Word Riders Day 6

On this last day of the tour our group went back to Aliwal North to visit another 3 schools.  On this day I only took this one photo, an old train station was also converted into a school… so I decided to take a photo of some power…


I have experienced some braking problems the last couple of days. So after finishing our three school visits, a Bloemfontein Rider, me and one of the funniest men on tour left for the Free State Capital. We had an appointment with Safari 4×4 in Bloem, who also specializes in Adventure Bikes. The  funny one- not a pastor…


Photo: Gerard Genis... selfie?

His R1200 GS had some computer problems, and he had to go off to the BMW dealer to try and sort it out. IT also transpired that my front brake pads have gone… and they only had pads for a 2002 onwards model R1150 GS. They were extremely helpfull and phoned every possible shop in the city. But no one in the whole of Bloemfontein had any in stock. The BMW dealership said if they did have any, it would cost R1170 a set (around R12 to the US dollar…) and my bike has two sets in front… bummer…

I had to ride to the evening’s accomodation with only rear brakes still working. My wife has ridden in the backup vehicle the whole day, as I would never endanger her safety on a faulty bike. The next day some of the Gauteng riders phoned an adventure bike shop in Edenvale near the OR Tambo Airport, and they did have stock at R350 a set… My yellow bike went on the trailer back home the next day. I finished the Tour on my blue R850 Roadster, that I have lend/ borrowed ( can never remember the right word here…) to a Cape Town Rider. The Cape people have left the following morning down South in a Bible Society Vito, and my blue bike would have gone o  the trailer. SO… slower way home, but I got there in the end…

The evening of Day 6 we stayed over at Bain’s Game Lodge, also excellent accomodation. We had a wonderful final evening provided by the Free State Bible Society. There we said all our thank you’s and goodbyes. We told our war stories of falls and funny moments, snoring champions and touching moments on the tour..

The next morning we all departed from Bloemfontein in Central South Africa to all the directions on the compass, each heading home…

It was a wonderfull tour again. We visited 74 schools, distributing almost 5000 Bibles, giving each school also some Dept Education materials needed.  We travelled almost 3000 km since leaving home. We visited schools in a spirit of friendship and love, not with hate and guns like Al Shabaab in Kenya… We worked with local churches to help uplift the communities, give hope, even entertained. 

I did not take good photos on this tour, all of them were just quick snaps with my cellphone. The tour did have some excellent photographers recording all the magic moments. In a few weeks time we will receive a DVD with all their photos, and I will share some of their photos with their permission then.

Thanks for following this Tour!

Word Riders Day 5

After the very long day 4 we had a short and relaxing day 5.We went on to Venterstad, where a good friend of mine was a pastor many years ago. I took a photo of the small church and sent it to him via Whatsapp.


It is one of the small towns of South Africa just slowly fading away…


This town really has a huge problem with poverty, alcohol abuse and all relating problems. But thekids at school still have hope and big dreams of becoming lawyers and doctors…

We went on to Burgersdorp, where all the single riders for the trip stayed over in the haunted Jubilee Hotel…


We asked the next morning, but the worst paranormal activity they encountered was the snoring of some Riders.  Meanwhile, the married couples on tour stayed over at the Zetana Guesthouse, and that was excellent accomodation indeed!

Burgersdorp is still a beautiful little town. My wife and I found a delightful little coffee shop.


we had time for a cup of java…


Before we headed to get our group photo taken on the old Dutch Reformed Church steps in town.


it really is a beautiful church!


Photo by Hans de Waal

Some more if the colourful people of the Word Rider  tour – our Drug Dealers,  or Pharmacists Francois and Hanri, usually found on a BMW R 1200GS.


Photo by Wernich Swart

From my own church, the eldest Rider this year, but not the slowest by far- Burger on his Harley Sportster…


And the youngest Rider was Hanna, riding
With her mother Alet on an automatic Honda NC 750…


I would rather not tell about me joining the club on this day by dropping my bike in a parking lot on the Gariep Dam wall… damn side stand on the dam wall…

Word Riders 2015 Day 4

We departed from Barkley East at 07h00. And what a magicaL ride it was out on the road to Elliot. We could not stop and take photos, but the images remain vivid in my mind. It has rained through the night, but the sky was mostly clear and blue. It was cool with no wind blowing at that stage. IT looked like riding through a postcard! The autumn colours in this region are spectacular, and the road winds through some sand stone hills. In near silence our group rode on, mirroring each other’s lines through the curves and bends. One of those extremely rare, just perfect rides! I am so glsd my wife was with me on this ride!

It could not last… a bit later on the road got dangerous with potholes everywhere. A mighty wind also started blowing near the town of Indwe we had to lean at an angle that felt like 30 degrees into the wind. Quite scary!

Our group visited three schools in the Indwe region.


Afterwards we went on through Dordrecht to our final destination at the Gariep Dam.


It was a long day in the saddle, more than 400 km. It was also an eventful day with some falls in one of the other groups. A rider on the big BMW 1600GT had a fall, we initially thought he has just broken his collar bone. But it later turned out that he has also broken some ribs, puncturing his lung. He was operated on yesterday, and is recuperating well… The other yellow BMW R1150 GS also took a slight tumble on a wet piece of lawn, but no injuries or damage to the bike resulted.

That evening we as a group was really tired. We had dinner at a beautiful lodge alongside the Orange River.


Me and the owner of the other yellow GS offered to help people joining our Yellow BMW club…


We would have resprayed their bikes for a small donation for materials used- special tour price. Unfortunately there was no takers, and our business floundered before it got started.


Some of the characters on tour- Clive on his Brick…

I will share some more tomorrow…

Word Riders 2015- a little bit more of the story…

Apologies to all my faithful readers- it might have seemed as if I have dropped off the face of the earth… it felt like that!

We had a wonderful ride through a beautiful part of South Africa. But I experienced serious connectivity problems. You see, I forgot my new tab’s pin number! And I just did not find any wifi hotspots along the way, this is rural Africa, remember!

We stayed over at Aliwal North when we last talked. ON Day 3 we visited a few schools around Aliwal North. We had wonderful times meeting with the kids. But the poverty and alcohol abuse in this region is so sad to see.  The local people caring for this community worries that almost half the children suffer from the effects of Fetal Alcoholism Syndrome… and that is really scary!

After spending the morning in Aliwal North we found our way to Barkley East via the scenic little town of  Lady Grey.  WE had an amazing ride through the curves of Barkley Pass, past our country’s only skiing resort- Tiffendell. We arrived at Barkley East in the afternoon, and then had a nice hamburger lunch at this establishmemt…


IT was a bit of a struggle to get there! It is just outside Barkley East on the road to Rhodes. But it is a steep downhill gravel road. And after the rain of the past few days it was so slippery. One Harley went down… And still it kept on raining… but such beautiful countryside!

After lunch we were allocated to guest families for the night. My wife and I spent the night in the parsonage of the local Dutch Reformed Church,  where we were treated with great hospitality. We went for a walk to see the whole town, and after five minutes returned for an afternoon nap…

That evening the church gave us a wonderful barbeque (Braai!)
They supplied a lot of mutton chops,  very good dining indeed!  After an exciting day we retreated to bed to end Day 3 of the Tour… With all the rain I really did not take many photos. I will get some from my fellow Word Riders and share with you as I get it…

Word Riders Day 2- Lesotho

We had an early rise this morning, as we had to be at the border post at  Maseru at 07h00. It felt so good leaving South Africa behind, and crossing into Lesotho for the first time.

We had to wait for an official traffic escort, which duly arrived on a Suzuki V Strom with a rather flat front tyre. But this dude can ride, and with his flashing blue lights and blaring siren escorted us safely through Maseru to our first school.

One thing that was really impressing is how friendly and relaxed the people of Lesotho are. Their school pupils look very well behaved. And in each school the children sang for us. School buildings might be a bit dilapidated, but the children are amazing.


We heard primary schools in a rural setting, in shabby buildings, singing complicated choir music in 4 different tones. We heard music that would be very well received in the best cathedrals and concert halls. These Lesotho children have a very good ear for music!


We visited three schools in pouring rain, and then exited Lesotho again at Wepener. This is a very sad looking dying town in the eastern Free State. We rode on  to Rouxville where we had our first thing to eat and drink at the delightful Country Cousin restaurant.


Being soaking wet, that hamburger and chips and coffee tasted heavenly. We rode about 280 km today in the rain. My wife did it with me without any complaints! What a woman!


Tonight we are staying in Aliwal North, and we are having supper at the DRC again, our church really knows a lot about hospitality towards weary strangers! They have been busy for hours making Potjiekos, food prepared in a huge threelegged cast iron pot. We who love Potjiekos would vehemently disagree that it could also be called a Stew… It is a Potjie…

Now we are trying to get our riding gear dry…


Word Riders 2015 Day 1


Technically that would be yesterday. Day 1 that is..
Yesterday morning we left home at 07h00. We rode to Kempton Park, where our country’s largest airport is. But we are not flying with wings, The northerm  riders rode together from Kempton Park. Near Heilbron we went through a terrifying electrical storm, with a lot of rain pouring dowm. Anyway, all the Word Riders came together at Bethlehem, the main town of the Eastern Free State. We had a lovely stay at The Lofts in Bethlehem. Supper was at the Bethlehem North Dutch Reformed Church. They managed a barbeque in pouring rain, and gave us an excellent meal!

This morning our group split up and visited 5 churches in the region. I had the honor of preaching at Bethlehem Effrata DRC.  Psalm 107 was used as my Scripture reading.

Afterwards we drove the 37 km to the scenic town of Clarens, a place so beautiful that Brad Pitt owned a house there. The photo above is on the outskirts of town. The road behind leads to our South African Golden Gate,  where 25 years ago my wife and I began our honeymoon on 31 March. Yip- silver anniversary coming up!

After an excellent Roti lunch provided by the DRC Clarens, we drove over some bad tar roads but through beautiful countryside to Ladybrand, where we are staying at the Cranberry Cottage. Another excellent place to stay!

Tomorrow morning we are doing another first for  me. A group of us are entering the country of Lesotho, going to the capital of Maseru. We are visiting some schools around the capital tomorrow morning. The weatherman predicts rain…

WE are having a lot of fun so far on this tour, and have done nearly 700 km since leaving home yesterday.

I dont get much chance to stop and take photos yet… will try to get some from the support team to share later on.  But now it is time for bed, we have to cross an international border at 7 tomorrow morning. It feels so strange to know we are sleeping just 13 km away from a totally different country’s capital tonight. I am so looking forward to finally get a Lesotho stamp in my passport!

Thanks for reading along!

You can also have a look at wordriders.wordpress.com  for more info on our tour.

PS. i have written this post last night after taking a sleeping pill. I did not post it then, you would have laughed at the last paragraph before I fell asleep. Edited and posted now…


Preparing for the next Word Rider tour….

ON Saturday morning my wife and I, with a lot of friends on 44 bikes, are leaving on this year’s Word Rider tour. This year we are visiting the Eastern Free State and Eastern Cape provinces.

I am really looking forward to this year’s tour! The autumn colors in the mountain ranges around there are breathtakingly beautiful in March. 

We are starting in Bethlehem on Saturday. I will keep you posted as we ride along…

So this week, in between normal duty, I snatch a few moments to start cleaning my bike, and packing our luggage.  This part of the journey is already exciting!


What a weekend! A ride with some Word Riders of 2014

This weekend I went to the capital city of our state in South Africa. Polokwane, previously known as Pietersburg. Earlier in the year a lot of us Christian bike riders went with the Bible Society on the Word Riders 2014 tour to the Southern CApe Province.  Six people of the Pietersburg East Congregation went with us. And this Sunday was their feedback day to their church members. So a lot of us decided to go there and enjoy it with them.

They also invited the provincial branch of the Christian Motorcyclist Assosiasion to the service. We were a lot of bikers together!

Yes, we did see the sign… were instructed to park there…

The Word RIders is like a huge family, caring for each other and supporting each other. One guy- Albert, heard about our trip. He lives in the Paarl in the Cape Province- 1650 km south from my town. He booked a plane ticket to come and join us in our church service- that says a lot- Polokwane is nearly 2000 km from his home! Here is Albert:

Albert is a Graphic Designer. He has a HUGE Yamaha Cruiser, that was baptised “Block of Flats” on the Word Rider Tour. It has the distinction of really doing (I kid you not) only 6 km per liter of petrol…

The Church service was very moving with some really good music. Our Word Rider colleague had an amazing sermon and the testimonies of Word Riders and CMA Riders were uplifting. After church not a single burnout or doughnut were left on the church parking lot…

A bit more about the weekend: We arrived Saturday at Karumba Lodge in Polokwane, where one of the church members have sponsored our stay.  The friends from Polokwane really treated us well- thanks guys! That was awesome!  We arrived in time for the second half of the rugby game of South Africa versus Wales- what a sorry match that was.  It was very cold on the way to Polokwane, and we had an amazing time at the Lodge.

But it was very cold… now I have the mother of all sore throats. I guess my immunity system took a battering last week. And today I have to go to our Church’ annual “RIng” meeting, where a lot of pastors will be on a game farm tonight, and tomorrow in a very long all day meeting at Ellisras (sometimes now known as Lephalale) Tonight we will sit around a camp fire, with some enamel mugs in our hands, probably filled with some communion wine, and we will tell stories and dream big dreams. More about that later in the week.

Enjoy your week, and do everything you do with passion and guts!

PS- Here is Albert in action on Block of Flats…

The end of Word Riders 2014 for me…


This morning we had a final session at a school in Bredasdorp. Most of the group continue until tomorrow. But I had to leave with some friends to get my motorbike on the trailer north…

I had an amazing time! Last Saturday a few old friends from last year’s Word Riders, and a lot of new strangers came together at the Bible House in Bellville. We rode nearly 2000 km together, and visited 61 schools, giving out 3200 Bibles.  Most of the schools we visited are in rural areas, where the social needs are many, the alcohol abuse and other evils abound.

Strangers became good friends, and we had an amazing ride! In total since leaving home I rode about 4000 km. This morning, from Struisbaai to Sir Lowry’s Pass was an amazing ride, really one to put on a to do list of Biking routes in South Africa. The ride through Cape Town’s industrial areas were not that great… So: why do we do it?

We ride to these areas, in partnership with local churches all the way, to bring hope and love to communities in need. The church and Christianity has a bad name in some peoples eyes, and I know sometimes it is deservedly so. But there is also another side that is not often mentioned. In South Africa the churches are the biggest role players in social upliftment, and material help to hungry people. The churches also brought most universities and hospitals into being in the 1800’s in our country, and still plays a huge role in education in rural areas.

We rode to bring hope and help. To people like them:


And to him, and his friends:


May the children of South Africa have love, life and peace! Every one of them!

Thanks for reading!

Word Riders Day 6


This morning started with a beautiful sunrise over Hartenbos. Then we had quite a cool ride over the Garden Route, visiting schools in Riversdale, Swellendam and finally Struisbaai.

The ride and the day was quite hectic so no photos of that.

But when we arrived at Struisbaai, we just HAD to do it! Take a photo at the southernmost point of the African continent.


Ewan Mc Gregor and Charley Boorman also stood here at the end of Long Way Down…

And now we are sitting at the harbout in Struisbaai, having a cold one at nearly the end of the day.


The end of the Word Rider tour is officially ending on Saturday at Bible House in Bellville. But my bike has to go on a trailer north tomorrow, so my tour ends tonight. Tomorrow I am staying over at old friends, but I will be without any wheels. So sorry if I miss you on this trip, all my Cape Friends.

Thanks for following this tour with me!


The fishing boats are coming in with a catch of nearly 2 tons of yellowtail… wish we could buy one and grill it on the coals, we have a date at a restaurant…