Transbaviaans Trailquest expedition 2016

My blog will be updated every day or two as we progress through our adventure on the South African Trans Baviaans expedition.....

Pete Gill

The Team

Back Row

Patrick Jeynes, Anthony Griffiths, Dean Miles, Richard Cox, Holger Schade and Pete Gill

Front Row

Francesco Ragazzi, Bruce Wilson, Richard Jeynes, Rob Withey, Jan Svoboda, Pietro Rinaldo and Richard Jeynes Jnr.


The team were first assembled in 2015 and trained over several months to develop the expedition


Here we are assembled at the Trailquest headquarters in Ledbury





Off road

Richard and Rob

In early October we will be flying to Johannesburg to commence our South Africa adventure

Training near Ledbury
Helite air vest fitting
Charlotte from Love life and ride fitting my Helite air vest

The air vest is fitted like a waistcoat and has an inflation port powered by pressurised carbon dioxide gas that is triggered if the rider falls from the motorbike, adding protection to the back and chest in case of an accident.

Helite CO2 cylinder
The journey via Dubai
Airbus 380 somewhere over the Black Sea

The massive airbus 380 is the biggest aeroplane I have ever seen, its also very quiet and comfortable with plenty of space even in Economy!

Arrival in Johannesburg

iRide Training Academy

Tiger 800XCX my number is 8
Bikes with the Transbaviaans livery prepared for action

Collecting the bikes and preparing for the journey to our overnight destination.

Here is Arnold on the right, he was the main contact in South Africa and was generous in his provision of the bikes for the expedition.

The first night in camp at the iRide Adventure Riding Academy in the Cradle of Humankind near Johannesburg
One of our support vehicles

Thursday 6th October

Breakfast first morning at the academy and the journey proper begins

Crossing the Vaal River from Gauteng to Free State

Zuikerkop Lodge

Friday 7th October

Early morning at Zuickerkop

With views of Free State

Me and my Tiger 800

Zuickerkop Lodge- Number 8

The Road to Colesberg

Gariep Dam

Dean Miles

Friday Night at the Horse and Mill in Colesberg

A Bar and Restaurant with rooms adjacent and across the street.

Bar had a good atmosphere, the steaks were good, rooms somewhat spartan with old furniture

Saturday 8th October

Colesberg to Steytlerville in the Northern Cape Karoo

Acacia Thorns !

Acacia thorns are up to 3 inches long and very tough and sharp!

Local Geology

I had a rear tyre puncture and Andre and Rouen were working hard for all of us to keep the whole expedition moving and on time.

In total we had 5 punctures to deal with over the whole expedition!

Puncture repairs and the offending piece of rock that pierced the tyre

Saturday Night At the Karoo Theatrical Hotel!

A great location and building with a cornucopia of fittings and decorations that typify a theatrical setting.

The 2 men who run the hotel put theatre into their dinners by performing music and singing (mime) in drag!

Dessert is not served until the not so fat lady (?) sings!

Dinner entertainment
Bruce seems to fit in quite well here
Karoo Theatrical Hotel

Sunday 9th October

Into the Baviaanskloof

We ride on into the Baviaans area renowned for its exuberance of flora and fauna

Francesco in the lead
Going nowhere

Riding in the Baviaanskloof

Rob leading the way!

Richard our leader looking pleased with himself

Franco 2 levers in the lead

Onward into the Baviaanskloof world heritage trail
The Author
Rob thinking about landing
Dry river bed
Dean on the rocks
A refreshing change

Zandvlakte Lodge in the Baviaanskloof

Angie's G Spot

Angie and partner

A lot of red dirt
Walking with elephants

We stopped off at an Elephant reserve to see the animals at close quarters and we were able to touch and feed them

Sunset over Knysna

We stayed in apartments close to the bay in Knysna

Knysna Head

Sunrise over Knysna head

Knysna Head at Sunrise
Out on the bikes early to see the sunrise

The road to 'Hell'

A typical scene when we would stop for a rest
The first warning of the difficult road ahead

Into 'Die Hel'

The entrance
Tigers on tour

The lost valley otherwise known as Die Hel or Gamkaskloof over the Swartberg mountain pass has no proper road access and did not have even a bridle path until the 1960s

Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D'Artagnon

'Die Hel'

A remote valley presently only populated by a few families. In past times before the road was made it was practically cut off from civilisation

The Braai at camp
Braai in Gamkaskloof at the campsite
Wednesday 12th October

The road out of Gamkaskloof to Struisbaai

Tiger slightly the worse for wear now

I had 3 falls altogether over the whole journey, fortunately none were serious and the damage to the bike only minor allowing me to continue after small running repairs. The airbag on my Helite Vest inflated on 2 occasions (the last fall was just a slip over so I didn't leave the bike and so the vest wasn't triggered)

Helite Vest

I must say that the vest worked very well on both occasions it as deployed. Both incidents were relatively slow (20 mph maximum) but the airbag deployed incredibly quickly giving me extra protection on my back and neck (support to the underside of the helmet) on these occasions. The airbag deflated after 3 or 4 minutes spontaneously without being too uncomfortably tight and I was able to get going again fairly quickly.

Changing the CO2 cylinder was straightforward using the Allen Key provided and replacing the trigger fitting with the spring. I can recommend that the device provides added protection particularly to the chest, back and neck when inflated, and I cannot see any downsides other than the extra layer of the vest can make you feel overheated in hot climates. That shouldn't be an issue in the UK!

At Cape L'Agulhas

The southernmost tip of Africa

Richard making friends

Western Cape Coastline

Thursday 14th October and onward to Cape Town

Cape Town Sunset

Celebration Dinner

Returning the bikes
Mine is a little worse for wear I think, scraped crash bars, one damaged indicator lens, one broken mirror, a scraped petrol tank trim and a bent foot brake lever!
View from Hotel over the bay to Table Mountain

We had a fine dinner and gave special thanks to the South African sponsors from Triumph, iRide and Navworld; Arnold, Andre and Roan.

Some of us went on to celebrate later too!

Cape Town

Harbour and Table Mountain
Cape Town from Table Mountain

Journey back via Dubai to Manchester overnight to arrive Saturday

I may get chance to update further if photos from others come in to enhance these, I know that most of the team had a few good photos that might be used here.
Until next time
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Peter Gill

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