Girls ride out to Rally in the Valley
By: Dave Abrahams/IOL Motoring/The Argus
Slanghoek Valley – A convoy of more than 80 gleaming motorcycles rumbling into a small country town with a full police escort is always a stirring sight. But when each of them - with one exception - is being ridden by a lady, now that is something special.
The first annual ladies-only Rally in the Valley, held at the beautiful Slanghoek Mountain Resort near Rawsonville in the Cape Boland at the weekend, attracted close to 100 riders, on just about every possible type of machinery, ranging from teenagers on scooters - some of whom had ridden over the top of Du Toit’s Kloof pass from Cape Town to be there - to 1300cc sports bikes, hard-core adventure riders, big tourers and a preponderance of big, gleaming big V-twin cruisers.
Most were from the Western Cape but at least one - Catherine Anne Hougaard - had come straight out of Benoni on a BMW R1200 RT lent to her by a friend who thought Hougard’s own F650 GS would become something of an endurance test on a round trip of more than 4000km.
BIGGER THAN EXPECTED
There were even two three-wheelers – a beautifully customised Harley trike and a Can Am Spyder - among the bikes that gathered early on the Saturday morning for the mass ride into Worcester, a turn-out much bigger than expected by the local authorities.
They were met by Traffic Service vehicles, blue lights spinning, at the first intersection and when convenor Linlee Solms joined the senior officer in his car for the ride he was busy on the radio asking for backup.
Sure enough, at the entrance to the town they were joined by two more ‘cop cars’, one crewed by a pair of broadly grinning young ladies in uniform who took great pleasure in blocking off the town’s main street as the riders formed up for the procession through the town - by which time it seemed the entire population of Worcester had turned out to cheer them on.
Their destination was the Institute for the Blind, the rally’s designated charity, where they were welcomed by a live rock band - all residents – belting out biker favourites such as Unchain my Heart and Mustang Sally.
Solms presented a member of the institute’s board, who introduced himself simply as Ray, with a cheque for an amount ending in an indecent number of zeroes, and offered to take residents for short rides around the grounds on the bikes.
The 133-year-old institute undoubtedly has an official motto - probably something incomprehensible in Latin - but the residents’ unofficial catchphrase is more of an in-joke: “Seeing is believing, but feeling is for real!”
Dozens came forward for rides, many running their fingertips all over the bikes - and almost getting scorched on hot exhausts in the process – to learn what they ‘looked’ like.