Welcome to my blog, these are the ramblings and musings of an (upper) middle aged biker and if you enjoy braais, (barbeques) beers and motorbikes then hopefully you will enjoy what Janet and I do; we do lots of braais, we drink lots of beer and we tour South Africa on our motorbike, which at the moment is a BMW R1200RT.
On Saturday everyone's favourite Uncle, Frank Galienne, my old rally buddy turned 77 years young and bikers gathered to help him celebrate. Although he doesn't ride anymore he is still a big part of our club and still regularly attends local "dayjols" and breakfast runs.
I've known Frank for over 17 years now and we've ridden many, many miles together. We attended many local rallies together where we traditionally partied through the Friday night, often still standing at sunrise the next day. It got to the stage where, if one went to a rally without the other we had to face the oft repeated question; ~ "Where's your buddy? You two are always together."~
Club members catered for the occasion with Kathy doing very popular pancakes, Malcolm and Elize did a local favourite; boerewors rolls and Janet fried chips. The funds raised from the sales went into our benevolent fund for one of our brothers who was injured in an accident.
That same evening we raffled a picture, done with wood-burning and painting by our own Murray Harris, which he donated to the fund.
On the left is Filip a member of the Gypsy Jokers, who won the picture - he promptly sold it and donated the money back to our benevolent fund! Bikers are amazing people!
In the meantime Uncle Frank was enjoying the attention of all of the well-wishers, especially the ladies! He got lots of kisses that evening.
Throughout the evening there was a good crowd of revelers, with many more coming in for a drink, a quick chat with Frank and going again and the party raged on as biker parties always do.
I didn't stay until the end, I'm not sure what time it was when we left, but Frank did stay until the end, "Last man standing", he normally has to be politely told to leave - as in "Frank, you must fuck off now!"
I'm confident that Uncle Frank is going to be around for many years to come, not sure what we could do without him, he has become such a feature of local biking and a counselor to many a young biker.
We play pool at the Phoenix bar every Friday afternoon and he comes to our house for dinner once a week, the bikers will continue to take care of Uncle Frank.
Saturday dawned clear and calm, a sunny day in the middle of winter and I would have to do another bike trip by car! I had been forwarded an email by a friend concerning a children's foster care home in Lambert's Bay, according to the letter it was a serious need for assistance. I put it to the club and the members sprang into action.
We already had quite a large collection of new blankets and some toiletries donated by club members which we could give and when I discussed this at the Phoenix bar even the non-biking patrons joined in with cash donations, another offered help with the lady's car which was in need of repair/service which she couldn't afford.
We met at the BP garage in Vredenburg, those that could would ride along and we were to meet up with Daan and Bev who had already gone to a rally in Lambert's Bay.
I had quite a load in my bakkie and then Johan (Cactus Jack) arrived with a whole lot more bulk foodstuffs, he was working so couldn't go with, good man.
Only two bikes on the run, Willie and Sampie and Kathy. Adrie and Stefanie arrived with their bakkie, we could also have gone by bike had I known they were coming, ah well too late now, we set off.
It was a pleasant drive, I envied the guys on their bikes though. As usual the road to Eland's Bay is in a very bad condition, lots of potholes caused by the large number of heavy vehicles using the road, one must take care along there but I was, on the other hand very impressed with the new tar stretch that approaches Lambert's Bay from the south, this always used to be a rather bad dirt road, this has cut the traveling time to Lambert's Bay by a lot. I look forward to riding my bike there next time.
We found the "Cool Kidz" place of safety easily enough and met the ladies involved. Tanya introduced us to the children currently in their care and gave us a run down of the difficulties they face on a daily basis.
Tanya is a very caring and passionate lady and quite obviously loves the children in her care, she told us that children can be brought to her at any time of the day or night, usually by the police, and they are always children with dire problems, often related to parents abuse of alcohol or drugs. Over the years she has cared for as many as 64 children and was moved to tears when telling us of some of those she cared for. Some of our group were also tearing up, not me though, I'm a big tough biker! (he said, surreptitiously wiping a tear.)
Both of the lovely children in this picture, who's identities we were asked to protect, were suffering from serious health problems. Now these ladies have been told that the small home that they have been renting is needed from November and they have to find another, that is not so easy in a small town like Lambert's Bay.
It's hard to comprehend how wonderful people like this battle on, providing loving care for children with health or mental issues, at the expense of their own private lives. In fact they have no private lives, Tanya shares her bedroom with two of the children!
We handed over our collection of new blankets, bulk foodstuffs, toiletries, detergents and a small amount of cash which seemed inadequate given the circumstances but for which the ladies were extremely grateful. I am confident that Tanya and the "Cool Kidz" place of safety will become one of our regular beneficiaries from now on.
We went to "Isabella's" restaurant for lunch, Adrie took Tanya's young biological son, who also lives with them, along. I had a lovely fresh "Hottentot" fish, I was so hungry that I forgot to take a photo but I will have to have it again, it was delicious.
Isabella's is a very popular restaurant in Lambert's Bay, situated right on the edge of the picturesque harbour it is frequented often by bikers and because there was a rally nearby there were a lot of bikes parked outside.
Homeward bound, it had been a lovely day, a "feel good" day and as usual the bikers had given freely. I continue to be amazed and proud of the way bikers give to charity, you've heard me say this before and you'll hear me again; no other group, club or society gives to those in need like bikers do.
I'm proud to be a biker and I'm proud of the club.
Sunday 1st July was our regular breakfast run day and the forecast was bleak; strong wind, low temperature and rain. I pride myself on the fact that I am a biker and if you ride a bike you are going to get caught in the rain out on the open road, this has happened often and we take it in our stride but to cold-bloodedly set off in the morning in pouring rain? Sometimes not necessary and Janet made it clear; "If you're going to breakfast on the bike I'm not going with you."
This became my excuse for "caging it" and I was glad of it. We had discussed the run at the previous weeks club meeting and most had said that they would go by car, we thus decided to meet at Juffroshoogte and have breakfast there.
Eighteen of us met at 10h00 and three were on bikes; Willie, Daan and Bev., they made me feel a bit guilty but as far as I'm concerned, guilt is a wasted emotion and it didn't take long at all for that feeling to pass, especially when I looked through the window at the rain lashing down.
The restaurant bar was not open when we got there but Johan had our "tea" so we decided to have it there, this is a breakfast run tradition.
Gerda pours the warming libation
Bev serves while the bikers queue
I got a "slap on the wrist" from the management for this, not allowed to bring your drinks into the restaurant before bar time but we spent over R4,000 there, I don't think they were too worried about it, however duly noted.
We spent a good couple of hours there and it turned into a very pleasant get together, some opted for breakfast while others like us waited until 11h00 to order from the lunch menu and to have a drink when the bar opened.
Elsje and Daan
Uncle Frank taking orders?
They organised a long table for all of us and the conversation ebbed and flowed, the drinks were good, the food was good value and the company was of the best.
Bev took the camera to get a photo of Janet and myself, I always take photos but hardly ever appear in any unless Gerrie is with us but he wasn't able to come this time.
This is the "Moerse Burger" (Moerse being a colloquial term for very big, which it certainly is) and it is a delicious bargain at R95 - I haven't had it for quite a long time and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The restaurant certainly got busy over the lunch period, it is a popular place and if you haven't been yet I have no hesitation in recommending it to you.
By the time we had all finished the rain had abated and I think the three on bikes had a fairly pleasant ride home. Thanks guys and girls!
It looks like we'll be taking a trip through to Lambert's Bay the coming weekend, the Dragon Fly rally is being held there and we have found a beneficiary for our blankets, I'll tell you all about it.
Winter is upon us! There has not been much for me to report on this past month, as I sit here shivering at my keyboard the thermometer shows me that the temperature inside my house is 11 Celsius. There is positive news though; we have winter rainfall and over the past couple of weeks we have had excellent rains, dam levels are rising and the Theewaterskloof dam, from where Capetown gets most of its water has had copious inflows. The drought is not broken though, western cape residents will still have to use water sparingly but according to reports the water usage over the past registered period has been the lowest on record, showing that people are being serious about conservation.
We have been doing our bit to save water, as have all of the people with whom we are associated, we catch the water from the washing machine to use for washing the floors and flushing toilets. We shower over buckets, running the water for a short while then turn it off to lather up and then turning it back on to rinse off etc. I don't wash my bike as often as I used to, and then only with grey water from the washing machine. These can easily become lifestyle habits and when friends visit they are used to these measures in their own homes so it is no inconvenience.
Snow has fallen over the mountains in the western cape and it has been extensive; I read that the Swartberg, Theronsberg and Gydo passes have been closed to traffic, Chapman's Peak drive between Hout Bay and Kommetjie is closed due to strong winds, mud slides and debris and there is thick snow on the N1 at the Hex River Pass, at Montagu and the Hemel en Aarde valley near Hermanus. Happily when all of this melts it will run into the dams as well.
As good as this news is, there is an adverse side and that is to motorcycling; it does tend to put a bit of a dampener (if you'll pardon the pun) on our enjoyment. Last Saturday the West Coast Motorcycle Association (WMA) sponsored a fund raising "Potjiekos" competiton (pronounced "Poy-key-kos" literally meaning "Pot food") at the Phoenix bar. I think there were six teams entered including Sampie and Kathy representing the Meeulanders. It was a cold, blustery and intermittently wet day, but it was a day of fun and camaraderie which was attended by a larger than expected crowd and there were more cages parked outside than there were bikes.
When I arrived I tried to park my cage surreptitiously far from the door but I got the message from Alex, there weren't many bikes there anyway.
One group of hardy bikers from Capetown group had decided to do their pot the traditional way, with fire outside;
The others, including our own, had elected to use gas inside one of the large storerooms and I must say that the aroma of food inside that store was mouthwatering!
self, Daan and Willie
Sampie shows his pot to the judges
Apart from the bar, which was doing a roaring trade, the storeroom became a bit of a gathering place where we all chatted and drank and waited for the judging so that we could buy some food.
Frank chats with Kathy
Delicious mild curry beef and rice
We wandered over to the bar for the prize giving and although our team did not win a prize they did a great job, I suppose it is very difficult to choose the winners when everyone involved is good at doing potjies, after all it is a South African favourite - especially in winter.
Etienne serves up Mutton and Bean pot
Undaunted Club came second
The Nimrods Club from Yzerfontein came first, very well done guys and good of them to travel up in lousy weather, as with those who came up from Capetown - biking is strong in the western cape.
Point a camera at the Gypsy Jokers!
Willie with Mohicans Pres. Alex
The party carried on in the bar, it had been a really good day and a success I'm sure, I certainly did not expect so many people in such bad weather. It just goes to show what dedicated and hardy people bikers are, and when there's a party not much will keep them away.
Our favourite, the Phoenix bar
Everyone's Uncle Frank and Murray.
and our favourite barmaid, lovely Maryke.
Thanks to Sampie and Kathy for representing the Meeulanders.
Sunday was to be our club breakfast run and the bad weather continued - next up, stay with me.
Those of you still reading this blog will no doubt have noticed that quite recently the posts have tended to feature more and more of the rides and events of the Meeulanders Motorcycle Club, I can explain;
Way back in 1999 I joined the then quite young club and was a member for two years but left due to other interests which occupied my time. Gradually those interests faded and were replaced with the happenings of the local motorcycle groups once again. Understand that I had not stopped riding during that period but was not affiliated. I found myself accompanying the Meeulanders club to many rallies and dayjols and was accepted in their group, to the extent that they would carry my equipment in their backup vehicle, allocate a place for me in their camp and even on occasions erect my tent for me. It wasn't long before their friendship, camaraderie and brotherly spirit made me eager to be a part and so I rejoined.
As with many men of my generation I am a veteran, there are several in the club and the brotherhood and camaraderie are things that we need and gravitate towards, if you reading this are a veteran then no further explanation will be necessary. A good motorcycle club fulfills a need for that bond.
Now the club is twenty years old, the oldest and biggest club on the west coast and I am proud to be its President, this club means everything to me and so do its members.
In the Meeulanders we patch our lady members, we are a family oriented club, our ladies do a lot to ensure the smooth operation of the club, the meetings and the fund raising events. Two of our ladies ride their own bikes as well so we see no reason not to patch them in.
So it was that at our last regular meeting I had the privilege of awarding our youngest member, our prospect Elsje her full colours. She is a very keen, bubbly young lady who loves riding her own and she will definitely be an asset to the club, well done Elsje you make us proud.
At the same meeting our members, in spite of the almost continuous calls being made on their charity donated an impressive amount of blankets and toiletries for those in need. I continue to be amazed at what big hearts bikers have compared to any other sector or group, these items will be donated after the biker church meeting next Sunday.
As a matter of interest, (well it is to me anyway) this blog is ten years old this month.
Happy birthday to Braaisbeersand bikes, happy birthday to Braaisbeersandbikes etc., etc.
It's quite hard to believe that I started writing this way back in June 2008, thank you all very much for reading and for the occasional comments, especially to my good friend Brandy of that excellent blog "Trobiaritz' Tablet" who regularly comments here and whose blog you should go and read.
Stay safe, keep the shiny side up and keep reading.
Just the other day I was playing pool with Frank at the Phoenix bar and we were discussing just how many charity events we bikers get involved in, how much of our time and our money we all give to the various charities. We agreed that there is no other group or organisation that does as much as bikers do, and this is not just limited to our group or to us in the western cape, this is national and indeed international. For some reason bikers will jump at the chance of supporting a worthy cause and a case in point was this past Sunday.
I had read an appeal on social media for assistance from the Saldanha Animal Welfare society, they were struggling to support the number of animals in their care and were appealing for donations of food for dogs and puppies. I took this to the West Coast Motorcycle Association meeting and was asked if I could organise it and post the date on the social media groups.
It didn't take much organising, bikers are animal lovers too.
Reading this blog you will have heard mention of this place before, we frequent it quite often as do many bikers and members of the general public, especially on weekends. The food is good and great value for money. Charl, the General Manager contacted me earlier in the week to say that they would be sponsoring coffee and rusks for the bikers.
It was a cold day, our weather is changing as we approach summer, we arrived at about 09h45 and already they were gathering, those hardy bikers who don't care about the weather, and the number eventually far exceeded our expectations!
Elsje, our very keen young lady rider
Even scooter riders were taking part
Eventually it was time to saddle up, many local clubs were represented and there were also many unaffiliated riders who gathered for the riders' briefing.
Connie (left) from the Animal Welfare Society and I received, with gratitude, further evidence of Juffoshoogte generosity in the form of a huge bag of dog food handed over by the manager Carmen, and it was time to go.
We rode in a tight staggered formation, keeping the speed down to about 80kmh in the hope that the scooters could keep up, down into Vredenburg and through to Saldanha, probably about twenty kilometers in total, and then lined the bikes up outside the animal care premises.
Our numbers soon filled the relatively small space, we were able to meet and greet some of the dogs and puppies in their care, some were quarantined such as some Pitbulls that had been rescued from fighting. This disgusting practise is, unfortunately prevalent and takes up some of their time.
Our donations were gratefully received but they will only make a small difference, apparently they go through something like 25kg of dog food per day!
Pretty girl with happy dog
Antonio hands out treats
We spent about an hour there chatting with the staff, petting happy dogs who were extremely excited to see so many people around.
In discussion with Connie
Wayne (left) and Dennis of the Clique
Several of us went back to Juffroshoogte for a good lunch, it had been a feel-good day, I did not get a chance to count the number of bikes or people who braved the cold weather to offer help but several cars were involved as well. This, however was just a drop in the ocean, the number of dogs and puppies (and cats which are housed elsewhere for obvious reasons) changes constantly and the needs exceed the income.
I was told that many local residents regularly donate their time to the center as well as other necessities, anyone who wishes to make any donations will be welcomed with open arms. Perhaps this must also become a more frequent event? Sincere thanks to all who took part and who donated food even though they could not attend - bikers Rock!
Last Sunday was excellent, the weather was perfect for riding; sunny and clear but with a crisp freshness that made me feel like heading off on a road trip instead of a short breakfast run. The Meeulanders' monthly breakfast runs are really good though, I find myself looking forward to each one. I feel that bond being strengthened by our get togethers, your club is your family after all and each month the group is different, on some occasions some can't make it due to other commitments and although many attend every run the dynamic is always different.
Kickstands up just after 09h00 and twelve of us on five bikes, with Floors and Marina in their car headed out along the R27 towards Velddrif where we would meet up with Elsje, our youngest lady rider.
We cruised along the R27 at legal speed, after all we didn't have far to go and there was no other traffic. We had chosen the short run specifically in case those that had attended the previous day's Buddy fund raiser were feeling a bit delicate, that didn't appear to be the case however.
On the road heading out of Velddrif we pulled into a picturesque layby overlooking the Berg river for our traditional "tea break", Janet, Kathy and Gerda did the honours.
Sooi enjoying a "cuppa"
Elsje is welcomed with a cup of tea
Time to move on, we saddled up again for the twenty kilometer run along the Piketburg road and arrived at "Dagbreek Plaaswinkel" after another enjoyable cruise.
Hosts Poena and Leonie were there to greet us, in fact he was already busy with a very tempting "Offal potjie" for his lunchtime guests. We were set up in a very comfortable, shady area out back for our buffet breakfast.
The breakfast was outstanding, a buffet with lovely fresh bread, juices, coffee and some real "Boerekos" touches like delicious, artery-clogging pork lard for the bread along with the crispy fried little chunks of pork fat that after left behind to sprinkle on top! Leonie couldn't do enough for us and made sure that there was plenty of food. That breakfast was good value at R70 per person when you consider just how mach food there was.
I have no hesitation in recommending this place to fellow bikers, you'll love it. Booking is essential because they run a small operation, give Leonie a call on 0824625467 and they are not licensed so if, like us you like a beer with your breakfast,take it with you.
As a matter of interest, with Sunday being Mother's day Peona and Leonie are doing a special lunch and the menu looks tempting, give them a call - Janet and I will be going back for some Offal potjie one of these days.
We sat and relaxed after our meal, replete and contented and then made our way back, the group split up in Velddrif with some of us in search of another beer but the Wielhuis bar was not yet open, perhaps they were the ones who were feeling a bit delicate!
After a relatively quiet period for motorcycling, apart from taking off on my own for a cruise now and then, this past weekend was a busy one;
Saturday afternoon eleven of us attended the Westcoast Motorcycle Association's "Buddy Fund" fund raiser. The buddy fund is available to members of the various clubs that are affiliated and unfortunately has been pretty much depleted due to funerals. With a target in mind the W.M.A held a fundraiser at "Die Wielhuis" pub which is the home of the "Clique" Mcc in Velddrif.
It took the form of a "dayjol" starting at 14h00 with entry fees and profits going to the fund, it was relatively well supported with most local clubs represented.
Good to see bikes lined up at a venue
l to r; lady biker, Willie, Daan, Louis and me
We arrived shortly after 14h00 and the bar was full of thirsty bikers, there was a national rugby game on TV so that took up a lot of the guys' attention, they even had to keep the music down outside, there are serious rugby supporters in South Africa!
A bit later the music resumed, those that were not interested in the game gathered outside, there is a very nice backyard area with a bar and the kitchen was selling hamburgers and hot dogs to keep the stomachs lined.
Here members of four different local clubs engage in biker banter.
The Meeulanders Club donated R2,000 to the buddy fund, two other clubs donated R2,000 and R1,500 respectively but unfortunately I didn't get the names. The Velddrif "Stoff-moffies" raised R1,200 so quite a bit was raised on the day. There is a W.M.A meeting scheduled for Tuesday evening where we will hear exactly how much was raised.
Some relaxed and chatted in the shade while some, with more energy, took part in the games.
Bikers came and went throughout the day, here Van and Eduardo (President) of the local chapter of the Gypsy Jokers arrived after one of their runs. I left at about 16h30 but from photos that have been posted it looks like the jol went on into the night. Well done to all involved and to the bikers that helped raise funds, this is the way bikers raise money - the do it while having fun!
I haven't posted anything for a while, I've had data problems which now appear to have been sorted out so I'm back!
The weather has been beautiful lately though sadly we are still drastically in need of rain, I would gladly sacrifice riding and braaiing weather in exchange for a week of solid, heavy rain.
We haven't done much riding lately because I have had battery problems, unfortunately my battery did not stand up to the three months of inactivity even though my friend Craig ran the engine a few times, I put it on trickle charger at home and then went down to the garage to check tire pressures and fuel so that Janet and I could go for a midweek cruise.
I refilled the tank and adjusted the tire pressures and when I pressed the starter there was just a "click", I got help from the garage and we took the battery out and put it on charge but I had to walk home! Not a happy biker. I ended up leaving the bike at the garage overnight so that the battery could get a good charge and collected it the next day.
The coming Sunday was our regularly scheduled breakfast run and now things seemed to be alright but come the Sunday morning, another beautiful day, Janet and I were standing next to the bike in our riding gear and it wouldn't start! We ended up going on the breakfast run in our cage, nothing else for it at that late stage.
At least the back of my pick up made a good table for our tea break stop in the layby!
Eleven of us on five bikes and two cars, Floors is still recovering from a knee operation, left Juffroshoogte that morning, for the relatively short run down the R27 to the Yzerfontein turn off, Janet and I bringing up the rear.
We pulled in to a convenient layby for the traditional "tea break" and raised a glass in salute to our fallen brother Anton from the Mohicans who lost his life in an accident not far from where we were parked.
Cactus Jack checks how much is left in the bottle and it was time to move on!
Road Captain Daan lead the small group back out onto the R27 and down to "Die Stal" pub just on the outskirts of Yzerfontein. The breakfast was alright, service was a bit slow and two of the orders were wrong but we still had a good time.
I ended up having to buy a new battery but luckily we have a supplier in the area, Battery Pro in Vredenburg stocks bike batteries and I got a new gel one for a very reasonable price so we're happy again and things are returning to normal after our extended time away.
So far I have found three stories on social media of South African bikers doing their bit for needy children over the Easter weekend, I am sure there are more stories and if I come across them I will share.
I have copied the photos from the social media site but I am sure the photographer won't mind me using them to spread the story; first I read of two Eastern Cape groups, the Hawks and the Buffalo City Riders who obviously got together over the weekend to hand out Easter eggs to underprivileged children;
I don't know these guys but they look like good men, bikers.
the bikers spreading joy and happiness to the children, and we all love the marshmallow Easter eggs!
Wherever there are motorbikes the little boys, future bikers, will gather.
Very well done to the members of the Hawks and the Buffalo City riders, you guys and gals are true bikers, you epitomise biking and make us all proud to be bikers.
I only found one picture from Highway Pirates and friends who apparently visited the "Dorpstraat Kindershuis" to spread some goodwill, well done to you people - I do know some of the Highway Pirates, also good bikers.
I also found pictures posted by the SA Navy Bikers group (which I did not know about) who are obviously here in the western cape because they got together to take Easter eggs and soft toys to the Eiland Huis home for children which is nearby in Saint Helena Bay.
This is just a small sample of the excellent work that is regularly carried out by big-hearted bikers in South Africa, as it is pretty much world wide. Much of it goes unnoticed but the reward for those taking part is seeing the happy and excited faces of the children. Well done to you all, bikers are good people.