Robertson, Western Cape – The third annual ladies-only Rally in the Valley at Silverstrand resort over the weekend, hosted as ever by Lady Bikers SA, was the biggest yet, with than 220 pre-entries and at least another two dozen ride-ins, a turnout that would have been envied by many mainstream rallies.
They arrived from all over South Africa, starting as early on Friday morning, from Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth and as far away as Pretoria, as well as one group from KwaZulu-Natal, all cancer survivors and all dressed in pink. They’d taken three days riding down and were planning to ride back in two - but in between they were ready to have a rowdy good time.
Yet they were among the first to muster on the road outside the resort early on Saturday morning for the mass ride through the town to the first of two charity stops, the AGS community centre, escorted by traffic officers, police and what seemed like most of the population of Robertson.
There the organising committee handed over a package of donations, including a big-screen TV and satellite decoder, as well as boxes of sweet treats for the kids, before the real business of the morning began, with children from three to 83 – most of whom had never seen a motorcycle up close before - lining up for a ride around the block on the back of a big, gleaming, and in many cases intimidatingly noisy bike.
The cops, looking on with huge grins, had closed the roads for the occasion, making it legal to ride without helmets, and the expression on the kids’ faces - usually a mixture of apprehension and wide-eyed wonderment - was worth the price of admission by itself.
All too soon it was time to move on to the Huis Le Roux seniors home, where the riders handed over a huge donation of food items donated by Spar, as well as a satellite decoder, laughing and joking as they formed a human chain to move literally hundreds of items to the pantry at the home.
VARIETY OF MOTORCYCLES
The final stop on the mass ride was at Graham Beck wines for a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and the obligatory group photo, against a stunning background of vineyards and blue mountains.
Here a German photographer remarked that the most striking aspect of the rally to her was the variety of bikes ridden by the women – cruisers, adventure bikes, superbikes and even a stunning retro Triumph Bonneville SE and a couple of bobbers.
There were dozens of Harley-Davidsons, almost as many BMW GelandeScooters, a Suzuki GSX-R1000 in the hands of a dainty 19-year-old, and classic 1980s Honda CBR250 four redlined at 19 000rpm.
Once back at the campsite it was time for the rally games, where Lauren ‘the Ninja Fairy’ Cloete won the bull-riding contest for the third consecutive year- and was also a member of the Boob-Tubes tug of war team, which romped home to an easy victory over the Meerkats, the West Coast ladies and the Stall Holders.
Then the rally settled into siesta mode, as the ladies strolled round the dozens of stalls selling everything from upmarket biker jewellery to custom badges, made to order for your bike. Until the sun set, the bright lights came up and headline artist PJ Powers took to the stage, belting out hits old and new as the ladies partied into the night.
It’s no surprise that Sunday morning was quiet and relaxed, as the riders dealt with their hangovers, packed up and prepared for the ride home. But in, true biker fashion, there were no goodbyes, only firm promises for “next year”.