On Sunday, 11 February 2018, the Central Chapter of Wing Riders SA motorcycle club had their monthly run to the SAA Museum in Germiston.
Their main goal was to treat Neels van Zyl to an awesome outing, as motorcycles STILL make his eyes sparkle with joy. Neelsie, as most people call him affectionately, had a motorcycle accident just one month before his 16th birthday which left him with a serious left-brain injury and, as a result, he became a right-side hemiplegic.
Seventeen Gold Wing and Valkyrie bikes, 25 trikes, 42 riders, 23 pillions and a variety of other bikes, riders, pillions and guests brought the group to ± 100 people attending this outstanding event.
The Honda Gold Wing is internationally known as “the bike that makes you smile”. Motorists on the R21 and N3 were treated to a spectacle as the bikes and trikes snaked towards their destination. Wing Riders from Central Chapter parked their Wings under the wing of a huge Boeing 747, the Lebombo.
It was clear that Neels enjoyed every minute of this excellent outing. Neels is now 35 years old and cannot speak full sentences or read and write anymore. He knows colours, but he does not remember names well. He can count on his fingers, but is able to phone his mom and sister without speed-dial. He adores animals and children and love to talk to people.
Before the photoshoot, the Wing Riders gathered around Jaap’s bike to sing the Wing Song. A beautiful recording of the Wing Song was played over the bike’s speakers. This recording was kindly given to the Central Chapter by Allan Casey, a former member of Wing Riders SA. The song is sung by Leonard Visagie, also a former Wing Rider. The song is beautiful and induces nostalgia and sweet memories for most, especially longtime Wing Riders. Thank you, Allan, for sharing this with us.
Wing Riders and guests enjoyed a delicious breakfast at The Beer Co, situated right next to the SAA Museum. The food, variety and service was excellent and we will most definitely be back, as individuals or as a group, for the refreshing cocktail tasters and more excellent food.
Afterwards, the museum’s very competent staff accompanied small groups and/or individuals on guided tours. Interesting details about a Boeing 747 on display, called the Maluti, are the following:
It was manufactured in 1976. Its first flight took place on 4 June 1976 and was delivered to SAA on 16 June 1976. Its wingspan is almost 60 meters and the aircraft has an overall height of just over 20 meters. The typical cruise speed was 991 kilometres per hour (616 mph) and its fuel tank took 190 600 litres to fill her up. This means it would cost almost R2 800 000 to fill her up today! It transported 260 passengers when fully booked.
Motorists should always remember that they are sharing the road with motorcyclists and always be alert. Safe riding practices and co-operation from all road users will help to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our roads. It is especially important for motorists to understand the safety challenges faced by motorcyclists, such as visibility and size. By raising motorists’ awareness, both drivers and riders will be safer sharing the road.
Reporters and photographers from Beeld, The Star and Caxton (Germiston City News and others), together with several other professional photographers, attended the event.
Professional photographer, Rina Gertzen from BYou Photography, took beautiful photos of the Wing Riders and guests, as a special favour and free of charge. Many thanks, Rina. They are stunning and are much appreciated. Contact Rina for all your photography requirements on 076 175 9870. Her photos can be viewed HERE.
More photos of the run, taken by our own members, can be found HERE.
Germiston City News article – click HERE.
SAA Museum Society: https://www.facebook.com/SouthAfricanAirwaysMuseumSociety/
The Beer Co: https://www.facebook.com/thebeerco/