Birthday Biking

Birthdays during lock-down have been a strange thing, but fortunately going on a day trip to faraway lands (within the province) by motorcycle seems to have been given the nod by Cyril, or just a blind eye by the local constabulary. Either way, no one is going to question that point and Ruxi was supposed to be travelling on her birthday so I had to do my part.

In a sincere effort to be socially distant, we packed a picnic and flask for lunch. We set off at 09:00 and up the N1 this time and over the top of Du Toits. At least that’s what I’m told because I couldn’t see a bloody thing with the sun in my eyes! Next time we’ll leave earlier, I promise. I entered a very blissful state, coming down into the eastern catchment area, surrounded by dramatic mountain faces watching over the morning travelers. Even though we had a long day ahead of us, I was in no hurry. Unusual for me, but I was enjoying it.

I took the R43 past Aan de Doorns and took the Scherpenheuwel turnoff towards the gravel Scheepershoogte Pass. Once the last of the vineyards were behind us, it was the first time since lock-down that I felt this isolated from the rest of the world. It was then that I tried to remember if I packed the puncture kit and compressor, hahaha.
Turning left onto the Sandberg Pass towards Robertson, I didn’t do my homework too well because I became upset at the unexpected sight of tar. Just before crossing the Breede River, we turned south towards the Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve and the Strykhoogte Pass. Unfortunately, we didn’t see much wildlife in the area this time.

A northern loop took us to the Stormsvlei Poort Pass and surprised me with its lovely twists and turns flanked by hordes of Cape Aloe all the way down the pass. About 1.5km before the N2, we turned right down what I thought was a gravel alternative to the N2 but there was much work going about building new plantation stands and fencing, and after going down the road for 15 minutes, we met a farm gate with a serious warning mounted, so we turned back and took the N2 instead. Once on the R406, the road turned to the right, but we ignored that and went straight onto the loose stuff where we were rewarded with rolling green hills and the good fortune to spot a number of Blue Cranes and Geese going about their business. Ultimately, we were planning on stopping in Greyton, but we skipped at least 2 road signs pointing to Greyton, as we weren’t ready to quit the riding yet so we continued until a T-junction where we turned right and headed for Dwarskloof Pass before the town of Greyton. We ended on the other side of town and pulled up under a tree at the start of a Boesmanskloof Hiking Trail for our little socially distant picnic lunch.

On our way out of town, we took the road along the river and past the Helderstroom Prison with the stream keeping us in close company until just before the R43. Our last bit of gravel was taken in on the southern side of Theewaters towards the bridge where we passed a bit of heavy-duty traffic. Franschoek pass is always so magical, but by the time we got into town and along the way home, the rush hour traffic was beginning to emerge, understandably so, being 16:00 by the time we got out of Stellenbosch.

Trip total: 480km, and 7 hours with breaks and detours.

Till next time,