Le Petite Puzeys - Part 2
(12 - 15 September 2018)
Skinny and Chikita took two 70cc Puzey Thumpa bikes (seat height is 55cm; they only weigh 54kg; top speed is ‘supposedly’ 60km/h) and rode them from Cape Town to Johannesburg. A 1852km trip – no service in between...
This month you get not only one - BUT TWO newsletters!
Le Petite Puzeys already sent out the first three days of our trip a bit earlier this week.
Have a look on the website: www.tankgirls.co.za
…and it was Wednesday – DAY 4
To catch a sun before it falls!
Prince Albert to Graaff Reinet – 304km
The early morning support group gathered around for motivational quips like, “Gaan bietjie vinniger!”
BUFF - TAKE FOUR:
Colour-code your buff and your broeks. Mom said you never know when an accident happens...
These Puzey Thumpas are so damn cute you just wanna squeeze their little cheeks and feed ‘em cookies! But we had a thirst for dirt, a lust for dust, a no-paving craving... So, we rode those ten inches of dualsport rubber long and hard over the Great Karoo’s endless gravel roads, under bright blue movie-skies with perky, snow-capped mountain peaks in the deep distance…
By this time, we have worked out our fuel consumption. WARNING: There might be a waiting list at Biker’s Warehouse for buying one of these Thumpas after you hear this…
We got 120km on tar (all juiced out) and 150km on dust (still a few drops left). There be only 3 liters in that tank. This is as close to teleportation as science has gotten to date!
A family once took their 5-year old daughter to the Rand Easter show (one of Africa’s biggest exhibition shows with thousands of people walking around for days). After the show they asked her if she enjoyed it and what she saw? She smiled and answered…
The closer you are to earth, the flatter the road ahead looks. Appreciate it!
A short break from Puzey Thumping.
And out of the grey rose the oasis of agave! Our senses were intoxicated with the view of tequila stuffed in casings of prickly green pinas.
The Gang briefly went into debt at Rietbron’s Kapok winkel but between the four of us we hustled up enough cash to pay for the Five Rand nail clippers and some (sweets) other essentials.
All we heard was…
When we finally arrived at the wind pump in the middle of nowhere, we were compelled to have a tiny tea party, complete with mini donuts. The pastries were fresh, and the tea was sweet. It was like childhood all over again!
We also had mussels, bacon kips and Tabasco. So, when Hans (the vegetarian) requested, “Make me one with all!” we hesitantly built her a mussel-kip-stack. With an outstretched arm, I offered her the snack while the other two stared in disbelief at the scene playing out in front of them. It took a while for me to get her attention…
Focused after her meditating chant, we discovered that she meant it more as in ‘the union with what is, just as it is’.
The offer did not go wasted…
Another (GS) challenge literally lay in front of us. In Africa we consider it a skill to ride over tyres left in the road by unroadworthy vehicles. Riding around them would be wimping out!
DONUT let anybody tell you it cannot be done!
We needed to find some trouble to get into. Cheese vans and traffic control were out in full force... The mission was posted, and we chose to accept it. We spotted a camera trap, switched our race-faces on and tried our best to get up to that 80km/h speed limit. The officer just threw her hands up in disbelief and watched the slow-mo convoy crawl past. We felt like failures not being able to provoke a little more flak outta the fuzz. Were we losing our touch? Why wouldn’t the cops harass us even just a little?
A hole had emerged from the engine casing and we wondered what we could use to cover it. A quick SOS message to Mike and his recommendation came through loud and clear – “duck tape”…
Well, we just so happened to have access to a duck, and taped it securely over said hole. A cheeky-chick fix!
Our mechanic doing what she does best – keeping the wheels rolling (ROFL).
PlacesAndPrices, our brilliant ride-along sponsor, procured a slightly excessive, seven-bedroom via Graaff Reinet’s highly connected hospitality network. We dropped off our luggage, popped on our cool sunglasses, hopped up to one of South Africa’s most spectacular view points, and plopped down just in time for sundowners.
If you stop to take a picture, it is not to remember that place or that view, it’s to remember yourself in that moment.
…and it was Thursday – DAY 5
Graaff Reinet to Philippolis – 259km
This day started slow, took long and was cut short.
Oiling chains is a sweaty job
BUFF - TAKE FIVE:
The cultural dress code of a virtuous biker chicken
It was such a gorgeous morning – birds chirping, fresh buffs, life was good. And then #47 refused to start!
We had traveled a thousand kilometers in four days just to end up here?!? Trapped in a small town. Surrounded by small-town folk. And low on snacks…
We checked everything we had a tool for, and Oom Ernst demonstrated that the spark was fine.
Meanwhile Nienke had tracked down a workshop fairly close by (Van’s Auto – if ever you are stuck in Graaff-Reinet). Skinny carefully nursed the bike over there, with the idle turned WAY up! Uhmm, yeah... Have you ever kicked a bike into gear that’s revved to the teens?!? Involuntary wheelies are funny, not fun - but definitely funny.
Doeks – the man of the hour, the hero of the day, the talk of the town. He dropped everything and spent the whole morning schooling us on our 1:18 scale model charging systems and carburetors. Pretty sure we’re qualified to open a workshop of our own now!
Backseat mechanics: But, but, Google says…
You cannot blame two diminutive Puzeys after spending 300km the previous day bumping over rocks, slamming into stones and grazing through ditches. Everything that could rattle had already fallen off. Engine screams turned into asthmatic coughs. And a wet tongue to the battery didn’t even ignite a tingle.
Doeks dived in and started turning, replacing, cleaning, welding and grinding. As a last resort he checked the exhaust valve, and as the pony jumped to life we grabbed a hug, a swig of tequila, and our helmets. There was only a few mininutes left in the day and we still had 260km to tick off.
Drunk on information and peanut butter sandwiches (single-slice fold-over in Chikita’s case) we made our way as swiftly as our machines would permit, towards the old faithful Horse and Mill in Colesberg – we had a date with the boys next door, since the boys in blue showed no interest in our shenanigans…
Riding about 100km/h slower than all the other traffic is far more petrifying than it sounds but our hunched-over sixes were fiercely protected by the most dedicated Backup Betties of all time! Words cannot express how much we appreciated those guys looking deep into our brown eyes whenever the meerkat vibes struck.
Quite a bit of communication was getting lost behind our black visors, so we developed (on the fly) a slightly more vibrant version of rock-paper-scissors.
It was brilliant. We effectively invented an entire language from three perfect hand gestures, and by the time we arrived in Colesberg we already agreed on what we’d be sharing for lunch!
Throw your questions to the wind…
And they’ll blow away and you’ll have to find other questions to ask. Like:
“Are they actually that small OR just really far away?”
Phive members of the Phearless Philippolis Old Pharts escorted us to our jail cell, for petty crimes like carrying fifty tons of stolen hearts, laughing at inappropriate jokes, flying under the radar, etc. It’s always the little things.
Deleted scenes of The New Black will be coming to a screen nowhere near you anytime soon.
We were treated to a braai in the slammer. Everybody pulled out a shiv!
The guys made so much food though, that to this very day you can still spot them around town eating leftovers.
Oom Joey is 84 years old (the oom with the kierie) and he still rides bike. He’s even got a tube mounted on the boney for his cane. Some of the guys had to turn back after the last stop to go check on the oom as he didn’t catch up? Scared that he dropped the bike or that something worse happened, they found him frustratingly trying to start his bike with no avail. Uys got off to go help, when he saw the oom repeatedly pushing the kill-switch...
They make those buttons so small these days!
Jail wardens from left is Paul, Oom Joey, Uys and Anton.
…and it was Friday – DAY 6
Humans - shaken or stirred?
Philippolis to Phakisa – 349km
BUFF - TAKE SIX:
Our clandestine prison-break mission required ninja style buffs…
Our disabled getaway driver, Nienke, runs on black coffee and Belgian chocolate cigarettes. Our hero, Skinny, is powered by electric blue fairy dust. The spanner swinging sidekick, Chikita, burns Tabasco and bacon kips. And our vegetarian nurse, Hans, is just livin’ on a prayer. Honestly, what does she even eat?!?
We escaped to a proper Snob’s breakfast in Trompsburg and, since we were dressed for it, relieved the BP garage in town of two complimentary petrol vouchers.
Potholes are a common occurrence in South Africa. They are a deadly consideration for motorists. For Puzey riders with their 10’’ wheels, they are a narrow bike seat in the ass! It takes about half a day to winch the bike out of one.
A few more hold-ups, stand offs, skid marks and chicken runs later, we spotted an oncoming Harley rider approaching in the distance. We both waved at him and smiled brightly – we hadn’t encountered very many motorcyclists and were happy to finally see one. The man waved back and made a weird and wobbly recovery to regain control of the throttle which he’d abandoned to wigwag his RIGHT hand at us! We cracked up.
The bikes were starting to show their age… Chikita’s was smoking skelmpies, it had done so for a while already and we all suspected it, but it’s alright because it’s legal now. Skinny’s ignition switch was giving us attitude too but we managed to bypass the problem (there is a thingamabob you can unplug, but that’s all the information we can give you at present).
So…? To move up in life, you sometimes have to take it slow.
Hans had figured out how to skip all the lovingly selected techno songs and Nienke had the cruise control on 60 with a silk sleep mask over her eyes that said “Do Not Disturb – But Wake Me For Lunch”
Our little Puzeys’ hearts were thumping. They have just arrived at Phakisa raceway. I could hear their revs sputtering anxiously.
This was our best attempt at ‘wild’ camping. If you ignored the smell of the motorcycles’ petrol fumes, you could easily mistake the roar for those of lions.
After rigorous inspection, the female Tergum Agitator weaver approved the nest.
We were kak excited for our race the next day. We thought of entering the brunch-run class, but then we found out ‘brunch’ was not included…
The first property my brother ever owned. Years ago, he took Tonto (my KTM950) for a spin… through the pits and straight into the railing! In the words of Sheldon Venter, “WE THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO DIE!”
One of the things any adventure biker wants to do is add some weight. Luggage systems, wind screens, touring seats. This all will help stabilize you on the open road when you’re not completely confident in your riding ability and basic control over the bike.
We also added a few luxuries like tents and sleeping bags.
*Just ignore the screaming of the little six-year-old in the background. We will give him his camping stuff back… tomorrow*
…and it was Saturday – DAY 7
No rest for the adventurous soul?
The last leg from Phakisa to Biker’s Warehouse in Johannesburg – 288km
We received notice that the racing (the big bike racing) would start at 10am, but that they would open the track for practice at 8am. We got up (not that we could sleep anymore curled up into little balls inside our mini-tents) at 5am.
BUFF - TAKE SEVEN:
With only one left, I tried to rip it in two.
Our poegies were moegies… we battled to get some injection into their systems. They say it takes your bike the same amount of kicks to start, as the spectators watching…
These little bikes proved themselves through and through. We did the beach riding, rocky mountain passes, highways, sidewalks, national parks, corrugations, some beer garden’s rose bushes, water crossings. And now, even the racetrack! It’s true that no bike does everything perfectly, but no bike does anything until someone gets on it to ride! Puzey Thumpas are going places!
Kids that fit under this bar goes FREE!
Warm-up lap: Finding the race lines and brake markers AND IGNORING THEM!
Lap 1 was mind blowing: We set a record for 70cc bikes on Phakisa. It was just under 13 minutes!
Last lap: The marshals stormed to the pit wall to stop the illegal racing, until they saw the bikes. Their jeers turned to cheers.
Every day it felt like the further we got the bigger the chance was that we would finish. And here we were – ON THE LAST DAY!
Johan hooked up with us in Vredefort.
Within a week, these Puzeys had grown on us. We had gotten used to knees knocking the handlebars out from under you and sending you in a hysterical wobble down the wrong side of the road. It’s been a delight to wipe your runny nose on your knees. And bugs didn’t hit our visors, we were flying stealth.
And now we had a big bike with us again. It was humongous. It was gigantic. It was colossal. We shivered!
In Fochville we picked up Cono and Mike. Riding proudly alongside his own creations was the man himself, Mike Puzey.
The guys were making sure that we didn’t take any shortcuts. But a Puzey doesn’t sny koek…
AND THEN GAUTENG HAPPENED!
Chikita chased down a cop and pulled him over.
She gave him some serious lip…
But, what really happened…?
The cop pulling you over is never a stripper when you want him to be. 28km from the finish line, just when we thought we were home free, Gauteng PD finally flashed their blue lights at us. Nienke’s friendly Dutch accent stepped up again and before they realised what had happened we were flying down the Krugersdorp highway at a screaming top speed of 92km/h!
#23 was running out of breath. It was like watching those limp biscuits trying to cross the finish line of the Comrades marathon seconds before the cut-off. You want to do something, but watching is just so much more amusing…
*Chariots of Fire playing in the background*
As we crossed the gates to Biker’s Warehouse parking lot, and the realization of what we had achieved hit us like a beer bottle on the nose, we whimpered with pride and takethatyoupessimisticsuckerfools. We just blêrrie-hell covered 1852km over 7 days on two 70cc four-stroke bikes.
Next up… LAGOS!
Back: Jaycen, Morag, Nienke, Hans, Johan, Louré, Joe
Front: Mike, Skinny, Chikita, Cono
Behind us lay a long grey line with a white mark down the center. A line holding a million memories, a thousand inside jokes, ten shared secrets and one absurd adventure.
I often believe in things my eyes can’t see. My dreams are measured in impossibilities. People laugh at me because I’m different. I laugh at them because they are all the same.
*Most of the kiekies taken by photographer Hannelie van Schalkwyk*
You absolutely cannot do any kind of decent adventure trip without involving a few sponsors. More is more. And we are grateful for everyone who made this dream-come-true possible.
Biker’s Warehouse (www.bikerswarehouse.co.za)
Puzey Motor Corporation (www.puzey.co.za)
Badger Racing (www.badgerracing.com.au)
Tank Girls (www.tankgirls.co.za)
Daniel Mulder Distributors (www.dmd.co.za)
Oxford Products (www.oxfordproducts.com)
Forma Boots (www.formaboots.com)
Nomad Bags (www.nomadgear.co.za)
Places and Prices (www.placesandprices.co.za)
Paw Print Cremation (www.petangels.co.za)
And an honorary mention to Boetie for hosting one sloshed and three dronk chicks.
CHIKITA PRODUCTIONS PRESENT:
The funny side of riding a 70cc for 1852km's. We laughed & laughed & laughed until we P'd our pants! We fell (not far), we jumped (not high), we crashed (not hard) and we broke down (in tears of laughter. Skinny & Chikita, supported by Nienke & Hans.
It was a small adventure, but it cost us an arm and a leg – LITERALLY! The bruises will fade, but the medical bills never do.
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Reposer ma petite puzey!
YouTube: Skinny van Schalkwyk