Quad for Quads 2011 with a difference.... On Delivery Bikes

You might remember that in last month’s issue, we featured the annual JHB to Durban fund raising ride for the Quadpara association of SA. Well there was one mad bunch that opted to partake in the event on - literally a bunch of delivery bikes. The guys from Jonway and Gomoto stepped up to the plate - sponsored the bikes and a bunch of parts and donated a bike that was sold on auction for the fund-raising effort.

In 2009 we stumbled upon the greatest adventure that our family had ever endured... Q4Q ride from Johannesburg to Durban. Ever since then it has become our annual MUST DO holiday, and because of our excitement about the trips our group has grown, as more people seek the thrill of traveling for 4 days from Johannesburg to Durban through the most spectacular landscapes in South Africa.

This year we decided to do something different, when one of the lads suggested doing it on delivery bikes … and after much laughter it was unanimous that we were to endure this cross country journey that faced all elements from Dust to River crossings (to later discovering ... hail storms) on delivery bikes !!!! There were meant to be more of us but some thought the trip to be a bit daunting on a delivery bike and backed out.

We approached Jonway, and Frans/Quinton were absolutely amazing in ensuring that we had the best service available to us and nothing was too much of an effort … Thanks guys it was decided that we would go for three Gomoto Freedom 150cc orange delivery bikes and for our youngest team member a Gomoto 125cc Pitbike. The idea all sounded very good until the day the bikes were delivered and we all looked at each other and questioned, what the hell are we doing?.

Then it came to the testing of the bikes, and we all headed confidently off to Maraisburg to test our bikes to ensure that we were ready for the trip to Durban … but after a mere 8km the inevitable occurred and we were stranded in the bush with flat tyres. Realizing that the standard road fairing tyres were not going to be suitable for the trip; we went back to Jonway to see what Tyres they suggested we use. After a quick discussion, Frans personally took us into the warehouse to see what tyres we could find and luckily for us we managed to find off road tyres that would fit into the limited space available. Ensuring that the bikes were prepped and ready, Wayne Dell’Erba from WAC, gave a thorough inspection and fitted the much appreciated sponsored Hyde Guards to maximize our protection.

The big day arrived and kitted out in our team gear, sponsored by Microsoft, HP and Jonway with our backup crew that also included the “outlaws” we headed on our way. What is the difference between the in-laws and the outlaws?.... Outlaws are at least wanted …. They will probably kill me when they read this... It was amazing to see how many riders just shook their heads in disbelief when they saw us riding on these bikes into the bush... then the first test came in the form of a giant mud crossing that had been churned up by the many riders that had passed through earlier. With many bikes stuck, riders covered in mud trying desperately to get going and bystanders watching and laughing as they congratulated each other crossing the great divide... Nervously we eased the Jonways into their first challenge and too our amazement they just glided through effortlessly without missing a beat. A lot of bystanders including ourselves were completely surprised at how easy it was.

It was shortly after the next river crossing that our beloved delivery boxes on the bikes died a horrible death, but luckily for us one of our team members was riding on a Grizzly, so it was no issue to strap them onto that bike. Then the strangest thing happened on one of the bikes, a rear indicator was somehow knocked off accidentally but still connected by a wire and hung on the side of the bike. Whilst we were cruising at a comfortable 100km/h, the hanging indicator swung into the wheel somehow hooking and breaking off the air value, causing us to have a stop on the side of the road. We were fortunate to have Wayne from WAC with us, as we were on our way in no time after a quick bush repair.

That night we asked the lad at the school to clean our bikes, only to discover the next morning why he was so cheap... the bikes were still just as dirty but only wet. So note to self, don’t use the schools help to clean your bike next year.

Day 2, we all awoke to the glorious sounds of delivery bike hooters. The ride was a bit trickier with the rocks on the side of the train tracks. But we soon worked out the faster you go the straighter the bikes stayed. The bikes purred along and we managed a few crossings without hassle but unfortunately the one bike got stuck in 5th gear and the rider subsequently burnt the clutch out trying to climb Mount Everest in 5th gear. Once again, Wayne from WAC to the rescue and with literally a piece of barbed wire had the bike on the road again. A quick call to Jonway once we arrived in Newcastle and Charles with his professional team of mechanics replaced the clutch and did minor repairs on all the bikes for us. A special thank you to Charles and his team for the excellent service and for working until 7pm at night to ensure that we were ready to continue in the morning. That night we were only too happy that we stayed in the chalets as there had been a lot of rain and the heaviest hail storm we had seen in some years. Not to mention that Glen successfully auctioned a Gomoto Pitbike, and managed to raise R5, 000.00 for QASA

Day 3, the little bikes soaked everything up with ease again getting us further and further down the road to Durban whilst we covered the most spectacular route in South Africa That afternoon, we arrived at the “Donkey Pass”, where a long queue had formed as everyone waited for experienced and non experienced riders to meander up (or fall over) on the pass. Once again, without missing a beat and maybe a little double clutching the Freedoms bounced their way to the top without getting stuck … I think we took more strain than the bikes. Bystanders cheered us on in amazement as no one could believe that these little bikes had made it this far.
It was around this time that one of our team members insisted that it was time to go for a “number 2” and could not wait until we got to camp, so after detouring off the road we found a little village that was very accommodating in allowing him the use of there “royal throne”. We, on the other hand became celebrities as each villager wanted a photo with us whilst we waited. Later at the camp site after much laughter we discovered that it had been the worst experience of his life, trying to balance oneself in a minute tin box that smelt so horrendously, it brought tears to his eyes.

When we arrived at the campsite we were met with a brewing storm, so to ensure that our backup crew, “outlaws” were sorted out, we phoned all the local lodges to only discover that they were already all full.. The one lodge gave us a name of the local police constable who had a room that could be rented out and she mentioned that she won’t charge much. Relieved that the “outlaws” would have a dry bed for the night we headed off to her place and the 1.2km route, we stopped to fix her puncture and then proceeded as though we were in a rally race as she sped along through the dark winding dirt roads. A little rattled, arrived at her place to discover a house full of animal bones nailed to the walls.. Scary!! Next morning, when I collected everyone, was told that she only got back to the house at 4 am in the morning and charged the equivalent to a night in Sun City’s Palace.. Can’t exactly argue with a cop, now can you?

Day 4, after another stormy night we awoke to our bikes still dripping from all the rain and with one push of the starter, they fired into life and were ready for the new day. We took off early that morning after an awesome breakfast, and settled into a comfortable cruise.. NO DUST!! it was unbelievable. The one mountain pass In particular was extremely muddy and slippery. The Freedoms, managed to work their way up the pass besides carrying 90 “+“ kg’s on their backs and having to negotiate big boulders and thick clay. Even though on one particular stretch the clay packed up between the front wheel and the mud guard, causing the wheels to jam but the bikes continued to plough through the mud. We eventually were forced to remove the front mud guard, and strapped them to the back of the bike but unfortunately we had limited amount of duct tape.. so they ended up falling off. We heard later from other riders that they recalled seeing orange mud guards lying on the pass.. But thought they were KTM’s, so they just rode over them. (Clearly not KTM riders)

Not long before the lunch stop, we were riding through the forest, we became acutely aware of how slippery the tracks were.. Riders were falling over left and right but this did not seem to detour us as we maintained the full twist grip. It was only when one of our team members suddenly ended up going sideways and the other team rider had no way to stop in time.. Ploughed straight in the side of him, causing the two to take a tumble. Other riders attempting to pass this commotion also ended up slipping and sliding. Before long there were a number of confused riders wondering what had just happened. We were amazed at the filling station to discover that the four Gomoto bikes only needed 18 liters. After a hearty lunch we headed off on the last stretch of the journey to Ballito which turned out to be a challenge. No dust but the constant spray of fine watered down dust from the wheels (as we had no mud guards) left us having to wipe our goggles every 5 min. Just before Ballito, there was one more fuel stop where we put on a little show by performing doughnuts and wheel spins whilst everyone in the queue watched.. and without filling up we continued on our journey as the Gomoto’s are very economical… the last 3km stretch the Gomoto Pitbike had a puncture on the rear tire, but unfortunately the hole was too big to use tyreweld to re-inflate so we decided to continue at a slower pace as the end was so near.

We rolled into the finish line with all four bikes fully intact, minus the orange fenders and the delivery boxes on the Freedoms. The bikes were easy to ride and the fuel consumption was exceptionally good, seeing some 30km/liter. The motors are strong and reliable as we rode them for four days at flat out RPM with not one hiccup from any off them, the brakes and suspension were also faultless. Not forgetting our youngest team member who was for the first time riding a two wheel bike, effortlessly and with confidence completed the entire journey without any issues on the Pitbike, except for the puncture on the last 3km stretch. I would certainly recommend this bike for the youngsters as for a very small price your lightie will build up their confidence and skills in no time.

As a footnote: We are amazed. Prior testing proved to us that the bikes were reliable - but this is one heck of a ride - we passed many broken bikes and quads all along the trail - The Jonway Gomoto’s were defiantly capable especially with one or two of the riders way over the bikes maximum weight. They proved to be robust, hard working bikes that did not let us down, even when the ride throws the worst conditions at them.