romancylkowski

123 months ago

 - via web

- Story

Breakfast run to Hartebeespoort Dam, Magaliesberg & Hekpoort.

Johannesburg, Gauteng, RSA

Slipped away from the warmth and comfort of my bed, fumbling in the darkness for my gear, trying to be as quiet as a thief so as not to awaken my lady from her slumber. A few minutes later and I'm almost ready to clutch out, bar one very important & necessary ritual...the double shot espresso. It's lighter now as the sun begins to stir! It's 6.50 am, I pull out of the driveway and head toward the M1 Highway. My senses sharpened, not by the recently downed caffeine shot, but rather because the temperature gauge confirms what my bones feel, it's 8 degrees Celsius. I figure that it will warm up soon enough, after all the sky is a clear blue and the sun has climbed its first step of the day. I'm wearing a t.shirt, light pullover and a summer bike jacket, no inner liner to protect my upper torso from the morning nip. My route today will take me past Lanseria to the Hartebeespoort dam wall for a quick glance, from there onto Magaliesberg via the R560, part of the Magalies Meander, and then onto the breakfast stop in the vicinity of the Cradle of Mankind. From there a hop onto the Satellite Road, feeding me back onto the Lanseria Road, the highway and back home. All up a distance of approximately 275 km. I've just covered 50 km or so and boy has the landscape changed. I've left suburbia far behind and I'm surrounded by open land and small holdings. The Magaliesberg mountains are visible in the distance. The sky is no longer blue, rather overcast, and the temp gauge has dropped

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to 6 degrees where normally by this time a week ago we would have hit double figures. I've activated the heated grips a while back, spurred by the increasing feeling of icy pain and numbness permeating through my summer gloves and onto my fingertips. Success...the heat is beginning to work its magic as I ease through a few long sweeps before pulling up at a T Junction and hitting left toward the dam. A hot air balloon hovers slightly to the left of me, the basket beneath jam packed with eager tourists, I can almost reach out and touch them they seem so close. Wow they are wrapped up in super thick jackets, beanies, and then it hits me like a bolt out of nowhere....early winter has arrived. By the time I reach the dam wall it's almost 8.00 am, and the mercury has plummeted to 5 degrees. On one side of the dam wall the water is calm and the scene is tranquil. On the opposite side beautiful waterfalls and a meandering river stretching into the distance. Back on the bike now, freezing my way along as the route twists through the countryside. I pass formal and informal settlements, game farms, rural stalls, other bikers, the twisties of Hekpoort and by 9.00 am I'm clutching a hot mug of cappuccino and thawing out under the rooftop at Tin Pan Alley, waiting on their farmhouse breakfast ( lamb sausage, grilled tomato, fried eggs, bacon and toast). From my vantage point I gaze out upon rolling hills, a lake, wild flowers, trees and open bush, suddenly the sun appears, the clouds drift off, opening up a clear blue sky. Chilled fellow bikers including myself move out from under the rooftop and into its warm rays, basking like lizards on a rock, sharing in our delight at such simple wonders. Breakfast arrives...delicious as always. All too soon I'm on the bike heading back toward home. The temperature gauge reads 19 degrees, a pleasant breeze penetrates my skin, the bike and I are one as we cruise past slower moving cages, enjoying the feeling of freedom and fulfillment only a biker knows!

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romancylkowski

123 months ago

@alex - definitely not the same without that initial coffee down the chute! And I must agree, brekkie after a good long early ride just feels more satisfying!

alex

123 months ago

I love the feeling of getting in a good, solid ride before breakfast (but yes, after that shot of coffee). The eggs and bacon always seems tastier that way

romancylkowski

123 months ago

@Slyck255 thanks Slyck...it is indeed a wonderful place to ride, as for the looming winter I'll be switching to my winter jacket, thermals, additional jumpers etc. Fortunately I can ride here all year round! Enjoy your riding!

Slyck255

123 months ago

@romancylkowski great write up and beautiful photos!  Even though your temperatures are dropping, it still looks like a wonderful place to ride!  It's strange to think of you experiencing early fall when I'm experiencing mid-spring - both  high single digits to start off, warming to high teens or twenty-something.  Your season is ending, while my long-awaited season is just starting.  In your position, at 8C, I would have dug out an extra sweater...  Cheers!