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For the love of Riding

August 23, 2018

I'm Baaaccckk!!!  I know it has been a while but nothing very new and exciting has really been happening besides that we are really focused on getting our base camp up and running.  Bar, pool, ablutions, Glamping tents you name, we are busy with it. 

Our plans has changed drastically and from originally only going to have a "glamping tented camp" setup, we are now hard at work to getting an additional three cottages completed and ready for you. 

 

We are in the "fyn draai" stages and will soon be boasting the pictures on our site.  These original native "Khoi-San" clay and chaf build cottages are so unique and will feature a host of exciting GP riders as decor and some amazing en-suite bathrooms.   Just a sneak peak of what is install.....

 

 

On the other hand, you will recall  one of my earlier blogs: " KTM, HONDA, Husaberg"

I went into lengths about the "sacred" HONDA....how riding it was not a given, but earned.  Oh.... and how I have dreamed of being promoted to a HONDA.   Again not because of the elusive Honda, but rather what it represents in terms of my riding skills.  To fully  understand my sentiments, I think it only fair to start really from the very beginning.  

 

 Approximately 8 years ago I bought myself an off road bike.   Well, a pit bike.  a 125 cc four stroke puzzey stomper....and so my journey in off road motorcycling began.  This however did not last much longer than about 6 months.  Money was tight and protective off road gear was not ranking high on my "to do list"   Riding with "takkies(sneakers) and a pair of jeans has lead to my legs being in the firing line and I had permanent bruises and lumps the size of golf balls on my legs.  Thus the sale of my Puzey.  But....somewhere deep inside I still really loved biking and the idea of one day being able to ride again.

 

 One of my friends had a small pit bike stored in our garage and I felt sorry for it....the bike I mean.  I decided to make him an offer which he accepted.  Another group of friends that was in the biking field and industry assisted to get this forgotten baby up and running. 

 

I was super excited and  took it for the first test ride with slip on shoes...soon realizing that even just changing gears without boots can lead to some bruises.  I  now had a bike again, but riding woman alone on the back dirt roads was not my idea of fun and sold this bike to a lady that really wanted it for her son.  Bye-bye biking again.

 

I took the money I made on the "pit bike" and opted for a road bike this time.  What a disaster.  I bought the bike over the internet, without seeing, hearing, or test riding it, and from the other side of South Africa.  Once it got delivered I realized that I have been Scammed properly.  The motor was stuffed and near it's end, the body work looked nothing like it presented in the photos, with some fearings being held on with cable ties, and the damn battery would not last longer than a short ride.  So we were back at square one.  I made a decent profit on the green monster which was wasted on a hastily purchase, only because of my desire just to ride. And so the sale of the red bike eventually took place a year after my purchase which was also a year of maybe riding the bike only twice, and I lost big bucks!  

 

 Enter my better half (about 4 years after my last decent off road ride), with the Yamaha TTR230 and gear in hand to keep me safe, because I really needed that.  My first ride on this baby was to say the least a disaster.  She was very tall, heavy and my riding skills was shocking, much to the dismay of the group of friends, all extremely experienced riders, that went with.  Besides falling over every single time I stopped, I was slow, and even crashed into one guys bike because I came in to a stop way too fast.  I can only imagine the talks afterwards.  On top of the first day's disasters, I felt more confident the next day, only to be stuck with a stripped gear lever.  We managed to tighten the leaver sufficient to get to third gear.  I had to ride mountain passes up and down, slow down to an almost stop and then pull off again, all without changing gears too much and had to pretty much do the whole 170 - 180 km in third.  Where there is passion however, you find a way and after this trip I was even more motivated to get this right.  The repair of the stripped gear was not a joke.  The whole motor had to be opened and our first repair bill was sky high.  Needless to say this baby took me riding to amazing places, with amazing people and did the job it was meant to do. 

 

My man being a Honda man however was looking for reasons to change this bike to something other than a Yamaha.  "The engine is too noisy, Yamaha almost always ends up leaking oil, gets a head shake when going at full tilt...." you name it, he was using it as an excuse, but my heart was sore and I was sad to see it go. 

 

Finding a bike that would fit seemed to be really really difficult because of my height and my build (weight wise)  Nothing bigger would fit even with all the suspension gurus advise we just could not get close. 

 

After much deliberation and conversations and listening to all who knows about everything biking, we finally decided on the KTM Freeride.  It is lightweight, has a narrow frame and seat and pulling the forks all the way through and setting the back suspension to the lowest and softest possible, I found a bike that fitted, well almost.  I had to learn riding pulling off on one side, stopping on the other,   but I soon managed and she fitted nicely with our fleet of KTM's for the tour company.  

 

For the last 5 years though I had to listen to the upheaval of the almost "godly" Honda!  Urgh, so frustrating as even my perfectly fitted Freeride apparently just can't compete.  Listening to this constant rant and rave about Honda made me envious, so much so that I was convinced that I needed to improve my riding skill level to super motocross standards,  then maybe....just maybe I will be promoted to the elusive Honda which seemed to me is only for the selected few.  We did look at maybe converting one of the fleet bikes, but yet again all suspension gurus said that it would never fit.  Even at the lowest settings possible, my foot was way far from even getting into first gear.  AAAhhhh the curse of being short!!!  

 

One night my man showed me a youtube clip of a CRF230 with a span of mods. Check it out!

 

I just grinned and said "nice"  He then suggested that we sell the Freeride and get a 230.  Just imagine!  My whole life came crashing down in a split second.  What is he thinking?  I must change from a 350 back to a 230!!! I was not impressed and nor was I keen on this at all.  I loved my TTR230, a lot, but it was a good bike to start on, not to return back to, although a different brand, it is still the same size motor!  It weighs a tonne, have little to no suspension, the engine is freeking loud and I had to always hang full tilt (poor bike) on the throttle just to ensure I keep the crowd in site. 

 

As always though, men listen with half an ear, or is it just the love of Honda that motivated the complete dismissal of my concerns and disapproval, or is it that men in the end, really always knows better.  Whatever the reason or motivation, the CRF230 arrived (thank goodness without the sale of the Freeride)  

 

 The bike had no mods, stock standard, Honda sticker kit, dog ugly exhaust and really nothing much about this bike appealed to me, but it didn't matter cause my Freeride is still safely parked at the home of Bike X Cape.  I was very relieved about that fact, until my first ride on this.  It is nothing like the TTR.  Handles much better and although much heavier than the Freeride did not feel like it at all.  By now I have mastered the slipping and sliding from side to side movement so the slight height difference did not even bother me.