D89….The Stigma Unveiled.

Blog — By on December 20, 2012 8:30 am

A fabulous riding day today. The scenery was simply stunning. And so difficult to describe. I recall there was one moment mid morning when we were driving across an endless grassy plain fringed by mountains. The road was a light green colour with the white substrate showing through where the car tyres had worn the gravel cover. The plain was a mixture of rocky areas and grass. The rock was lilac coloured and the grass pale honey. If you were trying to paint the landscape people would think you had got rather carried away with your colours. Breathtaking.

We covered 400 kilometers today, certainly our longest day on dirt roads. The temperature hit a high of 39.5 degrees. Like a furnace. Felicity started with us first thing and gamely hung on to mid morning. It does show how tiring offroading can be. We have become accustomed to long days. The roads, until early afternoon, were quite tough. Patches of sand would come out of nowhere and have the bike slewing around. Often the gravel would be deep and with high ridges pushed up by the vehicles. The bike takes on a mind of its own. But it was a challenge and that is what it is all about. And, one gets better. Even now after nearly 90 days of dirt roads we are still improving. The afternoon was a dream. Dirt roads groomed to perfection with a sprinkling of fine graded gravel on top. Courchevel would have been proud of these fantasticly manicured pistes. On this surface one can maintain 100kph plus and feel pretty comfortable.

Unlike normal driving where the tyre is always firmly in contact with the road, off road motorbiking is very different. The tyre is never in contact with the road. There is always a layer of sand, or dust, or gravel that slides in between road and tyre such that the bike tyre is always floating and moving. The trick is to gauge the level of friction between these layers. It has many similarities to skiing and often you find yourself humming that Paul Simon tune ‘Slip Sliding Away’. You can see we have plenty of time to think about these things as we clock up the miles on the bike!

But now for the exciting news of the day. I can reveal the true identity of the ‘Stigma’. He is someone we never expected to see on a bike. Indeed a man who swore he would never ride a bike. Again. Yes, you may have guessed it. Biggles returns. Charles has been wearing a grin from ear to ear now for a week. He has driven perfectly and tackled everything mother nature has thrown in front of him. It is wonderful for the group. He has been frustrated for almost 2 months penned in the passenger seat of the car whilst we just got better and better on the bikes and had so much fun. But there was Charles, 2 days ago, riding along the beach in Namibia, just in a teeshirt, no helmet, driving through the waves. A joy to see. Please forgive him Jo! ┬áJ


  1. Hotlips says:

    Biggles – you lucky lucky man!! I hope you are having a fantastic time. Take it easy and enjoy the ride. I look forward to all the stories and picture on your return.

  2. Alan and Marie says:

    Hi George Just in case you did not receive our e-mail this morning a Very Happy Birthday. You are certainly spending it in a special way Hope the evening celebrations turn out just as special Lol xx