Hanna Johansson, her “badass” mum, a waddle of penguins, two modern classic Triumphs and a deserted golden-sand beach at the southernmost tip of South Africa. Game-changers.
“My mum taught me how to ride, but when she came on this trip with me, going into the unknown and doing stuff like parking on a steep hill was new to her,” says Hanna, from Stockholm.
“I showed her how to do it, introduced her to my world, put her at ease. Then suddenly I realised how much I’d grown as a person. She didn’t say anything but I think she realised it too. The master had become the pupil.”
Their special bond was reinforced as they leaned Titanic-style into a howling gale at Cape Point, before a wine tasting that warmed their wind-ravaged faces at one of Franschhoek’s many vineyards.
“We drank wonderful wine and ate the finest oysters and as we did we started talking about things we wouldn’t normally talk about, things from the past when I was a teenager where maybe I hadn’t told her the whole truth at the time,” says Hanna.
“Nothing quite prepares you for it”
“It was special. We got to know each other in a different way and that only happens when you’re sharing an adventure and brushing your teeth together.” The two of them kept the conversation going over bluetooth comms during the ride.
Mum Christina rode a Speedmaster alongside Hanna’s Bobber Black on the 11-day ride, starting with a southward stretch from Cape Town to the wind-battered Cape Point and its landmark Cape of Good Hope.
“Our first stop was the beach where we swam and sunbathed with African penguins – absolutely incredible and something neither of us will ever forget. Then we headed south down the peninsular where I’d been warned about the wind,” she says.
“Nothing quite prepares you for it though, but again being with my mother in the middle of this sheer force of nature made for an emotional experience as we leaned into its power together.”
“She got me into riding”
The mum and daughter trip of discovery happened when Hanna, a veteran of trips across Europe and Australia, was told to take time off work by her boss. That night her mum called by chance, and the trip was on.
Hanna recalls: “She had been my inspiration: she got me into riding and I’d always thought of her as a badass mum. Now she saw my world, how passionate I am about it and it was great to have her along to share in it.”
Back north and then east along the super-smooth coast road from Chapman’s Peak, the view is “breathtakingly beautiful”, punctuated by empty rolling beaches and turquoise sea until Mossel Bay.
“The Bobber’s 1200 engine eats up the road without me even noticing because of the spellbinding views around every bend, but do a ride like this with a close family member and it’s even better,” she says.
“The first time we saw something amazing I could hear her in my earpiece screaming ‘whoooo, now mummy’s home’. It was a special moment made more special because we did it together.”
One of the best bits about being 20 or 30 something and travelling with the folks is, Hanna admits, that you get spoiled: “Lots of oysters and wine, and we stayed in some places I normally wouldn’t due to finance.”
North up Route 62 – the South African equivalent of 66 – and a quick stop at a bar called Ronnie’s Sex Shop, which for some mum and daughter teams might be a tad embarrassing… until you get to know the Barrydale bar’s history. When owner Ronnie first opened, he painted Ronnie’s Shop on the wall only for his friends to daub the word ‘sex’ on his sign. He left the sign as it was, opened the pub and the rest is history.
Cape Town cruising
The pair headed on through mountain passes and vineyards, one of which was to prove their temporary downfall during two days of wine tasting and fine dining before they continued west to Cape Town.
Christina, a Triumph America veteran, was blown away by the tech spec of the new Speedmaster, which made light work of the last stretch back to the airport.
Hanna says: “As we were riding along all I could hear in the intercom was ‘I can do this’ and ‘I never realised that’ as she discovered the bike’s riding modes. She said she didn’t feel tired in the hands at the end and admitted things had progressed a lot since she rode her America.”
On landing at Stockholm airport it was time to say goodbye, but Hanna admits things had changed since they met up in Cape Town: “We hugged but didn’t say much. It was different somehow and when we said goodbye we both knew things had changed.
“She rang me a few days ago asking ‘where next?’, which is great. To anyone considering riding with a parent I’d say grab the opportunity before it’s too late.”