British biker Henry Cole is set to make TV programmes in SA.

Henry Cole lives in biker heaven. That’s what I thought a couple of weeks ago when I watched his The World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides on channel 179, the Travel Channel on DStv.

It was his trip across Australia and, as I watched, I thought: “How cool is that?”

Cole and his company, HCA, have been producing the enthralling episodes for seven years, and he has ridden in the United States, Germany, Eastern Europe, the Isle of Man, Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Scandinavia and Russia.

Now the Travel Channel has commissioned HCA to visit South Africa to film and produce five one-hour episodes, in which Cole will explore the country to delight and inspire millions of viewers worldwide.

Cole and his production crew will travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town through Gauteng, North West, the Northern Cape and the Western Cape.


Dawn Robertson, chief executive of Gauteng Tourism, said they were excited to welcome the crew to Gauteng, which she believes is the gateway to South Africa and Africa.

Cole will be riding a 1967 Metisse Steve McQueen Desert Racer. It looks compact by today’s standards but has a 650cc Triumph parallel-twin engine.

Cole’s rides are for the discerning biker who wants to get a bit dusty during the day, see and experience amazing things, have a shower in a nice hotel in the evening, put on a clean shirt, and head downstairs for dinner. The average biker with some disposable income, that is.

I asked Cole whether he preferred to be called a motorcyclist or a biker?

The answer was emphatic: “A biker!”

Many people have a negative perception of bikers but the reality is, like any other segment of society, there is a small lunatic fringe and the rest are law-abiding folk who just want to quietly mind their own business, have fun and enjoy their particular type of pleasure.

Research has shown that there are many viewers doing all the trips Cole has done, in hire cars with family or friends, so the shows are not exclusively aimed at bikers.

I found Cole down to earth; like most bikers, he was ill at ease with crowds of people around him and couldn’t wait to hit the road and see what was around the next bend. - Saturday Star