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Thread: Noob on small bike in JHB traffic

  1. #1
    I am dreaming of a mielie field ...
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    Default Noob on small bike in JHB traffic

    So I've been riding around town most of this year so far, gaining some experience on the 125cc Platina by not taking the cage unless I absolutely have to. On Wednesday I bought a jacket and boots, so the only bits of ATGATT I don't have yet, is gloves and a form of pants (Easy overs or riding jeans or riding pants or whatever).

    On Thursday I took a trip to Kempton Park, I left my home in Boksburg around 06:00 and arrived around 06:45. Most of it was suburban/city riding, but a small bit was on the R21 between East Rand Mall and Griffiths Rd, a stretch of about 3km. I finished my meeting around 08:00 and arrived back home around 09:00, reversing most of the same route but cutting out the stretch on the highway.

    For now I've been able to establish a maximum maintainable speed of around 90km\h, reduced significantly if there's a headwind. Uphill it drops to around 85km/h, depending on the incline and the wind. This is with me riding with all my gear, and carrying a relatively heavy laptop backpack.

    Now my question is this: On Monday I have an appointment in the Wendywood area from 08:30 to mid-day, more or less opposite the M1 from World of Yamaha. Using my cage this route typically entails +- 50 minutes of travelling at this time of the morning and a stretch of roughly 20 km of highway from Jet Park Road onto the N12, through Gilloolly's, then on the N3 North to Marlboro rd. Would this be OK for me to attempt, or am I crazy for wanting to go into pre-rush hour traffic with the Platina ? I plan on leaving my home in Boksburg around 6am.

    An alternative route I could take cuts out the 7km that includes Gilloolly's. I've driven this route before, but not very often, and I won't be having a GPS on the bike this time.

    So I'm wondering whether I should take this alternative yet slightly unknown route, take the usual route, or take my cage?
    Ride so you can ride again tomorrow.
    From your friendly cager

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    Pirate, unless you have a wheelbarrow to put your cojones in, I would NO WAY consider doing that stretch on a 125! I would be cautious on a bigger bike , but then I am partial to staying alive! The traffic is manic there in the morning. If you can find a safe back-route, use it!
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  3. #3
    I am dreaming of a mielie field ...
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    Thanks for your input, Vespa. I assume you refer to the stretch around Gilloolly's, or on the N3 in general?
    Ride so you can ride again tomorrow.
    From your friendly cager

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    Only in Souff Efrica! Vespa 1's Avatar
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    All of the above! Add in the M1 from Buccleuh as well! it is truly manic!
    Ride with the Eagles in Safety! Not with the Angels by Accident

    In Memory of Blackie Swart! A Man among men, and a true Friend! RIP!

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    @ Pirate.......

    Hi There.
    I am on the freeways pretty much everyday and sadly, a lot of the time in peak traffic hours
    My personal opinion is that while the 125 may be a little on the small side, it is perfectly adequate provided you use it in peak hours when the traffic is moving slowly.
    Your problem is that out of peak hours you are just too slow to be "mixing it up" on a freeway where the average speed is 120+
    This opinion does not take into account comfort levels - generally a 125 is not that comfortable for "long" distances.

    Please note that this is a personal opinion and is not necessarily endorsed by the Think Bike Marshals.

    Suggest you PM Hobbes - he has spent many years riding JNB on a 125 and will be able to give you sound exeprienced based advice.

    Have a good one and be safe!
    "There are Old Bikers and there are Bold Bikers, but not a hell of a lot of Old Bold Bikers"
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    I usually attempt avoiding the M1 as far as possible. I've had my share of that, thank you very much. I take your advise seriously, as I'm also partial to staying alive!
    Ride so you can ride again tomorrow.
    From your friendly cager

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coachman View Post
    @ Pirate.......
    Hi There.
    I am on the freeways pretty much everyday and sadly a lot of the time in peak traffic hours
    Thanks, Coachman. You do have a 1200 steed though, which is 10 times bigger than the pony I'm on. What I'm not sure about, is whether the 125 will be OK in THAT traffic.

    I know that commute very well, I've done it for most of the last 2 years, but never on a bike.
    Ride so you can ride again tomorrow.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pirate View Post
    Thanks, Coachman. You do have a 1200 steed though, which is 10 times bigger than the pony I'm on. What I'm not sure about, is whether the 125 will be OK in THAT traffic.

    I know that commute very well, I've done it for most of the last 2 years, but never on a bike.
    Hi There,
    Very true!
    I have asked Hobbes (one of our Marshals) who has ridden many miles on a twister and marshaled very successfully to pop in with some advice.
    Whatever your call - remember to do what you feel comfortable with!
    Cheers.
    "There are Old Bikers and there are Bold Bikers, but not a hell of a lot of Old Bold Bikers"
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    Thanks Coachman. I appreciate it.
    Ride so you can ride again tomorrow.
    From your friendly cager

  10. #10
    "The Coach" Coachman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pirate View Post
    Thanks Coachman. I appreciate it.
    "There are Old Bikers and there are Bold Bikers, but not a hell of a lot of Old Bold Bikers"
    Coachman

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coachman View Post
    @ Pirate.......

    Hi There.
    I am on the freeways pretty much everyday and sadly, a lot of the time in peak traffic hours
    My personal opinion is that while the 125 may be a little on the small side, it is perfectly adequate provided you use it in peak hours when the traffic is moving slowly.
    Your problem is that out of peak hours you are just too slow to be "mixing it up" on a freeway where the average speed is 120+
    This opinion does not take into account comfort levels - generally a 125 is not that comfortable for "long" distances.

    Please note that this is a personal opinion and is not necessarily endorsed by the Think Bike Marshals.

    Suggest you PM Hobbes - he has spent many years riding JNB on a 125 and will be able to give you sound exeprienced based advice.

    Have a good one and be safe!
    I agree with Coachman. At peak hour the traffic is not moving too fast to be able to handle it on a 125. The issue is those hairy areas where two highways join or intersect, such as Gilooly's. The thing really is, do you feel comfortable? If not, dont.

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    My 250 works well as it will do 120km, on the steeper uphills she will drop to 100km/h, when i ride her i take into account the cars around me and move lanes if the cars are passing me or sitting on my tail, a 125cc is ok for high way as long as you stay in true to the keep left pass right rule, loads of cars dont sit in the fast lane at 120+km/h, often when i move over to the slower lanes i get irritated as to how slow the traffic moves in the slower lanes. id say ride in the two left lanes and be aware of the traffic around you. you should be perfectly happy like this and when the traffic grinds to a halt you will be at work finishing your coffee waiting for every one to arrive, small bikes handle the high way easily, you just have to be aware and in the correct lane
    Lifes like riding the open road. its got its up hills, down hills, its thunderstorms and sunshine, doesnt matter where your going as long as you enjoy the ride

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    Nuon Fangirl

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbes View Post
    My 250 works well as it will do 120km, on the steeper uphills she will drop to 100km/h, when i ride her i take into account the cars around me and move lanes if the cars are passing me or sitting on my tail, a 125cc is ok for high way as long as you stay in true to the keep left pass right rule, loads of cars dont sit in the fast lane at 120+km/h, often when i move over to the slower lanes i get irritated as to how slow the traffic moves in the slower lanes. id say ride in the two left lanes and be aware of the traffic around you. you should be perfectly happy like this and when the traffic grinds to a halt you will be at work finishing your coffee waiting for every one to arrive, small bikes handle the high way easily, you just have to be aware and in the correct lane
    Janee! Seems Saffers drive in two ways. 30km above the speed limit, or 30 below.

  14. #14
    I am dreaming of a mielie field ...
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    Thanks, guys

    Quote Originally Posted by AMZ View Post
    I agree with Coachman. At peak hour the traffic is not moving too fast to be able to handle it on a 125. The issue is those hairy areas where two highways join or intersect, such as Gilooly's. The thing really is, do you feel comfortable? If not, dont.

    I didn't, so I was caging the whole day

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbes View Post
    My 250 works well as it will do 120km, on the steeper uphills she will drop to 100km/h, when i ride her i take into account the cars around me and move lanes if the cars are passing me or sitting on my tail, a 125cc is ok for high way as long as you stay in true to the keep left pass right rule, loads of cars dont sit in the fast lane at 120+km/h, often when i move over to the slower lanes i get irritated as to how slow the traffic moves in the slower lanes. id say ride in the two left lanes and be aware of the traffic around you. you should be perfectly happy like this and when the traffic grinds to a halt you will be at work finishing your coffee waiting for every one to arrive, small bikes handle the high way easily, you just have to be aware and in the correct lane
    Hobbes, I might have to have more of a chat with you about this. Can I give you a call sometime? This week is very rough for me, but I can give you a call tomorrow late afternoon, though. Else it will be next week.
    Ride so you can ride again tomorrow.
    From your friendly cager

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    Pirate, to add my two cents to this,
    I rode a 125 scoot from Malibongwe to Edenvale each and everyday, no hassle as long as you are doing about 60 in the slow lanes, they can't bother you.
    Just watch for idiots that all.

    If you require Safety Training pop us WhatsApp: 062 192 5492

  16. #16
    I am dreaming of a mielie field ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexj View Post
    Pirate, to add my two cents to this,
    I rode a 125 scoot from Malibongwe to Edenvale each and everyday, no hassle as long as you are doing about 60 in the slow lanes, they can't bother you.
    Just watch for idiots that all.


    I took you guys' advice today. Had a trip to Kempton, and due to circumstances I had to either take the bike or uber. Bike won hands down. So I thought I'll extend highway riding in peak traffic a little while further. I passed Griffiths rd which I took last time, and took Voortrekker street instead, sticking to the left lanes as far a I could. At one point I was riding downhill with a bit of a tail wind and reached 100km/h,and then I realized I don't have to ride the bike on full throttle.

    There was no hassles, very little traffic due to an accident on the R24 East, and only had a taxi that merged into my lane a little too close to my exhaust for comfort, and a cage that tried to push in front of me. Came away from both instances with only a little bit more experience than anything else.

    I think I'll be taking the back routes home later, I don't want to overdo it.

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    Nuon Fangirl

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pirate View Post
    I took you guys' advice today. Had a trip to Kempton, and due to circumstances I had to either take the bike or uber. Bike won hands down. So I thought I'll extend highway riding in peak traffic a little while further. I passed Griffiths rd which I took last time, and took Voortrekker street instead, sticking to the left lanes as far a I could. At one point I was riding downhill with a bit of a tail wind and reached 100km/h,and then I realized I don't have to ride the bike on full throttle.

    There was no hassles, very little traffic due to an accident on the R24 East, and only had a taxi that merged into my lane a little too close to my exhaust for comfort, and a cage that tried to push in front of me. Came away from both instances with only a little bit more experience than anything else.

    I think I'll be taking the back routes home later, I don't want to overdo it.
    Good! Practice makes perfect and remember, there is nothing like a small bike to teach street smarts to a rider.

  18. #18
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    Dankie, Oom

  19. #19
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    as goes its a big confidence thing, the most dangerous thing on the road is indecisiveness. being clear and owning your lane and keeping an eye on cars around you becomes second nature, i dont even think of it any more, i choose the lane that fits my speed and keep an eye on cages around me, be prepped, i run through what ifs in my mind the whole time, not what if the sun explodes and the world freezes over stuff, but if this car in-front of me suddenly blew a tire where would i go, where do i wana sit, if that Silver saloon doing speed limit plus bribe money in the fast lane was too suddenly dart across 3 lanes for an off ramp and think i was just an open gap in traffic, would i be aware quick enough to hit the brakes get out his way. like riding on an average day feels like a game of battle and command, makes all the ship in my life sail away! granted im no longer aloud to commute unfortunately any more, but man id do any thing to put the fun between my legs again
    Lifes like riding the open road. its got its up hills, down hills, its thunderstorms and sunshine, doesnt matter where your going as long as you enjoy the ride

  20. #20
    Nuon Fangirl

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbes View Post
    as goes its a big confidence thing, the most dangerous thing on the road is indecisiveness. being clear and owning your lane and keeping an eye on cars around you becomes second nature, between my legs again
    +1000!

    As long as you remember, owning your lane does not mean up to your own death. Don't argue the point with something 20 times your size. If some manic driver insists and there is space, allow him to get past you and away. I prefer to have the maniacs in front, rather than behind me.

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