"Me and my sons regularly take to the streets on a breakfast run. When I read this article I had to share it with my fellow travelers" - Johan Crause, Judine Motors.
You’ve got the bike but most of the time you’re either using it to commute or it’s sitting in the garage while you use your car to get to work. But, come the weekend or the holidays, you get to use your bike the way it was designed. So, whether you’ve got an adventure bike, a cruiser or a superbike, there’s an epic weekend ride that will suit it just perfectly.
1. Magaliesburg: The daddy of short, sharp Jo’burg breakfast runs
It might not be the most original, but that doesn’t mean a great cruise out to Magaliesburg on a Sunday morning is anything other than the perfect way to get yourself set up for the week ahead. Take Beyers Naude out to the N14 and on to the Cradle of Humankind. Keep on the R563 towards Hekpoort and at Barton’s Folly, hang a left onto the R96 past the Mount Grace and into Magaliesburg, where a well-deserved coffee awaits you.
2. Long Tom Pass and beyond
Long Tom Pass and the roads around Sabie and Graskop are a mecca for superbikers, who will be rewarded with magnificent views, challenging passes and relatively quiet, traffic-free roads. A long haul from Jo’burg, these roads make the perfect weekend retreat, with the lowveld perfectly set up for weekenders. From Lydenberg take the Sabie road (R37) and prepare to get your knee down. Long Tom Pass is a magnificent blast through some beautiful countryside, culminating in a series of glorious sweeps down into the village of Sabie. Stop at the top of Kanonkop and check out the guns from the Anglo-Boer War. From there an epic burn through to Hazyview, ‘round to Graskop and back to Sabie will sort out any lingering cobwebs.
3. Two passes, one great morning: Cape Town - Dutoitskloof – Bainskloof – Wellington – Cape Town
Leave the 22-wheelers and those stuck on four wheels on the N1 at Paarl and hit the twisties up Dutoitskloof (R101). This way you get to avoid the chemical miasma in the Huguenot Tunnel and blow your hair back up a challenging and pretty pass. Take a comfortable bike because the road surface isn’t brilliant at all times, and it’s quite tight and challenging in places. Once through the pass and back onto the N1, head off to Rawsonville and take the Slanghoek road north towards the Breede, where you can hang a left down the stunning Bainskloof pass. This isn’t the fastest road and some of the corners are tight and blind, but it’s a glorious place to be and once you’re in Wellington, the R44 back to the freeway and to Cape Town offers a fast, wide road with excellent visibility.
4. South Africa’s own Green Hell - Franschhoek Pass and beyond
From Stellenbosch head out towards Pniel up the fast and wide Helshoogte Pass, a good way to get into the spirit of things. Head on into Franschhoek and consider filling up – on coffee and fuel. Turn left at the Huguenot memorial and settle in for one of the truly great rides in South Africa. Franschhoek Pass is a varied and hugely challenging road that scales the Hottentots-Holland mountain range and plunges down towards Theewaterskloof and the epic scenery around Elgin and Sir Lowry’s Pass back towards Cape Town. Expect sheer cliffs, challenging corners and, near the dam, some massive speed. Take a light, fast bike.
5. The Swartberg loop - a real adventure
From Oudtshoorn, take the N12 east to De Rust, then head north through the extraordinary Meiringspoort. Consider having a swim in one of the pools, then saddle up and head through to Klaarstroom, hooking a left and heading onto the R407 towards Prince Albert. Grab a coffee, then head south on the Swartberg Pass. It’s a rocky gravel pass, but you’ll be comfortable on your adventure bike. If you have time you can head off into Die Hel, a remote and remarkable valley. If not, continue down the pass to the Cango Caves, and back to Oudtshoorn.