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TG Newsletter: 4 WAYS - 4 BIKES

The 4 Ways of Adventure

(15 - 16 March 2024)

This is the adventure where you do it your own WAY!


Four adventurous bikers headed out to a secret destination, which wasn’t so secret after leaving the hustle of Jo’burg.  It’s not hard to guess where you are heading at 5pm rush hour traffic, with not much day left.


We stopped the bakkie in Secunda at Roschalle’s guest house.

Roses Inn

Let’s give you a bit more context to this adventure…


The concept was simple yet thrilling: each rider would draw a mysterious direction from a bag, determining their path for the following day.  There was no set route and only a town marked approximately 270 kilometers away as a waypoint.  Proof that you’d been there (a till slip is normally in order) and you could turn back – or not, your choice.  You could take any route you like; dirt, tar, highway, voetpad, short left, lapa side - and you had to be back at the starting point, Secunda, sometime the next day.

But there was a catch—a budget of R880-00 to cover all expenses, from petrol and accommodation to food, drinks and any hookers… punctures you might pick up.  You were not allowed to spend any of your own money – ONLY the R880-00 in the banky!


Best would be to take whatever you could with you to save money.  Take a tupper with a zamie, fill your Camelbak with whisky, roll an extra sleeping blanky.


The one that returned with the most cash left over – Ma WINA WENA!


The stakes were high, with a tool bag sponsored by Daniel Mulder Distributors ( awaiting the rider who could best manage their finances and return with the most moolah.


There were also a few items to check off on everybody’s list (except for heading out in your awarded direction):

Photograph a windmill

Drink a tequila with anyone (try and get them to pay for it)

Meet a dog and get its name

Do a silly dance like your life depends on it

It’s St. Patricks day – do something GREEN


The next morning, we had a quick fill-up (on your own account) and a goodbye RedBull.

Skinny was loaded with tequila, Jack and a jerry of 93 unleaded – prepping to win!

Ettas was packed with the latest and greatest Turkana luggage system – gadget boy!

Chikita must have forgotten her luggage at home – travelling light’s poster girl!

Vince had all his bedding, duvets, bersies and probably a matrass – glamping king!

Chikita's Chinese Chainsaw shreds into the Far East

(Chikita on a Kove 450 Dakar Rally)


Last year I landed up in the soggy south, but this time my fortune cookie foretold that I would invade the east!  My strategy?  Take in the scenery, find a quiet spot and pitch my tent for the night!


Also, Off Road Cycles ( lent me the highly coveted Kove 450 Dakar Rally bike and wanted me to really ride it hard and test its limits, while at the same time I had to save as much money as I could.  I had a kilogram of snacks packed so thankfully I wouldn’t need to misappropriate any funds towards groceries.

From the moment my destiny was revealed, I should’ve started planning my escape to go plot a route.  But that is not what I did.  Instead, the four of us sat chatting around a bottle of rum and by the time we had to leave the next morning, we were all just winging it!


“Winging it” is not the greatest POA if the destination-of-the-day involves crossing into another country where internets and googlemaps don’t work! could get me there, but I didn’t have any fun tracks saved.

For the middle of a heatwave, it was suspiciously frosty on the morning of our departure.  My easy-to-reach rain jacket provided near-adequate protection from any meteorological events while my puffer jacket was snugly stashed away in a drybag that ain’t exactly hot/cold, in/out, yes/no-friendly.  With blue lips and chattering teeth, I rolled up to a suitable gravel turnoff.  First, I stopped to adjust my flailing luggage and a friendly, balaclava’d tractor driver passing by made sure I was alright.  Thank you, sir!


Moments later I leapfrogged past him again, eager to get my money’s worth.  This bike is rabid!  Before I could protest, I was cruising in sixth at 130kph!  “Whoa, Qilin* we better be chillin’!”  I still have a lot of kilometres to cover, and thirty litres of fuel will not last long at this rate!


* Qilin is the mythological Chinese unicorn of good fortune

My dirt riding was short-lived as most roads out thatta way had already been promoted to the Woolworths of road surfaces: tar.  It’s also flat as the Free State with no mountain pass in sight, so for some adrenaline through the blind corners I had plenty people blatantly overtaking people straight into oncoming traffic.  Also, the free roaming cattle was pleasantly unpredictable.  As were wild pedestrians.


Meandering meticulously east, I came to a dam wall and stopped for a picture.  It turned out to be the Westoe dam.  Dammit, I was supposed to be going Oos-toe!  :P

Nerston border officials welcomed me warmly, inked my passport, and asked if I had any firearms, you know, the usual.  Eswatini happens to be the only African country that holds diplomatic relations with Taiwan, over the People’s Republic, so riding around broadcasting this brightly sticker-kitted Dakar rally bike, felt a bit like dangling a red flag before a smallish, docile bull, who ignores red flags like the best of us.

It soon dawned on me that the road to Manzini is paved with highway vibes.  As “the hub” of Eswatini, it is one of its largest cities, and the outlying area enjoys deplorably good tar roads as well.  If you happen to hazard any smaller dirt road, you end up in someone’s backyard.  Awkwarrrd!  Now, if it hadn’t taken me three hours and 190km to reach Manzini with my peanut-sized wallet, I may have considered (and will in future) travelling a little further inland to go north from there, along what looks to be some nice gravel highways!


At the Puma garage, a seven-man army of assistants tended to the unicorn’s petroleum addiction and squeegeed his bug splattered screen.  I could spare no change, because, you know, budget.  Given the population density, I was impressed by the cleanliness, literally litterlessness, and well-maintained infrastructure.  From the capital city, I hooked Pine Valley Road, past the legendary Sibebe Rock, which turns into dirt after about 10km.  Finally hurrah!  Yes, I had to nurse a bike that doesn’t like to go slow, down steep, snotty descents, but I was just so excited to be on deep red earth instead of pale grey bitumen.

Around 3PM I passed Maguga lodge, where a posse of ten enduro bikes headed out in the opposite direction.  They were clearly on a spree of careless fuel-squandering so I bitterly refused the urge to join them even though I had no friends, no money, and no prospects yet about where I might overnight.

Bulembu beckoned.  Would I make it through the border back onto home soil before nightfall?  At least then all my technology would work!  I decided to shoot for it.  A spirited sprint, stunted by one or two wrong turns in the eucalyptus forests, and a bunch of scenic photo stops, made me fifteen minutes late to the border post.

Back in town, walking up the stairs of the charming Bulembu Country Lodge, with its impressive, leafy façade and prime location, watched over by Emlembe, Swaziland’s highest mountain nogal, I began to suspect the place would absolutely be out of my price range, and started rehearsing a soppy story in my head about why they should let me shack up in the backyard.  Daylight fading, I was out of options.

Lovely Lihle invited me to camp on the adjacent property’s lawns which included an old, abandoned club house that she unlocked for me in case the weather got bad.  It certainly was becoming colder and mistier, but I was adamant to endure the elements from within my paper-thin shelter.  First though, I had to dive into my moeruva snack pack since I hadn’t eaten all day!


After a well-deserved beer and a hot noodle-pot, I spent an hour or so exploring the derelict buildings on foot, sharing the unfamiliar desolation with only a few casual basketball players who vanished quietly as darkness enveloped the valley.  Stargazing was out of the question, there was no wood to make a fire, and honestly, I was knackered.  It’d been a long day of riding, with so many uncertainties on my mind, and now that there was nothing to do but relax, I summarily passed the hell out.  The wind whipped at the little tent flaps, but my rain jacket served as an extra layer over my sleeping bag and kept comfort levels at a very decent 3.5 stars.  Would recommend.

The excitement of getting back on that metre-high horse woke me up way too early so I had to entertain myself until 8AM when the border only opened.  Coffee and beans for breakfast to lighten the luggage load, and a modest photoshoot of Qilin.  So far, I’d been a little disappointed in the shortage of rugged terrain, but I was going to make up for it on the way back, I had to!

Tshayile Time!  The twisty 2km stretch from the gate to the Diepgezet turnoff was a little scary when one large logger lorry sped downhill towards me across all lanes.  Hello Mzansi, I’m awake!  My breakfast almost resurfaced!

This winding slice of heaven is the only mountain pass in the entire south-eastern Mpumalanga and almost as long as the Great Wall of China.  The 738m drop in altitude allowed me to freewheel much of the way which saved me a critical splash of petrol.  Killing the engine also allowed me to savour the unspoilt greenery in peace and quiet.  The four-fiddy motor sounds pretty wild, especially wide open, as if Vtec kicks in at the redline!  And all that sonic thunder is channelled up along the rally tower.  It’s a menace!

Some random observations:  This bike feels so light, even all fuelled up it can be flicked around like a precision fly swatter!  It’s nice and narrow, while its wide foot pegs offer a sustainably relaxed stance, it just takes a minute to get used to the pigeon-toe manoeuvre to engage the gear lever, but I got the hang of it quickly.  It chugged along happily at 60kph in fourth to fifth gear, but I imagine that might be due to the larger rear sprocket and lucky red chain fitted by Off Road Cycles.  It does not want you to close the throttle, rather feather the clutch, or go flat out and hope that 304mm of travel and 309mm of clearance will save the landing!  The tower is wasted on me, but I suppose it is functional and makes the bike look serious.  The headlights are badass!  The sparse accommodation for luggage suits me, as someone who travels light.  It’s faster than my DR650, maybe not on the top end, but maybe.  It’s cocky.  I want it.

The factory rally spec here, carries up to thirty litres of juice as mentioned, theoretically enabling me to do this whole trip on one fill!  My throttle hand, however, is impossible to restrain, it’s a sickness…


A friendly gang of super bikers absorbed me at a stop-and-go point where I was busy glossing over the map.  We not so much sneaked as paraded past the barrier and sped along in single file, with me easily keeping up.  I was just so happy for a little company!  As we waved our goodbyes, each heading in our separate ways, the low fuel warning popped up and I settled down to a more laidback cruising speed.


Chrissiesmeer, the lake district of SA, boasts ±270 lakes and as many bird species, including thousands of breeding flamingos each year!  There is also one petrol station.

Yikes, I totally forgot about my show-and-tell homework!  I googled a pub and found O’Reilly’s in Ermelo.  Saint Patrick’s Day had to be celebrated, so I hurried over to Becca, the bar lady and ordered two pots of gold tequila and a Guinness please.  No stock!  Luck o’ the Irish my ass!  Hmmm, improvise!  Two shots of famously Irish Jameson whiskey then, please, which would surely fool the camera.


Gérard and Thinus the golfers, were kind enough to share a “tequila” shot and we chatted away until we all suddenly remembered we actually had somewhere else to be!


On my way out I met Hashtag, and he met me.  A cold tracking sniffer dog in the nonstop war against rhino poaching – and that was my last assignment in the bag!

I abandoned the blacktop one last time for a cheeky gravel shortcut.  Jet Girl was experiencing a gimbal malfunction, so I wasn’t able to get the tracking shots I dreamed of all day long, but I did manage to capture some impatient stares and upside-down frowns.

Luckily the Trichardt tollgate’s left lane cones weren’t much of an obstacle for this Beast from the East and we could zoom right by.


Qilin and I arrived back at Roses Inn first after 30 hours and 650km, with R450 in my pocket, and we also brought home the most photos and footage.  This unicorn is probably the first loan bike I ever returned without a scratch.  But I have so much unfinished business!



A Mouth Full of South

(Etienne Pieterse aka Ettas on a Voge300 Rally)


The anticipation of embarking on a two-day 4-Ways Adventure from Secunda filled the air with excitement.  The element of surprise added to the adventure, with destinations unveiled only the night before, leaving little time for meticulous planning.  With Secunda as the starting point and Van Reenen as the destination, the journey promised thrilling experiences and memorable moments.  However, armed with familiarity with the Eastern Free State as I grew up there, I felt a sense of confidence about the general route that I would take.

Setting off from Secunda, the journey began with a stopover in Standerton before venturing onto dirt roads, traversing through picturesque towns like Vrede and Warden en route to Bethlehem.  The path then meandered towards Kestell, famed for its stunning sandstone church, along the scenic S22 dirt road leading to Golden Gate.

A detour to Clarens provided an opportunity for refreshment at the local brewery, enriching my expedition with a taste of the town's unique charm.  Returning through Golden Gate to Harrismith, I even caught up with an old school friend, Duimpie, reliving memories over a few rounds of rum, adding a nostalgic touch to the adventure.  It was a fantastic day on the bike.

Throughout the day, my affinity for old church buildings prompted brief stops at Charl Cilliers, Standerton, Vrede, Warden, Kestell, and Harrismith, adding a cultural dimension to my ride. The cool, cloudy weather provided a refreshing contrast to the scorching heat of Pretoria, while my Voge300 Rally motorcycle, proved to be a reliable companion, enhancing the overall experience.

As Saturday dawned with warm weather and a cloud-covered Platberg, the journey continued towards the Kaalvoet Vrou monument near Kerkenberg.

From the Kaalvoet Vrou I descended down Bezuidenhout's Pass.  The pass is in very bad condition and I took it super easy as I was all by my lonesome self.

I navigated through loose rocks and daunting step-ups (downs) aboard my new Voge300 Rally adventure bike.  With the bike's nimble handling, I tackled the loose rocky terrain with confidence, showcasing the bike's remarkable stability even in the face of uncertainty.  As we encountered formidable rock ledges along the pass, Moemfie (the newly named Voge), effortlessly absorbed the impact of each rugged obstacle – cause Moemfies can take a pounding!


With sketchy manoeuvring and blind resolve, I conquered these imposing formations, pushing the limits of both bike and rider.  Throughout this ride, the Mad-Mule Luggage system by Turkana Gear proved indispensable, providing secure storage and stability even amidst the most intense off-road conditions.  With each obstacle conquered, the Voge and Turkana bags proved to be an unstoppable combination, ready to take on any adventure with unwavering determination.

Passing through Geluksburg and ascending Tintwa Pass, a stop at the Green Lantern Inn in Van Reenen offered a chance to indulge in lekker chow and some beer.

The plan was then to ride down De Beer's Pass and up Normandien Pass to Memel, but I have done those roads a few times before and I was in the mood for something else.  I then decided on dirt roads from Van Reenen to Memel, some of which I had done before and a few new ones.  It was already 16:00 when I got to Memel, and I then just slabbed it back to Secunda from Memel, going via Vrede and Standerton again.

I got to Secunda at 18:20, long after everyone else!  We then hit the rum and the braai to top off a great two days of riding and sharing stories of our unique adventures!

Wild West Wobble aka Ventersdorp Vaart

(Vincent King aka Vince on a Hero Xpulse200)


Earlier this year I was privileged to be reinvited by the Tank Girls to join them on their annual adventure. I accepted even though I didn’t have a bike capable of the expected trip. I was told to bring myself, my camping stuff, a bike and my passport (mom was very concerned about this last item, ED).


Early on Thursday afternoon I left work much to the surprise of my colleagues and headed home to meet Skinny who was waiting for me with her famous little Daihatsu and a bike trailer. After a few minutes my bike arrived, thanks to Donovan Fourie and Hero South Africa (

With my bike loaded and my stuff packed, Skinny and I headed to Centurion to meet Chikita and Etienne. The four of us set off for… someplace somewhere. It was quite an uneventful trip except for me blinding Skinny and myself by trying to take a selfie. You could see her soul leaving her body.


We arrived in Secunda to the comments by Skinny that she couldn’t believe how big it had gotten since she had seen it 20 years prior. We stopped at the Roses Inn guest house owned by some familiar faces from the Tot Hie’ rally, the Wasilewski’s. They made us feel very welcome and ensured our beaks stayed wet.

With our throats well-oiled we chose the maps with our destinations on them. My location was Ventersdorp to the west. When you google what there is to do there, you find going to the cemetery. So, I suppose the best thing you can do in Ventersdorp is die.

Undeterred by the town's grim associations, I set out the next morning, heading out on the N17 for what felt like forever, before turning towards Nigel. He was not impressed. I was headed for the Vredefort dome, which until recently was thought to be the largest crater caused by a meteor.

I went through Vereeniging and past Sasolburg on the lookout for a dirt road. My eyes must be going because I couldn’t find any. I went all the way to Parys. In Parys I started looking for the best dirt road to Potchefstroom. This led me to a bar but being on a budget I didn’t have a drink.

A few nice guys at the bar put me on to a few dirt roads I could take a few kilometres further. A few kilometres further I turned off and hit the dirt. There is something about cruising on a dirt road at stupid speeds that makes one feel so free.


After blasting past to the Vredefort dome and stopping to take a photo, I sprinted to Potch and a great night. In Potch I rode around until finding the right road (the one with the party places). I stopped next to a guy and asked where it was safe to park my bike. He pointed out a drinking spot and promptly invited me to have a drink with him and his friends. We very quickly had a tequila and I told them my story and they promptly invited me to a braai.

I followed them home (with their knowledge of course). We drank and talked until 5am. A night I will not forget. I was offered a shower and a clean bed and slept almost until it was nearly afternoon.

I was woken by the sound of, “We need to go to Spur”. And so, we went. We had the student special and parted ways. I was sore and tired and a little hung over and decided to take the shortest route back.

ROEDTAN – Exploring the North

(Skinny on a Suzuki DR650)


Of all the directions, I never thought I would pick North…?!?  I had no idea what lay up and beyond?  Which towns would I encounter?  Would there be animals?  Would the people be friendly?  Do they sell Jack Daniels?

It was a bit chilly leaving Secunda and it seemed like forever plus 328 days before I left the smog, the dirty coal trucks and the boring tarred roads of Mpumalanga.  The mining companies have spoiled all adventure by keeping the roads in good nick…and mostly straight.  Urghh!


I was hoping that the roads would get narrower, less busy and maybe have a bit of dirt thrown in, but that was not to be.  I started chewing my palms – could this be the most boring ride I’ve ever done?


Near Loskop dam, the Kranspoort pass chucked some boobies at me, which at least made me smile… a little.

In the distance I could see the Loskopdam, but first a quick stop at a ‘windpomp’.  It was not a pomp of the fan swinging kind, but it had liquid in bottle form – the Windpomp liquor store.  If you can’t find what you are looking for – look for something else.  TICK 1!

I really needed to get off the main road.  I felt like I was trapped, stuck, imprisoned.  What didn’t help was that we knew Brom was the heaviest petrol consumer of all four bikes (cue the jerrycan).  I decided to keep to 80km/h to see if I could keep the gobbling of juice to a minimum.  Stuck behind smelly trucks at 80 – nope!

I took a few dirt turnoffs, but they all headed back south.  I had to inspire myself, “You can do this!  You’ve got this!  Hang in there!”

A quick stop next to the road for a can of tuna and listening to the melody of brash honking trucks, I was going out of my mind.  Maybe I should just get to Roedtan, turn back to Secunda and go sleep at Roses Inn again?  Get this over and done with…

I was about to gnaw down on the vena cava vein when I finally slipped into the small village called ROEDTAN!

My eye caught the most important sign I’d seen in all 272kms – KROEG!

A short dirt ride out of town and I got to Plaas Werf Kroeg, which looked forsaken and parched.  I parked Brom behind the rustic old building and shook most of the N11 out of my knees, before I went in search of a keel-sappie.

Great was my happiness to not only find a well-stocked bar, but 8 wide eyes peeping at me in stunned silence.  I was welcomed in with a big smile from Alida (the bar lady) whom offered me a richly deserved Zamalek.  And so, the kuier began.  Between Basie (the owner) and Elardus (who had been stuck in mud for two days – and brought most of the sludge with him after his release) and Anita (who offered me a place to stay), I made myself quite comfortable.

Oh!  BTW, of all the dogs I met on this trip, my fondest new friend from the pub was called Duimpie.  TICK 2!

After numerous shots of Jäger (yes, when desperate you drink what the host offers), Basie refused to take any money from me.  I gave him a lekker hug and went off in search of Anita’s house.

It was just up the road (even though I think everything in Roedtan is JUST UP THE ROAD), and the dust hadn’t even caught up to my Dunlops yet when Anita grabbed her handbag and said they were waiting for us at the hotel.  She was very keen to jump on the back of Brom but jumping was achieved by a crate and numerous giggles.  Hestrie Storbeck Cloete would be so proud of Anita.

Roedtan hotel – what happens at Roedtan hotel, stays just behind the bar counter.  There were tall drinks, there was langarm dancing, there were long stories and there was silver tequila with Nicky and Marnitz.  TICK 3!

I told the guys about the 4-ways competition and that the one returning with the most money would win.  From that point on the chanting around the bar got louder and louder…



Chris (the owner of the hotel) offered me a room FOR FREE, and Brom got a prime spot at the bar for the night.


The next morn, I hobbled out of town while most of the people were still sleeping their rust off.

Luckily Nicky gave me some suggestions for alternative routes back home, which would have absolutely no bitumen in sight.  Spoedwel – here I come!

So much wildlife crossing in front of the bike, great open dirt roads, a lovely sunny day, a pounding silver headache – life was as it should be <3

A white mule caught my eye and I thought I would sneak into the farm yard unnoticed.  Guess a girl on a DR riding into your farm gate is something a farmer might not notice.  Johann came out of one of the buildings and introduced me to his ass.  I loved his ass.  I scratched his ass.  His ass was just beautiful.


Johann and Allie, his Yankie ‘adopted’ daughter was busy milking the cows and he offered me a glass.  When last did you have a warm foaming glass of real koei melk?

They were a bit concerned about me travelling all by myself, but I explained that IF I was travelling with a group – I probably would have never met them – or gotten a glass of calcium.


I had to speed up a bit, the day was drawing short.  I nearly got hi-jacked!  But I don’t fall for the ‘injured donkey lying in the road’ trick.  Asjas and Jafta, neddy dit nie!

Around the corner I had to do a quick refill of petrol and I was joined by an amused group of youngsters.  English was spoken, Sepedi was heard, but all that was understood was the rhythm of an out of tjune dance.  TICK 4!

I was nearing point A again but had one last to-do thing.  There was a cobbling river and I was dying to dunk my sweaty GREEN St. Patrick’s butt in the clear stream while sipping on the last luke warm tequila in my hipflask.  TICK 5!

Nearing Secunda, the land where artificial clouds are spewed from concrete chimneys, I smiled as I knew… I had this one in the bag!

What a Voorreg!

All Safely Back in Secunda!


After everybody had a quick spoel in the showers, Roschalle and Andrzej spoiled us with a braai at their home, setting the stage for the final reckoning of the adventure. With anticipation mounting, we gathered around, each clutching our respective bankies, ready to unveil the results.  Drums were rolling (even though it was just a generator in the distance)!


Ettas, ever the frugal adventurer, proudly revealed that he had managed to hold onto R80, earning him the honourable last spot in the competition.


Next came the closely contested second and third places, with only a jingling of R7-80’s coins difference between them. Vince celebrated his resourcefulness with R437-80 left, securing him the second spot, just ahead of Chikita, who trailed closely behind with R430 remaining in her banky.


But the moment of truth arrived when it was Skinny's turn to reveal her tally.  As she meticulously counted out the bills, the tension in the air was palpable.  With each note laid out, it became increasingly clear that something extraordinary was unfolding.  To everybody’s disbelief, Skinny proudly announced a staggering total of R1,400!



Amidst the incredulous murmurs and astonished glances exchanged between them, the truth emerged: Skinny had managed to achieve this feat by spending only R100 on four litres of petrol.  But… the dronkies at Roedtan hotel organized a generous fund raiser for her because…



Our existence is a tapestry of unexpected encounters and accidental discoveries.  You are lost then found; you find the light just before it goes dark; you go here, then there and back again.  You aim wester than west, easter than east, cause north brings you nowhere and south is but a rabbit hole.  Wherever you decide to go, just remember that direction is but a point in the sky, an ever-changing constellation guiding us towards our next great adventure.


Enjoy the ride!


Four bikers in four different directions with four very different adventures.  One escaped urban life, seeking solace in the wilderness.  Another searched out the vibrant nightlife and partied till he dropped.  Meanwhile, a third reunited with old friends, reliving the stoutgat days of their youth.  And then there was the one who encountered a whole new town and its eclectic cast of characters.  Watch and see what we discovered… and what we left behind.

Video produced by Jolandi Mentz (15 Mar 2024)


Sponsored by Daniel Mulder Distributors (DMD)

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"Perhaps it's time to enroll this bunch in economics classes," Skinny remarked wryly, surveying the aftermath of their spending spree.  "In the meantime, I'll have to find a sugar daddy to replenish all the tching this lot managed to blow in just a day.  Position to be advertised soon."

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Skinny & Chikita

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