On Yer Bike: Rider’s Table

This month FMM Curator Wayne Harley takes a ride from the shadow of Table Mountain with a group of Table Riders…

The Franschhoek Motor Museum has been fortunate enough to remain open during most of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, and with our big open lawns and large display halls a number of clubs are taking the opportunity to visit the museum. A few months ago it was the Italian motorcycle owners’ club that paid us a visit, and on May 22 the Rider’s Table Cape Town made the trek from the city to the museum.

The Rider’s Table is a motorcyclist enthusiasts’ group backed by BMW Motorrad together with other sponsors Jason’s Bakery, Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants and the House of the Machines, the latter’s premises in Shortmarket Street  serving as the start of the May ride to FMM. What is great about this group is the wide array of motorcycles that turn up, from ultra-modern superbikes to ’70s and ‘80s classics and everything else in-between. Even though it’s a BMW backed event you will find almost every manufacturer represented on the ride, and on this occasion I rode one of my favourite bikes that is on loan to the museum, my good friend Stuart MacKay Davidson’s Ducati 900 MHR.

A person could spend hours wandering up and down the rows of motorcycles with a cup of House of the Machines hot coffee and an oven fresh croissant, courtesy of Jason’s Bakery, just looking at the motorcycles and chatting to the riders.  Many of them have a story to tell about their individual machines, its performance and all the special bits added and, in some crazy cases, even removing parts. Although the rides are informal with short, clear briefings and route instructions, participation is well-structured with everyone tending to stick together in a ‘follow my leader’ procession.

So, just after 10h00 we left the Cape Town CBD and headed out to Franschhoek by way of the N1, R44 and R45, although a few riders decided to take a detour over the scenic Helshoogte Mountain Pass to add a few twisties to their route. Even so, almost all of the riders arrived within a few minutes of each other at the L’Ormarins Estate.

But that wasn’t the end of the day’s activities. BMW had brought out the latest in their range of motorcycles, and from the Anthonij Rupert Wines building you could test ride the newest BMWs out on the road along a 15km test route up to the Berg River Dam and back. The models on offer comprised the retro-styled classic R18, C400 G, F750 GS, F900 R, R1250 GS, S1000 XR, R18 Classic, RnineT Scrambler R1250RT and my favourite, the F900 XR. Afterwards, the BMW team informed me that 68 people tested these machines on the day without incident or issue, which they claim is one of the best happenings they have ever had on a Rider’s Table event.

Those who didn’t feel like testing the latest BMWs were welcome to enjoy the motor museum’s displays including the many motorcycles we now have amongst the cars. Especially for the day, FMM dusted off a few of the vintage and classic bikes from the collection, fired them up and ran some of them. The 1926 AJS and the Manx Norton 500 replica were massive hits with the crowd. All the classic motorcycles on view had visitors fascinated by seeing just how far motorcycling had progressed over the last 100 years.

It is really rewarding to see the steady increase in FMM visitor numbers, especially amongst the motorcycle fraternity. Hopefully, before long we can revert to normal operations. The next Riders Table will be at the end of June 2021 with details to be announced two weeks prior on social media.

See you there…


To view more images from this once-off event, view here: https://tinyurl.com/RidersTableMay