Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Iron John, Eastern Cape 19-21 March

“You Bounce Dude.” Words that have inspired this Blog: thanks Alex.

Who said men can’t do touchy feely. I spent three days with 4 tough okes and spent every mealtime talking about feelings (“Blerry hell, I’m hungry”). Admittedly, our feeling vocab is a little more limited than women p’raps; five words sufficing for the surprisingly broad spectrum of masculine emotions. And it takes us a little longer to sift through this five-word thesaurus - or maybe it takes that long to figure out we have insides – I don’t know. But in the company of men it is comforting and refreshing to be able to talk openly about one’s guts and not just scatology, sport and spirits.

Looking back, I realise I should have kept a diary cos I have a further handicap to complicate my maleness: a poor memory. This photo is of our home on my first night with the Iron John okes. They had already spent two days at the Buffalo Rally, which, apparently, was pretty much the stereotypical piss-up on two wheels. For these sleep-deprived bikers, the sound of super-bikes being burned beyond blast-off was replaced by the chirrups of crickets and sush of winded trees.

I found the rain quite depressing as I hate being cold and wet, but I enjoyed learning to ride in the mud.

One memorable episode: William (striped yellow oke on left) aka “President” is riding point (in the front – duh) at breakneck speed having signed chicken at the rest of us on his way past beyond Bloukraans Pass (i.e. he waggled his elbows). So Pete (all yellow in middle) is hot on his tail with me just behind him. Over a rise and down into a dip where William notices the road is flooded. Too late. Flash on the brakes but hope for the best. Pete has only enough time to duck before William’s wave blasts into him and his own bike kicks up a wake to rival a tanker. Now, novice that I am, I look to me elderly, more mature, seniors to set an example for me. So in the split second it takes for me to crest the rise and assess the problem I have taken the decision that, since my two elderly, more mature, senior compatriots have hit the road-river at speed, this must be the way to do it safely… so I accelerate. With the result that I hit the water hard enough for the wake to knock my feet off the pegs, dragging my bum almost clear off the back of the bike and leaving my loins rather the worse for wear. We rejoiced over a cop of scalding coffee at the Storm’s River truck stop that we were still alive. Next time I’ll be more careful… riiiiight.

Next day, we headed into the Karoo to find some sun. I found I was in my element on the dirt roads on the way to Calitzdorp. I also found I was in my chops on the way round one particularly nasty corner. Thank God for genuine sow thefrican bovine hide chaps, which saved my skin from a good grating on the dirt. Thank God for Alex who bent my brake pedal back into shape with his bare hands. William taught me how to pick my bike up (its that sexy one in front, William’s old flame) without breaking my back and Pete laughed his head off.

Check out Peter Woods’ blog (that’s Peter the closet Budhist, not Pete the-green-is-always-Grassouw) for more on the weekend, biking and other moving bits.

Peter spoke of the bike as a metaphor for authentic masculinity: balance and managed power. When I was a teenager I feared my unruly rage, which I was unable to control when pushed by bullies, getting beaten to a pulp after a wildly thrown punch. I feared that that misunderstood power could hurt those I loved, especially when Katie came along (in the yo-yo hours of a sleepless night I understand where child abuse starts). I am learning now to appreciate and to manage my power, finding - however imperfectly - a balance between domesticity and wildness, between oxytocin and testosterone.

Great weekend Dudes! I’m lus for more…


Anonymous said...

Dude not only do you bounce, but that was blerry funny

Ta for the laugh... sorry it was more at you than with you


Jürgen said...

Great stuff, Greg.
I need a bike!

Anonymous said...

Hey Gregs - this is FUNNY - loved hearing you 'talk' - sounds just like you!
Find the text a bit hard to read - aged parent stuff ; (


Gus said...

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction
you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to

You'll look up and down streets.
Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener therein the wide open air.
Out there things can happen and frequently do
to people as brainyand footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.

-Dr Seuss1

Anonymous said...

Hey! Nice writing Dassie. Soz bowt the fall.