The guys rode long and hard to get these T-shirts.

If you see anyone wearing these shirts, salute them!

Riding over 3000 kms in sub-zero temperatures is not for sissies, minus 2 shown above, at the start of our trip at Grasmere, the lowest temp was minus 4, riding back through the Karoo at between 6 and 8am, from Beauford West to Richmond (without any wind-chill factor taken into account). The warmest was 20 degrees while nearing Johannesburg on our return trip.

Friday 26 May 2006; we met at the Grasmere Engen One-Stop just outside Johannesburg for breakfast. I decided to change the route at the last minute, due to all the rain and awful weather they were having along the East Coast. Departing late at 7.30am, we rode along the N1, stopping at Bloem, Colesburg and Richmond, before pulling in at Beauford West for the night. There were four of us on this, my first annual Joburg to Cape Town Run; Basil Carolis on his 'stiff-throttle' BMW K1200RS, Dewald Day on a borrowed Suzuki GSX-R1300, Donovan Bubb, on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 (05), which parks at his brother's house in Joburg, flew all the way down from Nigeria (where he lives and works), to join us, and thanks to Mark Broady, Gary Whitehouse and Rob Barnes from BMW lifestyle in Midrand, me, on a BMW R1200RT.

6.00 am just before the Grasmere One-Stop,  and away we go...

BMW's RT is tailor-made for long-distance touring.

This is the second time I've ridden the 1200 RT, and it just re-affirmed my last impressions; the 1200 RT is simply 'the' ultimate touring machine. I could not fault the bike. It's big, powerful, 1170cc, flat-twin, 8-valve motor is a marvel of engineering, that can propel you to speeds in excess of 220 kph, comfortably and safely.

The R1200 RT replaces BMW's benchmark-setting R 1150 RT.  The 1200 is a better, lighter and more powerful bike, and the new RT adheres to BMW Motorrad's current philosophy of producing dynamic, agile, lower mass motorcycles without sacrificing traditional BMW virtues of safety, environmental compliance, practicality, and unmatched road holding in it's class. The RT is acknowledged as the epitome of comfort, weather protection, aerodynamic stability, and long-distance touring capabilities. With 16 per cent more power, propelling approximately 20kg less weight, the R 1200 RT delivers a considerable boost in performance and provides even greater agility than its predecessor. With excellent riding characteristics and comfort, more effective protection from the elements, and many other great riding features, the R 1200 RT is destined to become the benchmark of long distance touring machines. The engine produces more power than its predecessor and output has been increased to 81 kW (110 bhp) maximum output and 115Nm (85 lb-ft) of maximum torque. The extra power comes from an increase in engine speed, a different intake system, new silencers and modified camshafts. The power improvements are completed by an increase in the compression ratio to 12:1 by the use of higher pistons.

Other features that make the RT so special are the large, 27 litre fuel tank - making long-distant touring a real pleasure, the electrically-operated windshield with continuous progressive adjustment, the large, colour-coded (32 litres volume per pannier) fitted as standard, with four-point locking system is just great for packing everything you need for touring and the two-piece, adjustable seat with a seat height ranging from 780-840 mm. It's very comfy, I rode all the way to Cape Town and back and could have easily ridden back to Hermanus, without even thinking about it.

outside Richmond, on the way down.

the cause of all the cold, a dusting of snow on the Hex River Mountains... brrrrrr.

Saturday morning; after breakfast we rode on to Laingsburg, where we had our first 5 minutes of rain, we stopped for juice and a body-thawing cup of Hot Chocolate. Then we zipped on to Touwsriver and Worcester, where the clouds really looked threatening, but only rained again once we exited the Huguenot Tunnel. We rode into Paarl, trying to find a way to the top of the Paarl Rocks, but to no avail. Isn't it a amazing how people who live in an area, usually don't know anything about what's in their own backyard. We rode in rain again as we left Paarl, almost all the way to our overnight stop, at the N1 Road Lodge.

we hooked-up with Peter Soares and the Cape Town chapter of the Ulysses Club for breakfast, stopping at Constantia Nek for some OBS.

Sunday morning; and the weather was still miffy, so we abandoned the idea of going up Table Mountain. We met up with the Cape Town Chapter of Ulysses and went on their ride around the peninsula, stopping at Constantia Nek for coffee and then on to Scarborough for breakfast. Afterwards we rode to Cape Point. Geezz... those dudes at Cape Point are on some heavy drugs, after paying 20 bucks to get into the reserve, they still wanted R30 bucks to go in a tram to the top of the point. Crazy! So we never went.

Then we rode back though Simon's Town to Cape Town and headed back, on the N1, to Beauford West .

at Cape Point, you can see the weather in the background, although we never had much rain.

what's a trip to Cape Town worth without getting a photo like this?

Basil (the Greek) Carolis on his BMW K1200RS (he suffered)

Dewald (Steel-Butt) Day on a Suzuki GSX-R1300 Hayabusa (he suffered more)

Donovan (Long-John) Bubb on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 (he suffered the most)

and me (Redline) with the fantastic-touring-machine, the BMW R1200RT (I suffered the least)

Monday; I woke everyone up at 5 bells and we were on the road by six. Definitely the coldest section of the whole trip, the BM's computer read in the minuses all the way to Richmond, with the lowest being minus four (out of the wind). I thought Donovan was going to freeze to death. There he was, all 6 foot 3 of him, perched on top of his small, slim, none-protective 1000 Suz, in the c-c-cold wind and I was snug behind the protective screen of the big Beemer, just my knees got cold. Hey... I'm grateful I had the RT.

After breakfast and a hot cuppa coffee in Richmond, we continued on to Colesburg and Bloem and then rode the last leg home, reaching Joburg just before 4.30 pm.

A great trip, everyone said they would do it again... s'true.   Kenn Slater.




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