McGregor Getaway

John Geldenhuys's picture

Points: 0

So, ever since the beginners ride with Andy a couple of weeks back, I have had this itch to get back to the gravel. 
Well, last week presented the oppertunity for just such a trip, I was in need a break, before I go postal on my co-workers. Friday afternoon after lunch I set off to McGregor....

To Base Camp
Right, so from never been off road on the bike, I am going away for the weekend on the bike, on gravel and camping for the first time... loads of first. Packed the bike with everything i thought i would need [on that i also found out i took alot of non required BS - but so i learn]. Packed and an eager of to Mcgregor I go.
The camp site it called UitVlugt cottages, 100m before Mcgregor.
Costs is R140 per site per nite [site sleeps 4] and there are two of them that have power points. There is hotwater in the forms of a donkey and a lapa for braaing. Mind the ants though, there are serious "Bal Byters" there, so make sure everything is zipped up close! 

The facilities are clean and everything works just fine. It's not a massive campsite, about 12 spots in total. The dam infront of you and the hills, really provide a awesome setting. 


The Ride
After a good nights sleep, i set off at towards Montagu via the Gravel road to Stormsriver. [GPS Position S33 56.765 E19 50.254]

The gravel road is awesome, great condition. Before you know it, your in Bonnievale and a section of Tar met me that would lead to Montagu.
The RAmbling Rose in Montagu is highly recommended, not only is the service great, food good, but the coffee, man, some the best coffee you can get, no battery acid here!!

From here I travel along the Wolfspoort gravel road before turning off at GPS Location: [S33 47.475 E20 09.290]. The road is in good shape and just runs beauftifully. The homesteads next to the road is pretty scattered and you go along without seeing anyone! And then suddenly you get some green fields! The OubergPass road is rutted at some spots, but nothing major. It's also a beautiful pass, dry isolation. How people cope out here is beyond me, but inspiring! 

I have attached the GPS file (MapStudio) and at the bottom is a link to the photobucket pics. 

Overall, the roads are great, here and there a little neglected, but that is to be expected. The "stillness" of the road, vast open spaces and when you stop and listen, the only sound you here is the sound of nothing, either that or cry of a hawk. It's at one of there stops that I just smiled, looked down at the bike, and put two and two together. That open roads like this on a bike, is magical. It give a person a feeling that I am in limited scope of words am unable to convey. It's just one of those things that you need to do yourself. Best part of all, I enjoy the gravel more than the tar roads, and there is one person I need to thank for that. Andy, those 20min of imparted knowledge, made the difference between being a bang gat on gravel to now knowing that I dont need to fear it. I still a noob, but love learning more!






Mcgregor.gdb57.53 KB
Cloudgazer Steven's picture
Joined: 2007/10/03

Aah, the joys of solo traveling. Good for the soul.

Tell us about what you packed that you didn't need.

What do you wish you'd packed?

There are so many problems in this world. Luckily there's a wristband available for almost all of them.
John Geldenhuys's picture
Joined: 2011/01/31

Yes, solo traveling good for the soul. The best part of the trip... princess vlei I think, I needed a break, stopped next to an old local farm worker, sitting under a tree, pulled in next to him. He slipped out his pipe started to pack it, the look on his face when i pulled mine out, priceless. For those 20min we sat and chatted and smoked, I would trade for the world!

SO, what did i take that i should have left!

  1. Pillow (Anyone laugh and there's trouble)
    I should have just rolled my towl / Top / Tshirt up and used that. Pillow = space waster.
  2. Too much water.
    Based on the fact that I knew where i was going, i could have left the extra 2L water at home. Camelback and a additional 2L was ample, but still not needed. Water was available at campsite, and Mcgregor near. So no really sure what I was trying here.
  3. Gas Stove.
    Didnt need it. I lit a fire for dinner, breakfast coffee. Also, I think i would need a small for camp orientated burner. Got one of those portable gas stove's uses a aresol can style gas bottle. Fits like a glove in the pannier, but kiss ur space goodbye
  4. Extra extra Jacket. Some odd reason, i though it good to take two warm items. A top and a jacket. Can leave one behind.
  5. Reading book?? What was i thinking!


What I should have take:

  1. Bug Spray!
  2. Plastic spice holders / sugar holder. You get small ones that is perfect for camping. Black coffee, sugarless coffee for me :(
  3. Spare batteries or at lest made sure the LED light was charged!
  4. Tin opening device, left my Leatherman at home accidently.
  5. Leatherman

That about it that i can think off.
What i would change is storage / packing.
As i have the panniers, but no topbox, a old togbag was used, but will either move to a TopBox or a interim, canvas duffel bag, as I did get a little shower in the morning...How you pack the panniers also makes a difference in how much u can get in.
Overall, i survived - whislt not hectic, i have some work ahead of me!


Joined: 2007/06/25

Magic report John, welcome to the world of dual sport riding and solo riding, nothing comes close.

Think before you ink.

Trust is the most valuable asset.

I have the rest of my life to get old.

Cloudgazer Steven's picture
Joined: 2007/10/03

forget the topbox, go for some sort of drybag.

and while a pillow does take up space, they weigh hardly anything and are much more comfortable than rolled/folded clothes.

I agree if space is short to leave the pillow - but if you can pack it - do so. The comfort is worth it.

I usually take a book... but a mate gave me a better idea.... simply buy a mag when you get your dinner.

There are so many problems in this world. Luckily there's a wristband available for almost all of them.
Garth Hewitt's picture
Joined: 2011/02/07

Jis John...dit lyk omtrent lekker! Ek gaan verseker die een doen! Wag net vir my vrou om haar learners te kry einde Mei, dan gaan ons hom gooi!


gelukkig was ek die keer nie in jou pad om jou spoed te breek nie soos met die Hemel & Aarde trippie nie! lol!


mooi ry en dankie vir die verslag!

Garth Hewitt

2010 R1200GSA


PeterO's picture
Joined: 2007/09/11

Nice report John ... instead of jackets take layers.  The new techno clothing works well, it's light, warm and packs very small.

If you can dream it you can do it!

John Geldenhuys's picture
Joined: 2011/01/31

Haha, whatever! Rather ride behind you, you dont make to much dust!! :)

Defiantely, go out that way, i never thought it was such a beautiful place. The people are also super friendly, Bonnievale Spar manager couldnt be more eager to help! 

Well worth it!

John Geldenhuys's picture
Joined: 2011/01/31

@ Steven

Yeah, the make shift pillow was moerse uncomfy friday, Saturday night was perfect, but think the bottle of Obs had something to with that! An irish man camped next to me, and Saturday night was spent telling stories, and passing a bottle of OBS around or was that two?? :) so I didnt really mind. 

Magazine good one, Getaway and the likes makes good readign material and doubles as a mozzie swatter!

Re Topbox, you think drybag better? 

John Geldenhuys's picture
Joined: 2011/01/31


Great idea! Actually still have a water proof jacket i used for MTBing in winter. Whilst it will not keep torrential rain out, it does do a good job and it's super light... Great one! Thanks!! 

Cloudgazer Steven's picture
Joined: 2007/10/03

A top box is good for commuting. But when you hit the rough stuff, it tends to shake around. If you've packed it too heavily, it can easily break.

Read here for what happens to items in a topbox:

A dry bag is also more versatile. Unstrap it from your bike, walk into hotel with it. and you can underpack or overpack with it. Unlike a topbox which must be packed precisely right.

There are so many problems in this world. Luckily there's a wristband available for almost all of them.
Warren Ellwood's picture
Joined: 2007/06/18

I also prefer soft luggage for trips. Less damage in a fall and easily repaired.

A old 4x4 tip for packing. Buy yourself a roll of those little pink round stickers from some where like Waltons. Place one sticker on every thing that you take with, and I mean every single item.

As you use it or wear it, take the sticker off. Any thing that still has a sticker on after about two trips, leave behind, you obviously don't really need it. Undecided



"Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, and does it improve on the silence?"

John Geldenhuys's picture
Joined: 2011/01/31

Legend trip that!! 

Yeah, you are right, if anything is loose in the topbox, or panniers i take, they will get tossed about... Thanks for the input here! Much appreciated!

Warrren that is an awesome idea!! 

Thanks Guys

Andyman's picture
Joined: 2007/06/22

Hell John, thats a fantastic ride, thans for the kind words.

People ask me why I'm always doing these slow rides with new groups and its the one or two reports of people who found the gravel not so daunting that they went again and again that make every minute woirthwhile.

The club has given me so much in learning and experiencing that I love to give something back.

You chose a really great area to ride and i really look forward to having you on many more rides.

Well doen, lovely photos and you'll find the learning never stops.

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

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