Sabie Bubble Run
(16 December 2016)
The Sabie Bubble Run is…
…a traditional run, geared towards the rider who feels out of place at a “major rally” or anywhere you find an excess of “LIVE TO RIDE” patches.
The Bubble name comes from the retro bubble-styled visors of the 70s.
Remember when you were still a pikanien and a good day was when you got spoiled spending the afternoon at a Spur? You could play on the jungle gym till you broke your head; and then kept on playing cause heads weren’t all that important when you were young. The only time you ran inside was to check if the grown-ups were still sitting there seriously discussing an old oom they called a big crocodile. Grown-ups… I vowed never to become one.
So far… so good!
For the Bubble Run, we joined the guys over a long weekend in the jungle gym we call Mpumalanga.
But we first had to pick up the two loan Ducati Sixty2 Scramblers we got to play with for the weekend.
Johnny unveiled our wheels and handed over the keys.
They might be small but when all you need is a blanky, a bottle and maybe a spare broekie, there is more than enough space.
There is only 400cc turning between your legs and knowing the power of some of the classic machines we were going to ride with, I was expecting to get my ass handed to me.
The South African culture believes bigger is better. This counts for the size of your boep, the size of your beer, and the size of your bike…
But we zipped down the straight bitumen ribbon to Mpumalanga with ease.
We had to manage our time carefully, as we had a long stretch to cover on smallish bikes. But time is not something we can control. FUN, on the other hand…
Tick-tock-tick-tock at the Clock Shop!
Long Tom Pass
A last quick check on brakes (did we have any?); exhausts (were they still attached?); and luggage (stuff the broekie – make sure the Jack is still there) before we flew down Long Tom pass.
*Please Google ‘Long Tom Pass’ for pictures of the scenery. We were too busy riding to take photos.*
We made it to the Sabie River Camp just before sunset.
The rules for the trip were simple:
-Bring what you need for the trip on your bike
-No registration fee or sign up
-Camping only (this rule got a bit altered after the rain storm)
-You are responsible for yourself (though I signed a waiver on this one)
-Don’t be a dick (or a koekiejannie)
-Leave no man behind (‘cept if he rides a Harley)
We pitched the tent and swiveled the first Jack down our throats; when heaven decided to do a little swiveling of its own.
The word that comes to mind… MOIST!
The honeymoon suite… it had a waterbed!
The next morning I took Chikita for a dice down the 22. The boys were all still snoring. Some of them were more like gargling, as they never moved their tents to higher ground.
It was 22 kilometers of “Swoooop… Swoooop… Oh k@k!!! Swoooop… Swoooop… Oh k@k!!!”
There were a few unexpected mudslides from the storm the night before, but we were riding scramblers – BRING IT ON!!!
We stopped at the Woodsman for a quick breakfast before we went back to drag the outjies out of their tents.
Yeah, that’s what we call a Tank Girls breakfast!
Back at camp the manne were just brewing their first coffee.
Oh… by the way… BSA is secretly launching a new model. We’ve been waiting 58 years for this one…
*1958 BSA b31*
First group ride for the morning was out to Graskop and a stop at Harrie’s Pancakes. But we just needed to get all the wheels rolling first.
And… they’re rolling!
After pannekoek (love saying that word), we headed out to the lesser known CARIN FALLS somewhere in the woods. Joe led us on a dirt trail with puddles and frogs and all things nice.
With good ground clearance, generous suspension travel and dual-purpose tyres, the Sixty2 was designed with light off roading in mind. The ‘light’ part would depend on whose mind they were talking about.
All the bikes made it to the falls, without one fall.
The others dived right in…
…while the two of us went playing higher up the mountain.
Yeah, we also went swimming… but not in the waterfall.
We really had a thing for WATER this weekend!
We rode North up the escarpment to a restaurant called the Potluck Boskombuis, but the clouds started thickening on the way. Most of us stopped to put on some rain gear…
Most of us…
While we were still putting plastic on, a flying machine came crawling past. It was Kyle on his 1956 Triumph Thunderbird. He later told us that he saw all of us pulled over. He tucked hard, rolled the throttle wide open and thought, “I’ve got this - I can beat them!”
We were wet, freezing, hungry…
…AND HAPPY! This bush kitchen is set next to a river where you order authentic African food cooked over open fires. We ate, we drank and then we swam back to camp.
The next day started much the same as the previous and the two of us went for another spin on the 22 while the men did their make-up.
When the guys finally filled up with coffee, we took a run to Kaapsehoop. We wanted to go see if we could find a wild beer and a cold horse.
The dice was ON! This was where I expected my ass to get wrapped with gift paper and a nice bow tied around it, but…
These 400’s impressed us muchly!
We kept the throttle busy, leaning smoothly into the corners and never tested the brakes. The guys had their hands full trying to keep up.
There were a few horses running wild, a BMW that got stuck, and a Monkey that stripped. Just the normal stuff…
It was play time again and I suggested the recently discovered, exuberating, and twisty packed, Clivia pass. It is a restricted road, but Joe secured us access (he probably used a few military descriptive words, maybe even ripped out an army badge).
It is the second highest altitude gaining pass in SA. It’s got some seriously toit corners and steep drop-offs to ensure that this road gets rated as an ‘extreme adventure’.
The Scramblers were gasping a bit for air on the steep knolls, but we still got to the top first.
The last stretch of the pass was a decent gravel road. All you saw in the distance was a small poof of dust… Much like the RoadRunner, Chikita likes to mock the Coyotes and then speed off with a Mbeep-beep!
I know… I know… I keep on punting the Sixty2, but after my first disappointing meet-&-greet with it, this little devil has really impressed us over a weekend of long roads, twisties, dicing, wheelies, and MUD.
It has genuine off-road ability.
We each earned an award for the weekend from the Bubble Run Airheads And Pillions (BRAAP) association, recognizing excellence in acceleration and throttle achievements.
And the Wick Twister award goes to… CHIKITA!
Twisting that wick – all she wanted to do was ride – ride – ride. Full speed all the way!
And the Monkey Nut award goes to… SKINNY!
Her insanity of flying through corners verges on mental dementia of the tree swinging, kookoo level.
The last morning everybody squeezed the water out of their sleeping bags, ready to head home.
We did a last run up Long Tom’s with the sun on our backs.
It’s hard to say goodbye to the streets. To every winding path and speedy highway; to the muddy trails that left stains on your clothes; the windy route that left you hoping to return soon; and to the twisting roads shared by new friends. These goodbyes are the promises of more adventures to come.
A million thanks to Ducati South Africa (www.ducati.co.za)!
Chikita’s assessment of the Sixty2:
“Phok, ek het gedigte voorgedra aan my vriende oor daai einste 400’s. Hulle dink ek het dit verloor!”
The translation roughly comes down to:
It’s a deeply enjoyable thing to ride!
Thanks to Jolandi Mentz & Joe Flemming for the photos!
CHIKITA PRODUCTIONS PRESENT:
If you sway your head on the beat of the song, it will feel like you are on the Ducati, riding the twisty roads of Mpumalanga. Come ride with me, I promise to keep you safe!
I see every valuable donation made by you guys. Promise – I’m OCD that way! Just wish I could thank everybody in person. X
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