A “Think Bike” Awareness Ride

I received an invitation from Alex, the Ryder Motorrad man who helped me spend a large chunk of cash on my BMW 1200GS LC a little while back, to join the guys and girls on a Think Bike Awareness Ride held this last weekend.
If I’m honest, I’m not a great fan of the N3 freeway that would take me from my home in Hilton, down the infamous “Town Hill” and past Pietermaritzburg all the way to Pinetown where the ride was to start. I had thought that I’d give this one a miss…
I like to think that I am a safety conscious rider and to this end felt that it would be right to make the effort and brave the wild antics that always play out on the road to the coast. Since the weather seemed ok-ish, a bit grey and no rain, I got my leg over the GS and eased onto the freeway. In the end it all went rather well, I was early on the road and the traffic that was about was playing the game!
On arrival at the Crankcase Cafe next door to Ryder Motorrad, I parked up in a position which I hoped would put me at the end of the line when the group eventually left. I’m not really a great fan of large group rides… I sought out the welcome cuppa that was offered.

Bikers from all walks of life on all kinds of motorbikes start to gather outside Ryder Motorrad and the Crankcase Cafe.

Pretty soon a large number of bikes had gathered, along with their owners, in the carpark. The coffee was flowing and there was much joviality and backslapping as old mates found each other after the past week’s work days! The mass ride Leader called everyone to order and started the briefing. There was a bit of chirping from the crowd and not long after the briefing started it ended as a Triumph Bonnieville roared into life, impatient to be back on the road!

The Ride Leader delivering his Riders’ Briefing.

The group moved out, nay… the large group moved out – I counted at least sixty bikes, about a third of which had a pair of riders on board. So, in all about eighty folk came along to lend their support to Think Bike!
The route was awesome! We were led out of town and down into the Inanda Valley. The road down into the valley was steep – just like the ride leader had described… “Brake fluid boiling first gear go down under compression kind of stuff”. I took it really slowly; probably held up a few of the folk behind me; so be it…

I took a moment to stop on a low level bridge to enjoy the lush valley floor…

Once down on the valley floor I had the opportunity to take in some of the surroundings. Man, who knew how beautiful this valley was! It was my first time there and I was astounded at the natural beauty of the area, rugged cliffs towering either side of the road, crags and crevices everywhere and thick lush green bush punctuated by rural homesteads. And relatively close to massive built up urban sprawl to boot…

We obeyed the sign and stopped… to Re-group with the Inanda Dam wall in the background.

We re-grouped at the base of the Inanda Dam wall where many photos were taken and a few cigarettes were smoked while the group waited for the slower riders (me amongst others!) to catch up. Again the Ride Leader made some or other announcement about stopping at the top view site, I think, the rumble of many eager motors drowning the poor man out again!
Not long after, we did in fact stop at the top view site! Engines were turned off, more photos were taken, engines were started, some chirps about hunger and breakfast were heard and a bakkie was asked to stop on the road to allow the now starving mass to get on with their journey. I’m not sure how long the bakkie waited, but thank you Sir for your patience!
It had also started to rain… a little.
The ride proceeded onward and upwards out of the valley. The way out was also steep only this time there were patches of loose sand covering the road here and there due to some construction activity. Easy on the bends…
Pretty soon the group landed at the Station Masters Arms in Hillcrest. Here there would be sustenance and refreshments for those that had booked. I have no doubt that more joviality followed!

Bikes neatly parked at the Station Masters Arms after a great tour through the Inanda Valley.

My ride back on the N3 freeway “up the hill” to Hilton was thankfully uneventful, although my rain suit did come in handy…
I enjoyed the ride which was well managed thanks to the volunteer marshals at all the junctions and the support of an emergency crew who followed us. Thank you to the Kwa-Zulu Natal Think Bike organisers for putting the ride together and creating more awareness of the Think Bike campaign. It must be said, that as motorcycle and pedal bike riders, we do need more motorists to “think bike”. For my fifty cents worth though, I’d like to see more motorcyclists and cyclists in general “thinking bike” by adhering to the rules of the road and being better mannered road users; at least better mannered than most of the other road users! And maybe we should all wear high visibility vests…
Keep the rubber side down!
Bruce Houghting


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Az says:

    Great report Bruce, I think we have been blessed with having Liza pick up the campaign in the KZN.
    Glad you mentioned that we as bikers also need to Think Bike, it’s very much part of what we try to get out there to the riders.


  2. I’m glad that you enjoyed the report AZ, thank you for the kind words. I reckon that Liza and her crew at Think Bike need all the exposure they can get! Hopefully more bikers will also start to Think Bike! Keep the rubber side down, cheers.


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