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« on: February 20, 2011, 10:09:29 PM »

This is a report with a difference, a report of firsts!

This is my first report featuring a road bike. And not just any road bike - a Harley-Davidson.



I was invited to join the Breede River Chapter of H.O.G. at the Route 62 Rally in Oudtshoorn.  H.O.G. (the Harley Owners Group) is the world's largest motorcycle club boasting more than 1 000 000 members world-wide.

This was my first time riding a Harley and on top of that also my first Rally, although I am sure that there is a difference between the Harley Rally and other Rallies around the country.

Now I have never been one for Rallies, but the opportunity to ride a brand new Harley and get a first hand experience of what makes this group of motorcyclists tick was too good to pass up. Besides, I believe that if you approach things in life with an open mind you might just broaden your horizons.

So without further delay I introduce my steed for this ride: The 2011 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy.



The Fat Boy is a 1584cc Air cooled V-Twin sporting 125Nm of torque. It belongs to the Softail family, a line of motorcycles known for its hardtail look with hidden rear suspension. When this model was introduced in 1990 it was to be the "weapon" the American Motorcycle Company would use to wrestle back the market share the Japanese brands had at the time. To this end Harley-Davidson named the Fat Boy after Little Boy and Fat Man, the two atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively.

It was destined from the start to become a Collector's item among biking enthusiasts and the Fat Boy has reached iconic status since. In the movie "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," Arnold Schwarzenegger rides around Los Angeles on the original Fat Boy model. Other films that feature the Fat Boy include "Wild Hogs," "Bulworth" and "Renegade."

What an absolute privilege it is to have this iconic bike for this ride. It was generously made available by Harley-Davidson Tyger Valley. Feel free to visit their website:




So with all the formalities out of the way, here it is: A Rookie's Rally. This is going to be one hell of a ride!

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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2011, 10:11:26 PM »

The Route 62 Rally is the annual Rally organized by the H.O.G. Cape Town Chapter. It has been held in Oudtsoorn for the last couple of years, but rumour has it that this was the last Route 62 Rally to be held at this venue.




We start our ride with the the Breede River H.O.G. Chapter in Worcester and will follow the Route 62 to the site of the Route 62 Rally - Oudtshoorn - a ride of 311km.

Route 62 is modeled after the iconic US Route 66, made famous by the Nat King Cole song in 1946, that runs from Chicago to California. In South Africa Route 62 spans 850km from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and offers a better, more scenic alternative to the N2 motorway.


(Map from this website)

It meanders through Worcester, by way of the Breede River Valley, through Robertson, Ashton and Montagu, to the Klein Karoo and beyond.

And what better way to ride a route modelled after Route 66 than on a Harley-Davidson?

Not only does this road follow winding and spectacular mountain passes, it's also reputed to be the longest wine route in the world:


(Map from this website)

As it happens, this wine route map details the exact part of Route 62 - Worcester to Oudtshoorn - we'd be riding today.

So with Head HOG Hennie making sure the chapter's colours are packed, we hit the road to nearby Robertson for breakfast.



This was my first experience of the Harley "pack riding" and I made sure that I got in no-one's way nor made any erratic movements, but in the end my worries were unfounded as the Pack Riding thing is not really different to the way we do it, albeit in a lot closer proximity than what we do on gravel. Some logical hand signals are used to warn riders of any road hazards and everybody signals from the front to the back. Great care is taken to ensure the safety of the less experienced riders in the group.

After about 50km of pack riding we stop at Bourbon Street for breakfast.



This restaurant has seating right on the street and all the time we see more and more Harley's heading past, contributing to the already festive mood in the group. Everything points to an excellent weekend ahead.



Lots of chit-chat and laughter and some energy drinks for the road:



On the way here I quickly realized that riding in the pack in close proximity to other riders is not going to be conducive to me taking a lot of pictures, so I use the time here at Bourbon Street to talk to the leader and sweeper about getting out out of the group for photo opportunities. A Ride Report will just not be a Ride Report without pictures. And just like that I am set free to ride ahead / fall behind as the need arises and simply joining the rear of pack in front of the sweeper when I catch up again.

And so we hit the road again riding through Ashton to the interesting rock formations of Cogmanskloof just outside of Montagu.



Hennie leading the pack of his Harley XR1200. This is the same Harley that joined us on our recent Moordenaarskloof trip.



Cruising on the winding R62 on my Harley-Davidson Fat Boy. The feeling of this trip was really starting to sink in by now and I was thoroughly enjoying the new experience.



Next stop - the famous Karoo Saloon - a popular Biker's stop about 20km from Barrydale:



This was turning out to be a very social ride. And what a nice group of people I happened to be in!

I don't know what this guy died of...



...but around here it wasn't of thirst.

Hitting the road towards Barrydale - we weren't in a hurry at all, but Route 62 has many more biker stops to stop at.



My favourite stop: The Country Pumpkin in Barrydale. I have stopped here many times before - their biltong pizza is to die for.



And it was clear that it is not only my favourite stop as lots of Harleys decided to stop here. All along the route the festival atmosphere was almost tangible, with lots of Harleys riding and stopping all over, smiles and greetings everywhere.



More Route 62:



"My" Harley. I was getting used to this beast.



And the highway pegs are great. I wonder if I could attach some to my TransAlp somehow...

This day was seriously heating up and the leather clothing was not helping. Luckily our next stop - Ronnie's Sex Shop - was only 22km outside of Barrydale.



Route 62 is a real biker's route with bike stops scattered all along the route. I have stopped at most of these bike stops before, but always in passing while on the various gravel routes in the area, so "doing the Route" was a first.

Ronnie's is well known for the woman's underwear hanging from the ceiling:



As it turns out we got there a bit late because a new item was added earlier today:



You could keep busy here for hours reading all the graffiti and stuff.



Harley on gravel - could this work? I wonder...



Hennie, known as Horsepower among the Wild Dogs, getting on the gravel for a bit on the way to Ladismith.



It's easy to spot us Dual Sport riders, especially in a group of road bikers.

Heading towards Ladismith for fuel - notice the thunder clouds forming promising some respite from the heat.



Next up Huis river Pass en route to Calitzdorp:



The name Huis River Pass is derived from the Khoi word for "Willow Tree". Around 1882 this route was identified as an alternative to the older route "Caledon Kloof", a truly frightning pass at the time. The Huis River Pass was improved again in 1950 and today it ranks as one of the scenic passes in die Cape Province.





Gentle twisties - a cruiser's dream.



Last stop before our destination - Neverbetter in Calitzdorp.



Regular readers of this blog will remember this from Kermit's recent ride report. This time we didn't play on the Play Station though.





Finally, after spending the whole day on the road, we rode into the Rally site in Oudtshoorn for registration.





For some reason I have no pics after this...

The Rally only starts tomorrow but we've had a good head start. We have plans for an out-ride over Outeniqua Pass to George tomorrow before we rejoin the rally for some proper partying. If today was anything to go by this was going to be one hell of a weekend.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 06:40:34 AM by Trailrider » Logged

“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2011, 09:38:21 AM »

Friday morning and I rise early to get some nice pics of the Fat Boy in the softer light. I am reviewing this bike for the paper and I have some good ideas of where I want to photograph it, one of those places being on Outeniqua Pass with the view over George all the way to the ocean.

I head out solo and ahead of the group planning to join up with them later when they catch up to me in George.

It's a glorious day and cruising out in the early morning fresh air is what this bike was made for. Riding out of Oudtshoorn you gear up to 6th gear, put your feet forward on the highway pegs and sit back and enjoy the scenery while the massive torque of this 1600 engine does it's thing effortlessly. I roll through the Klein Karoo and past the Hops plantations in Waboomskraal not wanting to stop. Not even for a photo. That I'll do on Outeniqua pass.

I don't think I've written much about Outeniqua Pass before. I usually find myself crossing the Outeniqua mountain range via Montagu Pass.

Construction of the Outeniqua Pass began in 1942 with Italian POW's. This was a time when most of South Africa's road engineers were up North helping in the war effort.

I approach the summit from the Northern side and sudden realize as I cross it that my scenery photo might not work...



It's totally QBI

Ah well, no use telling you about Outeniqua Pass if there are no photos.

I cruise down the mountain and to my delight I break out under the clouds as I approach George. There might be some hope of photographing this bike around here yet. The first opportunity presenting itself at Hersham:



Great Brak River:



I also use this time to show the bike to my wife (who incidentally likes it and found the pillion seat very comfortable) and the Southern Cape Wild Dogs. There were some good humoured chirping about the cruiser and leathers but I could see that most would not mind having one of these bikes in the garage as well. It's a cool bike.



After all, the best bike to have is 5 bikes. Or make that 7.

Trailrider
Hogrider:



Around here anything with 2 wheels is welcomed.



It was also around this time I found out that the Breede H.O.G. group is not headed to George any more. They had some liquid refreshment, and then some more, and by now they're not getting on to two wheels.

It's a Rally. It happens.

I say my goodbyes in George and head back over the mountain. By now even more Harleys have arrived in Oudshoorn and there are some fantastic examples among them. They come in all shapes and sizes with a myriad of extras and some exquisite paint jobs.

With a Harley it's all in the detail.















This is a Harley-Davidson Rocker:



I really really liked this bike. If I had to choose one it would have been this one. It's all in the look.

This Harley was interesting too. Check out the jerrycan:



And the custom chopper called "Thunderstruck". What a beaut!



Another thing I noticed is the amount of women riding Harleys. In the different groups of bikers I have moved in the Harley group definitely has a bigger percentage of women.



That evening we had a nice braai at 88BvR, the chapter's HQ for the rally...





...before moving over to the Rally site.



No more pics were taken tonight.

But of those pics "not taken" I just have to include this cool pic - Hennie & Milady:



What a cool bunch of people.
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2011, 09:46:34 AM »

Baie nice Hogrider  Loco
Sal seker so iets doen as ek 60 word en grys is. Hope
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2011, 09:48:59 AM »

Voor jy begin met grys, ek sal nog fotos post van daai HD Muscle bike Shocked

Jy moet brass b@lls he om daai bike oop te maak in eerste glo my...

Res van die RR volg nou-nou.
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2011, 09:53:07 AM »

Saturday morning. Today has a full program.



We stayed various places in town, but Head H.O.G. Honcho Hennie and some other chapter members stayed here at 88BvR.



It's central and right next to the Rally site so it made a perfect HQ for the chapter. We had some breakfast as people started to gather for the mass ride.





If you like "people watching" this was a good place to be.



I estimate that between 400 & 500 Harleys gathered for this mass ride and believe me, when this bunch started up it was quite an experience. If you ever have the opportunity to experience something like this don't miss it!



Some in ride shots:





Doesn't matter what kind of biker you are, it's impossible not to like riding in a group like this once in a while. We cruised through town, the streets lined with kids and adults alike, smiling, waving, taking photos.







After the mass ride most people headed to the Rally site, but our chapter decided to do an out-ride to Meiringspoort to go swim under the waterfall.

Once again I rode ahead to do the photo thing. My Harley in the shade, escaping from the extreme heat:



Cruising through the twisties of Meiringspoort:







Time for a swim! There's a walk along a path to the waterfall and pool. It was constructed in the 1920's so that the Prince of Wales, later the Duke of Windsor, could walk up to see the bottomless pool where the Watermeid (Karoo mermaid) dwells.



There have been several drownings at this spot over the years and a lot of those have been attributed to the Watermeid. The rider's weren't deterred by that today though. The heat won.





See how high this guy jumped!



Legend had it that the pool is bottomless, but it proved to be a myth when, in 1987, a team of divers established the depth at 9m.





After the swim everybody started heading back, but I headed North through the rest of Meiringspoort for some more photos. In Klaarstroom I hoped to find a shop and some cool drink, but this is a one horse town.



This B&B had a sign out welcoming Harleys so I stopped.





Some Orange juice with ice and a bunch of cold grapes cooled me down before I hit the road once again.



The 16 kilometres of Meiringspoort was constructed in 223 work days, crossing the river 21 times. It was officially opened on 3 March 1858. It has been destroyed by floods many times with the last major rebuild in 2000.

This poort truly is a pleasure to ride.



I just realized once again that the best way to experience this poort must be on a motorcycle. You feel the elements, you become part of the experience.



Back at the Rally site people were getting ready to party. Some pics of the stalls selling food and various other goods and services.



The party tent:



Unlike the previous evening I took a lot of photos tonight. Party time!!!







Party people:









My mate Willie with the cool HD Rocker.



The girls:



This was one hell of a party...



...and a good way to end the Rally.

But this Ride Report ain't over till the Fat Boy sings...
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2011, 09:56:31 AM »


Sal seker so iets doen as ek 60 word en grys is. Hope


So grys soos die girls hier bo? Little Devil
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2011, 09:57:24 AM »

Nice one TR! - looking forward to the rest  Smile

That pic of Hennie standing on his bike on the gravel makes the XR1200 look really small!
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 10:00:40 AM by letsgofishing » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2011, 10:01:42 AM »

Sunday morning and we rise early to get an early start. We're heading home today the long way round - via George and Riversdal and then heading back inland to avoid the roadworks on the N2.

This will also be the morning I photograph the Fat Boy on Outeniqua Pass with the view over George and all the way to the ocean.



So, Outeniqua Pass, where were we?

This pass was built as an alternative to the historic Montagu Pass, but with easier gradients and turns to cater for modern traffic. The original plans included two short tunnels, but in the end the pass was built over this neck, 60 meters higher than the originally planned summit, eliminating the need for tunnels.

Outeniqua Pass was officially opened by the then Minister of Transport, Paul Sauer, on 20 September 1951.



And my photo with the view:



I guess it just was not meant to be.

A quick refill before we hit the road!





Willie and I. Some people thought we might be brothers. I wonder why?



From Riversdal we head North back into the Klein Karoo over the Garcia Pass.



The Garcia Pass was built by Thomas Bain after he finished building the Tradouw Pass. It was opened on 31 December 1877 and named after Maurice Garcia, the Magistrate and Civil Commissioner in Riversdal at the time.



The pass crosses the Langeberg through the Goukou river gorge and connects Riversdale to Ladismith.

Riding over the Langeberg and back into the Klein Karoo heat:



We stop at Ronnie's for lunch where we see these restored beauties. They were participants in the Old Motor Show in George over the weekend.



A quick lunch and we hit the road again.



On the way home we said our goodbyes as every so often someone peeled off the group to head home. I still had to return my Harley to Tyger Valley Harley and in doing so I had to ride through the Du Toit's Kloof Tunnel. It was in this 3.9km tunnel that I geared down and finally heard it - the Fat Boy sang! And what a sound. No wonder Harley-Davidson wanted to register it as a trademark.

So what is my verdict about Rallies, Harleys and such?

Well, it is said that with a Harley it's not just about the bike, it's about the lifestyle. And it's quite a lifestyle. The Harley owners thoroughly immerse themselves in it. It's fun and funky and friendly and it's something that couples can do together. Harley (through H.O.G.) has all but perfected it and no other lifestyle brand in biking comes close to it.

Lot's of people have lots to say on the subject. When I mentioned I was going on a Harley trip I got my fair share of chirping. It seems it's one of those love it / hate it kind of things. I guess a passionate bike will trigger a passionate response. All I can say is don't knock it till you've tried it. You might just be surprised. I know I was. And that's quite something coming from a gravel traveller.

If I had the opportunity to do it again I'd would jump at it. Don't knock it till you've tried it.

Thanks to every single person that made my first Harley-Davidson Rally an event to remember.


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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2011, 10:21:37 AM »

Would like to hear their opinions on ATGATT -  see lots of folks riding in jeans, t-shirts and waistcoats!
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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2011, 10:23:18 AM »

Nice report as usual.  Such a big crowd would be intimidating to me.

800cc DS bikes started with BMW & now Triumph has one.  It seems to me that the 800cc V-twin Harley motor could make a pretty decent DS bike.  A bit heavy I expect so more gravel highway oriented but still a real prospect.  800cc seems a really appropriate engine size for a lot of what we do.
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2011, 10:26:35 AM »

Would like to hear their opinions on ATGATT -  see lots of folks riding in jeans, t-shirts and waistcoats!

Nope, not big on ATGATT at all in general. You do see ATGATT with some people though. Our group even had one girl with a Leatt. Another factor was the heat. You would die in leathers. Cheesy
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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2011, 01:28:27 PM »

 A1  Baie lekker, Dankie
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« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2011, 05:17:13 PM »

Great report TR. Didn't all the tar get to you ?
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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2011, 05:25:25 PM »

Only once. We crossed Garcia pass and we were going to have lunch at Ronnie's. Just over Garcia you can hook a left on gravel and Ronnie's is just down the road, but this time we had to ride almost all the way to Ladismith and and back to Ronnie's on the R62. A detour of 50km if I have to venture a guess.

That was the only time. Grin
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« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2011, 07:36:30 AM »

Seker 'n lekker ondervinding gewees, al was dit op die 'road most travelled',  bly jy het toe darem mooi fotos van die mass ride gekry   A1
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