GS Adventures Motorcycle Tours, an owner run, South African based Motorcycle Tour Operator. We have local knowledge assisting you at Border crossings, all tours have a support vehicle and you are accompanied by a knowledgeable professional guide with a passion for Motorbike touring! GS Adventures specialise in motorcycle tours in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi and Mozambique on BMW rental bikes.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Traffic Rules? Which traffic rules?

I don’t know whether I’m just getting old or whether I have missed something somewhere but riding in the traffic on your bike is becoming more and more hazardous.

We all know that there are way more cars on the road and that everyone has somewhere to be at a specific time but does this give you the right to disobey all traffic laws? I’m sure we all break a rule occasionally, usually by speeding but there are some fundamental rules that really should be adhered to ALWAYS.

Normally a red robot means stop so that the other guys(with the green light) have a safe chance to cross the intersection. You even have an amber/orange light to warn you to slow down and stop if it is possible, but I think an amber light actually means get across the intersection illegally and as quickly as possible. For someone on a bike this is a death sentence.

If you pull off when your robot turns green and someone skips their red traffic light you are slap bang in the middle of the intersection and probably will end up as a mascot on the offending vehicles bonnet! Where are the Metro cops when this happens? I know - they are hiding in the long grass trying to catch you doing 70km in a 60km zone on a down hill!!

Another aspect of guys skipping red lights is that if you stop on your bike and the motorist behind you doesn’t or can’t then he is going to tail end you big time!

As I have mentioned on one of my previous blogs my 16yr old son has started riding to school on a 125cc. He travels a really busy road and daily he can tell you of at least 3 incidents where people have gone through red robots or not stopped at a 4-way stop. I can only tell him – look and think for the other cars on the road as well. Keep yourself safe by keeping your eyes wide open all the time.

The other bug bear is KEEP LEFT PASS RIGHT – you can actually get from Krugersdorp to Pretoria on the N14 in the left hand lane with hardly any traffic as everyone – whether travelling 70km/h or 120km/h – are all in the right hand lane. I know this doesn’t really bother you on a bike but if all the rules were obeyed just 80% of the time then the safety on our roads would show better statistics.

Speaking of the N14 – can’t they build a pedestrian bridge for the Diepsloot guys – or at least train them to judge distance properly – another rule completely disobeyed!

While guys commuting by bike are also not little angels when riding through the traffic I truly think that the majority of motorists haven’t woken up properly before getting behind the wheel.

These are just a couple of thoughts that have been bugging me lately.

Ride safe, keep your eyes open and be the polite, safe road user on our very congested roads at the moment.


Thursday, March 11, 2010


This must rate as one of my favourite trips! No mindless distance to cover. Jump on a plane, land in Eastern Cape and you are 30min from some of the best adventure riding SA has to offer. No camping, only lodge and hotel accommodation and some awesome adventure!

Well it’s never that easy! We started the planning in late January 2009 when Gordon got together a group of ‘ old trials riders ‘.This group grew until we eventually had 17 bikes in all. This was going to be some trip!
So firstly I needed to get 15 motorbikes down to PE and back from George, no problem with 2 vehicles and trailers.
But here began a series of events which people tell me are sent to build character!

The transporter’s driver had mislaid Riaan’s motorcycle key. Now he was already in PE and we were in JHB. No amount of searching could produce the key or the spare key, Riaan was sure he had taped the spare to his bike.But we couldn’t take the chance so at midnight on the Friday night they dispatched a driver with a new rental bike to PE so that Riaan would have a bike!

As it happens they didn’t need to hurry. We all met at OR Tambo on Saturday morning and after everyone had checked in, Riaan was told he was too late! Now I was right there with him, he was not late, the flight had been over-booked. Our friendly national carrier could care less, they were totally unconcerned.
Nothing for it but for Riaan to fly down later that afternoon. But SAA were not finished with us yet, on arrival in PE we were told that none of the luggage had been loaded at OR Tambo. This was getting ridiculous! So we hung around PE in the rain waiting for Riaan and our luggage!
Sunday morning dawned dry, was our luck changing? Everyone was up early and keen to ride.

Now Thys was the only non BMW rider but we don’t hold that against him BUT the fact that we spent more than an hour trying to get his bike going only to find the fuel tap on ‘OFF ‘ meant he owed us a round of drinks that night. First though we had to get there!
I had sent the group ahead to the breakfast stop while we worked on the KTM, now trying to make up time I come over a rise to find a motorcycle parked, Adrian has a flat! Ok, this is a small test, and we sort it quick quick.

Tummies full we head into Baviaans, the most beautiful riding you will find anywhere. The riders ranged from very experienced to real novices and everyone managed fine. The water crossing was particularly long and deep but with a little help here and there everyone managed. Except Frik, he took the look up and open up a little far. He didn’t fall but hit the water at such speed it flooded the motor. Not thinking he hit the starter and was lucky not to damage the motor but did strip the starter motor. Jiri quickly pulled the plugs, drained the water and we were in business, except that Frik would need to be push started for the rest of the weekend.

By now we were running pretty late and when Vince blew a seal on his rear drive just before the end of Baviaans I knew we were in trouble! Again I sent the group ahead and after summoning the back-up vehicle we decided to push on anyway with Vince and see how far we got.
Well Vince ended up riding the whole weekend with no obvious ill effects.

As a result of being so late we missed our fuel stop and we pushed on, most of us just making it on a whisper. But not Frik, he ran out and we loaded him onto the trailer for the final stretch.
Here I made a decision to take a short cut route to our lodge on an unknown gravel road. This turned out to be the most fantastic piece of gravel and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. Unfortunately it was here that Wilma decided to lie her motorbike down just briefly! Probably the result of a very long day on the bike!

A great lodge, good food and splendid nights sleep saw everyone ready for Die Hel on Monday morning. The ride was awesome and although a few bikes did lie down a few times a great time was had by all.
Now here I must express a great truth! As with 4x4’s having a GPS doesn’t mean you can use it!!
4 guys who shall remain anonymous decided to take the ride back on their own, they got totally lost, split up and used various routes to find the way back.

Tuesday morning warned of bad weather and we got away early, staying ahead of the rain until 60km before Knysna. As the weather turned ugly we stopped to don rain wear.Knowing that the Knysna forest roads get very slippery when wet and that the heavy BMW motorcycles would become a real handful in the mud, I let the riders go on ahead while others battled with rain –suits.

A short while later, while waiting for the guys to regroup we heard the news that Steven had been in an accident, head-on with a bakkie. The bike was a write off, the bakkie badly damaged and the rider had a broken leg. After an ambulance had collected Steven, the bike had been taken to Angies G-Spot (thanks very much for the help) we all continued on to Knysna and eventually George airport where our eventful 4 day weekend was going to end. The bikes were loaded and we boarded our flight for O R Tambo.

This is definitely an easy way of doing this trip. We managed to fit in roughly 1000km of riding on some of the most superb dirt roads in the Eastern Cape and most guys can manage a 4 day weekend from work in the present economic climate.

Thanks to Gordon, Paul, Jiri, Andrew, Adrian, Thys, Riaan, Deon and Wilma, Frik, Chris, Steven, Aldo, Hendrik, Kevin and Vince for a memorable Baviaanskloof Fly-In Weekend!

Cheers, Darrell

Friday, February 19, 2010

Keeping our children safe on motorbikes

Do you insist on your kids wearing seat belts?So why don’t they wear protective clothing on their motorbikes and scooters?Everyday I see more ‘learners ‘on motorbikes and scooters. With our hectic schedules we just haven’t got the time to ferry kids to and from school, sport, parties etc.

I believe it’s a difficult decision for most parents and you worry about the safety of these kids in the traffic. We do all we can to keep them safe – or do we?If dad’s a biker he probably wears at least a jacket and gloves when he goes riding. If not he’s just plain stupid!But we send our sons and daughters to school on scooters and motorbikes in gym slips and thin cotton shirts? Are we crazy? Have you seen the result of a 50km/h fall on a tar road?Enough research has been done on when and how accidents happen. The fact that the school is just around the corner and she doesn’t go fast holds no merit.ATGATT! ALL THE GEAR ALL THE TIME.

I run GS Adventures a Motorcycle Touring company. I’ve seen it all; full kit, leathers and the shorts and T shirt brigade! I’ve also seen the results of high speed accidents and slow stupid fall overs.So why am I writing this article? My son just turned 16. His mother and I both ride bikes, it’s my passion and business. I wear full kit- always.But wearing kit is just not ‘cool ‘.Kids will laugh at me! What do I do with it once at school?And this is the point. Why don’t our kids wear protective kit? Surely its not that we don’t care? It’s not the cost is it? How do you equate skin grafts on a 16 yr old girls legs to money?No it’s because it’s not cool! It looks silly! It’s a hassle!So for me it’s simple. Yes it’s convenient for me for my son to have a motorcycle, but it also offers him freedom, freedom to come and go as he likes, to attend sport practice until late afternoon, to go to parties that end later than I can stay awake!And with this freedom comes a responsibility to himself and to me. A responsibility to be as safe as he possibly can and to wear protective kit every time he rides his motorbike - no exceptions!

If we all insisted on our children wearing some sort of protection when riding then it would no longer be stupid and strange! A trend is anything the majority does! Parents lets start a trend, ATGATT!

X-Kulcha is a lifestyle specific clothing range that finds its inspiration & its market in the extreme sports & leisure activities in South Africa. Designed & manufactured in Johannesburg, makes it easy for us to monitor quality control & produce a product above international standards at a competitive market value without a long wait for imports.We use Advanced Technology Fabrics for crash protection & natural fibres for comfort in our Nu Generation bike gear which not only protects the skin but looks good & feels good. From leisure inner city commuting to long distance touring & everything in between, all our products are created to enhance the biking experience within the local contextwww.xkulcha.comHave a look, especially at the ‘easy – over pants’. A garment that zips all the way up the leg so you wear it over whatever you have on and simply zip it off when you get to your destination. It offers excellent abrasive protection and is waterproof.

Be safe!Darrell