On in the City 7.9.2013 07:00 am

Ride or die

Pictures by Clare Appleyard

Pictures by Clare Appleyard

People can be quite finicky when instructing others about the details involved in operating a quad bike.

We were taking in the warm sun at Hartbeespoort Dam, celebrate the launch of Tourism Month, when the warnings started. Kgomotso Pooe from Soweto Outdoor Adventures and the Hansa ads was in town to guide us on this journey, except on this day he was nothing like the fun guy on the advert. His demeanour was serious and he urged everyone to listen attentively because, he said, quad bikes can be dangerous.

After delivering his earnest speech, Pooe handed over the podium to two burly local suppliers who further put the fear of God into prospective bikers by speaking of incidences where a “windgat” biker did not listen to instructions, ending up crashing into the bushes. The poor soul, if this yarn is true, had to be airlifted and taken to the hospital because he apparently broke every bone in his face, requiring reconstructive surgery.

 

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After this story, some bikers who were ready to ride into the sunset left their stations and opted to sit out the activity.

The brave went ahead with the mission in a stop start fashion, as negotiating the brakes and

accelerator proved a bit tricky in the beginning. Led by Pooe with and one of the doomsayers on the flank, our contingent headed into the open Hartbeespoort road.

The route decided upon meant that we drove on the side of the road, which was gravel, riddled with rocks and holes. This meant that high speeds could not be attained, much to the relief of the guides. Those new to the pastime realised early on that this activity requires concentration and physical fitness. The forearms and legs get a thorough workout and if exercise is not part of your daily or weekly routine then you will feel the strain on your body by the time you disembark.

Riding through the town was a pleasure and true freedom was attained when we finally got on the tar road next to the dam, with luxurious houses perched and nestled on mountainous terrain.

With the wind blowing, taking in all the natural beauty of the place was a rare and unexpected treat rarely experienced when on a quad bike. And the day ended without a single soul requiring surgery.

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