3 replies [Last post]
Andyman's picture
Joined: 2007/06/22

Points: 1

When on the trail in the cuds, self rescue is part and parcel.  and it is immensely satisfying to  effect self rescue.

In fact some of us go out in the hope we encounter shit so we can get out of it (Wayne Shepp and Mitchels pass is an excellent example of resourcefulness)

If you think you will rely on ON CALL, then please do not go off road into the cuds, stay close to Big Lights. You need a spirit of adventure.

Here is a case study.

Annie n I recently summitted Sani Pass on our R1200GSA's in full battle order- tents, chairs, fishing tackle, equipment and and and.. We did this in case the mood grabbed us and we rode on further into Lesotho.

We were riding into met. Conditions were heavy swirling mist. vis down to 50 metres, intermittent light rain.

Exprienced campaigners will read between these lines.... "hard work on the pegs, over-heating bodies from the work out in rain gear, visor congested with both droplets and fog, spectacles off because they too are just fogged out, the rules of right-of-way for mountain passes difficult because descending vehicles cannot see the ascending vehicles and thus cannot give them right-of-way. Headlights on dim as brights only cause back scatter which is worse than no lights at all."

The pass was busy, so many hoots n toots and vehicles meeting face on and one or both having to reverse to make room and often as not the vehicles on their '6' s also having to back up, or back down as was  many an incidence.

So with 500 metres to go, Annie unlimbered and waited while I rode her bike to the top. she watched over my bike.

Then I called on the radio and she then hitched a ride with an ascending 4x4, me doing the same thing on a descending 4x4.

Then I took my bike up the pass and Dave was making his own way between cars.  We had a lekker hot chocky, a  beer and lunch at the highest pub in Africa.

I was seriuosly impressed that Annie allowed herself to be talked into riding up SANI on a bike fully loaded for a 12 day campaign trail. What a girl!

We met Wynand from Strand and his wife at the top. Lekker people.

He had run his rear shoes to the metal the day before on the 7 hour marathon ride from Katse dam.

He had started down and made 2,4 kilos (mas e menos) and found no brakes on the rear too hairy and so he rode back up and arranged a 1/2 tonner to load his bike and take it down.


So here's the rub, and also the crux of my diatribe.


There was no need for a 1/2 tonner to take you down 9 kilometers to the level.


What could he have done.

Ask one of the many 4x4's to take wifey and kit to Himeville hotel, but ride behind him to guard his 6 and to be on hand for any mishap.  That leaves him alone on the bike so he has no other stress of kit and pillion.

Easy peasy.

As easy said as done.

So  to test my theory, I kept all my gear on my bike and rode down without touching the rear brakes. Not once, to simulate a no rear brake scenario.

Anne also rode down fine- the met had cleared and we had awesome vistas and full vis all the way to eternity.

I put my weight well back and let the compression resistance take me down at its own speed, which was slower than if I had brakes to use.

Twice when I got too much way on, I simply toggled the 'kill' switch. As the engine died it stopped. 

So did the bike. to get going I let the front brake go and hit the starter and the gravity assisted the starter and then I ticked on down against compression.  I never let the clutch in either.

At 2.4 kilos I noted we were well out of the 1-in-5 gradient and onto manageable descent gradients.

Thereafter I got to 4th and fifth gear and with discretion playing the beeter part of valour kept my pace down so that I could kill engine stop case need  I met upcoming vehicles or need to stop in short distance.


So its sad that what could have given immense satisfaction at very little risk was lost.  The adventure was diluted.

Could've picked up gear and wife lower down, well before Himeville.

Also saved several hours delay and had a lekker story to tell.

Afterall, the fun is in the journey, not the destination.

Learn to effect self rescue, to use resoucefulness and acquire the basic tools to effect self rescue.

But if you have common sense and slow down and assess, then you probably have enough to get out of most situations.

Anyone can ride a bike fast....   But can you ride your bike real slow???

Joined: 2013/10/09

Andy. Sounds like you guys had a blast on the trip, thanks for the info, I always value your perceptions of situations and appreciate all the advice you give! I can just imagine what an experience it must have been. A trip like you did is most definitely on my bucket list. 


Jacques Botha R66's picture
Joined: 2012/10/02

Copied this to study and have it available with me.

Charles Oertel's picture
Joined: 2007/04/14

While on the Eco 1000 in East London, I was riding with Rusty and his merry friends.  On one gnarly river crossing that I had seen before in videos of Geoff's Wild Coast tour, one fellow dropped his bike on a rock and broke the potentiometer on the LHS throttle-body.

Anyone with a boxer will know that without this fella, the engine management system has no idea what throttle is being applied and thus doesn't know how much fuel to inject.  We were indeed in the cuds - apart from the difficulty of describing where we were, it was almost impossible to get a 4x4 there, let alone with a trailer.

Eventually, with some jiggling and pushing and shoving, we were able to get the contacts between the potentiometer and the wires to touch, and generous amounts of tape and cable-ties sort-of secured it all.  However, the contact was intermittent, and hitting a bump would make the bike accelerate or die.  It also lost its calibration, so would not idle, or would run at high revs.

Rusty took on the task of managing this beast, and let his friend ride his bike.  This happened early in the morning.  We rode until evening in pouring rain, off-road in mud and clay.  Stopping every now and again to jiggle the connection.  Rusty had to be very circumspect with the clutch - sometimes grabbing it to stop the bike from running away on a whim, at other times slipping it while the engine revved itself silly.

The pizzas that Rusty's sister made for us that evening were probably the best I have ever tasted - drenched to the bone...

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