Lydia Batho-Batho Mahlangu

Lydia Batho-Batho Mahlangu of South Africa

Name: Lydia Batho-Batho Mahlangu
Age: 52
Country: South Africa
Languages: English, Afrikaans, Sepedi, Setswana, Isizulu, Isixhosa
Years Riding: 2
Current Motorcycles: Harley Davidson 883 Superlow
Past Motorcycles: None
Kms Per Year: 1 500

 

Please introduce yourself. I am a divorced mother of a 23 year old daughter. I have a bubbly personality and I’m an extrovert. I grew up a tomboy in Pretoria, Gauteng province. I trained as a general nurse, completed midwifery and specialised in Operating Theatre technique where I assisted in major surgical procedures from delivery of babies to mending broken bones.  I am currently working for the South African Police Service medical aid.

I used to play golf until I got into motorcycling. I like travelling and reading. I have a bucket list of things I would like to do before I die: white river rafting but first I must learn how to swim, bungee jumping on the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls, and lastly to see the Serengeti migration in a hot air balloon.

Women Who Ride: Lydia Batho-Batho Mahlangu with her Harley

Lydia Batho-Batho Mahlangu with her Harley

Describe your path into motorcycling. My neighbor had a boyfriend who rode a bike and he took me for a ride one day in 1983. I got hooked line and sinker. Since then I promised myself that I was going to get one. Unfortunately through my line of work then I saw many injuries related to motorbike accidents and I put the idea at the back of my mind.

In 2013 a colleague of mine brought me a catalogue from a Harley Davidson dealership and reminded me of the talk I’d had with her back in 2008 on how I loved motorbikes and how emotional I got when I heard their sound. Believe it or not, that same week for my fiftieth birthday I went to the dealership and ordered a bike. I did not know how to ride a bike or bicycle for that matter.

I had to get a Learner’s License before the dealership could process the purchase. I went to a riding school and came back purple and blue after falling all over the place. I was advised to cancel the purchase and buy a bicycle instead. One of the guys had said that I was his mom’s age and she’d never consider motorcycling as a hobby. Through determination and perseverance I looked for a private instructor who was patient. He took me through the baby steps until I was able to ride my own bike during my lessons. I can proudly say I ride very well and I’m still riding my 883 Superlow Harley.

After two months of training I was invited by a group of ladies – Angels on Bikes – to join them for a ride. I did not know the destination but at least I would be on the road for the first time. I will never forget that day. I was so nervous. I convinced myself that it was just a short ride, only to find that I was mistaken. We rode for 200 kms to Mpumalanga in another province of South Africa.

I continued to ride with other ladies to gain confidence. Now I’m contemplating doing a advanced riding course.

Women Who Ride: Stopped for a break on the way to Lesotho

Stopped for a break on the way to Lesotho

Women Who Ride: Batho-Batho visits her grandmother at the township she grew up in

Batho-Batho visits her grandmother at the township she grew up in

Do you have a motorcycling achievement that you take pride in? I rode to the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, which was the longest ride I’ve done. 1000 km per invitation of Her Royal Highness Queen Letsie. It was an awesome achievement which encouraged me to ride more and more. I also did a road trip to the kingdom of Swaziland 828 km away.

Tell us a good story. One Saturday afternoon we rode to Hartebeespoort Dam in Magaliesburg. The road had beautiful curves, we stopped for lunch and everybody spoke of their experiences and escapades.

I accompanied the group to a wedding and while riding downhill I could not control my bike. I passed everybody in the pack because I just panicked and was screaming. Fortunately there were no fatalities and we continued with the ride. We reached our destination and it was a gravel road. On our way back I fell more than five times and bumped a mobile toilet.

Because it was a gravel road I was so dirty, and the ladies could not stop laughing at me. I was not injured, not even a scratch, but my ego and self-confidence got a hiding. After that I did not want to hear a thing. I got on my bike and went straight home. Now, I can proudly say I am a biker and have my motorcycle license and so far am not involved in an accident.

Is there any other kind of motorcycling that you’d like to try your hand at? I might try riding a superbike.

Have you made any close female friendships due to motorcycling? Yes I did, there are four ladies I regularly ride with and are my buddies.

Women Who Ride: BathoBatho Maloma with her riding friends

Lydia Batho-Batho Mahlangu with her riding friends

Charity event at a local school where we donated sanitary towels to poor students

Charity event at a local school where we donated sanitary towels to poor students

If you could go ride with any of your motorcycling heroes – living or dead – who would they be? Valentino Rossi

If you could change one thing about the world of motorcycling, what would it be? No selling of alcohol at motorcycling events because people don’t know their limit.

What’s your dream bike? My dream bike is the current Dyna Switchback Harley Davidson which can be converted from a cruising to a touring bike. It’s in a class of its own.

Meeting Her Royal Highness, the Queen of Lesotho, at the Royal Residence with Angels on Bikes

Meeting Her Royal Highness, the Queen of Lesotho, at the Royal Residence with Angels on Bikes

 

RIDING IN SOUTH AFRICA

If I were to visit you and we went riding for one short morning ride, where would you take me? Hartebeespoort dam. It has beautiful scenic, and curving roads. Motorcyclists love going there on Sunday morning breakfast runs. You meet different motorcyclist chapters especially Harley Davidson and BMW enthusiasts.  There is a collection of restaurants, like a local institution where you can eat to your heart’s content on traditional Afrikaans home-cooked meals, or the local Pick-a-Pancake, which take pancakes into a new league. The restaurants are in the heart of the Welwitschia Market – a range of African arts, crafts, novelties and curios.

What are the top rides you would recommend in SA? I recommend the Garden Route from Durban in KwaZulu Natal to the Eastern Cape via Wild Coast, Knysna and George to Mossel Bay ultimately to Cape Town.

Women Who Ride: At the mountain kingdom of Lesotho

At the mountain kingdom of Lesotho

What kind of food can riders expect to stop for on the way? Basically there are eatery brands which riders are known to frequent and prefer. Different provinces have food which is synonymous with the region: in Western Cape you’ll be served Snoek fish with slap potato chips, Eastern Cape has roti (naan bread) with mince; in KwaZulu Natal you can get a Bunny Chow; in Free State and Northern Cape it will be Pancakes with cinnamon and sugar or mince; in Mpumalanga and Limpopo their delicacy is Mopani worms; and Gauteng is cosmopolitan with mixed cultures so you can get anything your heart desires.

Is it safe to ride at night where you live? Yes and no. Wear clothing with reflectors to be visible. Sometimes motorists are not considerate on the road.

Is motorcycle theft a problem? Yes, it is. It is so rife of late because people are buying them in huge numbers, especially in the black communities, and they are soft targets.

Are motorcyclists discriminated against in any way? None that I know of so far.

Do you have access to high quality women’s motorcycling gear in your part of the world? We do have a broad variety, but it is so expensive.

What kind of motorcycling events are held regularly? There are local day jols every weekend for different clubs and rallies in different provinces for Bikers’ Councils. I do attend most of them

Are any motorcycle related sports popular where you live and do women actively participate in them? Only at Rallies, and women do participate.

How are women motorcycle riders treated by most people and by male motorcyclists? In the motorcycling fraternity, women riders are appreciated by their male counterparts and treated with respect.

Do female and male motorcyclists have the same amount of freedom to pursue motorcycling activitiesI think they do, looking at women who are participating in competitive activities. favicon



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