[BMW Breakfast Ride to Barrydale with Neels – 21/01/2018]
The reality of the day is still lingering like the dust on my rims of yesterday’s ride. The Duckling and me have been in a steady relationship now for about 8 weeks, but we keep our bonding time limited to approximately 200kms at a time.
Seeing Neel’s name on for the Sunday breakfast ride and planning a visit to Barrydale for the infamous milkshakes at Diessel & Crème, I suspected my relationship with lil’ducki would be a bonding experience.
We met at the Engen as per usual. We had our meet and greets with the other like-minded souls and were introduced to Oliver who is on a 5 month cross country sabbatical on his Triumph. He comes from Switzerland and has chosen South Africa to be his destination of choice for conquering roads and country side. Well, a feather in our cap for this one. When Neel’s had a few minutes to gather his thoughts over a BAR-ONE (breakfast of champions), the glint in his eye appeared and the smile broadened and I got nervous. I immediately assumed my assumption of tar and 400km’s was a distant memory. Once again : Assumptions … Oopsie!
We headed out and were soon enroute towards Bain’s Kloof, I took my place delicately at the back of the group. To best describe my approach to this pass would be like an elephant on a bicycle in granny gear trodding up a hill…. You have the picture.. that was me.
Oliver’s opinion of our Bain’s Kloof, ‘’it reminds me of Switzerland’’ .. well done Thomas Bain, you did well!
Through the pass we headed towards Worcester, Carel says, here we can ‘lepel’ it, being at the back and having riding the small sister amongst the big brothers, I felt I was doing the ‘lepel’ thing quite often.
We headed towards the Hex River and turned left towards the direction of Nuy Valley. Here the tar ended and the gravel just happened to fall in front of us. I just smiled in my helmet, ‘’ Ja Neels !’’ being an absolute amateur at gravel and dirt, and now riding in a group, my heart was pounding in my throat all the way down to my heels resting on the foot pegs. Besides the sound of my heart beating, my eyes and soul managed to take in the beauty around me, understanding this wouldn’t be a place I would of just happen to pass by if it wasn’t for this moment. Grateful for these seconds and minutes we stopped to put our feet on the soil just to ensure the dream was in actual fact a reality.
Soon we reached tar and made our next stop Diessel & Crème in Barrydale, which was in actual fact the destination. Yet it felt like the cream was already over my lips as I had my dessert on the gravel roads. Soul was fed already, now it was the tummy’s turn.
If you still haven’t visited this heavenly venue… you will not regret the outing. If you want to see grown men become children again, just show them the milkshake menu. Here we shared banter and got to know each other better. The milkshakes were gratefully received on starving bellies and the meals monstered down. The heat was on us and refueling was necessary for what was still coming.
Before we left I noticed Neels eyeball his gps quickly and decided to chuck my caution to the wind and to wing it as he would expect me to. ‘’Jani, hou kop, Bly Los op die Fiets’’ … and that was it.
Tradouw Pass, another Mr Bain design. You never disappoint me. Beauty in cliffs and valleys, rock and fynbos.
From here the turn off for Malgas came fast. Some more treats in dust and dirt. A quick stop for water on the empty farm road left us with a beautiful and welcoming surprise. Giant water drops falling from an open blue sky onto thirsty ground and flustered cheeks.
A quick and welcoming leg stretch on the Pont over Malgas and straight to the Malgas Hotel for necessary hydration. Sitting under the massive tree, the wind swayed the leaves back and forth as a comfortable manual aircon. I stay humbled by these moments. In the norm of it all, we rarely appreciate the cover of a tree or even the leaves moving due to a soft breeze. Days like this, you find refuge under a tree around a table with good company.
Back on the road we tackled the last stretch of dirt towards the Bredasdorp turn off. With a longer than planned leg stretch, our Captain got a flat and we all used the opportunity to get a free BMW workshop lesson on how to change a tube, tyre and detox in 30 degrees sun at the same time. luckily spirits were still high and the sun was starting to say its almost time to say good night.
The last stretch went fast. It was Bredasdorp, Napier and Caledon. Last fill up in Caledon I wondered how I would dismount my duckling… with effort. I felt like a lego man with a 90 degree body as I came off. All I could do was laugh at myself, there weren’t words that I could physically speak that would describe what emotional or physical state I was in at that stage. It was all surreal to me.
The weather changed from heatwaves and beating sunrays to a pink sunset that painted our skies for the last stretch home on the N2, coming over Sir Lowry’s pass, two things filled my being. Grattitude and humility.
People ask how long does it take to really get to know someone, it took 580km’s in a few hours to turn strangers into friends…
With a glint in his eye and a naughty smile, you can be sure a breakfast ride with Neels will be something you will never forget.