Height- Ailsa’s Weekly Travel Theme

Earlier in the year I blogged about our Bike Trip with the South African Bible Society. One of the beautiful places in South Africa is at Blyderivierspoort in Mpumalanga. These hills are called the Three Rondavels (A Rondavel is a round hut with a pointy thatch roof, as seen in Southern Africa…)

It was just marvelous to watch the sunrise lighting up the scene, and this photo doesn’t even begin to capture the magnificence of this place:



This photo by Leon from the Babel Sosatie… 🙂

Travel theme: Height

Posted on October 4, 2013
  • Create your own post and title it Travel theme: High
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday

So swing into high gear and show me your highest highs!

xxx Ailsa

“Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.” – Robert Frost

“Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.” – Dag Hammaraskjold

Word Riders 2013 Day 8- All’s well that ends well…

Last night, there around the Potjie at the Round Church of Secunda, we had some mixed emotion. On the one side there was immense relief, after a hard day on the bike, to be warm safe and being well fed by these lovely people. On the other hand: a bit of worry. The accuweather app on our cellphones told us: 100% chance of rain, extreme thunder showers  for today.

After we left there, we went to the kind people who hosted us for the night.  They did their best to make it a good experience, and it was! But the whole time we were intensely aware of the rain beating down on the roof.

This morning: guess what- the weather app was accurate for a change! It rained… sometimes heavily. It the rain we packed our bikes, this time with all our luggage, as we would ride on from Kempton Park.

We gathered at the Philadelphia Baptist Church, and these guys gave us coffee and “beskuit”- some rusks that is big in South Africa.  You dip in in your coffee…

We said our goodbyes to each other- we really became close friends over this week we shared the sun, the wind, the rain, the gospel, the jokes…  And then we took on the road for the last time- on the N17 tollway to Johannesburg. I hate South African tollgates! We pay exactly the same fare as when I drive with my fully loaded pickup, with my fully loaded caravan. 300 kg vs 3000 kg on the road, the same fee… come on…!  It is also so bad, in the rain, to get your gloves off, fish out your money, hand it over, put back your purse, struggle to get the soaking wet glove back on, and then not get run over by the irritated motorist who is sitting in his nice hot car, listening to awful music on his stereo system. And he pays the same as me!

It was really beating down hard all the way. This is biking at it’s worst. You never feel safe, You have to keep the safety cocoon around you much bigger than usual- braking distance and idiot factor with taxi’s and cars around you.

We diverted from the group at the OR Tambo International Airport. Drove on to Pretoria, soaked to the skin. The wind-chill factor being wet on a bike on a cold day… We stopped at Pretoria, and I was shivering. We had a quick cup of coffee. And then we hit the road hard to get home-  As fast as safely possible.

It may sound if I am complaining. I am not. This was still a day on a bike, much better than the normal guy’s day at the office.

When I got home, my wife and kids were so happy to see me in one piece again. I immediately had a long nice hot bath, and then a warm meal- it felt like a long, long time since that coffee and rusks in Secunda!

The journey has ended- we arrived home safely. Some of the group is riding down to MArgate in this rain, and I pray that they get home safe. Others to Lichtenburg, Bloemfontein…  we came from all over the country.

I enjoyed this journey a lot. Thanks to all the good people at the South African Babel Sosatie (Bible Society- the kids at some schools pronounced it sounding in Afrikaans like a Babilon Kebab… 🙂 )

Just maybe I can do Word Riders 2014 in the Western Cape, God willing…

Thanks for my 3 trusted readers for following thus far.



The Soaked Rider arriving home…

Getting ready for Word Riders 2013

This Saturday I am leaving for a week long adventure with other pastors and some good people…  It is organized by the Bible Society of South Africa, and we will be visiting 31 schools along the way.

My BMW is ready for the journey… almost.

I had this doubt about my bike’s rear tire. Would it last for the journey of approx. 2000 km or not?  I have bought this bike with Michelin tires, a Tarmac in  front, and a Macadam in the rear.

This one big chain of motorcycle stores promised us a 20% discount on all stock in store, so I thought it good to go to Pretoria today, and get a new tire. But then… the manager would not budge- he only gives 7% discount on tires.  And his tires are damn expensive!

I went to my trusted supplier, and indeed, the Michelin Macadam is R700 (about $80) cheaper there than the Pilot 2 in the other store! Only one problem- out of stock… So today I had to drive around in Pretoria, because I really didn’t want to pay R1600+ for a Michelin Pilot 2 tyre.

Eventually I remembered that Silverton Midas advertises motorbike tires as well as their usual car parts. So I went there, and got a Metzeler Tourance for R1300.  I really hope this tire clings to the road in the bikers heaven of the Eastern Transvaal/ Mpumalanga province of South Africa. And I really hope I get good milage out of it, a pastor can’t afford to put such expensive tires on too regularly.  But I have learned my lessons at university. Maybe not enough of Karl Barth, but certainly that you need good rubber on your bike if you are going to test the limits…

I would love to hear other biker’s opinions, what tire you would use on a BMW R850 R (Roadster, not GS) in the tire size 150/70/17.

I still have to clean my bike properly. And I need to change the light bulb behind the speedometer, at night it is total darkness on my instrument panel. WE will not be driving at night on this trip- we have a small problem with wild animals jumping across the road at night, most notoriously the Kudu…  But it would be good to have this BMW back to a state where everything on board is actually doing it’s job.

I have heard we are a group of 31 motorbikes, some also with pillion riders… .3

Now I am really starting to get excited!

Christian friends who want to know more- here is the Word Riders blog.

Non- Christian friends- just wish us a safe journey and happy cornering… 🙂