We've All Got That One Ride

We've all got that one ride.

That one ride that's seared into our memory banks. It might not be the most obviously, death-or-glory, technicolor ride, but rather a ride where everything simply conspired to be...well...perfect. Mine?

Well, I was just paging through my Scope magazine portfolio (I spent five years on this late, lamented “Boere-Playboy” as a writer) when my memory was jogged back to 1993. To half a lifetime ago. The bike? A Kawasaki ZZ-R600.

Here's what I wrote, if you don't mind indulging me for a minute:

“Durban in summer is diabolical. Indeed, God and the Durban Publicity Association alone know why hordes of holiday-makers whoop into town in their XR6s like motorised Mongols (and Mongoloids) during the muggy months of peak season. Still, they're spared the worst of it. By February when the lemmings have all left, Durban is a stifling, steaming cesspit. Dangerous weather. Tempers become short. Productivity nosedives. Armpits turn odiferous. Swimming pools warm to urine temperature. The novelty of telling one another that it is hot wears thin. And without air-conditioning, some days are barely bearable. Nights, too, can be killers. Squadrons of mosquitoes come out to play. Outsized, Doom-resistant roaches scuttle unchecked. And the good citizens of Durban swelter sleepless in airless little flats or houses. At times like these, your options are limited to ingesting slumber-inducing chemicals, staying up to sink frosties and stomp roaches – or getting out of town to cooler climes. Which – having explored the first two options with alarming regularity – is how I came to be heading northwards on Kawasaki's ZZ-R late one horrifically humid night. Still unfamiliar with the newly uncrated machine, I was pleased to find the riding position almost comfortable by sports bike standards and the little in-line four agreeably tractable at low speeds. Once in the blessed coolth of the hills, I was even more pleased to find that simply dropping a few gears and snatching a fistful of throttle transforms the ZZ-R into a wailing demon. And through the treacherous twisties on the old main road above the Valley of a Thousand Hills, the machine urged me to push my riding skills to new and unexplored limits. Slice into the bend...hero-bumps touching the tar...high-beam cutting the night...on with the after-burner and out into the straight...red-line up to a giddy 14 000rpm...panic...brake hard...triple discs bite deep...ease into the next hairpin...”

Now it's your turn.

In a couple of sentences, or less if you like, tell us about your most memorable ride...

James Siddall


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