Swartland dayride - Wide roads & Wide smiles

GeelKameel's picture

Points: 7

 

 

 

 

 

The invitation by Geoff Russell caught my eye : 

Swartland Beauty

Come and join your fellow Club Members and Guests for an Off Road Day ride through the Swartland.

With the recent rains the Swartland should in fact be called "Die Groenland" as most of the Farm Lands are covered in Green as the Wheat Takes Hold.

The round trip of about 300kms will all be on well used dirt (and tar) roads through the farming communities of the area.

That sounds great, I thought, and signed up.

Early on 30 July'17 we gathered at the Plattekloof RV spot.

After a short brief by Geoff, we set off Northwards. Below is a map of the route.

This gravel quarry in Contermanskloof brought back fond memories of when I started riding motorbike - an ex-traffic police R80.

These bends beyond the quarry was my training ground way back, building up confidence in the new adventure of motorbike riding - only tar in those days! Over weekends I would ride out from home and every time try to increase my speed through these bends laugh

After crossing the Vissershok road, we rode over Malanshoogte towards the Adderley road.

Left on Adderley road and few km further we turned right onto the short Occultdale dirt road.

The Occultdale road ends at the dairy farm on the Philadelphia road, near Klipheuwel.

Across the Malmesbury road and past the Klipheuwel wind generators (now a fully tarred road) towards the R45, then right onto R45 and after 6km tar left onto the Lady Loch road. 

A short distance into the Lady Loch road starts the Haaskraal dirt road. Here we stopped for deflating tyres.

The Haaskraal road was in excellent condition (as were all the roads that would follow). 

Left onto the R46 and after 1km right again onto the (dirt) Delsma Farm Road.

On T4A this road is marked Tweespoor ---- to me it is far from tweespoor! Currently dirt highway (as long it is dry...)

Good road surface and little dust. Green pastures and happy cattle everywhere you look.


Seven km into the road I saw this road sign:

I think it indicates that bikers should stand and should not sit (especially because the road is supposed to be a tweespoor!) cheeky

It is close to a huge complex that is a farm with some processing plant and many buildings. Beyond the trees  to the right is the Bergrivier with huge areas of cultivated land.

 

The marker rider waiting at Kromrivier, indicating the route that follows. The marking of turn-offs worked very well on the day. The group was just the right size (about twelve) for keeping together.

I noticed that at easy/logical turn-offs, one rider would wait for the next rider and then take off when the following rider acknowledges the route. 

I remember that two or three times (at potentially confusing turn-offs) a rider was waiting at a turn-off for the sweeper.  

 

This section of road at the bridge (10km short of Gouda) looked very peaceful as we passed. A few puddles on the approach to the bridge was nothing compared to the same patch in 2007, during the Nelsons Creek Gathering on a ride that was supposed to be Green!

In 2007 it was a major challenge to get through on very very slippery wet clay ! !

Many riders got through and many came second, like me below. In fact, I went down twice! 

 

Some distance further a marker rider was waiting for the sweeper.

Quiet and peaceful countryside.

Slowly making our way through a herd of cattle.

Above: Once upon a time this was a cattle grid - clearly not anymore.

Good road surface all the way, green fields all over, pleasant riding and peaceful smiles inside the helmets.

A marker rider passing me near Gouda.

Drinks break at Gouda.

Some of these donkeys were raced at breakneck speed up and down past us. Generally though, their condition appeared to be fine.

Beyond Gouda is a large number of wind turbines. I retrospect, I remember that the wind was moderate to light everywhere on the route, except here. A fairly strong South Easter was blowing along the stretch. 

Seventeen km north of Gouda we turned west (left) near the Halfmanshof railway siding and grain silo.

Some dust greeted us, forcing a 5 second dust gap.

Still excellent road surface and beautiful green fields.

And some very unexpected traffic. 

Somewhere here we encountered a short stretch of newly laid gravel.

We were bit uneasy going over it because the gravel had some nasty looking sharp edges. 

 

Near the farm Vondeling (where the old steel bridge is), we turned left towards the bridge.

The steel bridge at the farm Vondeling is very impressive.

All riveted construction, erected during 1863. An interesting fact is that the bridge was manufactured in Britain and was intended to be shipped to Australia. Unfortunately for Australia, the bridge was offloaded in Cape Town. Since this was an important route to the hinterland (Du Toitskloof was near impassible those days) a good bridge was important to cross the river. This bridge was the perfect length for this spot over the Bergriver and subsequently it was built here instead of in Australia.

The bridge is 110 meters long, single lane and all riveted construction.

 

Note: Coming across such unexpected sights/experiences is one of the important reasons why I like touring dirt roads. I find it hard to put this type of experience into words (maybe I am too technically minded (or un-poetic if you like) to ad the required flavour with adjectives and rosy descriptions ) wink 

This spot beyond the bridge was perfect for stopping at about lunch time.

After the bridge it was a short dirt ride towards Koringberg and the N7.

Fuel for some bikes (and drinks for some riders)  at Moorreesburg.

Another section of dirt towards the final stop in Malmesbury. From here each took his/her own route back home, with a bit of Dust on the Soul and a Wide Smile in the heart.

Thanks Geoff for leading a very well planned route and thanks to all riders for a pleasant and peaceful ride. 

smiley

Zanie's picture
Offline
Joined: 2013/11/21

The road comparison pics are amazing. 10 years ago in summer: a mud paddle. Now in winter: not even a sizeable puddle, nevermind paddle.

Geoff Russell's picture
Offline
Joined: 2007/09/25

Thanks Danie.

Ons maak weer so.

Committee: Ride Captain

Garry van As's picture
Offline
Joined: 2017/06/27

This was my first off road ride dand I really enjoyed it. Thanks to all who gave me pointers on the do's and dont's. Great ride Geoff

GeelKameel's picture
Offline
Joined: 2007/06/21

Bit of updating & added text here and there.

And some typo fixed

smiley

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