The love of BMW motorcycles is in my genes, following in a long line of German heritage my Großvater owned & ran motor vehicle / cycle workshops in Bonn, Germany.
My folks Ludwig & Marlene Böhm left from Dusseldorf / Bonn Germany for South Africa in 1964, where they worked in the hospitality industry, to run Skukuza Restaurant in the Kruger National Park. From there they moved to Pretoria to run the German Club and then opened the famous Böhmerwald Restaurant in Church street for many years before moving to the then Eastern Transvaal now Mpumalanga and fondly referred to as The Lowveld and started Böhm Zeederberg Country House situated between the towns of Hazyview & Sabie at the end of the famous ‘22’ stretch of road so loved by the superbike riders.
From a young age we helped in the hotel which meant I could buy my first motorcycle when I was 9, a Honda CT110 and as they say the rest is history… from there I owned a few bikes from a Yamaha Katana 1100 to WR450 and entered the local enduro series until I bought my first two BMW 650’s with the idea to rent them out to tourists but they were quickly replaced by the BMW 1150 Adventure which today has become an icon bike and fondly referred to as the ‘Pregnant Fairy’, due to the shape of the tank, amongst her followers.
After a stint living & working in Cape Town, South Africa and London, England I settled into the hospitality industry in
The Lowveld with a couple of restaurants and later a B&B, The Windmill Wine Shop & Cottages just outside Sabie.
By now one could say “my blood was truly blue” with a true passion for BMW motorcycles, having sold the ‘Pregnant Fairy’ and owned a few BMW R1200 GS Adventure consecutively, I was looking as to how I could become more involved in the BMW Motorrad industry. In 2005 I started the Annual Sabie GS Challenge, an off-road motorcycle event aimed solely at the BMW adventure rider, a weekend away where the GS rider would arrive on his GS with all his gear for the weekend of riding graded off-road routes and take part in skills challenges.
Then in 2010 I was invited to attend the South African BMW Motorrad instructor’s course at Konka in Pretoria from there I started presenting off-road riding courses on a part time basis from our B&B near Sabie in The Lowveld and the Sabie Valley Rider Academy was born!!
After a couple of years training and still running our Annual Sabie GS Challenge I started to take a few GS motorcycle tours to Mozambique to conquer the Sand Monster.
When in 2012 I got the opportunity to go to Germany to attend the BMW Motorrad International Instructors Academy On-Road instructors’ course in Munich and Off-Road instructors’ course at Hechlingen where I was taught by the legend Tomm Wolf himself and passed top of the class, an awesome life changing experience.
The Sabie Valley Rider Academy now became a fully-fledged Official Partner of BMW Motorrad and I a certified instructor – On-Road & Off-Road – for the BMW Motorrad International Instructor Academy.
Then the big change happened, while still continuing to run the now well-known Sabie Valley Rider Academy on a part time basis as I was still in the hospitality industry full time, that my wife & I decided to take the leap and go full time into the BMW motorcycle world deciding to sell our farm and B&B and move to Sabie town in 2018. With fellow motorcycle riders; architect Morag Campbell & civil engineer Theo van Niekerk began constructing the new and official home of the Sabie Valley Rider Academy on the corner of Main road & Trichardt street, a the prime and prominent location. We took a year to complete the striking and edgy headquarters from stacked shipping containers and Sabie Valley Rider Academy now stands proud as a landmark in the small town of Sabie. A year later on the 26th January 2019 together with the then head of BMW Motorrad South Africa, Edgar Kleinbergen, we celebrated the grand opening of the Sabie Valley Rider Academy with a suitable gathering including a ride, German wurst and draught beer – a real celebration!!
The first year was a busy one. In addition to training in Sabie we started training at TAF – Tierpoort Adventure Farm, Pretoria East, once a month, offered guided motorcycle tours in South Africa, eSwatini (formally Swaziland) and Lesotho and offered local 1 day motorcycle events such as Motorcycle Econo Runs, etc. The journey continues with our local and international tours, 1 day and weekend motorcycle events and spreading the joy through training and also with our partner, BMW Motorrad South Africa, at their new world class facility in Midrand South Africa the BMW xDrive Park and rolling out the annual regional & national GS Trophy events and Motorrad Days.
So join us in Making Life A Ride!!