Dad's First Breakfast Run

This is a personal perspective - my Dad’s first time on a bike - and what made it special was it was a HARLEY!  He stayed with my (now) wife for 2 weeks before the wedding and after this breakfast ride, insisted on riding pillion each time we ran an errand.  He passed away just a month or two later.  I’m so glad he got to experience riding with me for those few weeks.  The next year we went on a road trip to scatter his ashes … but that’s another adventure!

My Harley Breakfast Run

It was April 2015 and my son Erik was getting married to Stephanie.  I had travelled up from Still Bay, a week prior to the happy event, to be with them at their new home on Monaghan Farm, near Lanseria, Gauteng.

They had planned a busy time for me before the wedding and the first outing was the Sunday morning breakfast run, organised by their club, the Johannesburg Chapter of the Harley Owners Group.

We had gathered at their Sandton base, the Harley-Davidson Dealership in Rivonia Road.  What a wonderful group of guys and gals, each the owner of a magnificent Harley-Davidson® motorcycle - mean machine, the one brighter and bigger than the next.  They warmly welcomed Erik and Stephanie and immediately made me feel part of the family as well.

I so looked the part with my leathers and helmet, that most introductions resulted in me being asked what Harley I rode.  I meekly had to admit that I was Erik’s pillion passenger.

I say meekly but this was a first-time for me and what an exhilarating adrenalin rush it was being whisked 25 km along the open road and through traffic from Monaghan farm to Sandton on the back of Erik’s bike. After coffee and donuts and a rider’s briefing on the morning route, we got under way.

I was proud that Erik was elected leader-of-the-pack which, that morning, consisted of some 40 bikers.  There were bike marshals in front and behind, each visibly clad in a jacket of yellow and red and they played an essential role in warning of dangers ahead and regulating traffic so as to allow the peloton to pass.

These bikers employ an extensive vocabulary of hand signals to warn those behind of pot-holes, speed humps, traffic circles, vehicles and pedestrians ahead which may pose a danger, impending stops, turns and many other issues that could be encountered on the road.

They have developed a sense of traffic awareness exceeding that normally found amongst average motorists and road safety is paramount and actively promoted amongst the members.

The photographs below show Erik as an old hand on his 1600cc Harley® and the beautiful Stephanie on her new, immaculate 1700cc Harley®, the envy of the club!

The exhilaration increased as we picked up speed on the more open sections of the road.  A peep over Erik’s shoulder revealed an odometer reading of around 110 km/h, it felt more like 200.  What a wonderful experience of being out in the open, going flat out and having an unobstructed view of one’s surrounds.  You can actually smell the changing aromas of the passing countryside.

We avoided the highway and took lesser roads, the first destination being the Voortrekker Monument near Pretoria.  A short stop to stretch the legs, take photographs and have a quick peek inside.  Is this edifice also destined to be placed on the youth protest agenda?

I was by now getting used to the technique of handling the crash helmet, releasing the chin strap clip is not so straight forward, the correct method of sliding the helmet over your head, how to mount the bike without creating a spectacle of yourself and how to strip and don the leather jacket like an old hand. It is also important to wear proper biking boots and a good pair of Jeans for protection.

Breakfast was the next stop.  The H.O.G. breakfast run organiser for the day had chosen this venue for the first time and the pub/restaurant had gone out of their way to accommodate us.  There was even a special “Bikers Breakfast” on the menu.
They were rather pressed, however, to serve each table timeously with our meals.

After a leisurely time there, we each made our way back home.

I felt safe with Erik and Stephanie rode as if she was born to biking.  Biking is not a bad thing and I think that I may even look out for a pensioner’s discount on a HARLEY one day.

Author :  Brian C. Mathiesen 10th April
Submission by:  Erik Mathiesen
Editor:  Angelique Dermit

 

Erik, Stephanie and me - on our first Harely Breakfast run together
Erik on his Harley
Our destination - the Voortrekker Monument
Stephanie on her bike