Bike: Tar and Gravel Adventures in South Africa, by Greg Beadle
Greg Beadle's guide 'Bike: Tar and Gravel Adventures in South Africa' is recommending eateries and accommodation based on personal experience, and recommending motorbike routes in different parts of South Africa.
The Thing about Adventure Motorcycling
'Ethereal' is a word you don't often hear mentioned among dirt-caked, dusty-lipped bike riders halfway through an adventure in the middle of Lesotho. There is no doubt though that if you mentioned the word, all heads would nod in unison. The experience of travelling through a remote, scenic landscape on two wheels, with no cage surrounding you, is one of the most sensational ways of escaping everyday city life and enjoying this beautiful land most of us call home. As you pass through a small valley shrouded in early-morning mist, you can feel the temperature change - just a degree or two, but you can feel it. You can smell the vegetation along a rural road. You can see everything through the visor on your helmet, with no pillars to disturb your view. You can hear cows, sheep and children, and the mute growl of your exhaust pipe when all else is silent. And then there's the adrenaline factor. Traversing a tricky section (trying to look where you want to go rather than looking down the side of the cliff-edge dropping away under your left foot-peg, your mind saying, 'Oh shit ... oh shit ... oh here we go ...') causes the adrenaline to pump furiously through your body. And afterwards, when the obstacle has been negotiated safely, there's the feeling of accomplishment and the hunger for more of the same. I believe this is why we ride motorcycles. With only around 10% of the roads in South Africa being tarred, it will suddenly make sense when we see adventure bikes leaving motorbike showrooms like the animals leaving the ark. We have the ability to cruise comfortably on tar motorways and national roads, but there's always the option of leaving the tar to explore dirt roads, jeep tracks and sometimes single-track paths. All we need to do is adjust the tyre pressure and switch off ABS on certain models. That does not mean there is no place for road-purpose motorcycles. Although they are limited to the smoother tar surfaces, these mostly stealth-like creatures have the ability to make your time on tar a lot of fun. With town names like Lusikisiki, Nieuwoudt-vilie and Hotazel, this beautiful land of ours is here to be explored. This guide, with ideas on where to ride on a 3-5-day motorcycle adventure trip, focuses predominantly on the area along the escarpment, which runs in an arc from the Drakensberg mountain range in the north to the Swartberg Mountains in the south, creating a smile. The Drakensberg ('Dragon Mountains') or, as it is known in Zulu, 'Ukhahlamba' (The Barrier of Spears'), was formed over millions of years. Starting with volcanic lava and sedimentary deposits, the mountains were steadily eroded, resulting in the dramatic range we see all along the eastern coast of South Africa. These mountains gave our forefathers the challenge of engineering routes to transport supplies and produce over this major obstacle. These days we are fortunate to have relatively well-managed mountain passes to enjoy on our motorcycles. Writing this guide has reminded me of how we need to appreciate the hard toil, sweat and blood of our ancestors who gave us the gift of these adventure routes. When we watch Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman riding around the world on their BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycles in The Long Way Round, or the same pair riding from Scotland to Cape Agulhas in The Long Way Down, I doubt there is one of us who would not want to be a part of an epic adventure like that. Chatting to Ewan in Cape Town at the end of The Long Way Down, it became clear to me that the trip had been challenging, that he had missed his family and that he was looking forward to getting home to his own bed, shower, etc. What resonated with me though was the flicker in his eyes when he discussed the struggle he would be facing to fit back into the busyness and mad pace of city life. [...]
This is an excerpt from the guide: Bike: Tar and Gravel Adventures in South Africa, by Greg Beadle.
Book title: Bike: Tar & Gravel Adventures in South Africa
Author: Greg Beadle
Type: Activity Guide
Cape Town, South Africa 2012
ISBN 9781770262942 / ISBN 978-1-77026-294-2
Softcover, 17x24 cm, 219 pages, throughout maps and photos, English
Beadle, Greg im Namibiana-Buchangebot
Bike - Tar & Gravel Adventures in South Africa consists of specific information for bikers and a South Africa road atlas (1:750.000).
A guide to the most superlative mountain bike rides in South Africa