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Scoo-touring the Cradle of Humankind on a 8kW/10Nm 'poegie'

2016-08-31 09:11

Steven Warriner

SCOO-TOURING COUPLE: Steven Warriner and his wife travel the world while riding scooters. Image: Wheels24


This video of a cat nonchalantly clinging on to its owner's back while the duo zip through traffic is purrfect. Is this the coolest cat in the world?

Scooter Steve: Going Places since 2011. I love my scooter. I love to travel. What better way to explore the world than from the back of a bike?

Marliese recently wrote her scooter licence which means I am now pillion-free. She has her very own Motomia Capri 150cc*. A plastic copy of the Vespa but at a tenth of the price.

ScooterSteve and ScooterM are a GO!

We’re on an adventure to the Cradle of Humankind. Troglodytes, Neanderthals and cavemen await. According to the map this Unesco World Heritage Site is only 34km from my home. Let’s see if the Motomia can stand up to the pothole-infested roads of home.

We live in the northern suburbs of leafy Johannesburg, South Africa. I say leafy ‘cause Johannesburg’s City Parks have planted 10 million trees since it was settled in the late 1800s.

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Does this make it the worlds largest man made forest? It all depends what defines a man-made forest!

Changa Manga in Pakistan and Tijuca forest of Brazil also claim to be the biggest. And China has apparently planted over a billion trees in the past few years. The debate ensues...

But I digress. Early hominids await. 

Image: Blogspot / Scooter Steve

The Cradle was put on the Paleontological map by Mrs Ples. She is the 2.3-million-year-old fossil Australopithecus africanus (nicknamed “Mrs. Ples”), found in 1947 by Robert Broom. From an evolutionary perspective this purports the idea of the missing link. The moment when knuckle draggers became man. 

We hit the M5 out of Randburg at first light. A 19km long gauntlet of chaos. Helmets tightly buckled and insurance paid up, we prayed for our lives as we left the city behind us. In Johannesburg bikes and pedestrians are fair targets for aggressive drivers and lawless mini bus taxis.

Follow all Scooter Steve's adventures here.

It was baptism by fire for ScooterM. If she survives the M5 to The Cradle she can survive anything. The charm of sprawling urban development and light industrial factories do little to inspire the imagination. But there is a light.

Tip: Load your bike onto a trailer and start your adventure from the R114 

If you make it out alive you will be rewarded. Just off the M5 (before the N14 highway) the lesser travelled R114 to Muldersdrift ushers in the start of our scooter adventure. Kamikaze taxis are replaced by slow moving mountain bikers, and all around we are surrounded by country estates & wedding venues.

The road is patchy and bumpy but maintained, nevertheless. And pothole free. There is even a bicycle lane. My Gomoto Yesterday floats like a cloud over bumpy roads. The Motomia however is a hard ride. Unforgiving though a great core workout.

8kW/10Nm poegie. 'LOL'

The R114 undulates and makes for a relaxing scootour. Around every sweeping bend a surprise awaits. The best surprise for me is a smiling wife. Her Motomia is purring. What strikes me is how much oomph her 150cc has. She out guns me on every straight. Admittedly I weigh 40kg more but the engine of her Capri has a firecracker in it. A massive 8kW of power and 10Nm, LOL! More than enough for a weekend warrior wanting a top cruising speed of 75km/h.

READ: The search for SA's most frugal motorcycles is on

I don’t do tourist traps. Museums are off my GPS. The one exception is Maropeng and the Sterkfontein caves. This is a world class education center that tells the story of evolution in a fun and authentic way. The Maropeng building looks like a Telly Tubby mound. The nearby Sterkfontein caves is a fossil dig run by the University of the Witwatersrand. 

A scootour though the Cradle can take the whole day. Apart from the must-see Maropeng and Sterkfontein caves you have to do a drive-by past these three spots:

1 The Neck and Deck Restaurant (on the R540 Kromdraai Rd)

As the name suggests you sit on a deck and enjoy a view over the nearby Rhino and Lion park. The neck part refers to the tame giraffes that frequent a paddock next door. They are able to stretch themselves over the fence for a tickle and treat.

I was not expecting what I witnessed next - Lions. It's a running joke in South Africa as tourists commonly ask "Do you have lions roaming your streets?" Well apparently in the Cradle we do...

2 Nirox Sculpture Park (also on the R540 Kromdraai Rd)

Johannebsurg’s best kept secret. Although it’s not open to the public they do have monthly food & music festivals. Their draw card is the incredible sculptures and installations that pepper the perfectly manicured lawns and gardens.

Image: Blogspot / Scooter Steve

3 The Something Country Café (on the R114)

For R15 you can sip on a fresh cup of filter coffee. And for R45 have a hearty breakfast thrown in. Sit in the garden and let the unrushed hurry of Africa pass you by.

Disclaimer: This is a favourite hangout of sweaty cyclists.

The Cradle area is the best Johannesburg has to offer in terms of country riding.  ScooterM and I enjoy the freedom and open space that is missing from everyday city life. For me the highlight of any scootour is to pullover and sip coffee from a flask. The small pleasures that don’t cost a fortune.

The Motomia Capri is bang for buck a superb little bike. Styling wise is steals from the classic Vespa. 10/10.

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I am no lawyer, but I am sure it breaks every patent law there is. If you can look past the plastic and hard ride the Capri is a winner. But there are obvious flaws. No pegs for a pillion, no warranty as Motomia went bang, and the starter motor takes some getting used to.

The bike is relatively new with less than 1000km on the clock. ScooterM has thus far not crashed. That's what I love about scootouring. The speeds are low so the chances of crashing and dying are mitigated. A sobering thought.

Follow all Scooter Steve's adventures here.

I will report back to see if the Capri stands the test of time.  

*Motomia is a defunct South African scooter company that imported and assembled Chinese-made bikes and parts.


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