Where my love of biking and scenery began – Cape Town, South Africa…..
I have, for years and years, gazed longingly at the open roads of the grand old US of A; the breathtaking views of Canadian outdoors and the magical winding roads of Europe - all set against a backdrop of stunning snow capped peaks or lush green pines. They all have all beckoned me and wooed me for years and years and I want to go there and see them from a motorcycle and bombard my senses.
Growing up in stunning Cape Town, I am used to the “in your face” beauty, both refined and rugged. Although the climate is Mediterranean so no snow falls except on the surrounding peaks occasionally, Cape Town still has four distinct seasons and except for a very wet mid winter, each season presents a unique experience for riders – the crisp spring mornings and evenings, the never ending dry summer days or the colourful autumn backdrops.
For a short time in Cape Town my wife and I rode motorcycles. I had a Suzuki Intruder 800cc until my wife, who started out as pillion, got her licence and claimed it and so I acquired a 750cc Suzuki GSXR and 750 Suzuki Katana. Together we learnt to ride with a group of about 6 guys and their gals who were pillion, my wife being the only brave lass to ride. Most were already bike commuters and some even raced but they never pressurised us to ride beyond our ability.
We would spontaneously arrange early morning or late evening rides so we, the only ones with kids, could set off with the kids either still fast asleep or just having been put to bed. Fortunately we had my mom living with us so we could zap out early and be home before they woke or leave after they were nicely snuggled up in bed.
Our lives were fun and exciting – an adventure of the senses! The kids enjoyed our biker friends who were mostly single, young and without kids so they doted on ours as a novelty. Our kids enjoyed being taken to and from activities on the back of dad’s bike. We did rallies with our mates and saw Cape Town as only a biker knows it – the smell of the sea or vineyards or dust as the rain starts. The overpowering beauty of Cape Town seeped into my pores as I rode along Misty Cliffs without my helmet and soaking in the misty air of the wild sea bashing off the waves, or along the most breathtaking sea views one could imagine past vibrant, white sanded beaches full of tourists.
I decided to sell my bikes after taking the longer, winding “scenic” route to work one morning and realising I had grown too comfortable with riding recklessly which is not a wise place to be with four young kids and a wife depending on me – and so began my motorbike drought and a yearning that has finally ended.
In 2003 I left Cape Town for Auckland, New Zealand and my wife and I had the sense to convert both our car and motorbike licenses. So, after 10 years here I once again bought a Suzuki 800cc Boulevard which I knew was again for my wife.
After a few practice runs in car parks and a few pillion trips behind me she was confident to start riding again, so I bought a cheap ‘n nasty Suzuki Bandit 600cc which was heaps of fun to get my confidence back and to enjoy some amazing twisties Auckland has to offer. But I wanted a newer, more reliable bike with a bit of oomph that would be comfortable out of Auckland so I have now bought my dream bike – a 2007 Suzuki Hayabusa.
Much to my delight, my closest friend in Auckland who also emigrated from Cape Town with his motorbike license, decided to take the mid-life plunge along with me and has bought himself a 2007 Suzuki M109R 1800cc Boulevard and for good measure, his wife is getting her license.
We have decided to embark on a journey of adventure as we plan to enjoy the immense and overpowering beauty that Auckland and New Zealand has become world renown for and why so many people from every corner of the globe decide to make the long trek over and then rave about it and recommend others follow suit.
Whether you simply intend to enjoy the experience from your living room or are convinced to make the journey yourself to experience what we plan to first hand, we invite you to come along for the ride! Good bikes and stunning scenery make for an eventful , hopefully memorable trip but it takes good company to create a kinship that makes every memory more special.
Thanks, and enjoy the ride…