Units 1&2 Baruch Park

Viro Crescent, Stikland

021 910 0535

sales@mhm-mc.co.za

Mon - Fri: 9:00 - 17:30

Sat - 9:00 - 13:00

Favorite Bike Rides 3 – Darlings

Favorite Bike Rides 3 – Darlings
 
This ride takes in Ride-1 only the other way, and then heads out to Darling and back via Malmesbury so a much long than Ride-1, at about 170km. Darling in summer is, what I consider too hot, so I avoid summer and do this ride in the other seasons, with spring being the favourite because then everywhere is green. Type of bike, anything really, the road past Mamre is very bumpy, so those on sports bikes will have a bit of a rough ride there, having said that, last time Chris, who is in his seventies, rode his Panigale and did not complain. I rode my Moto Guzzi Griso which was fine, and Deon was on his classic Yamaha XT500, which, despite being a lot slower compared to the other two bikes, managed to keep up. Picture below, or above.
 
Right, the ride starts at the Caltex on Marine Drive, Paarden Eiland, simple because this makes a good meeting place, and a I said the first part is a reverse of Ride-1, so I won’t go into detail. Ride up Marina Drive through Milnerton, were the road name changes to Otto du Plessis Drive and then to West Coast Road, not sure why. Turn left at Doplhin Beach, road again becomes Marine Drive, then back to Otto du Plessis Drive, weird, head through Blauwberg and on to Melkbossstrand. Lots of places to stop for coffee and scenic views, but we’re not doing that today.
 
Back to the R27, or West Coast Road, we turn left and head for Lanagbaan. The R27 is a fast road, although I would be wary of exceed 120 by much so close to town, and Koeberg Nuclear Power Station quickly comes up on our left. I have never been, but understand from friends, there is a nice walk and mountain biking trial around the grounds of Koeberg, so those who like that kind of thing go and try it out, just avoid the glowing rocks!
 
Next up is a turn to the right at the R307 intersection, now we are a proper fast road, good surface, nice sweeping bends, good visibility and hardly any traffic, that least at weekends, a chance to stretch the bike’s legs a bit. Follow this road all away around the side, top of Atlantis and then at the T-junction turn left towards Darling, pass Mamre, bumpy road as I said earlier. Just after Mamre there is a signpost on the left, to The Groot Post Winery, and I’ve always wondered why it is called that, in my mind Post, as in Mail, is a Post Office and I could not figure why there was a big post office in the middle of nowhere. Turns out this area was established around 1808, by the Dutch East India Company, for farming crops and livestock to supply its ship, and the then growing Cape Town. A Groote, or main, Post, guard station, along with a system of smaller Posts, was also established to protect this farming from stock theft and stuff, so nothing to do with mail after all.
 
Up the hill and the road improves, it was rebuilt a few years ago, no idea why they stopped halfway. This part of the ride is lovely, nice road and great scenery, on a clear day you can see, to the right, over the farmlands, the Boland Mountain Range, last time underlined with a low mist, stunning. So, a bit of a conundrum here, ride fast and enjoy the road, or slow and enjoy the views, you decide.
 
Over the last hill we spot Darling in the distance, and then past the Waylands wildflower reserve on the right. In spring this is a good spot to watch fridges driving all over wildflowers, cynical, me, never. Into Darling and a stop at either the Marmalade Cat or The Old Forge for brunch, see previous post, Memorable Motorcycling Restaurants for details on The Old Forge.
 
Off again, back out of Darling same way as we came in, but then turn left at the R315 and head to Malmesbury. A fairly fast road, quite straight, but watch out for wildlife rushing across the road, especial in spring, with all the wildflowers trying to escape the fridges. About halfway to Malmesbury we come to the first unmanned railway crossing, this is the line that goes through Darling and then up to Vredenburg via Hopefield. Further on and another unmanned railway crossing, this time the line goes up to Moorreesburg, Piketberg and then out to Lamberts Bay end up at Bitterfontein, northern most part of the Western Cape and some 465km from Cape Town. Why all the way to Bitterfontein, to transport copper from the Okiep copper mine, that was in the 1870s the richest copper mine in the world. After the crossing, up the hill and then down into Malmesbury town, under the newly finished N7 highway and through the town until we get to Voortrekker Road, why does every town regardless of where in is have a Voortrekker Road, answers on a post card etc.
 
Right to Stellenbosch, but then after about 1 km look out for the right turn to Kalbaskraal and take it. This is the Old Malmesbury Road, taking us to Philadelphia, and it is in my ‘Best Kept Secret Roads in the Cape’ list. Used to be very bumpy and potholed, but while the N7 was getting a dual carriageway makeover this road also got a makeover, rumour has it that the N7 was to become a tolled freeway and this road was made up to be the non-toll alternative, a requirement of tolling a road. Whatever, its now a great motorcycling road, sweeping up and down with enjoyable bends, good visibility, and no traffic, only needing to slow while passing through Kalbaskraal.
 
There was a big railway station and yard at Kalbaskraal which seems a bit incongruous, give the size of the dorpie, but look closer, it was the railway that arrived first, and, as with many other small dorpies, created the need for he dorpie. The original Kalbas Kraal being the best place to build the junction of the Malmesbury-Bitterfontein, Darling-Vredenburg and Cape Town lines. A four-line station and yard necessary for all the rail traffic going up and down the west coast in the early 1900s. Must have been quite a sight, two or three steam trains at a time, stopping and taking on water while waiting for the up or down lines to clear. Sadly, all that left today is a boarded station building and the large foot bridge, progress maybe.
 
On to Philadelphia, two single-track bridges end the Old Malmesbury Road, so a bit of caution here, then right to Philadelphia. If further refreshment is required, I recommend the Pepper Tree in Philadelphia, its vegetarian, so no bacon on the menu, but what they do have is different, filling, and tasty, note to self, needs to go on my ‘Favourite Destination Restaurants’ list.
 
The last part is Philadelphia to N7 and then back to town on the N7. A good Autumn Sunday morning ride, you only have to start at 9, and can be home in time for Sunday lunch with the family, and then a nice nap in the afternoon, perfect. ~ Bob
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