fall in the mountains, and the air bites. Before reaching Steytlerville, we turn off towards Bucklands, our stop over for the night. Out here, the bar is still open, and some immediately stop for "versterkings".














Cute and friendly little pooch




But John didn't share all the good news - the house we are sleeping in is still about 5 km down a very sandy 2-spoor. Dusk is falling as I head out on the sandy track. I quickly lose my balance in the loose sand and Blue heads up the left sand embankment. Amazingly I stop the bike without tipping over, and paddle it backwards into the track. When I pull away again, I possibly give too much stick - Blue's back wheel immediately jumps to the left and the bike slams me down to the right, the suit armour again whacking the spot below the knee it impacted before.

Paralysed from the pain, I writhe in the pale sand like a chubby grey worm. John rushes up, grabs me by the arm and tries to pull me up. I dangle, twisting slowly like something a Laksman had strung up on barbed wire, not wanting to put  weight on the burning knee, then grit my teeth and get on my feet. I would have appreciated a moment's more writhing.

The house we stay in has no electricity, and we navigate by candle light. The gas shower works to a degree, but it is torture to get clean. My room is furthest from the fireplace and I try not to move around much, carefully padding around in thick stocks, favouring my throbbing foot. Dinner if I recall is a braai on the fireplace in the lounge, where we all huddle in our beanies against the cold outside. I suspect someone shares some more "versterkings", maybe sherry? We reminisce about the recent riding, when Jan-Lucas suddenly exclaims to me, you didn't tell them about the best bit! I look at him uncomprehendingly. Ri goes up the steep uphill, he says, and the bike jumps from the right side of the track to the left and climbs up onto the big ridge next to the track and goes bouncing up. I thought for sure she is going to fall at any moment but no, she keeps the throttle on and when she gets to the top, she stops and says to me, "I think let's not do that again".

I'd forgotten one of the hairiest moments of my trip! I rode Blue into a rock in the track and he ricocheted to the left, clambering up the side wall like the goat he is. I cling for dear life, keeping the throttle steady, knowing that falling is inevitable but hoping to postpone it for just one more second. Just as suddenly, we are back on the road and I manage to reign in the blue mountain goat, heart palpitating, breathless with adrenaline. So cool that Jan-Lucas remembered (:

Coffee before heading back to the main homestead for breakfast. It is a wonderful place to stay, a proper old boere homestead with thick walls and creaky wooden floors. I accidentally leave behind my thick dark green woollen socks, invisible in the candlelight in the dark room. Ah well.




My beautiful blue beastie




The downside of travelling in groups: someone always kindly insists on capturing the capturer. Yours truly, a puffy-eyed chonky grey worm :biggrin:




The previous night, Gustav also fell in the sandy track, and he and I pull away early so we can crawl up the thick sandy 2-spoor at leisure, before anyone else has a chance to churn it up. Marais kindly brings up the rear to keep an eye and lend a hand. We reach the main house without incident, possibly because the sand is still cold and compacted. While we wait for our awesome breakfast buffet to be served, we chill in the big cold hall with steaming cups of coffee, a small dog nosying around. I tap my knees experimentally and the dog immediately takes a flying leap onto my lap and parks his front paws on my shoulders, in prime position for some premium petting. I pet and scratch him until breakfast is ready, by which time I'm covered in dog hairs. Ugh. Foot stiff and sore after the night's rest, I hobble to the ladies' to wash my hands. It's outside around the corner, but seems kilometres away. Never mind, the foot will thaw with riding.




After a great breakfast we turn towards Steytlerville to fill up. Here, calamity strikes. The ignition key for the Africa Twin breaks off in the petrol cap lock. Marais is adamant that no panels can be damaged on the pristine Twin, as they are almost irreplaceable. Guys start phoning around for advice on how to hot wire the beautiful bike, or looking at ways to dismantle the panels without damaging them, or join the peanut gallery.










John sets off to scour the town for wire on a Sunday morning, and surprisingly soon returns, a triumphant weaver bird bearing a long strand of white electrical wiring. Shortly after, the lovely AT is growling deeply, pulsing with life.

Jan-Lucas looking good in Honda




We all kit up, mount our bikes, and as we are about to pull away, calamity strikes again. Marais, ready to go, tries to position the hot wires in a better, safer way. The live wires  inadvertently touch the frame of the bike, and the AT blows a fuse, dying instantly. We all sit dumbfounded for a moment, then kill our bikes and dismount, making ourselves comfortable again. The fuse box is behind a panel locked on with the same key that is now broken. Marais tries to break the lock with a screw driver, but it is sturdy and won't give. How to reach the fuse box without damaging the panel?




Mark studies the panel from all angles, then takes a screw driver and loosens the pannier rack to make the panel more accessible. Next, Marais swivels the panel out of the way, exposing the fuse box. Now all he needs is a green old-timey thumper fuse, or to bridge the fuse in some way. I hold out the bag of fuses that's been rattling around in my tool bag for years now, courtesy of @Dux, and there is a green one that does the trick.






The bike is quickly put in order again, all panels fastened and racks tightened, and then, relieved and jubilant, we carry on.






As usual, the other riders quickly disappear from view while I carry on at the fastest pace I'm comfortable with, for most other riders an uncomfortably slow pace, and I only see them when the group stops to wait for me to catch up. It is crisp and icy cold.






At one stop, John beckons me to the front of the group, and tells the others to fall behind; I'll set the pace. Wait, wut?! My neck prickles with awareness of the weight of experience and speed behind me. I imagine the boredom and frustration at my slow pace. I breathe deeply to settle my nerves, then take off like an old bat out of hell, racing the wide gravel roads at the edge of my skill level. John, riding to the right and slightly behind me, keeps up effortlessly. I cringe inwardly every time I touch the brakes to slow down for a bend, imagining the derision behind me for this n00b riding, and accelerate out of the turns as fast as I can. The road carries on endlessly. I remind myself not to outride my guardian angel, but it's cold, I'm tired, and I want to get home. Eventually we roll into Prince Albert and head towards the guest house we initially stayed at, to pick up the cars.








Mark will trailer Blue back to Cape Town, but he is staying another night, and Wayne offers me a lift home. Safely ensconced in Wayne's van, we head straight down the N1, amazed to find snow in the Hex River Valley this late in the year - it is almost September! Then we are home, and the trip is over.  I cannot wait for the next one!

Disclaimer: the footprints on the window are not mine.

 

Offline Ri

Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #34 on: January 01, 2021, 05:31:42 pm »
Photo's posted by other people in our group

Looking at the road surface, I would guess this to be a part of Kareedouw






Baviaanskloof






Looks like I'm standing still - no dust kicked up at my low speed LOL






Leon le Roux, our Quest Contender






Thanks for reading :)
 

Offline Aprilian

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Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #35 on: January 01, 2021, 06:39:40 pm »
Love the pic

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Offline Tony the Boney

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Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #36 on: January 02, 2021, 07:50:40 am »
Great report Ri  :thumleft:
The older I get, the earlier it gets late
 
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Offline BMWPE

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Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #37 on: January 02, 2021, 09:15:53 am »
Fantastic Ride Report
Thank you  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline Odd Dog

Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #38 on: January 02, 2021, 09:46:56 am »
Great report young lady, you have talent.  :thumleft:
If You're going through hell, keep going.
 
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Re: Kareedouw Afkuk 27 - 30 August 2020
« Reply #39 on: January 02, 2021, 12:35:22 pm »
Daai blerrie Jan-Lukas kan gerus n slag by die huis bly.  O0

Ri, jy skryf sulke eerlike en onderhoudende ritverslae dat ek sterk vermoed jy verstaan nie die kern van n regte biker heeltemal nie.  Ons is altyd vinniger as wat ons was, veral soos ons ouer raak. :biggrin:

Ek het die een weer baie geniet, soos met almal van jou ritverslae, en weer lekker ge-chuckle oor jou se-goed.

Ons moet miskien gesels oor die fyner punte van versneller/koppelaar beheer een of ander tyd by Nitrobay. [ Nietvoorbij ] :thumleft: