2012-10-28 - Bainskloof, Wellington, Agter Paarl

After a 2 week break in riding (no fault of our own), the Nav and I enthusiastically woke to a beautiful summers morning.  Amazingly (more so for me than the Nav) we managed to leave home at 0630 on route to the Calabash Bush Pub which is situated at the foot of Bainskloof Pass (Wolseley side) for breakfast.  

Although it was only the Nav and I exploring the countryside on this ride, it was quite enjoyable as we had no pressure on us to maintain a certain speed and simply meandered and stopped as and when we felt like it (oh ok.. when I felt like it...).  Reminds me of the days, now almost a year ago, when we were novices at dual riding when we first got our KLRs.  When I first laid eyes on my KLR I thought she was just too beautiful for words - and still do!  Besides being aesthetically pleasing to my eye, I now also know what she is capable of with me as her passenger and aside from one or two stationery tumbles (yes it happens to even the most experienced riders!), I couldn't be happier with our choice of dual motorcycles.   The Nav and I don't consider ourselves experts (yet) but we have certainly come a long way over the past 12 months with having done a few very memorable excursions on our KLRs - a 7 day trip through the Baviaans, a 3 day tour through the majestic Cederberg and more recently a 7 day tour through the Karoo. 

David loves telling all and sundry that it was 'my' mid life crisis decision that spurned him on to buy our KLRs but if truth be told, he has always wanted to get back into riding. I just happened to be the catalyst with beating him to it in obtaining my learners on the sly. If you ask me, he should count himself rather lucky.  How many guys wives will encourage this?Both of us last rode motorbikes 25 years or so ago but like riding a bicycle, we both got the hang of it and skilled up in no time (and we feel comfortable riding most surfaces now... (except for sand and mud for me.. and most of you I am sure!)  Not the safest conditions and at times I have had to grin and bear certain conditions and have safely made it through to the other side unscathed.  Could it be that we are filling our pot of luck?   Be that as it may, our journeys continue.  In the past twelve months I have managed to clock up +/- 15000kms, and the Nav a bit more than that.  +/- 5000kms can be attributed to our tours but still, not bad I'd say for 'recreational' riding!

Back to the ride....  

After a windy ride up Du Toitskloof pass, we took a left to the Slanghoek Valley.  What a beautiful landscape of vineyards and fruit farms.  We arrived at the Calabasch where we met up with two really nice guys (Johan and his friend both from Malmesbury, V-Strom riders) at the Calabash and had lots to talk about - bikes ofcourse!  After a hearty breakfast we headed off towards Wellington via Bainskloof to Agter-Paarl in search of some gravel.   The Nav as usual did not disappoint and led me along some fine gravel roads in the Agter-Paarl area.  We headed for the N7 and stopped at the Wimpy for a cold drink.  The weather was fantastic with a bit of wind initially in the morning but that did not deter us from our riding.  Just another challenge to overcome to ensure a most enjoyable day in the countryside on our KLRs! 

The route
Tokai, Baden Powell, Stellenbosch, N1, Du Toitskloof Pass, Slanghoek, Bainskloof Pass, Wellington, Paarl, Philladelphia, N7 back to Tokai

Our first stop at Starmart  in Stellenbosch for a much needed coffee 
That is NOT snow in the distance but WIND above the Wemmershoek Moutains
and we are heading straight  into it!

A bit cloudy on the other side of the mountain and quite windy
- took a left towards Slanghoek on route to Calabash
Goudini Spa ahead - what a beautiful skyline
Left to Bainskloof - almost there!
Originally built in 1898 & used as a milking shed until 1992, the Calabash was  converted to a pub for the locals in the area
The Nav chatting to Johan and his friend (V-Strom riders)
The boys and their toys
The Nav enjoying the view as I capture the moment
KLRs prefer hugging the gravel while taking in the scenery 
Chinese proverb - a picture is worth ten thousand words.... 
 Originally built for horse drawn traffic in 1853, this 30 km pass, now a National Monument, is one of the most picturesque passes in the Cape
Schooneoord Rd - Agter Paarl
One of the many beautiful gravel roads on our route
Flash... aah haa.. master of the Universe...
Love the cloud formations in the countryside 

The Nav patiently waiting for me to capture the moments 

The smallest mall (figuratively speaking) in the Southern Hemisphere - You didn't really think a girl could pass up the opportunity of visiting a mall now did you? 
The Nav thought this Ondergeskikte Pad looked inviting until we arrived at a locked gate and had to turn back - another short but welcoming detour

Distance travelled:  +/- 295kms
Time:  +/- 7 hours 

Yet another great ride enjoying what we love to do most on a Sunday!

Till next time...

Safe travels everyone
"4 wheels move the body, 2 wheels move the soul"

About Bainskloof - did you know?
This 30 kilometer pass was completed in 1853 and is one of the most picturesque passes in the Cape. The pass was built using convict labour, by Andrew Geddes Bain, the most famous of Southern Africa's road engineers.