28 February 2012, I started on a garden route trip that I started
planning over a year ago (including searching for and buying a rig,
learn how to handle it and trying to get a license). My friend Hein
was going to be my monkey for the trip, with the 2 wives in a support
vehicle. Unfortunately, he picked up a back problem and I decided
to do the trip anyway with my wife, Martie, in the support vehicle.
The idea was that she will be the monkey when we do site seeing.
spent 2 days in Clarens and Golden Gate, after which we joined the
Sidecar Convention at Clocolan. On the Sunday morning, we left for
Queenstown on the worst road in SA between Wepener and Zastron. The
next day we went to Hogsback, where we spent one night before going
down to East London.
From East London, we drove along the coast over a period of 10 days
to Somerset West, where we stayed for 3 nights and drove around the
Cape Peninsula and Chapman's Peak (which was the highlight of the
tour) as well as Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Villiersdorp and Grabouw.
We left Somerset West and went through Wellington and Ceres to Beaufort
West and via Kimberley back home.
total trip took 25 days and I did 4940km on the rig. I had absolutely
no trouble with my rig (the worst incident was a wasp that got stuck
between my helmet strap and my cheek and I got stung before I could
get rid of it). I did get some rain on 4 occasions, of which one was
really hard rain and I had to stop.
This was a trip I will never forget. I am not fond of giving a name
to a piece of steel, but after giving me such satisfaction and joy,
I think my rig deserves a name and I decided to call it Barbarossa,
which is Italian for "Red Beard". Frederick Barbarossa was
a German Holy Emperor in the 12th century and Barbarossa was also
the code name for Hitler's invasion into Russia. I think the name
is appropriate after my invasion of the garden route.
distance travelled was 4940km with an average fuel consumption of
7,2l/100km (my Mercedes C200 gave 7l/100km supporting). After about
1500km, I felt that the engine vibration was increasing. I noticed
that the oil level was low, so I topped the level up to maximum, which
reduced the vibration. I then kept the level at maximum and used about
750ml of oil over the distance.
I had to replace the rear wheel on the bike twice, as the tires were
worn (they were not new). Fortunately I took an additional new tire
and tube, which I put on after 4000km.
I noticed that the rig is much more stable (less swerving) with a
6 ply tire due to the firmer side wall. I think it is a good idea
to use a 6 ply tire on the rear wheel.
rig still has a drum brake on the front wheel. This is a real problem
going down mountain passes, as the brakes fade very quickly and I
had to use gear braking extensively.
The rig did attract a lot of attention and I had interesting conversations
with total strangers. The best comments obviously came from the people
of the Cape, who are always very fast with their wit.
Apart from the tires and brakes, I had absolutely no problems with
the rig. The riding position is also such that you do not get sore
after traveling long distances. The longest distance I did in one
day was 540km.
Written by: Frans Naude