Ulysses Jo.Burg North
3 July 2000
From the Presidents Perch - January 2019.
Chapter regalia for sale - click here
Ulysses was started in Australia in 1983 to encourage older motorcyclists to ride together, form friendships, socialise and support a brotherhood amongst motorcyclists.
The Ulysses concept was introduced into South Africa by Simon Fourie in 1998 and has subsequently spread to 8 countries including our neighbours Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
The motto “Grow Old Disgracefully” epitomises the ethos of Ulysses, where membership is open to all motorcyclists over the age of 40. At 40 one is awarded Silver membership, Gold at 50, Gold Plus at 60, Platinum membership at 70 and Platinum Plus at 80.
Whilst ‘rules’ are not emphasized, Ulysses members are people of integrity and have already learnt appropriate and responsible behaviour (although it is not always practised).
There are 32 Ulysses chapters throughout South Africa, and over 900 members. Check the Ulysses website www.ulyssessa.co.za for further information on our awesome organization.
Ulysses Jo’burg North
Ulysses Jo’burg North is a group of mature bikers interested in having fun in a motorcycle club that arranges rides, social events, gets involved in charity events and promotes the brotherhood of motorcycling.
The Chapter was founded in 2000 by Fanie Lewies, who is one of our Platinum Members, now retired.
The chapter was originally called Ulysses Bakos, but the name was changed to Jo’burg North, or UJN, in 2003. Past Presidents Fanie Lewies, Keith Nicols, Mike Helberg and Nick Munday have been responsible for creating, developing and running a formidable Chapter with a strong social commitment - built around our love of riding motorcycles, friendships and having fun.
We have an elected committee who serve a two year term. The positions are President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Rides Convenor, Marshalling and Secretary. Current membership of UJN is around 90 members, but “regular rider” numbers vary between 10 ~ 28 on any given Sunday.
UJN meets on the second Thursday evening of each month for our regular meeting and to socialise with like-minded members over a drink and possibly a plate of food.
The current venue is: Honey Rock Motel, Cnr. Juice Street & Beyers Naude Drive, Honeydew
Members and guests meet up from 19h00, and the meeting starts at 19h30.
Short Breakfast Run.
On the Sunday morning following our meeting we have our short ride, not more than around 200km round trip, which focusses on a ride and breakfast, returning home before lunch.
A fortnight later, UJN also have a longer Sunday ride, called our Brunch Run, where the round trip may exceed 350kms. We normally get to our destination around 10h30, have brunch and return home in the early afternoon.
Occasional Saturday runs are planned to accommodate those members and friends, who may have Sunday commitments yet enjoy riding with the Club.
Longer Trips and Tours.
Throughout the year UJN organises longer rides or tours. These are announced and promoted at the monthly meetings and via e-mails.
One Nighter’s. These over-night trips involve riding further, sleeping over at a B&B for the night - usually with a braai and a few social drinks, and returning home the following day, most often by a different route.
Tours. UJN members also arrange a number of longer trips where we often cover 300 ~ 400 kms a day whilst touring South Africa and neighbouring countries. Our most recent trip was a tour of the KZN Battlefields where a tour-guide was arranged to discuss and explain the events and battles in the area.
Magical Mystery Tour (MMT)
We are very well known for our annual MMT, where the route and destination remain a mystery until the day of departure, when the days ride and route are divulged (hence the mystery) These trips can be up to 5 days in duration and give members the opportunity to enjoy biking to and around the distant parts of our lovely country.
Annual Rally aka Year End Getaway Weekend
Towards the end of each year we arrange a weekend getaway. This gives us all an opportunity to ride, socialise and meet any members who seldom ride or attend our monthly meetings, but enjoy our company nevertheless.
We select a venue on a decent “riding route” and stay over for 2 nights, culminating in our year end dinner and awards evening. Activities (mostly riding, socialising and later, drinking!) are very similar to those of better known biker rallies, hence we recently afforded the name ‘Rally’ to the weekend.
National Ulysses Rally
Each year, a group of Ulysses Chapters, usually in a Province, combine efforts to host the Ulysses National Rally. UJN is usually well represented – give us a reason (excuse) to ride and we’ll be there!
For our longer trips we usually take a support vehicle and the UJN trailer.
Bookings for our trips, tours and rallies are secured by confirming with the organiser and paying a deposit. Participation is open to all members and sometimes friends, by invitation.
Ride meet-up point
Most rides leave from the Honey Rock Motel, Cnr. Juice Street & Beyers Naude Drive, Honeydew at the pre-arranged times.
Whilst most rides are organised by our UJN Rides Convener or one of the committee, all members are encouraged to suggest, discuss, plan and arrange suitable rides, with the assistance and help of other members or the committee.
We believe: “If you have an idea, let us help you to make it happen”
Social and Community involvement
Any charity involvement requests are discussed at club meetings and all donations to charities are agreed upon by our members and the committee.
Over the past few years our chosen charity has been The Firlands Childrens Home in Linden and we arrange events and entertainment for the children every Easter and Christmas, as well as being involved in their annual Fete. This home has regretfully closed down and we are now supporting the Oasis Children’s home in Robinhills and the Ark Animal shelter in Muldersdrift
At Oasis we hope to continue the Easter and Christmas functions while at Ark we are looking at erecting some kennels for dogs awaiting adoption.
All the needs for these days are met by the money raised by Marshalling (see below), donations and sponsorship.
On these “interactive days” we aren’t sure who has the most fun (the children or members) but I can assure you that our impact is appreciated by all, and you get home knowing you’ve ‘done a good thing this day’.
For fund raising, to assist with our social commitment, UJN have been involved with marshalling at various cycling and running races, walks and competitive events throughout Gauteng, for many years.
With increased prize money and sponsorships for running and cycling races, there is a need for the organisers to enforce the rules, check on irregularities and to stamp out cheating. UJN offer “two wheeled” transport and assistance to allow race organisers, referees and photographers easy access on the route.
With our help, the referees are able to record the progress of the top participants at various stages throughout the event and the organisers are informed of the potential winners before the race is completed.
Photographers and reporters are also ferried throughout the event.
Our client base is increasing as the value of our services becomes more evident, and we currently “sell” our services of between 4 and 18 bikes, to over 12 events per year.
How it works: Members volunteer their time, but UJN charge a nominal fee for each bike. The money raised is currently split between UJN and the rider.
The voluntary ‘de-briefing’, usually arranged on the spur-of-the-moment after the event, is a great time to swop stories of the event with other UJN Marshals, whilst slaking that hard-won thirst!
Ride Etiquette and Rules
Before departure on any ride, the ride leader will give a briefing of the basic route and destination.
The ride leader and ride sweep will be confirmed. Members can ride any make, type or size motorcycle over 600cc, capable of cruising comfortably at 120~140 kph.
Members are encouraged to wear protective clothing and wearing a helmet is mandatory by law. Whilst there is no specific riding order or ranking, riders are encouraged to stay between the ride leader and sweep, and ride at a speed they find safe and comfortable. However, we do request new riders or visitors to stay nearer the back for a while until they ‘get the feel’ of the group ride.
Whenever the route changes direction, the group will wait for the arrival of the last bike and sweep before riding on. At lower speeds, or around town, we ride in a staggered formation. This offers us maximum safety and reduces motorists frustration (read jealousy). On the open road we increase our speed and the following distance accordingly. There are a number of recognised biker hand signals to notify fellow bikers of road conditions or situations that might arise.
Overtaking should only be done on the right, on straight road sections and leaving suitable space between both bikes. When passing other traffic, once you’ve passed, keep the power on, to leave space for another rider who may have come with you!
Unsafe riding and bad road behaviour is not tolerated as it endangers us all. Generally UJN members are asked to ‘self govern’ their overall behaviour, but repeat offenders may find themselves before the committee for some guidance.
Enjoy the ride!
Updated 16 July 2018