1. Total distance of route and date of ride?
300km, August 4, 2013
2. How long did it take to complete? Were you going fast or travelling leisurely?
Total riding time approximately four hours. Travelled leisurely in places, going back a bit faster.
3. Why are you recommending this route? What’s special about it?
Some really long sweeping turns in the Suikerbosrand koppies around Heidelberg with typical highveld scenery. Quiet roads. Quiet and relaxing end point or turnaround point in Val, ideal spot for a meal and a rest before heading back.
4. Please tell us how the route runs.
Vanderbijlpark, R59 Vereeniging, R42 Heidelberg, R23 direction Balfour/Standerton. Stay on the R23 all the way until the R547 Kinross turnoff on your left. You will find the signs for “Val Hotel” and the tiny village of Val – turn right.
5. What kind of motorcycle is the route suitable for.
Suitable for all types of bikes. Ideal for road bikes or duallies.
6. Please name significant points of interest along the way, e.g. eateries, supermarkets, accommodation.
Heidelberg is an ideal stop for coffee. The end point / turnaround point Val is a tiny village with an old hotel, old post office and train station building that have all been converted into neat accommodation. The “Moeggeploegkroeg” in Val offers light meals at reasonable prices. Have a look at their website for more info – www.valhotel.co.za
7. Are there petrol stations along the way? Do you know of any motorcycle repair shops along the route or in the area?
Petrol stations in Heidelberg, Balfour (requires a minor detour) and Greylingstad (also a minor detour). No fuel in Val.
8. Are there any dangers along the route, e.g. loose gravel, potholes, sharp bends, oil spills, wild animals or angry locals?
Road surfaces are generally good and pothole free. There is a section of the R23 just outside Balfour that has a rough rutted surface that can cause tramlining. Be careful of goats and cattle near Balfour. There is also a short section of road works outside Balfour (single lane only) with stop-and-go control points, but road surface in this section is still good.
9. What did the trip cost in fuel, meals and accommodation?
Per person – fuel: R200. Meal and drinks: R75. Did not stay over.
10. Any must-do activities on the route?
Have a meal and drinks at Val Hotel. They also host small music festivals.
11. Did anything funny happen that you’d like to share?
It was a Sunday and very quiet – I was the only patron in the bar, although it is apparently a popular venue for bike runs. The owner’s father gave me a tour of the hotel which is more than a hundred years old.
12. Do you have any other comments or advice about the route?
Fuel up or stock up in Heidelberg or before. The towns of Balfour and Greylingstad are run-down and unwelcoming.
13. Are there any doctors and/or hospitals in the area that you know of?
Heidelberg Hospital – 016 341 1100
Heidelberg Ambulance Services – 016 341 4327
Life Suikerbosrand Clinic – 016 342 9200
Standerton Hospital – 017 712 2323
The rider – Andries Visagie