Vintage Rift Valley - The 2018 Kenya DGR

Wild Dog Adventure Riding

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Osadabwa

Pack Dog
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
461
Reaction score
47
Location
Nairobi, Kenya
Bike
Honda XR650R
That time of year again. Time to polish the old bikes, break out the fancy duds and ride 100km down to the bottom of the Rift Valley and back in the name of men’s health and a good time. Last year, the Nairobi DGR branched out and started a new tradition: we’d take the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride and make it our own, using it as an excuse to take an overnight ride down to Magadi in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

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Above: We fit the spirit, if not the strict guidelines of the DGR… some bikes are more classic than others

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Above: The stars of the Kenya DGR are two properly vintage BSAs…

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Above: The Golden Flash making her debut... would she make it all the way there and back?

As per tradition, we were late. Mechanical woes plagued the Cowboy’s little Honda 175. Only one cylinder would fire despite the best efforts of Mythic Rick and Lobito. Cowboy was forced to abandon the little guy and chase us down on his Africa Twin later in the day. I, too, was forced to leave my beautiful XT5000 back in the garage as just two weeks ago I managed to burn her down in a spectacular lapse of mechanical oversight. So I would be riding a decidedly undistinguished, if vintage, XL600R in yellow, red and orange.

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Above: Lobito and Rick try to fix up the 175

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Above: Mid-morning libations are a must. It would be hot where we were headed.

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Above: On the road at last, the first half hour is a slog through Ngong and Kiserian. Ron on the GL5 and Don Guy on the BSA

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Above: Cowboy, Patient P and I discuss Cowboy’s return journey. His 175 wouldn’t make it all the way down.

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Above: Eric on his Triumph reaches Cona Baridi

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Above: Patient P on the most excellent and very old BSA chased up by Lobito on a sort-of-vintageish R80

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Above: Speaking of not-quite-vintage… my XL. Oh how sad I was to not be on the XT this year!

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Above: Don Guy descends the shoulder of the Ngong Hills

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Above: Eric Jr on the meanest looking bike in the group: an Enfield Café Racer

Once past Cona Baridi, it was smooth sailing. The air was still coolish and the old bikes were enjoying an easy descent. We made plans to stop for lunch before the heat became biblical.

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Above: A bit of bike-swapping took place, giving Lobito and Eric Sr. a chance to enjoy the 79-year-old BSA’s utter lack of modern conveniences

to be continued...
 

Osadabwa

Pack Dog
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
461
Reaction score
47
Location
Nairobi, Kenya
Bike
Honda XR650R
At our perennial lunch spot under an almost shady acacia, Patient P surprised us with a cool carbonated refreshment: a growler of beer in hottest Africa. We lunched and stretched our backs, Rick gave the Flash a quick zip, and we were back on the road.

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Above: Triumph sponsors the DGR, so there should be at least one promo pic in here of the sleek 900 Scrambler

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Above: Father and son and a man with a plan

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Above: Flash testing

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Above: Not a bad picnic spot as long as you don’t pick up a thorn

After lunch, our good luck continued and the bikes behaved marvelously. The Flash lived up to its name, blasting down the road at an even 80kph while the rest of the crew took it easy behind. Every meter we descended brought a perceptible increase in the heat and by the time we reached Magadi and the Tata Sports Club, we were very happy to have a cold beer and a swim in the pool.

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Above: Lake Magadi at the bottom of the Rift Valley, our sweltering destination for the day.

to be continued...
 

Osadabwa

Pack Dog
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
461
Reaction score
47
Location
Nairobi, Kenya
Bike
Honda XR650R
After a cool dip in the pool, a small group of us got back on the bikes for the day’s second act. Last year we explored the dirt roads south of town, and it was the highlight of the trip, so it has become a must with some of us. We set off just after 5pm as the golden afternoon gets seriously beautiful.

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Above: Our road, me and Lobito

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Above: Lobito in the golden grass

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Above: Cowboy, having caught us up on the AT, bringing the big girl down the track

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Above: The Riding Erics make their way across a very slick pan

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Above: Me losing an argument with a dead flamingo

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Above: Eric Jr ripping up to the look-out on the Enfield

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Above: The bikes pose for a sundown shot

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Above: The off-road group

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Above: Lake Magadi at dusk

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Above: My XL, Eric Jr and the Enfield

Last year at precisely this time of day, we started back for Magadi. But for some reason, I let the younger guys convince me to continue further down the track to see the hot spring. As soon as we started riding, of course, I got excited and was flogging the XL over the fantastic terrain. Then, just 100m from the hot springs, I pinched my front tube. And guess who didn’t bring any tools or spares? Me. Thankfully, Eric Sr. was there to bail me out with a patch kit. Sadly, the patches couldn’t keep air in a ¾ inch crack, so the sunset and darkness arrive while we manhandled a 19” HD tube onto a 21” tire and my heart sank as I saw that it, too wasn’t holding air. So, out of options, I rode it back, totally flat in the dark and it was fantastic fun!

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Above:  Cowboy helps me with my first failed patch job

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Above: Eric helping squeeze the 19” tube over the 21” wheel while a gaggle of spectators try to sell us trinkets

Back safely at the club (no broken bones this year!) we enjoyed our pre-ordered Indian feast and shot the breeze in the warm night air. Later, back at the tents, Patient P distributed libations while the pitch-black night brightened with the arrival of a ¾ moon. A small contingent braved the darkness and drove down to the hot spring and actually found it. Just before one, everyone was exhausted and sawing logs, dreaming of the ride yet to come.



 

Osadabwa

Pack Dog
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
461
Reaction score
47
Location
Nairobi, Kenya
Bike
Honda XR650R
Up at 7AM, the lovely dawn birds tweeting, I was greeted by a line of bikes waiting patiently to go… all but mine of course… mine had a flat which I was awake to repair. With a bit of help from Rick and Cowboy, though, she was sound as a pound. Slowly folks emerged from their tents in dapper gear, ready to slide stylishly back to Nairobi where most of the group would join a parade at the Nairobi Race Course later in the day.

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Above: The crew, all dappered-up

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Above: Don Guy, Governor P and Me

A quick stop at the Magadi Total for go-juice and we were on the road.

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Above: The heat was starting to get to Don Guy…

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We were making good time, but there were a couple of hiccups. Eric Jr., quick with the throttle hand, managed to break his throttle cable. Since Senior had everything on hand, though, it was a quick fix and we were on our way again in no time. Patient P’s extra heavy oil-leak was determined to not be life-threatening.

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Above: Roadside repairs

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to be continued...




 

Osadabwa

Pack Dog
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
461
Reaction score
47
Location
Nairobi, Kenya
Bike
Honda XR650R
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Above: A suggestion or a warning?

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As the hills got steeper, the oldest BSA started to lose her cool. Vaporizing the fuel in the carb bowl, Patient P was obliged several times to stop and let her cool down before continuing on. It was slow going to be sure, but at 79 years of age, she was forgiven. At Oltepesi, the official start of the DGR, some of us bid the group adieu and lit out for a nice lunch in Karen and the rest made their way to the Race Course for the Concours de Elegance, an annual vintage bike show.

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Above: The DGR bikes at the show… my XL wouldn’t have fit the part!

It was a fantastic weekend, with lovely people. I especially like how the group all pitched in to solve problems and everyone contributed something to making it a success. Special thanks to Patient P for the surprise growler, Rick, Issac Ron and Ginger for driving backup, Denise for the lunch and refreshments, Senior Eric for the tube, Cloe for the on-bike photos, the boys for pushing me out to the darkness and Cowboy for his company and puncture repair help. And congrats to Don Guy for winning the DGR and not breaking down! The Flash is a piece of art man!

Until next year.

 

Osadabwa

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[youtube]https://youtu.be/W1yP-ZeM7w4[/youtube]
Above: A quick video of the bikes on the road
 

Sheepman

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Cool report  :thumleft: Its good to see the old boneys still doing their thing and you guys are having fun riding them
 

BlueBull2007

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Great report and pics osadwaba!! :thumleft: :thumleft:
 

sidetrack

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Classic  :biggrin:

 

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wilfwalk

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Nice report, great change from the usual. Looks like it was good fun. Great photos and video.
 

TK

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Hey Osadawa.
I have to come and ride with you guys when next in Kenya. Its been on my bucket list for a while now. Hope you will oblige.

 
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