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Thread: Warming up, all over again

  1. #1
    N00b Mustang's Avatar
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    May 2018
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    Suzuki GSF 1250 Bandit
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    Default Warming up, all over again

    ThisÖ


    Öhas spent more time standing than riding in the last few years. Riderís fault, not the bikeís.

    So after yet another inactive period we restart, all over again.

    Iím doing those cautious warm-up rides to get back into the swing of things after a too-long absence. And Iím discovering routes that are going to challenge the myth thereís no scenic riding around Johannesburg.

    Roll her out, pull the gloves on (ATGATT) and thumb the button. With Japanese predictability the motor barks into life. Nice and smooth, on a gutful of fresh semi-syn.

    Out on the N12 and navigate the R59. This piece of tarmac is, unfortunately, earmarked for ďrenamingĒ after some political ďheroĒ. Canít have a freeway called Sybrand van Niekerk, you know. ďRenameĒ it, and never mind keeping the lights on.

    And out on the still- thankfully-R59 to Blockhouse.

    A kilometre later, take the R557 (Randvaal) offramp to the once-dinky little village of Daleside and take a right, then a left. Youíre still on the R557.

    Two blocks (the inevitable slaghuis and drankwinkel), and youíre out of town and in the open. Itís a narrow road, and one thatís taken a pasting from the marvellous rain weíve had this season. Large chunks of it are freshly patched. They donít have the funds to actually resurface it (thanks, Ajay; thanks, Atul) but at least the craters have been filled.

    If this road is empty you can give it the berries. If you see anything, but anything on wheels, best approach it slowly from behind, pass it with a wide berth and be ready to take evasive action through every millisecond of the manoeuvre. The problem with ďlearnerĒ drivers is they arenít really learning much. They are Learners-Who-Arenít.

    But if you get the gap, and much of the time you will, youíve got the chance to do some of that notoriously South African high speed riding.

    This isnít a commercial for the Bandit, it applies equally to any bike after about 1990: the beauty of being off a bike for a long time (too long!) is that you appreciate all over again how amazing modern bikes are at any speed. Hum along at a sedate 100 km/h and the bike feels quite in its element. Crack it open. In five seconds youíre whipping along at 190 km/h and the bike still feels quite in its element. Ear plugs help in this regard.

    But at all times, be mindful of the Learners-Who-Arenít.

    Now I canít find the route numbers on the map, but youíll come to a stop sign. Turn left. Follow this road for five minutes at 130 km/h. Youíll see a sign saying ďscenic routeĒ to Vereeniging, leading off to your right.

    Take the scenic route turn off.

    Whether youíre on a Harley or a superbike, a big Single or a sport tourer, youíve found the perfect road.

    It snakes through the hills between JHB and VRG (isnít it amazing how the very names automatically exclude scenery?) The scenery is simply beautiful; it is neither Cape nor Malutis, but a kind of its own, so good youíve got to keep reminding yourself to get your eyes back onto the road. The veld is still green from the seasonís rains. The advent of pink and white cosmos and the kiddie-toy-size bales of hay in the distance remind you the onset of autumn is nigh.

    Here and there youíll get the chance to heel into a bend. Not a full-on Eastern Transvaal twisty, but enough of a sweeper to keep yourself busy. Straights allowing bursts of 200-ish, then tapping off and using your chest as an air brake to scrub speed for the entry to a sweeping curve, and then the next rush of acceleration. Whether itís a sit-up-and-beg 100 or a lie-on-the-tank 190, youíre lapping this up.

    And always, youíre watching for the Learners-Who-Arenít.

    At some point youíre going to turn around (it probably goes on for a good way further but I always seem to hit a time constraint).

    The return journeyís scenery is as good, if not better. It somehow looks even better ďthe other war roundĒ. Kind of always looking for a place to stop for a photo-op. You want to send your mates a pic of yourself at the entry to a sweeping curve in hilly countryside, eh?

    Riding solo, with no mates and no passenger, may seem a lonely business but you get to do the exact speeds you want. Youíre not pressured to go faster than you want to, nor held back by a hanger-on who canít keep up. Youíre sure to be more conservative solo than in a group. You do get to open it up here and there but itís a safe bet solo riding is a gentler exercise than riding in a group, especially the Sunday morning madness to the dams.

    I got gloriously lost. Great excuse to tear up mile after mile of narrow country road, albeit with the nagging awareness darkness will fall soon. The Kareekloof reserve serves as a beacon. Once you find it you know to get back to the main road and hang a right back to Daleside. From there itís 15 freeway minutes home.

    Thereís one thing I hate about riding.

    In 150 years mankind has gone from horseback to supersonic. Nature canít keep up. So when those wings flap with hysterical futility as the bird frantically tries to get out of the path of the oncoming velocipede, and then a slight wump against the fairing, followed by airborne drops of blood and gore, I curse and think of its poor mate waiting in the nest for a partner that will never come back.

    Dammit.

    Too late to slow down; the bird is dead.

    The Bandit. Fine piece of Japanese steel. AT 12 years old, though 6 of those 12 years have been spent in storage, it gives a fine account of itself when pitted against my matesí late model kit.

    Itís got its pros and cons, like any bike; Iím past being a fan of any one particular make over any other. But itís great to have a machine that will run with the pack. A couple of hours of warm-up riding and my mates are going to see a new headlight in their mirrors.

  2. #2
    Hooligan Biker
    Ntjamme's Avatar
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    Default

    Lekker writeup that makes one want to get a bucket out, wash the windshield and smear the seat with some wax and hit the road!
    I almost owned a bandit 1200, and some wise man who had it for sale said "not a good idea as your 1st big bike". I walked away with the cash in hand, an he shook my hand.
    6 years later I got half the engine

    Sent from my using Tapatalk
    Two wheels not for the faint hearted in Jozi! ​

  3. #3
    N00b Mustang's Avatar
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    Suzuki GSF 1250 Bandit
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    Thank you kindly!

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