Theoni Moraitis


Name: Theoni Moraitis
Age: 44
Country: South Africa (currently in Greece)
Languages: English, Greek, Afrikaans
Years Riding: 30
Height: 1.67
Inseam: 74cm
Current Motorcycles: none
Past Motorcycles: Ducati Multistrada, Yamaha 175 and Suzuki 175
Riding Gear: Dainese gloves, pants and jackets, Ducati pants and jackets, Ducati riding boots
Kms Per Year: 7000 km

Hi Theoni, can you please introduce yourself and describe your path into motorcycling?
Hello and greetings from beautiful Zakynthos, one of Greece’s green and pretty islands, where I am currently living and working for next 8 months. My name is Theoni and I grew up in South Africa. I am a writer and published author of esoteric and holistic themes. Riding motorcycles is one of my greatest passions, as I’m sure most of the wonderful women who ride will claim!

At the age of 13, I lived with my family on a farm in the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa. My love for nature and the animal kingdom made this experience one of my many greatest growing up. This is where I learnt to ride a motorcycle. In those days, the only gear that seemed important was a helmet.

Fast forward to my mid- twenties, married with two children, I yearned for the feeling of freedom that riding gave me. So off I went and bought my first road motorcycle, a Ducati Monster 400 cc.

I did loads of track riding all over the country and found my own personal riding style, and most importantly the best safety tips from great riding instructors. I fell in love with Ducatis and basically just kept upgrading as the years went on.


What is your first memory involving motorcycles?
I remember riding on the farm’s dirt road at 15 years of age with my friend’s younger brother sitting on the bike in front of me. He was 12 and I was apparently teaching him to ride. Having him in front made it easier for him to get a feel for the brakes and clutch. Suddenly a dog came out from nowhere and starting chasing us, wanting to bite the front tyre. Obviously I panicked, attempted to brake and we skidded off the bike, resulting in both of us getting lovely sand ‘roasties’ on our hands and knees. Luckily nothing too serious. The dog got away with no injuries. However, I got into a lot of trouble!

What bike did you first start on and why?
Ah yes, it was a Monday morning and I was adamant that I was buying a bike that day. Not the week after or the next day but that Monday. All thanks to my neighbor who took me on a breakfast run the day before. I did not enjoy not being in control of the bike or being unable to see anything in front of me. So I dragged him with me and we went to 4 different bike shops, none of which appealed to me. Finally we went into a new Ducati shop that had just opened. The price, the height, and weight of the Monster 400cc was perfect for me! Little did I know it was the beginning of a love affair!

Describe your current motorcycle.
Unfortunately I do not have a bike on the island as the roads are not great and the local drivers and tourists who drive here while on holiday, make it easier for me to choose not to ride here.

The last bike I owned was a Ducati Multistrada 1100 and it was by far the best motorcycle I have ever owned. It’s an upright seated position which is comfortable and also has the bonus of great viewing points. The Multistrada is a lightweight bike so it’s easy and user friendly whether riding on a straight road or corners.


Do you have a motorcycling achievement that you take pride in?
Ducati South Africa has a club of which I was the Vice President of for many years. I was a riding instructor for Ducati South Africa in 2011. I also had the pleasure of working with a great team at Ducati South Africa.



Have you done any long distance road trips? 
Road trips in South Africa on a bike is the best experience anyone could wish for! Awesome mountain passes, great roads and majestic scenery made every road trip a special treat for me. Long distance trips included 2000 km from Johannesburg to Cape Town, 700 km from Johannesburg to Mpumalanga, and 600 km from Johannesburg to Durban.


Do you have any motorcycling heroes?
Gosh, there are many, however, King Carl, Carl Fogarty and Troy Bayliss, multiple world Superbikechampions for Ducati are my famous heroes.

What’s your favorite motorcycling story to tell others? 
Trust me there are more than one! However my favourite one is my first ever attempt at riding pillion with my friend, Viviana. We drove with my bike on trailer to Mpumalanga (South Africa) where we met up with my riding friends for the weekend. Super excited, we offloaded my Multistrada, got into riding gear and off we rode. Three bikes, each rider with a pillion.

At the very first Stop sign, a down hill, I stopped next to Alex on his bike, and I put my foot down and forgetting completely about my pillion on board, leaned slightly onto my right to compensate for the fact the my Multistrada was a little too tall for me. This was never an issue for me on my own because it’s easy to drop a ‘cheek’ and hold her steady. However on this day, the weight ratio obviously destabilized and we fell onto Alex and his girlfriend. Alex held us both up, his bike and mine! Viviana and I were too busy laughing, nervous laughter I’m sure, to help him! Eventually after what seemed like forever, Viviana managed to slowly finish falling off so that I could, with Alex’s help, get back up from almost falling over! Even though the rest of the weekend I managed rather well, I have never ridden with a pillion again!

Do you do maintenance and repairs on your bike? 
The main technical stuff I leave to the professionals although waxing the chain, maintaining tyre pressures, and keeping my bike shiny clean are easy tasks for me to do.

Do you have any advice for people who want to get into motorcycling?
Yes! I cannot highlight enough how important it is to ride as many track schools as possible! This helps you find your limit with your bike, and teaches you to respect your bike, riding, and other riders. It is also the best way to deal with any little fears or even big fears, like emergency braking or learning to ride into a corner with confidence and a speed that you are comfortable with. Always ride within your own personal and comfortable  limits. I was given great advice, “You own the piece of road you riding on”, so don’t let what’s behind you bother you.




If I were to visit you and we went riding for one short morning ride, where would you take me? 
It would have to be in Cape Town where no matter where you live or visit, you are never further than 30 kms away from a mountain pass. I would definitely take you to visit the wonderful town of Franschhoek and their mountain pass. There are wine farms on the route that are just beautiful to ride through, the greenery and landscape is totally amazing! Again from Cape Town city, we would ride through Sea Point, Bantry Bay on the mountain pass with the ocean to our side, to Hout Bay. Our perfect breakfast stop would be at Dario’s, a unique Italian experience, run by a gorgeous family, Dario and Rosella Mustarelli.


What’s the best part about riding in South Africa?
South Africa is a beautiful country with endless choices for bike rides! The Mpumalanga region is all about green mountains and forests, long sweepers, hair pin corners and long straights. As a matter of fact, these types of riding pleasures are found everywhere in South Africa. In The Western Cape for example, you have the grand view of the ocean as well as mountain passes. The same with Durban, the gorgeous view of the sea and also the farm lands is just breathtaking.

What kind of food can riders expect to stop for on the way?
South Africa is well known for its Rainbow nation and your choice for food is wide and varied. However, a great typical South African meal would include pap (maize meal) with tomato and onion relish sauce and braai (barbecued meat). South Africa is also known for it’s wild game meat such as kudu meat (a type of buck) or ostrich meat, and even crocodile.

For me personally, I am an avid dessert fan, so any place selling chocolate treats is where you’d find me! One of my favourites and for many bike riders, is Harries Pancakes, who serve the most delicious huge sized sweet or savory pancakes! There is one in Graskop, Dullstroom and Pretoria.

If a motorcyclist from another country visited your country, what are the top rides you would recommend?
In Johannesburg, the most popular breakfast run routes are to Magaliesburg and Hartebeespoortdam. In The Western Cape there are many possible routes, such as the Hout Bay route through Chapman’s Peak, or to Ceres, Cape Town to Stellenbosch to Franschhoek, Villiersdorp, Darling, Montague, Cape Point, Simonstown.


[Link to Route]


[Link to Route]

In Mpumalanga, the roads are just wonderful, routes most common in that region, are rides from Nelspruit to Graskop to White River to Sabie to Hazyview and Dullstroom. [Link to Route]


How does the topography of the place you live affect the kind of motorcycling you choose to do?
The odd pot holes do create havoc just after summer rains in the more rural areas however, the road surfaces are generally excellent and well maintained all over South Africa.


What is the traffic like and how does it affect motorcycle riding?
Traffic? What traffic? Just kidding. Seriously though, traffic when you are a rider is not an issue. Obviously you need to ride with your wits about you. Drivers do not see motorcycles and most especially have no clue on how to judge their oncoming speed. So you must, as always, ride with your eyes everywhere. The only traffic hazard in South Africa are the Taxi mini buses as they have no regard for road and traffic rules. They stop anywhere and anytime and usually without warning. My policy when riding is to respect the other road users but ride assertively not passively.


What are the best months for riding?
South Africa’s seasons are opposite to Europe’s, so summer peak is December, January and winter peaks are June and July. In Johannesburg all year round is great weather for riding! The best weather conditions is in the Johannesburg region.

For Mpumalanga it’s better to be riding between the months of April to October as it just gets too hot and humid during the Summer months. For me personally anyway, as I don’t enjoy riding when it gets so hot you have to peel your leathers off!

In The Western Cape it would be wise to avoid the really strong windy months like August and September, then also avoid the sticky hot months of February and sometimes even March. Cape Town’s winter months can be full of surprises however I have found the best month for riding is in April and January. The rest of the year is like I said, a surprise each day. Having said that, I have ridden almost every weekend in the Western Cape except for perhaps 5 out of the whole year with some hail storms, rain, wind and sunshine! It really depends on your riding experience and preferences.

Is it safe to ride at night where you live?
I would not recommend night riding as the rural roads are not lit and there is too much wild life in some areas and then there are pedestrians that are not visible either. So unless you are riding on highways or freeways city to city, it’s not safe.

Is motorcycle theft a problem?
Unfortunately yes motor cycle theft is an issue in South Africa. I would suggest proper lock up garages or secure parking within a complex. Mine were always parked indoors.

Are there any motorcycle specific laws? 
Generally the laws in South Africa are the same as any other country. A helmet must be worn, a legal sized license plate and license disc must be visible on the bike. You can ride without a pillion having just a Learners License however to ride pillion you must have a full Motorcycle License.

How do the police treat motorcyclists? 
In my experience Police and Traffic Police are generally very friendly however, obviously if you are breaking rules and being disrespectful, you may find yourself in some trouble.

Can you describe the motorcycle license test?
First a written theoretical test is done before an actual license test can be taken. For the motorcycle test, you arrive at the Traffic testing station with your bike and you in your kit. They mark you on your ability to check physically the bike tires, and for any defaults, like are the indicators and lights in working order. Then you are instructed to ride at a certain speed in certain gears through some Traffic cones on the Testing Station grounds. They check for balance and conscientiousness.

Do you have access to high quality motorcycling gear in your part of the world?
We have great importers of great brands for apparel all over South Africa. If there was anything that I wanted and could not get it was always easy to order through the shop I visited or bought online.

Is there a local motorcycling event that you try and attend regularly?
I enjoyed attending (sometimes organizing because it was my job) the Ducati Dieci Passé which was a 3 day weekend ride in Mpumalanga. There is also the wonderful Cape Tri Track Tour which I loved. This included the tracks of the cities we visited on our tour from Johannesburg to Cape Town, East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, where at least 2000 kms were covered.

Are any motorcycle related sports popular where you live and do women actively participate in them?
The are the National Race teams that compete during race season all over the country at various race tracks. There are few women riders who take part, however the ones that do, are sponsored and are great competitors. It’s wonderful to see women enjoying the tracks as much as men do. There are also off road competitions and again, few women take part.

How are women motorcycle riders treated by most people and by male motorcyclists?
In my experience we are treated with respect and admiration. For me, I was definitely treated as one of the ‘boys’. I rode as fast as them if not better than some.

Do female and male motorcyclists have the same amount of freedom to pursue motorcycling activities?
Absolutely! There is no discrimination at all. As a matter of fact there are a growing number of female riders in South Africa every year!