On the 20th of October the weather report promised rain, but the 15 ladies joining The Litas Babes ride out were unperturbed by this forecast. The riders were to meet at Engen in Longmeadow for a ride out to “Die Ou Pastorie” in Skeerpoort, which is in the direction of Hartebeespoort. I had no idea what to expect, having not been on a road ride for a while, but I was ever impressed by the girls.
The bikes ranged from a 390 Duke to Harley Davidsons to the big 1200 GS bikes. The only proviso is that only ladies were allowed to join on the ride.
The Litas is an international ladies only riding organisation. A group of like minded girls on motorcycles who prefer horsepower to handbags and shoes which match their fairings.
Estelle Lötter, who introduced herself to me before the ride and who would be the lead rider for the day, is also the founder of the Johannesburg chapter of The Litas, which was started three years ago.
I arrived all alone on the KTM 790 Duke, but was soon in deep conversation with the friendly ladies. They are bike crazy and so much fun and there were lots of laughs before the ride even started. Estelle gathered the group promptly at 8:25 for a brief safety talk and a route check, and by 8:30 we were on our bikes, side stands up and heading out.
I have to compliment The Litas on the marshaling. It was safety orientated, but also about everyone having fun. The lead, sweep and running marshals looked after us as we split up and joined due to navigating the heavier traffic and heading for the more twisty roads of Hartebeespoort. We rode via Hekpoort, which gave us a route that boasts the most brilliant landscape. With the sun shining in a cloudless sky, we could see the view for miles. At no point did the marshals push anyone beyond their riding ability or comfort zone, and kept up a steady pace that made the ride fun and enjoyable. The girls themselves stuck to the speeds set, riding in formation with an eye on the riders behind and in front. The ride was just short of two hours. A good time for the riding that we were doing.
We arrived at the brunch venue just as the hunger set in. Die Ou Pastorie is a venue that really shows off its beauty and nature.
The service was excellent and they got us stuck into the invigorating coffee and to die for food pretty smartly. The conversation was easy and relaxed, with light hearted banter and jokes, keeping us laughing and smiling. It seemed more like family than friends. Chatting to Estelle about the Litas, she said that four new girls were on the ride, including myself. They have a core that is always there, a number of regulars with more new riders joining every ride. The Litas is not a club, but rather a group of ladies who love to ride, love the helmet hair (and make it look good), the smell of gasoline over perfume and the bugs in our teeth. Serious on the bikes, but lighthearted off. I for one, have found my people. There are no egos in the bunch and the camaraderie between the girls feels like a throwback to my hockey days, when you played sport with your besties.
I needed to head out before the group, and Estelle, always safety minded, made sure I had live tracking on my phone so that they could make sure I did not have any issues (what a gem). Riding home with the dark clouds finally rolling in and threatening it would seem that the weather man’s prediction was coming true, but I made it home before the rain. I reflected on the day. I had made new friends, met people who inspired me, motivated me and made me feel entirely accepted and part of the group. I fell in love with the KTM 790 Duke. Compared to my 990 Adventure, it felt like a tic-tac and handles like a hot knife through butter. The power delivery left a smile on my face a mile wide. I had had a thoroughly enjoyable morning, with good memories and a vestige of my early days of riding, where we were all bikers, but also family. I want to thank the girls for having me, for the laughs, the jokes, the good conversation and the bugs that I am still picking off my visor. Now, when’s the next one?
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