Friday, May 27, 2011

AFRICA BIKE WEEK - BEING THERE

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.

Fuckfuckfuckkityfuck!!!!

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 me..................it 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!"

*sigh*

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 forgot...........it 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.

5 comments:

john.g. said...

Glad you enjoyed it! *scarpers*

Wreckless Euroafrican said...

You are so spot on with your comments, and opinions. I saw the bikes on display for the competition, and know that most of the non-Harley would never touch the tar. The guys build those things just for Concourse! And for my money, they should not be entertained as part of the competition, or, have a separate one for them. I saw many Harley bikes that were not even entered, which would have walked the competition.
Stunt show? Seen better tricks on the N14 done by the Soweto Riders!!!!!
Mass ride - didn't bother with that. Just hit the road.
Tha nx for the write up - for next year, I propose we do a run to the Eastern Transvaal, and run some hard corners instead!

Salagatle!

Wreckless Euroafrican said...

so, where did my comment go?

Jin said...

John, you're lucky you're in a wheelchair!

Wreckless.......I'm so glad I'm not the only one who thought the bike show was a farce & that's putting it very politely!
Insh'allah we won't be here for next years Bike Week, but even if we were, we wouldn't go. Did you see/read/hear about the bike show & heavy metal concerts (together) in CT in December btw?

Wreckless Euroafrican said...

I saw a presentation on a proposed "Stunt" riders show, in conjunction with a whole lot of other proposed stuff for Cape Town. Not sure I want to travel 1400km for that though. Think I will plan an Eastern Transvaal rubber burning trip instead. ultimately, I don't do "Show off" biker crowds too well - find them very boring, as for me it's a bout the ride (not the bike) and that I get in ET.

But you never know...

Salagatle!