Coming of age, nobody suspected me of being gay…I was all about lifesaving, judo, the smell of two-stroke oil and racing with the boys
By RUBIN VAN NIEKERK
Growing up in Port Elizabeth as a teenager had advantages, as the city only had a population of 640 000, meaning entertainment consisted of finding something to do outdoors or going to the movies. Beach activities were popular and could be done all year round due to the mild winters and warm ocean. Otherwise you hung out with bored monosyllabic friends who had conversations like the cockney accented vultures in the movie Jungle Book, just before they meet Mowgli. Their conversation went something like this, “What are we gonna do? I dunno, what do you wanna do?” And so on…very funny.
Anyway, luckily, as a pre-teen bookworm I learned to live with my own company and chopper bicycle. Turning fourteen changed things and I became intrigued with the zooming 50cc motorcycles owned by sixteen-year-old boys. The era of cheap small Japanese motorcycles and scooters had started a decade earlier and just about everybody wanted one. Obviously a fourteen-year-old could not be on the road legally, but nothing stopped me from riding a small motorcycle off-road, if I could find something affordable. So, a quest started that changed my life when I found an ancient Suzuki scrambler that needed tons of TLC and a few miracles to keep going.
With boundless optimism I ventured forth into a wonderful new adventure…