My name is Andre Els. I was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa and lived there for 19 years of my life. At 19, I moved to the UK and has pretty much been here ever since, about 10 years ago and yeah, that makes me kinda old 🙂
I am pretty new to the motorcycling scene. I always wanted a motorcycle since I was 16, because that is when you could get your learner license back in South Africa, but my dad was not very happy with the idea of me having a motorcycle at the age of 16 so I never had one ! Maybe a good thing ?
My uncle, however, had a Suzuki RM125 (I think, still not sure about that one, could have been 250cc) on his farm and I always used to ride that. I remember when I started with that, I was way to short and we had to let the air out of most of the shocks to lower the bike a little so I can reach the ground. I am not sure how old that bike was, but it already had that faded yellow paintjob … so it was old.
I used to ride that thing without fear, into the powerband most of the times, no helmet, gravel roads, fields and pretty much everywhere. I would never think of riding like that now, maybe when you younger you don’t care that much and that is probably a good thing why I should not have had a bike on the road when I was 16 😉
Anyway, here we are and I guess my dad realized I am now old enough, so I did my CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) here in the UK in September 2008 and bought my very first motorcycle on the same day. I bought the Yamaha YZF-R125 (pictured). At first I thought a 125cc motorcycle will be more than enough for commuting to work and back in London traffic (which it probably is), but I soon wanted something bigger, next logical choice, the Yamaha YZF-R6, yeah baby !!
Instead and purely by chance, I ended up watching an episode of Long Way Down on TV, bought the series, watched it all and my mind was made up … Adventure motorcycling is what I want to do and an R6 will not be so great at doing that 🙂
I did my full UK motorcycle riding via the DAS (Direct Access) system and passed on the 15th of January 2009.
Then there was only 3 bikes I was looking at, the Yamaha XT 660 Tenere, which I still think is an awesome bike or the BMW F650GS/F800GS. I ended up and can be seen by the photo at the top with the BMW F800GS which I have picked up only 2 days after passing my license. What a day !!!!
Since then, I have only done 2 trips, once to Wales (The Touratech weekend) and then only recently a 2300 mile trip around some countries in Europe.
… and that is about it.
Our dream of doing UK to Cape Town is on fire and this site is dedicated to that cause, please keep coming back for updates, thanks ….