From single to married in a 10.000 km motorcycle trip
Our friend Tracy Havinga is a proud Motorcycle Adventurer from South Africa, Chairman of the BMW Club in the West Rand of Johannesburg, and a proud GS girl that started the biggest adventure of her life recently - she got married after a near 10.000 km trip. We love this inspiring story so we interviewed her about this amazing journey!
1 - Name
Tracy Havinga (Flowerday at the time of our trip)
2 - Age / Country
Tracy – 48 (46 at the time of our trip)
Frans – 60 (59 at the time of our trip)
We are both from South Africa
3 - Can you tell us a bit more about how this big adventure started?
I don’t actually recall exactly how it all came about, Frans was the instigator!
Ulysses Zimbabwe were hosting an International Indaba at Victoria Falls in June 2017, so the decision was made to begin our trip by attending this event and carry on North, see how far we could get within our time frame.
4 - And so, this big adventure would change your entire life, right? : )
It certainly changed my outlook on life. It’s amazing how much a person can achieve when you rise above your fears and just do it!
5 - After an adventure of more than 10.000 km, and so many time spent with each other, how did you manage to end this trip not being tired of each other? (laughing)
Well, it was just under 10 000km….
Funny thing, we didn’t get tired of each other. If anything, it made us realise how good we are together. Granted, we were on separate bikes and spent most the days riding, by the time we stopped for the night, we were so tired that all we wanted to do was have a beer, dinner, shower and sleep! So not too much time to get bored with each other’s company.
6 - There are many couples that ride together. What is the most difficult part of travelling as a couple? And the most exciting one?
I guess the most difficult aspect of riding together is the concern for your partner’s safety. If something goes wrong, there’s absolutely nothing you can do to prevent it.
The exciting part is the knowledge that you’re doing it together, just the 2 of you. It sounds corny, but it really is a bonding experience. The memories that we made, will last us a lifetime. It’s also fun to remember the funny/scary incidents.
7 - What was the weirdest thing that happened to you in this adventure? And the weirdest thing of all times?
When we were leaving our lodgings in Leshoto (Tanzania), Frans was waiting for me on the side of the road (it was quite a steep, rocky downhill to reach the tarred road), a Piki-Piki (150cc motorcycle used as a taxi) was watching me navigate my way down and rode straight into the back of Frans’ bike. A crowd of locals quickly gathered, this alone was quite daunting! A “negotiator” appeared out of nowhere and insisted we go with them to the workshop to have the little bike fixed. Obviously, the rider denied that it was his fault and Frans must pay. After a bit of haggling, a figure of TSH15 000 (ZAR93-00) was agreed on. Money exchanged hands & we got out of there quickly, a few Piki-Pikis followed us for quite a while.
The weirdest of all time, now that’s a difficult one! For myself, I would have to say the time I rode through a barbed wire fence in June 2016.
Frans & I had just completed Naude’s Nek Pass (in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, connects Maclear to Rhodes. With its summit at 2,587 m above sea level, the pass is the second highest dirt road in South Africa)
I had a serious lapse in concentration and didn’t brake! The bike & I went hurtling through a deep trench, out the other side and through the fence. Fortunately, no injuries were sustained and the bike had cosmetic damage. I still managed to ride it for another 3 days before we reached home.
8 - And most beautiful one (beside you two fall in love, obviously!)?
To set the record straight, we were engaged before the trip.
There were so many beautiful moments, I can’t single one out. But could have well been the first beer after a long day on the bike.
9 - Your first motorcycle model was...?
Tracy - Kawasaki ER-5
Frans – Yamaha DT400
10 - Your present motorcycle model is?
BMW R1200GS – both of us
11 - Can you do a Top 5 of most beautiful places you have visited while riding?
In no particular order, again very difficult to choose:
Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe
Mount Kilimanjaro – Tanzania
Mayoka Village - Lake Malawi
Elephant Sands - Botswana
12 - What's your essential kit to take on an adventure?
We were very fortunate on our trip, never even had a puncture!
A camelback was invaluable to me. We did take spare clutch, brake, repair kit, tools, etc.
Personal & Malaria medication & mosquito repellent (especially in Lake Malawi district)
13 - What was your worst mistake while riding?
No serious mistakes were made on this trip.
Some of the main roads in Tanzania are badly rutted by the trucks. I was caught on the wrong side of the road (overtaking traffic) and couldn’t get back to the correct side because the rut was too deep. With oncoming traffic, all I could do was open the throttle, aim to my left and hope for the best. I didn’t make that mistake again!
14 - Couples who ride together, stay together. That's a very common phrase. What can you say about that?
I think there’s a lot of truth in that. There’s no resentment that one is doing something and excluding the partner.
Many of our friends ride and we have fun going away for weekends or just a day’s ride.
AND…if one gets a new bike, so does the other!!!
15 - What is the most beautiful thing of riding a motorcycle and discovering new countries?
The freedom of riding is the most wonderful feeling, even when it’s cold & wet. The fact that you have to concentrate, keeps you from thinking about daily issues & problems. It’s a good stress reliever.
One can’t travel enough – every country has something new to teach us. There are so many different and beautiful places, unfortunately I’ll never get to see them all.
16 - Can you give an advise to all the Motorcycle Adventurers out there that love adventure on 2 wheels, riding alone or together?
I don’t advocate solo riding, but many people prefer it. Each to their own, as long as they stay safe!
Do your research on where you want to go, but don’t let negative information stop you from doing it. The internet is full of horror stories, don’t believe them all. Bear in mind the facts, take the necessary precautions and be prepared for the worst (it generally never happens).
The best advice I could give any rider is to stay safe & have fun! Life is too short for regrets.
Thank you Tracy and Frans. We wish you two a wonderful marriage full of amazing adventures together!