Short day trip on a Ural sidecar motorbike
Hartebeespoort – Magaliesberg – South Africa
Ural Sidecar Tours
About 3 years ago in 2016 we spent the day zooming around on a Ural side car. Or to be honest, we were buzzing around at a sedate speed. We were given a gift voucher by one of our sons to hire a motorcycle with a sidecar complete with chauffeur to tour from La'WiiDA Lodge in the Hennopsriver Valley via Hartebeespoort Dam (also known as Harties), then Skeerpoort near the Magaliesberg and back to Hennops.
I think we can classify this as the shortest road trip ever but it’s still a road trip, right? Besides, we had great fun on our Soviet Steeds.
The vintage style side car motorbike is from a bygone era, not used originally for touring but for necessity and mobility during World War II, but believe it or not, has lately become quite popular for touring.
Side Car Tours in South Africa
They supply short day trips or longer tours consisting of 3 to 6 days.
Tips and information for a motorcycle side car tour:
Although the motorcycles and side cars have a classic vintage look, they come with modern mechanics such as disc brakes, so you can feel safe on today’s roads.
The Ural motorcycle and side cars are late models. They are kept in an excellent condition by their in-house URAL mechanic. Good to know!
You are supplied with themed helmets but it is a good idea to bring your own jacket, scarf, and gloves. Got to look the part!
Each sidecar can take 3 people: the driver and 2 passengers. I’m not sure where you’ll put all the luggage for three people, though! There isn’t even enough room for my make up bag and trust me, that’s quite small.
If you plan to tour and self-drive, you will be trained to familiarize yourself with the bike. You will however be escorted by a tour leader. Good idea, because you might be tempted to disappear into the distance.
NB: A valid motorcycle license is necessary to drive a side car in South Africa.
Day trip through Harties and the Magaliesburg.
We felt like two real old timers on a vintage style side car motorbike. Our bike was called ‘The Red Baron’ and I started off in comfort for the first half of the tour by sitting in the side car until we swapped places about midway.
We began our adventure with a scenic drive from La'WiiDA Lodge, a conference centre and nature reserve. We were driven to the Ural showroom and workshop a short distance away where we enjoyed coffee and muffins while we were educated about Ural motorbikes.
We moved on to the Chameleon Brewhouse where they brew craft beer. Fortunately we didn’t have to drive so we could sample the various brews.
The next place where we had a break was at Van Gaalen cheese farm. We were tempted to sample the cheeses, but instead just had some coffee.
After that we returned to La'WiiDA Lodge for a short drive through the nature reserve where they have giraffe and various antelope.
We parked under the trees for a picnic lunch with sparkling wine that was included in the cost. Our chauffeur laid the table and put out cushions and then tried to be discreet to give us some privacy to enjoy the meal. After a couple of minutes we felt bad having the feast all to ourselves and asked him to join us.
Although the morning started off chilly, it warmed up and was sunny throughout the day. It was a great treat to be driven around in a classic vintage look motorcycle and I can highly recommend it. In fact, I wouldn’t mind doing a longer tour… as long as the weather is good.