We are four guys, crazy about two wheels.
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Willem van der Berg was a mere four years old when he rode a bike for the first time. It was a Yamaha PW50 belonging to his “motocross cousin”. “My late father later told me that I was completely out of control on that bike, so motorcycles were never mentioned again,” Willem explains. In matric he persuaded his dad that an old dikwiel Yammie TW200 would make farming much easier. “From that day I was never without a two-wheeler. Late bloomer.”
Following the TW200 was a Suzuki RM125, a Kawasaki KX125 and a five year stint as rookie motocross and enduro racer. Then a Yamaha XT660R helped him chasing horizons and the adventure bug stuck.
These days Willem rides his 2012 BMW 800 GS, 2007 KTM 640 Adventure or whatever he’s reviewing at the time. He owns an Isuzu 2.5 diesel bakkie that he uses to “take my clothes to the laundromat or pick up my girlfriend.”
Desmond Louw was lucky enough to acquire his first bike at the age of 11, a Yamaha MR50. “So I became a man a long time ago,” he jokes. “Which means you should be able to wheelie for kilometres at a time,” Willem comments.
His next bike was a Honda VFR400, followed by a BMW R100RT.
Desmond’s current project is turning a Honda CX500 into a café racer/bobber. He’s had the engine fixed and the next steps are to finish the seat and remove fenders and instruments. Desmond is the only member of the Bikeroutes crew who does not shun pedal-powered bikes and regularly gets big air on his dirt jump mountain bike.
To collect a bike to photograph he will often travel by skateboard, “if the route is mostly down hill,” he says.
Mukhtar Mukuddem is the real thing. Even when Cape Town rolls out some of her worst wet weather, you will find him riding gallantly on two wheels.
Mukhtar was 10 when a chance joy ride on a Kawasaki Z1300 came along, and from that day on the youngster dreamed of just one thing – riding a BIG bike on long, open roads. At 19 he bought a beat up Honda CX500, which spent more time on the workbench than on the road, but by now biking was in his blood.
These days you’ll find him riding just about anything that is up for grabs, or on his 2008 Honda Fireblade. His list of past bikes include a Yamaha R1, BMW 1200 GS, Yamaha XT500 and 250cc two-stroke.
Mukhtar “reluctantly” admits that Harleys are real bikes too, but we know he secretly lusts after an Electra Glide for him and the missus.
Justus Visagie is man enough to admit it was a Yamaha Pasola that carried him into the joyous world of two-wheelers. “I was about 9 when the annual school bazaar offered three laps ’round the rugby field for 50c. “The PW50 was booked up, but a cream coloured Pasola was available right away. That was it for me.
“My parents never entertained the idea of buying us motorbikes and we rode bicycles or walked to school.
“Meditating on the terrifying number of road fatalities I started to believe that riding a bike in South Africa is just plain foolish,” he says.
About 18 years later that he had his dad’s old Vespa PX fixed, and rode it for a year or so. “That was followed some time later by a memorable 6 month fling with a Yamaha XT660R.” Justus can’t decide which bike to buy, so he rides anything that comes his way. “A real bike slut,” he concludes. His dream rides are a Triumph Tiger 800 XC and Gilera Fuoco.