We have done about 5000km through South Africa as we tour from city to city to present our Trans Talk Roadshow.

Taking a look at behind the scenes of our tour and what this beautiful country of ours has to offer. The Trans Talks are an initiative started in 2016 where we go around the country to the major centres in #RSA to Talk about the very popular Trans Baviaans 24hr MTB Marathon. An information evening about the do’s and don’ts on this 230km route through the biggest wilderness area in SA.

Lukas Schmahl

Lukas and his cousin Maia, are the latest additions to the EcoBound family. Lukas has no choice but to come along on the adventures.

Lukas Schmahl#Littledude
Wikus van der Walt

The Founder and leader of the pack

Wikus van der Walt#Bossman
Zane Schmahl

The crazy guy

Zane Schmahl#Avonturier
Elmarie van der Walt

Always caring and making sure everyone is happy

Elmarie van der Walt#Motherhen
Carmen Schmahl

Always planning ahead and looking out for us.

Carmen Schmahl#Theplanner

The first Trans Talk was scheduled for Port Elizabeth on the 2nd of February, so naturally this was where the tour started. The evening at Bike & Brew was very successful with a whopping 60 odd people showing up to come and listen to what we had to say about the event.

Wikus received his brand new Momsen Vipa Two in “Racing Yellow” he was very excited to get it ridden on our trip.

The Bike & Brew jam packed for the 1st #TransTalk

East London was next on the list and we set off along the coast. #Slummies was added to the schedule after the fact as the locals there asked us very nicely to come. We hosted it on a Friday night and got over 40 people! #Respect

#TransTalkEastLondon, guys are amped to enter the Polar competition

Then the “fun” started, we headed out to the Rhodes area in the Southern sections of the Drakensberg with lots of rides and runs planned in the mountains… but the #Berg had other ideas for us! Rain and more rain, when we hit the first gravel road the Isuzu bakkie almost did a 360, the roads was properly wet and slippery. This was only the first blow to the little expedition. The plan was to travel along the foot of the mountains on our way to Pietermaritzburg (the next Trans Talk town), with some added adventure. Well we got the adventure, just not in the form we expected! After the bakkie did a 360, the wiper broke with torrential down pour of note on a gravel road with mud being tossed at the windshield with every pot hole you hit. We looked into fixing it but there was no way figuring it out in the middle of what now has become a storm. So out came the “Braai Tongs”, this was the only solution at this point in time and it worked except for getting sopping wet every time the tongs had to be used! We eventually made it to Balloch (crossing a few dodgy rivers along the way), a place I have long wanted to visit due to the #SkyRun reputation. Now camping is our preferred way of accommodation on these sort of trips, but there was no way #Littledude was having it, so we nestled in quite nicely into the chalet at Balloch.

The next morning’s destination was Nottingham Road (ambitious much?). Hoping to get a hearty breakfast at Rhodes, but instead we had some “moer” cofffee as there wasn’t much bacon and eggs going around in what seemed to be a bit of a ghost town. Right so now for the famous Naude’s Nek pass. So while we where having our coffee at Walkabout’s in Rhodes, the lady there scared the living “hell” out of Elmarie and Carmen as she explained with very wide eyes what exactly we where in for on this infamous pass. Immediately the stares of absolute disapproval came my way, aka “The Route Planner”. Naude’s Nek wasn’t so bad, these people don’t know what they are talking about, we ride, drive, run and truck passes like this for a living… About halfway through at around 2500 meter above sea level the Isuzu start puffing like an old man (technically it is one, at almost 300 000km) it must be the altitude, I think and nurse it forward, no it doesn’t want to go. Ok so maybe I have miscalculated the diesel usage and its running low? Out comes the tow rope and Carmen and I start singing very loudly in the car for “Lukas” as we get towed to a nearby lodge: Tenahead. We begged for some diesel from the very friendly manager and had some lunch at the lodge. The bakkie’s diesel tank got about 25litres added to it and off we went, no that was not the problem it seems. Out comes the tow rope again and the result was getting towed for about 75km’s over the Naude’s Nek with a wiper that wasn’t working and a vehicle that didn’t want to idle which meant, no hydraulics for brakes or steering. Let’s just say the weather inside the car was getting worse than the storm outside! We finally made it to Maclear, Eastern Cape where we spent the night.  A local mechanic was able to sort out the problem the next morning. A diesel pipe got damaged with a hole the size of a needle! R750 later and we where on our way again, now to get to #Notties. We made it without any problems except for the damn wiper that still didn’t work, but we eventually got it fixed with a combination of wire, duct tape, rubber tape and some good old “boer maak n plan” theory behind it. (it is still running on that fix at the moment) #Notties time was spent in relaxation with some family.

Driving in the Drakensberg on our way to #Balloch

The rain cleared for about an hour, just enough time for a quick run and explore

Exploring with my Polar V800

Drakensberg

Right so now it was the Natal #TransTalks. The attendance at these talks weren’t great in typical Natal fashion. We had some time for a quick explore on Holla Trails in Balito. We expected only some sugar cane gravel roads, but the trails there was fantastic and we had great fun!

Holla Trail, Balito, Kwa Zulu Natal

After the Pietermaritzburg’s #TransTalk we left for the North coast to check out Isimangaliso National Park with some time to play. More about that in the next blog post.

Happy riding and exploring

Team EcoBound