Thursday, August 21, 2008

Koue Bokkeveld BikeAbout

Ruth and I went on a short biking adventure. We had no definite plans, just short rides, not-too-far-from-Cape-Town and avoid the rain if possible. It sounds like a recipe for a boring ride. It turned out a let's-do-this-kinda-ride-again ride.

We spent the first night on a farm just other side of Worcester, friends of Ruths, Margie and Frank. They had plans and were going to Cape Town for the weekend, but never mind, we must just make ourselves at home! South African hospitality is alive and well. They have a beautiful farm--Export fruit.

We left the farm rather late on Saturday morning, arriving in Ceres at around lunch time. It was quite something finding accommodation. We eventually found a guest house in Donkerbos, about 50 kilometers north of Ceres, in the Koue Bokkeveld. Believe me the name is appropriate. Here's a link to a site for booking accommodation:,en,SCH1/objectId,ACC8189za,curr,ZAR,parentId,RGN22za,season,at1,selectedEntry,home/mailfs.html

I spoke to the owner about the abundance of water on the farm. They had torrents of rain this year. I forget how many milimeters. He told me the water level in their dam, check the photos, in one 24-hour period rose by 2 meters.

Peacocks strut around the yard and each time you start a motorbike they make a lot of noise. I don't particularly like peacocks, but I've always wondered how, with such an over-the-top plumage, they are able to take themselves seriously, or would they, if they could, smile to themselves and think, hey it works--I get lots of female attention, and not just attention either.

The lady of the house, I think her name is Miki, told us the waterfall is about 45 minutes walk up the kloof, but we can probably ride nearly all the way with bikes. Now, I've been on 45 minute walks that take me half a day! We decided to ride.

Once committed, one does not feel like stopping. But it is a seriously technical ride. It's not really steep, but deep ruts and loose stones makes it awkward--you have to keep up a reasonable speed. I'd not done any trail-riding for a while and I got my full adrenaline quota for the quarter in just that one ride.

Ruth has never ridden this type of stuff before. I thought, I'll just say nothing. Hopefully she won't take a spill and if she does, hopefully it will be minor. Guess what? She just did it. I was very impressed. Sometimes if you behave like it's easy, it is. Even so, I was impressed by how she handled it.

By the way, it's not a 45 minute walk; It took almost that long by motorbike.

Ruth decided to swim! It did not surprise me. It was 7 degrees C in the shade. I don't know what the water temperature was, but I was surprised to see the stream still flowing.

We rode back on the Sunday. I've always wondered about the 650's vibration--The rearview mirrors are for show, no doubt about that. You can't see a damn thing in them while the bike is going. But check what it did to my take away muffin! We stopped for coffee and take away muffins. Ruth had space so she packed the muffin. After 50 kilometers the vibration of the 650 had converted my perfectly good muffin into a pallet of crumbs! I'm now convinced that the 650 is a cautious experimental venture into the adult toy market.

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