KNEELING FOR THAT PRAYER EVERY TIME YOU GET ON YOUR HORSE

Wake up, breakfast, brush your teeth, put on your suit, dust off your saddle, ride with purpose.

For a long time I’ve been using my motorcycle, my horse to keep me sane and get me from home to work and the usual trips. But for the next 4 weeks I will be using my horse to not just transport me, but to better my mind.

Both The Bike Addict and myself now use our horses to get to class and back. Only difference is I’m living out-of-town while studying, which further raises the question of what my petrol usage would be if I’m studying and living out of town. Studying about 19km/11miles from where I’m living currently.

But contrary to popular belief it doesn’t matter how far you travel each day. But how many stops you make, how fast you travel taking in consideration what work load your bike can take, and the consistency of your speed DOES however matter.

How many times you stop:
If you stop many times on a trip, there will be a lot of engine working in place, changing gears etc, which results in more petrol usage.
Travel speed: What I’m talking about here is not just how fast you go, but how much speed your bike can comfortably handle. For instance my old 125cc Honda fared better at 40-60km/h(25-37 mph) than pushing her to 80-120km/h(50-75mph), which nearly halved my petrol usage.
Consistency: How you ride determines your petrol usage. If you get up to 80km/h(50miles/h) and then keep it within that range and then gradually bring it down, your petrol usage would be better because of consistency.

As a matter of fact, because of my consistency and amount of stops I make etc when I’m studying, my petrol usage is even better than my long distance petrol usage (for newbies, long distance usage is usually considerably better than in-town usage, because of less stops and constant speed).

To cut through the economic cheese… Despite my bike turning into a jet ski last Tuesday in a pond of water because of the heavy rain I get in this town and the 20km ride in rain, using my horse to study is one of the best decisions about this whole study business I could have made. Nothing calms one down like the sound of your love or a horse ride after a long tenuous day reading medical terms and trying to put the human respiratory system together.

With knowledge comes power, but with horse comes peace.

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She’s Still Hooligan, But “Refined Hooligan”

With the first start the garage we were standing in started resonating, the ground we stood upon started to rumble as goosebumps appeared upon our stretched-out arms. Crows shouting their kraa, dogs barking in and hearts beating slower, skipping beats and thumping in our ears. And suddenly all is right with the world, balance is restored. A growling hooligan turned proper. She’s still a hooligan but “refined hooligan”.

Much work had to be done to turn our splattering, seemingly under-powered, rude, LOUD…. And I mean FRIGGING loud, like your neighbors shooting each other with .44 Magnums through fridges loud, so loud my boss stopped talking in a meeting from frustration… But to my point much had to be done to turn the missing link into a gentleman.

Between the exhaust work I must add we changed a headlight, tried to fix my odometer and saved my chain guard with two screws and washers that cost me R1,10c.

 

First of all, THREE holes 4 times the size of some scooter silencers had to be plugged but the metal on the silencer box (muffler for those across the pond) was weakened and here is where it already gets interesting.. We went to “professionals” who told me “that’s toast”, chuck it away.. I’m not touching that” and then we found a fellow named “Alfred” with an oxy-acetylene torch who put some plates over the affected areas and brazed it perfectly. Half an hour later I brushed it down with a wire brush and it looks good as new. All shiny, with some scratches of course.

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Next we needed to keep this most common rust problem at bay. For this we purchased a can of engine enamel in matt black and applied a few coats on either side, nix the chrome bits to keep this weather proof, and then we decided to scrub the inside silencer as well and also give it a few sprays to weatherproof it further.

 

Next we tried fitting the new/old silencer but the wheel and old double-stand spacer bracket was in the way so both had to be removed. Further down the line we also applied our “40-60mm” pipe clamps (which, for effect, we also sprayed matt black) to secure connect between headers and the two into one collector attached to the resonator and silencer.

 

After putting back all te that was needed, all that was fixed.. The first turn of the key and the first kick of the starter again ignited my flame of pride for Honda JDM’s

Bikes get old, they rust, they… Fall apart. The friends I bought my monster from looked after her well but lacked interest and love for her. And now with love she is once more restored, a still faithful beast, a proud HONDA.

Function Over Form… But Sentiment Trumps ALL.

From our tiny little corner at the ass-end of Africa where lions grow mielies (Corn for you English-speaking folk), Jackals sell cars and Hyenas drive taxi’s….. My message, my poem, my song today comes from the hearts of more than one man, or woman. The Bike Addict, my brother with whom I do not share blood, has greatly affected how I view owning a motorcycle.

Engine size, cubic inches, number of pistons, size of tires… That doesn’t always matter. The Bike Addict’s Little Yellow Monster has been somewhat troublesome over the years. Struggling to start, struggling to stay in idle, heating up, too rich, burning plugs, leaking oil (not all at once, but sometimes in combination) and more.. And I’ve heard his cries in anger and his threats.
But NEVER has he even caved to the thought of selling his ‘first born’. SENTIMENT is a bond between man and machine, woman and her monster, a dude and his bike, bro.

I know of a man with a trench coat full of bike jol patches, old and grey or as we bikers call that stage “chrome”. His bike of choice? A 350 motorbike… Not 750, not 1000.. His baby is his little 350.

Every rider’s bike is their own, which is why we customize. Which is why we name, why we appraise, why we get ticked off over one scratch. If you don’t look back at your Bike every time you park her, you bought the wrong horse. Which is true, because every time I walk past the building and come to the corridor where I can see my bike from 20 meters away, I look at her every time, EVERY time.

Also recently for my Basic Ambulance Assistant Course studies, my heart was set in motion on a bigger bike, a 750cc. And the longer I kept on with this escapade the heavier and more stressed my heart became. So The Bike Addict came at me with 3 questions: #1 Do you just want to get rid of her? #2 Do you want the new bike more? And #3 Does engine size really matter?

And then my final sentimental “nail in the wood” was the love of my life, the first girl I ever took on a bike outside town or even to any bike run for that matter.. SHE made me fall in love with my little Japanese harley-sounding ass kicking, dust kicking neighbor-waker all over again. She made me realize finally that YOU SHOULDN’T MESS WITH A GOOD THING.

When I held on to my sentimental feeling for this crazy loud little demon, I fell in love all over again and decided to keep her. So “I want a bigger bike” is not a good enough reason for getting rid of a trusty steed. If you want a bigger bike, and I mean really want it… Make sure is speaks louder to your heart than your current horse.

Ride safe, ride often. If you ride in the rain be sure to enjoy the sound of it on your helmet. Take the scenic route and stop to enjoy the view, but never ride faster than your angel can fly.

This Is Your Moment. Your Bike. Your Life. Your Love.

Needless to say from reading the title, I’ve had a pretty good weekend.. Let me elaborate..

This past sunday was the anniversary of my very first day jol (as we call them in Southern Africa). The South African Heritage day biker braai (barbecue for you salties) day hosted by Crusaders South Africa MC.

Many was a first for me on this day. My new girlfriend was my very first lift between towns, and she was the very first girl I’ve ever taken to such an event, or anywhere on a bike for that matter. Now… For those who have experienced this feeling of the girl of your dreams being your first in that area, you’d know the profound sense of pride of telling her that she’s the first. Lifting between towns and cities is relatively easy, but on this day the winds were gusting at around 25km an hour more or less. Plus it was her first time on a bike like mine and probably the longest ever she’d been on an iron horse.. Plus Dusty rumbling like a monster and shaking like a chihuahua hopped up on red bull and steroids didn’t help. Yet it was still my most memorable bike run day jol ever, and the most successful as I’ve decided to keep Dusty and continue with my semi-cafe racer custom build.

A lot to remember on a day jol or for one. One is to bring a frigging hat.. You don’t want to look like a German vienna after a day in the sun when you go home. Another thing is of you can, bring comfortable walking shoes because my watch counted around 10000 steps in those semi-uncomfortable Nexo biking boots I bought a while ago that press the utter crap out of my pinky toes.

Another thing is BRING CASH dammit. There are loads to do.. From shows to buy tickets for at a “discounted price” that would show the next day, to hats and jewelry, to riding gear and leather clothing like chaps, gloves and waist coats. Also the fabric guys are usually there, selling quotes on a cloth like “I Come In Sober Too” and metal badges as well, mine for instance said a quote I cannot repeat on this page, so you can imagine we keep things interesting.

Life is dull enough, do the smart thing but also do the fun things. No matter what you do you’re not going to make it out of LIFE alive, so why not have fun? Take a chance, ask out the girl, go to a rally, go to a day jol or bike run alone and make some lifetime friends. Trust your instincts but learn to wing it to keep things interesting.

Life is a high way, so let’s ride it all night long.

Ride safe, ride happy, ride often and never take a day for granted. And most importantly.. Love your woman and hug your horse and share a brew with your brother.

“Clean….. Well Oiled. Not Bad For A Third World Army”

People always say “It’s not the machine it’s the one holding the bars” but come on.. That is true to some extent but no matter how good I am after riding for over a year and experiencing 3 different riding styles so far, if my bike can’t brake, can’t start, can’t hold the line when I turn, can’t grab the road because the tires are shot it won’t matter how good I am. A rider is only as good as the machine that carries him, the bike you ride is your only restriction.

Coming back to my point talking about your horse’s well-being.. I have been having trouble with my chain. It’s old, worn close to hell and it’s been stressing me out. Lubricating it doesn’t too much and I couldn’t tension it anymore as it was on the limit. So I gathered my ideas and I had 3 choices, either buy a brand new chain and sprocket set which would have cost me around 1500-2300 ZAR depending on the shop or dealer, or buy a second-hand set for an unknown price which is like when you change your dead light bulb with a worn one that burns a faded yellow, which works for a while I mean you have a measure of light but sometime or another you’ll be back in the dark. Which brought me to my simplest and cheapest idea.. Remove one link from the chain and have it tensioned and lubed again. This is a very temporary and risky solution. Just enough to buy you a few hundred kilometers more before you need to swap a chain and sprocket set.

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Old, worn, saggy chain.

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Old, worn chain minus one link.

Today I did that because I had no other option and fearing enough I’m glad I did.

What are the dangers of a laggy, saggy, fruity chain? Well for one I could easily have picked the chain off the sprocket at any time which is a warning sign with red and yellow flags already. Plus a few times when was giving my throttle some torque and letting go over and over while being “windgat” it would partially jump off momentarily, the little sprocket at the shaft would grab it as well as one a little bit at the back, pull the chain into position and buck the whole frame like an angry stallion your grandaddy tried to break 60 years ago.

Look after your bike. Make sure the brakes are good, the tires have enough tread, the lights work, the battery is still healthy, she’s got antifreeze and her oil is topped up, keep gas in the tank and your chain and sprocket lubed and ready for action. Look after your horse and she’ll look after you.

And if I may add, my Honda Bros 400cc VTwin 1988 is in better condition than some modern-day bikes. Proof that age doesn’t always matter.

A Battle Between Man, Machine and The Road. A Beautiful Symphony Of Roaring Beasts.

There is a constant conflict between man, the machine and the road they travel on.. Always fighting for control. Each one trying to affirm control over where to gallop.

This past weekend I was at the annual SA Bike Festival along with The Motorcycle Addict and Mechanical MacGyver/Backyard Yoda, admiring great works of art and machinery as graceful and elegant and powerful as the works of Da Vinci, Picasso, Raphael and as enticing as a winter sunrise… You cannot help but stare and get lost in your own endulgement.

Unfortunately as arrangements went along I was unable to ride my own new Dusty Leafblower along, as we had not attained enough parking tickets, but Mechanical MacGyver was kind enough to allow me to ride pillion on his Bike (I am of course referring to his Honda Fireblade)

The Motorcycle Addict and myself went to witness some truly spectacular and jaw dropping stunts by stunt rider Jimmy Hill and his colleague, Alastair Sayer, later the day, and I could not help but pay my respects after the show for which Jimmy showed much admiration as he stood there sweating profusely, still calm and cool as a cucumber. You can check out a short video of the FMX show below.

The Motorcycle Addict, of course, tried out the new Honda Fireblade SP1 which took a larger chunk out of his gravity than we both expected as he seemes to float away to a nearby satellite as he danced around from sheer amazement. His direct words were “That thing has a lot of hate….”

Mechanical MacGyver also test rode the new Hyabusa and BMW R1000R, but I will let The Motorcycle Addict say a few words on that matter.

All in all I wish I could go to Kyalami every weekend.. But I imagine most bikers and even non bike riders from the weekend’s activities would agree on that. The sound of beasts riding around you passing you every few seconds is like poetry on a very dangerous scale.

Ride safe and stay tuned. And if you are living in SA and even if you are not I urge you on to keep your eyes opem for the SA Bike Festival next year, truly a bone rattling, foundation shaking experience.

Because no good story ever starts with “and then I went for a drive in my sedan.”

Bikes.. Biking… Motorcycling… Motorcyclist.. Two wheeler… Road warrior… Daredevil.. Biker… Iron horse..

But why? Why are we so crazy to get onto a two-wheeled frame while we hover over a tank of gasoline mounted “safely” above a hot moving engine? MANY times I have been told how insane that whole concept is.. Not to mention considering the inconsiderates on the roads these days (I also watched a few harrowing videos earlier tonight).. My best friend has been asked “why not drive a car? Isn’t that safer?”, and his reaction was “Why not walk to work? Isn’t that healthier?”.

And he’s not wrong!!

Why do people keep judging us? Why do you think you are safer in your car? Why do you think I even take the risk?? Because it keeps me sane, it keeps me intact, it prevents me from strangling iconsiderates at my office which I have been doing for the past few months since my bike was stolen.

I’ve learned more about life in less than a year from riding motorcycles than I’ve learned in all my days from driving, which has been since I was around 13. People do not understand the concept of why we take that leap, why we risk rain or wind to be on an iron horse…. And I can’t explain the feeling. If I tried to explain it would take me 7 paragraphs and STILL I would not be able to but the exact true emotion onto paper. It’s like being scared while excited and happy and proud and focused and energized and empowered and more.. all at the same time.

Want to know what I’m talking about? Get a bike and take a trip around town or even just to the next town. Let it entice you, invite you, excite you, grab you…. Indulge yourself and put something exciting between your legs, because no good story ever starts with “and then I went for a drive in my sedan.”

 

Ride safe, ride long, ride often and stay fierce.

Old Names, New Faces. New Scars. Some Catching Up To Do.

Yes I’m still alive. And I have a wealth of knowledge to share with our intrepid readers. (That means you guys pay attention okay?)

FIRSTLY. What happened to me? Why was I gone for so long? My bike got stolen. Now anyone who has had this experience will tell you it is possibly the worst feeling in the world. More painful than sliding on tarmac, more sense knocking than a headbang giving you a concussion, and more demoralizing than soiling yourself in public. 

What did I do? I “sold” my bike over the internet. A guy called me a few minutes after I posted the bike as being up for purchase, asked for bank details and transferred the money which did not show in my account yet but the text looked promising, another guy  (supposedly a transport service for hire like a courier) came and picked up the bike. The money never appears in my account and I never saw my bike again, which was about 3 months ago now. The supposed transport for hire company still calls me on different numbers with different names (but the voice stays the same hahaha) and they still try to get my bikes papers from me in other sneaky ways.

What can you do to avoid my half idiot mistake?

Firstly.. ever heard people say “Cash Is King”? Well if a guy wants to buy a vehicle or anything from you, tell them cash deal or no deal. And if they say “let’s do an internet transaction” you say okay fine come see the product, give them proof of who you are to give them peace of mind and let them do the transaction. When and ONLY WHEN the money shows in your account do you give them the vehicle or item or whatever the case may be.

How I bought my Suzuki was we went to go look at the bike, and when I was interested we discusses paperwork which was not on the seller’s name. Then we came to an agreement: I rake together the cash (“COLD HARD CASH IN HAND”), he sorted the paperwork, filling in all the details. Then the second time I saw the seller I gave him the cash and he signed and everything, we loaded the bike and had a nice day further.

DO NOT GIVE THE BIKE OR KEYS OR BIKE PAPERWORK WITHOUT ANY PAYMENT

 BE VIGILANT (AWARE)

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Stay safe, ride safe, stay aware and help each other out by reporting these things.

No Bikes. No Peace. No Happiness. Know Bikes. Know Peace. Know Happiness.

Riding an iron horse had taught me a lot of things. Things I maybe should have learned later in life. But when I started riding it was like God decided it was time for me to know more, seeing as a biker… no day is promised to me.

A lot of misconceptions about bikers floating around this country, this continent, this world…
It seems like one group of bikers could implant a whole train of thoughts toward bikers all over the world with one deed. We don’t all murder, extort or hustle in this world. It’s wrong of you to think we’re all cut from the same cloth, because, quoting Clay Morrow, some of us are “just mechanics and Harley enthusiasts”.

Learning to ride a motorcycle taught me a lot of things, as I’ve said. It has shown me a side of life I never knew. I have anxiety, depression, traces of PTSD and a mind that runs around like a blind dog looking for its home, but riding that 170kg-58hp-two wheeled-noisy-yellow-dodgy-crotch rocket bends my soul into a straight line and pulls me out from the shock of what most would call hell… Yet I call it home. Riding takes that hell away and replaces it with something like a vacation.

Riding has taught me to more considerate towards other people and other road users. If I rode like an ass out there, enough so that a driver becomes angry at bikers, he or she might not be so considerate towards the next biker that rides next to him or her. When you see a fellow biker on their horse and you wave at them that shows them something. You acknowledge their existence and to some that could mean the world to them.. That much I’ve learned.

What I’ve seen while riding a bike? Life in slow motion at a Devils pace. If you think we barely see anything while on a bike, you’re wrong. When you ride, you look around more, you observe life at a fraction of a second because God knows not all of us have the guarantee of making it around the next bend. Like a guy who’s scared of the mob, you take it all in, as much as you can and you appreciate more of the beauty in life because you have seen beauty in a pure form on two wheels, and you know it could be taken right out from underneath you at any given moment.

This I have learned from riding an iron horse, and I’m still learning. Since riding I think clearer, I appreciate life every day more and more, I’m safer on the road, more alert, more compassionate, even more open-minded, I forgive often, I love truly and I take my life a quarter-mile at a time.

Riding isn’t a given. It’s a lifestyle, a choice, a calling, a life lesson, a life decision, a teacher.

Ride safe, but park often to appreciate your horse and the life around you.

Drive to the edge of the world and you will find happiness. Walk five more miles and you will find serenity.

Finally I have made the decision to try to explain what riding an iron horse feels like, so pull up your comfy chair and perk your ears mates.

Recently my bike was stolen, my 125cc Honda CBF. Now it may not have been much, being such a small horse, but it was the entry point to life’s own miracle drug. That bike was my gateway to serenity, peace, unity and a feeling of belonging.

Many a biker have told me their version of what their bike does for them, how it helps them break away from the past and catapults you into your own skin 5 minutes from now to the right past the green light you’re still aiming for. It all boils down to this: No matter what your thoughts are, your state of mind, your worries, your stresses, discomforts, quarrels, heartaches, headaches or even regrets… When you get on your horse, you feel the tension building, your heart maybe even beats slower as your finger aims for choke,you pull the lever, your thumb and index turn the key, you grip the throttle and you hit that ignition button. Suddenly the roar from the exhaust deafens everything…. You can’t hear your problems no matter how loud they scream, so your turn down the choke and you kick her into 1st, on pull away your insecurities try holding on but they lose their grip, suddenly after a few seconds you stop at an intersection to turn so your past comes running and yelling “Hey! Don’t forget about me!”, but you leave that aggravation at the bus stop along with the rest of your stresses and discomforts.

Shifting through gears, you become more and more focused. Not on the world and troubles around you, but solely on the machine between your legs, the seat beneath your ass, and the noise you make coming out of a sweet corner.

See… Riding a motorcycle, an iron horse, a crotch rocket, a hog or a scooter isn’t just something you get up and do. When you walk up to your bike and you lay your hand down on that petrol tank, you feel a deeper connection than just another person with a car they use to get to work and back. Riding a bike is like trust. You trust that whatever happens to you is out of your control and that you may never fully be in control. Once you accept this, wearing stripes with plaid comes so much easier, don’t you think?

Now to actually answer the question straight-forward. Imagine a bear holding a machine-gun while surfing a shark in a tsunami. Actually it’s simpler than that..

Picture yourself jumping out of an airplane with a parachute some guy told you “should be fine” (not comparing a bike to a “should be fine” parachute). Now when you jump out of the airplane that’s when you pull away with your bike, at this stage you still have some time to make your decisions about how to land right? Just like how you still have time to safely stop your bike and even park it or plan a different route. After a few minutes you have past a point where you have sufficient time to get a solution if your parachute is faulty, this is where it’s a gamble because your parachute may or may not open, just like at 150km/h anything can happen and just like I said you are never fully in control.

So basically what I’m trying to say is riding a bike feels like physically riding a life decision.. Once you get on that horse for 2 minutes or 2 hours anything can happen and you have to live with the life decision you made. Saving 67% on your fuel each month? You get to live with the decision of mounting your bike and making that happen. Too many people try to tell us why we shouldn’t ride motorcycles, well the actual question is “Why isn’t there already one parked in your garage?”

Well that is my opinion. Get on with happiness, ride with peace, corner with serenity, park with respect. Enjoy.