1. When, where and what did you learn to ride?
I grew up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and obtained my bike license when I was sixteen, before helmets were mandatory. Initially, I rode a Yamaha 50cc, and then progressed to the “big” bikes of that era, namely Matchless, BSA, Triumph & Norton. Prior to 1976, all British bikes were manufactured with the gear lever on the right, and the brakes on the left, so all my bikes were right hand gear!
2. When and why did you buy your first Harley Davidson?
We had different priorities whilst our children were growing up, and riding was very much on the backburner. In 2003, our youngest child graduated from university, and it was time !
I love the sound & traditional look of Harleys, so it was very difficult for me to walk past the old dealership in the Gateway circle, on the way to Primi Piatti. In 2004, we were walking past & a Dyna Wide Glide caught my eye. Unfortunately, it was sold & Theo, the salesman, talked me into ordering a 1200 Custom.
I really enjoyed that bike (the last with a carburettor) for commuting about town, but it was not suitable for touring, and I wanted my wife, Fiona, to enjoy riding with me.
The dealership, in those days, was proactive, and opened on Sundays, for the weekly ride. They provided free coffee, and of course you could shop !
I remember our first ride; before 8 o’clock in the morning, Fiona had bought a riding jacket at R5k (then !!), & on our return from the breakfast run (about 180kms), ordered a comfort seat (another R5k !). It was an expensive day out of the office !
Thereafter, I upgraded to various Electra Glides, with all the comforts of home, and ideal for touring. I have had different models, ranging from an 88 cubic inch (ci), to a CVO 110 ci & currently, a CVO 114 ci.
To us, it is about the camaraderie, the fellowship and the journey, not necessarily, the technical characteristics of the bike !
3. What has been your most memorable ride?
We have been privileged to ride all over the world, and some of our trips have included :-
- Route 66 US
- Sturgis US (twice)
- Daytona, Florida Keys, New Orleans, Miami
- New Zealand – Coromandel Peninsula (North Island), South Island, including Queenstown, Franz Josef Glacier etc
- R62 a few times, including The Owl House, Meiringspoort, Bayneskloof, Tradoux Pass, Outeniqua Pass, DuToitskloof Pass & the Huguenot Tunnel, to name a few special memories.
- West Coast Rally, a couple of times
- Skeleton Coast, including Botswana & Namibia
- Mpumulanga – Long Tom Pass etc
4. What is on your riding bucket list?
I think the US is the best place in world to ride, and we are considering doing either the Baja California Peninsula, or San Diego to Vancouver. We are also considering a trip to France, Portugal & Spain, with the Free Chapter. We have never toured Europe by bike, so that trip could be a winner !
TRIBUTE TO ABE
1 October 1956 - 7 October 2021
I have had the privilege of knowing Abe and Fiona ever since I started riding Harleys, some 11 years ago.
Abe Bekker, a friend, a brother, a firm supporter of HOG and more recently the Durban Free Chapter, and in his words to me, I want to support and be part of the Harley groups I ride with. Abe was always the first to put his hand up whenever participation in an event was needed, his allegiance genuine and as strong as an oak.
I have ridden countless kilometres with this great man, attended many Rallies most recently Sturgis in the USA, and shared so many great memories with him and Fiona.
Abe, always the gentleman, with a dry sense of humour unmatched, always a smile and a word of encouragement.
The long miles on the road will just not be the same, Abe after bravely fighting on for so many months, years, may you finally rest in peace.
Abe has over the years has touched so many in his quiet way, I will never forget him, sorely missed, my friend my brother.
Len Barnett - Director