The Bush Radio Biker Show was broadcast live from the 2013 Steppies Rally in Hawston this past weekend. Joing the crew for the first time was Bushradionews intern Athenkosi Mvane. We asked him to give us his take on being at a rally for the first time.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the phrase “biker rally”?
For me, honestly; bad mannered, long-bearded, baseball bat carrying, chain-wielding angry men.
Saturday would have been the day that would have given me concrete evidence that my stereotypes learned from bad-boy movies were true.
I had little sleep the previous night, fantasies of watching tyre burn-outs and drag racing on a long stretch of road had me tossing and turning like a rider on a hair pin bend.
The trip from Cape Town to Hawston felt longer than it was; my eagerness to reach my christening into the forbidden world of two wheelers got the better of me. The picturesque scenery on the drive gave little amusement to my yearning.
Upon our arrival at the Hawston resort, we were signed in by members of the rally hosts, the Stepchildren Motorcycle Club, who showed us the centre of the event and stage.
It was tent next to tent, motorbike after motorbike, braai-stand smoke breathing life into the sea-breeze that whispered relief from the scorching sun that illuminated.
There were high spirits in the main tent as the bikers raved the heat away.
The Bush Radio technical team set up the stage in preparation for the Biker Show’s broadcast from the rally.
This was my first experience of being present during an outside broadcast in my four months with the Bush family.
With the equipment prepared, I headed out into unfamiliar territory and joined the biking community.
Each of the clubs had set up banners displaying their colours and logos, proudly wearing their cuts* adorned with various rally badges.
*A cut-off, also known as a kutte is a type of vest or jacket which originated in the biker subculture
I met club bikers, freelancers and non-bike affiliated supporters of the fraternity.
Richard Appel of Gaansbaai said rallies brought him together with friends from different places who don’t meet for long periods of time.
From the Ikon Cycle Club, Bradley Bruinders said the fellowship of the bikers was a time to be around people who share the same vision and bond. One of their biking team-mates had been biking for 28 years.
Alec Abrahams of Athlone, who has been biking since 1982, said the fellowship of the different clans is what brings him to rallies. “It is something that grew on me since the first time I saw a motorcycle”.
Cuan Edick said his way through biking was unplanned, as he had given a friend some money to buy him a car, and when he had returned home from work, he found a bike instead. “I couldn’t even ride a bike back then” he said.
Jacqui De Doncker said her reason for being at the rally was purely to have fun and to support her biking friends. “The biking community is friendly and they know how to have fun.”
From Atlantis, Cindy Samuels had come to support the hosts Stepchildren, because she found their work in the community amazing. She said, “It makes people see that biking is not about only partying, but about giving back.”
Emile Fredericks from the Claw Riders Club said the biking fraternity is misunderstood by the general public. Their club supports a community crèche with everything the children need; from blankets, to toys and anything that would be of assistance. He boasted that when the Bush Radio Biker Show was started, the Claws were the first club to be invited for an interview.
To my surprise I encountered a club named Friends in Uniform who are police officers. Chantell Mutt chairs the club and said the rallies are one of the ways a cop can relax and have a good time. “The rally is fun, its tons of adrenaline from the sounds of the engines and just being in the company of good friends” Mutt said.
The experience for me was incredible. I got to a first-hand experience in the presence of the “meanies” and realised they are often misjudged by those who don’t understand the brother and sisterhood that exists between riders. They are not the movies’ portrayal of aggression; they are a crowd with big hearts too.
I learnt that there is a body that watches over and holds the clubs accountable which is the Motorcycle Association Western Cape. Under the MAWC registered clubs must adopt a charity of their choice to support.
I learnt that, like in any other group there are rivalries but under the MAWC, clubs that transgress the code of conduct (in which respect for other clubs is part of) are subject to penalties.
I saw no forms of anti-social behaviour at the rally but witnessed an immense amount of friendship, bonding and respect. Although we had to leave while the festivities were still underway I could not have asked for a better way to spend a working Saturday afternoon.
I may have no intention of joining a club soon, but I am converted to the rider lifestyle. Friendship, bikes and rock ‘n roll were the flavour of the day and what happened in Hawston will stay in my mind for a long time.
I want to congratulate the Stepchildren Motorcycle Club on a well-organised and spirited event. I hope this will not be the last time I experience a ride on the wild side.
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