Friday, May 27, 2011


T2 & Eish! loaded up on the trailer

The morning after the chunky vomit episode, we decided not to hang around for breakfast (anticipating more chunks just killed the appetite) so we hit the road. Some 7+ hours later, we arrived in Margate. Our friend Cathy had the keys to the apartment we were renting & she met us at the complex. We offloaded the trailer & bikes & it was then that Hubs discovered the Softail's battery was dead. It was a Public Holiday & we couldn't do anything about it as all the shops were closed, so we parked the car & called it an early night. The following day, Hubs took the car keys & opened the boot to get the toolbox out, so that he could tinker around on 'Eish!' to see if in fact the battery was dead or just pretending............
After much tinkering, the diagnosis was a definite dead battery.
So Hubs gathered the tools, put them back in the toolbox & shut the boot of the car...............

with the keys locked firmly inside.


The rest of the day was spent trying to allocate a new battery for 'Eish!' & getting a locksmith out to open the car boot again. It was not a cheap 'episode' - R750* for the battery & R900** for the thief  locksmith. It's actually amazing how fast a day can pass when you're highly stressed. Hubs had to ride 'Eish!' around for a bit to get the battery fully charged & by the time he got back to the apartment,  the sun was beginning to set & he was more than ready to demolish a very large Jack Daniels on the rocks. Up until that point, I'd only seen a few other bikes, but heard hundreds of them going up & down the road outside the apartment complex.

The following day, Hubs took 'Eish!' down the road to where Louis from The Wrench had set up a temporary workshop. He got a couple of minor things sorted out & a most welcome cleaning job done. I stayed in the apartment & watched the Royal Wedding (awww bless, didn't Kate look beautiful?) until Hubs came back. Once all the pomp & ceremony bollocks was over, Hubs finally got to take me to town to see what was happening.
Now, I dunno if it was just me..............we'd had a really shitty start to our 'bike week' remember..............or if it was just the general atmosphere of the place, but despite the 'buzz' (for want of a better word) it just didn't seem to be as exciting or as much fun as what it was last year. A fellow blogger - Wreckless - whom I've never met, also went down for Africa Bike Week & he seems to share pretty much the same opinion as just didn't come across as the kind of fun I expected. Sure, there were thousands of people milling around, checking out bikes & bars, but a very distinct lack of buxom babes (unlike last year which at least had a few.......for the men to ogle you understand!). There were noticible signs put up instructing bikers to wear a crash helmet at all times, which annoyed me immensely! The street in which the main attractions are held is sealed off to any traffic other than bikes & delivery vehicles & due to the huge amount of people Africa Bike Week attracts, you can't ride more than about 20kmph because the crowds simply fill the street.............but you HAVE to keep a helmet on??? Purleeez people, we're not bloody kids out on a joyride! Wreckless  has put the pics up on his blog, so I won't duplicate them here, but to see constant reminders about the threat of prosecution for excess revving (Jaysus, 'Eish!' has got straight through Porker pipes & they sound a fucking treat when Hubs cranks her up!) doing donuts or burn-outs & of course, the instruction of MUST wear a skid lid - just kinda gave me the shits & I felt like screaming "give us a fucking break!"


By the early evening, there was a bit of activity going on in the space allocated (fuckin' joke that turned out to be) for bikes entering the bike show the following day. We got ourselves fed & watered & then had an early night.

The following morning, we got down to the show area around 9.45am. Entries were supposed to be from 10am, but by the ttime we got there, the place was packed & there was very little space left. Several fuckwits had parked their bikes for the day (not entrants to the competition) & buggered off, which left even less space for everyone who wanted to show their bikes. Maybe I'm wrong in thinking along this line, but I would've thought that the sensible thing to do was to actually cordon off the specified area & allocated as many 'slots' as possible? I would also have thought that the organisers would have entrance/registration forms available at the 'organisers' desk on site - but they didn't (FFS don't make life easy hey?) so we had to schlepp up to the 'HOG' hotel & fill in the registration form there. 'Someone' would take the registration forms to the 'organisers' desk & entrants would be given a number. That only happend almost 2hrs later & only after Hubs went & asked for his number. Voting forms had to be asked for; the 'mission' was to get as many members of the public to vote for your bike (if they liked it, obviously) for the category in which your bike was entered. Well that turned out to be another joke!
I went - at pretty regular intervals - to the organisers desk to get voting cards & to hand in the completed ones. Each time I went, I was given about a dozen voting cards & on one occasion, an 'organiser' asked me who all the forms were for. I told him they were for Hubs' bike, so he said "what about the others?". I replied that I had no idea what other bike owners were doing - if they were trying to corner votes, then I didn't see it myself - but then, I wasn't exactly looking to see what other entrants were doing! Voting was supposed to take place between 10am - 5pm but way before the cut off time, the organisers had run out of voting cards & by 'way before' I mean 5hrs prior to the voting cut-off. Miraculously, a fistfull appeared in another entrants hand, when there were allegedly no more available.
I really don't want to come across as having 'sour grapes' about the whole bike show set-up, but in all honesty & in my opinion, it was a piss-poor arrangement. The competition was for 'ride in' bikes, but there were several that most definitely not ridden in. They were taken out of their wrappings, put on show & then swiftly packed away again. So much for ride in - my arse! By 3pm, I've gotta admit, I was feeling pretty despondent. Another thing I've gotta bitch about is that one would have thought, with it being a Harley Davidson orientated competition, Harleys would get prime display slots. Did they bollocks! The majority of Harleys were secondary in position, whereas all manner of 'metric' bikes got 100% prominent display spots - they were at the forefront of the display area & I'd estimate at least 80% of the  Harleys on show as having a secondary spot. It's as if the organisers weren't concerned about their namesake product...................oh look, there's a Husqvarna/Yamaha/Suzuki/Honda/Kawasaki/Singer Sewing Machine.......................and.......oh yeah, there's a Harley! I found it extremely ironic that a bike (sorry, it was a 'rice-rocket') which had a prime display slot & which also had a strategically placed stero sound system & just-as-strategically-placed smoke machine was awarded one of the winning prizes. Oh but I blew flames out of the exhaust pipes............oh how fabulous (she says, pointing forefinger down her throat.)

It was a long, hot day. The following day was the Mass Ride. Last year was pathetic, full of stop-start-ride 5m-stop-start-ride 5m, so we were a bit apprehensive as we didn't want to get caught up a second time in the same kinda thing.

It had to be better, right?

*R750 = $110 approx.
**R900 = $140 approx.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Africa Bike Week - Getting There.

This year saw the 3rd Africa Bike Week, held – as in the previous 2yrs – in the busy town of Margate, on the KwaZuluNatal South Coast. Thanks to ‘working in’ days, Hubs was able to take a magic 2wk holiday over the Easter break. We loaded up the bikes & spent the first 5 days of our break at a lovely B&B Belvedere-on-River in Malelane, which overlooks the Crocodile River & is close to the Kruger National Park.

We spent our time basically just chilling out, with occasional game watching. This was the view we looked out to most mornings, whilst savouring rather lovely bacon & egg breakfasts :-)

One day we treated ourselves to a ‘flutter’ at a nearby casino, which resulted in a welcome win of about $1000 – kewl – spending money for Bike Week!
The days seemed to fly by & before we knew it, we were on the road. When we planned our trip, we decided it'd be best to drive down to Umhlanga on the KZN North Coast, stop overnight & then drive to Margate the following day. Now, like many other folk I know, we have personalised our GPS by naming it Doris. Our Doris has a mind of her own – she re-calculates & offers advice when it really isn’t necessary & she also has the tendency to take you where SHE wants to go. Sad to say, Doris had ‘one of those days’ when we set off for our next destination, which was Umhlanga - 739km away. She took it upon herself to guide us via Swaziland, which is a self-contained kingdom within the boundries of South Africa. We had no intention of venturing through any other countries, so needless to say we didn’t have our passports or any vehicle papers with us. We got stopped by traffic cops on the way – for speeding – which resulted in a 25minute ‘chat’ with an officer, who told us not to vote for the ANC because the party is too corrupt & who then told us to have a nice journey when Mike informed him of his profession, which involves quite a bit to do with The Law *ahem* .  (He didn’t give us a fine & he didn’t get the bribe he was aiming for). The 150km round trip took over 2hrs thanks to Doris’ directions & traffic cop wanting to chew the cud. The muttered curses of “Doris, you stupid fucking bitch!” were voiced at regular intervals.
We eventually got on the right road, which turned out to be a nightmare! Coal trucks have destroyed much of the surface & with no repairs done due to bankrupted municipalities, we ended up driving less than 500km in 7hrs. Darkness fell & driving conditions were worse than ever. After numerous forced stops, I managed to pursuade Hubs that we should check into a nearby hotel for the night. A few weeks ago, we invested in a Samsung Galaxy Tab. I tried to open a favoured website which searches for accommodation in South Africa & kept getting the 'error' message, which basically told me there was no coverage. It was henceforth deposited in the glove box with a few choice swear words! Plan B - my trusty DingleBerry! I phoned ahead to make a reservation & boy, was I glad when we pulled into what the website described as a a 'boutique hotel' (Whoever did the write-up for the place is an absolute liar!). We checked in & the receptionist suggested we walk through the gardens to see where our room was, before taking the car & trailer round, just in case there wasn’t enough space to turn the vehicles around. We’d gone about 15m when we were greeted by the sight of one of our prime examples of 'historically disadvantaged compatriots' (read pissed out of his bracket flatnose), who’d thrown up copious amounts of chunky vomit & then passed out  in a flowerbed. We were not amused! Walking just that little bit faster, we found our room – thankfully very adequate – so decided to bring the car & trailer around & then go for dinner. The restaurant appeared to be quite busy, but as we walked in, there was a cleaner on her hands & knees, with dustpan & brush in hand, sweeping up………….you guessed it………..about a 3m trail of very fresh & very chunky vomit! Gawd Almighty, it was not an appealing sight! We turned around & made a hasty exit, opting to sit outside & eat. The food – or shall I rather say the few things that were not “off” the menu – was edible & it filled a gap. We got back to the room, undressed & fell into bed, utterly exhausted.

The following day had to be better, right?

*NB An abridged/heavily edited version of this appears on a biker based website - which I also write for - so if you read something very similar to this, it's MINE!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Eish! Finished But Not Klaar

Some 4yrs ago, Eish! came into our lives. She was a brand new Harley Softail Custom FXSTC, 'out the box' & brought immediate pleasure into our lives. She started off looking like this:

Over the following 2yrs, Hubs changed to a customised single seat, added a whole heap of chrome & changed the wheels - which resulted in this:

This year, Hubs finally did what he'd wanted to do for ages - he organised a custom paint job, which resulted in this:

He still wants to tweak a few things, but overall, Hubs is one happy chappy. He has the bike of his dreams. It took over 30yrs to achieve it, but I have to say, it really was well worth the wait!

Hubs & Eish! April 2011

Eish! is a South African expression used to describe amazement :-)

Sincere thanks to Louis at The Wrench, Willie of Galaxy Custom Paint & 'Tank Girl' for her amazing graphics!