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SIDECAR
AFRICA


Proud stockists of Ural sidecars & spares

The Garden Route – Feb 2012

On 28 February 2012, I started on a garden route trip that I started planning over a year ago (including searching for and buying a rig, learn how to handle it and trying to get a license). My friend Hein was going to be my monkey for the trip, with the 2 wives in a support vehicle. Unfortunately, he picked up a back problem and I decided to do the trip anyway with my wife, Martie, in the support vehicle. The idea was that she will be the monkey when we do site seeing.
We spent 2 days in Clarens and Golden Gate, after which we joined the Sidecar Convention at Clocolan. On the Sunday morning, we left for Queenstown on the worst road in SA between Wepener and Zastron. The next day we went to Hogsback, where we spent one night before going down to East London.
From East London, we drove along the coast over a period of 10 days to Somerset West, where we stayed for 3 nights and drove around the Cape Peninsula and Chapman's Peak (which was the highlight of the tour) as well as Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Villiersdorp and Grabouw. We left Somerset West and went through Wellington and Ceres to Beaufort West and via Kimberley back home.
The total trip took 25 days and I did 4940km on the rig. I had absolutely no trouble with my rig (the worst incident was a wasp that got stuck between my helmet strap and my cheek and I got stung before I could get rid of it). I did get some rain on 4 occasions, of which one was really hard rain and I had to stop.
This was a trip I will never forget. I am not fond of giving a name to a piece of steel, but after giving me such satisfaction and joy, I think my rig deserves a name and I decided to call it Barbarossa, which is Italian for "Red Beard". Frederick Barbarossa was a German Holy Emperor in the 12th century and Barbarossa was also the code name for Hitler's invasion into Russia. I think the name is appropriate after my invasion of the garden route.

The rig:

Total distance travelled was 4940km with an average fuel consumption of 7,2l/100km (my Mercedes C200 gave 7l/100km supporting). After about 1500km, I felt that the engine vibration was increasing. I noticed that the oil level was low, so I topped the level up to maximum, which reduced the vibration. I then kept the level at maximum and used about 750ml of oil over the distance.
I had to replace the rear wheel on the bike twice, as the tires were worn (they were not new). Fortunately I took an additional new tire and tube, which I put on after 4000km.
I noticed that the rig is much more stable (less swerving) with a 6 ply tire due to the firmer side wall. I think it is a good idea to use a 6 ply tire on the rear wheel.
My rig still has a drum brake on the front wheel. This is a real problem going down mountain passes, as the brakes fade very quickly and I had to use gear braking extensively.
The rig did attract a lot of attention and I had interesting conversations with total strangers. The best comments obviously came from the people of the Cape, who are always very fast with their wit.
Apart from the tires and brakes, I had absolutely no problems with the rig. The riding position is also such that you do not get sore after traveling long distances. The longest distance I did in one day was 540km.

Written by:  Frans Naude