For those in the know, planning for a trip to the Margate Bike Festival is not as easy as throwing in some T’s and underwear (oh, and a toothbrush, we hope) into a backpack and hitting the road! There’s a little more precision involved…accommodation (and who bunks with whom?) – bike services – support vehicles – spare trailer (with spare bike…because really; we need a spare bike more than we need spare underwear)! And let’s not forget the finances that need to be saved for: petrol – breakfast – toll fees – lunches – braai’s – day out to U-Shaka - (“uhm…don’t ask!”). So needless to say, much planning and preparation went into this venture.

Fast track to the 26th of April 2018…the sun barely cracking over the horizon and a few eager beavers (dressed up as Yeti’s – LOL) are at the usual meeting spot before anyone else. Actually, they don’t want to own up, but we think that they bunked out there for the night – like one does for a concert! Personally, we also think some were scared they would over-sleep, miss the “mass engine start up” and maybe, even get left behind!

In fact, not one to be left behind, the usual tail-gunner (Mojo) carefully negotiates her way into getting someone else to head up the rear end, and fast makes her way to the front of the pack! Sleek move girl! No one wants to look into butt-crack for 600+ km’s…

Engines hot – stands up – communication systems on – and away they go!

The first stretch of monotonous highway takes us through to Van Reenen’s, but never a missed opportunity than to drop a gear or two, increase speed and take to the twists and turns that Van Reenen’s offers. Lean to the left, lean to the right – sit up for a split se…lean to the left and again to the right. Man! Pure bliss…

“Uhm – yoh dudes; anyone see the support vehicle? Eish! These cagers!

We arrange with the cars to meet us at Piggle Wiggly – wherever that actually is! We meander through the Midlands with gusto – finally spotting our crew jumping up and down on the side of the road to show us where the lunch point is. The owner recommends a burger - we look at her as if she if mad! The clan are starving…heck, even Mojo (walking skeleton) could eat a cow between two bread vans. Lo and behold, the biggest burger, chips and salad ever seen, arrives at the tables. Needless to say, the burger almost defeated Hannibal and that takes some doing!

A barrage of black and orange arrive in Margate in very good time and the scene now set for some fun in the sun, curry in a hurry, a dop ‘n chop. Early up the next morning and it’s time to scout the festival out.

Mike da Silva (Prez) decides to play “chicken” with the maddening crowds and commuters – pretending he’s drunk and wobbling in front of the cars; goading the bikes and scooters to rev their engines. Now, if you’ve ever heard a scooter trying to “rev” – it sounds more like a unicorn who has effortlessly released a sprinkling of glitter dust into its rear midst. (Yeah, you know that sound all too well). The lady on the scooter was having none of that, and promptly grabbed her handle bars, shot her chest forward (…I don’t know, because apparently real bikers do that…LOL) – gritted her teeth and made verbal revving noises (more like truck grunting sounds – hahaha). Ahhh sweet, hey? Alrighteee then, moving right along…

Oh my sack…I mean George, we’re off the Gorge. Not sure where these “Johnny-Bravo’s” come from, but all of a sudden, there was this urge to splurge and go zip-lining (yes, even Chick Norris)! Shaking and rattling along the dirt road, we soon realise that superbikes are meant for tar roads only, not sandy ones! Taking no prisoners at all, the zip-line adventure even cured a 140+kg dude from his overly stated male voice – yes, it is true! He was actually a woman (like in his previous life – like…don’t break a nail darliiiiiiiiing)! Some of our crew are not yet patched – but after the zip-line fiasco, they sure are getting Noddy badges in the meantime…

…”did you say fart? No…! Oh, you said kart”…racing…and onto the next bravado venture we go…

Not only do bikes break down – but apparently go-karts too. Not the shy one to use his rank as needed, the Sergeant @ Arms (The Beast) duly steps out his broken kart, promptly evicts the crew member behind him, and proceeds to take 2nd place. Hmmn – duly disqualified, more likely!

But the cream of the crop – the cake that takes all cakes – is the trip to the Margate airstrip. Now one generally knows that only aeroplanes, fuel trucks and emergency vehicles are permitted on the runway. No! Not our clan! And, not to mention any names, let’s just call them “mavericks”, take to lining their bikes up alongside each other, drop clutch and are gone!

Needless to say, very soon thereafter, the airport police and fire trucks hit the tarmac to secure these two’s antics. Thankfully, they saw the humour in this – even called them “legends” and kindly let them leave the runway. One’s not permitted to put in writing the words that were coming out of the Prezies mouth at this stage (LOL)! But all’s well, that ends well!

“Vroom – Vroom – next, we’re off to South Broom”! Some to bask in the sun, while others are gambling for fun! Pistols Saloon is next for a bit of brunch and feeding their donkey lunch! Bailing down the back roads back to the B&B, a resounding STOP-STOP-STOP on the inter-comm’s system – there’s COPS-COPS-COPS…then followed by a stammering GO-GO-GO! The cop is left standing in the middle of the road, both hands in the air as the bikes shave past him. Sue swears she could actually see into his brain, his eyes were so wide open. Thankfully, when the support vehicle (eventually) came past him, he merely waved them along to carry on!

Let’s just say, “What happens in Margate stays in Margate!” Everyone had a whale of a time. Yes, a few damaged bikes there were, with holes in radiators, broken night lights and loose tail pieces, what with all the sand and dirt roads that were ventured over, but all in all, with many fond memories to be framed for the club house wall.