2014-11-09 Franschhoek / Botrivier /old Houw Hoek pass / Highlands / Clarence Drive

(write up by Davide (Nav), pics and captions by Ang)

With the end of the year and high summer approaching, we planned the ride to take advantage of the cooler conditions near the coast in the heat of the day, so we did a clockwise loop through Franschhoek, Botriver and Kleinmond.

We met at the Winelands N1 bright and early, and headed off on the gravel Protea road through the farmlands.  Ang, myself and Paul on his new XT was joined by friends Greg on a BMW800 and and Rob on a older Honda XR600 - with a kick start nogal - made up the 5-rider group.

We did a little exploring on the Eenzaamheid road which was new for us, but quickly made our way to Franschhoek past the inevitable cycle race(s) which seem to take over the mountain passes from November to February, culminating in the Argus Cycle Tour in Cape Town on the 2nd Sunday in March.  I have ridden bicycles for many years, and am very glad to have moved on to KLR's.  The bunches, inexperienced riders, wind, hills and not to forget the sheer effort required is something I really don't miss.

The wind picked up and was blowing a gale over the top of the Franschhoek pass and was quite cold.  We hit the gravel again just after the dam and made our way along the picturesque and scenic Van der Stel's Pass to Botriver.  Breakfast at the hotel was the usual - they don't have a menu, you simply order breakfast and take what you get. Fortunately the food is excellent, and we shared the venue with a large group of vintage car enthusiasts who were doing an extended rally through the South Western Cape.

After breakfast we made our way up the old Houw Hoek pass which is a narrow 2-track path against a mountain bike event going the opposite way.  Some near-misses but all ok.  Ang decided to park her bike in the undergrowth at one tricky spot, and I realise how important momentum is when tackling these sections.  To get going is a mission if you stop.

After that, we took the Valley road over Highlands to Kleinmond and Clarence Drive. The roses in the Valley are in full bloom and it is very green with new foliage on the trees.  A very special place, and we are fortunate to be able to stay in this beautiful area.  We stopped just after Rooi-Els for a breather and made our way home through a windy, but cooler coastal route.  Another great day in the saddle!

Safe travels everyone 

The route   
the group at the meeting place - Engen N1 Stellenbosch
A welcome cuppa before we set off
while the boys caught up on all things bike, I got creative with my camera
Paul on his XT 660 on the Eenzaamheid gravel road
looking rather Eenzaam
but not for long, as he meets up with the rest of the guys up ahead 
Greg, like all BMW riders, doing it standing up
Paul & Rob 
the Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek
did you know? The three high arches symbolizes the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. On top of the arches is the sun of righteousness and above that, the cross of their Christian faith.
situated on the Van der Stel Pass road, Goedvertrouw is unfortunately not open for breakfast early on a Sunday morning
just chilling
The Nav on Van der Stel pass near Botriver 
next up was Paul
hot on Paul's wheels were the twins Greg (GS800)  & Rob (Honda 600)
looking good Paul 
The Nav - next stop Botrivier 
The twins in hot pursuit 

his & hers - thankfully they got the Americano right.... ooh eh eh  

Next stop for me, was somewhere in the middle of the old Houw Hoek Pass 

 decided to buy a plot
Paul and the Nav to the rescue 
try as I might, I just could not pick up my KLR, thanks guys!
The Nav slip sliding up the hill to get my KLR to even ground 
leg stretch on Clarence Drive 
Rob being social
Paul taking no chances and holds on to his XT as the wind gusts through Clarence Drive 
Paul's boots collecting flora from the old Houwhoek Pass 
Greg on his GS800 - love the colour!
Man & machine - Rob next to his beloved Honda 600R 

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