Overtaking on Kenyan Roads – An itch you can’t resist scratching!

Someone once told me that Kenyan drivers don’t feel like they are driving unless they are overtaking. I believe this applies to motorcyclists too. We have all experienced this and been guilty of it at some point. It’s our National pride, what’s the opposite of pride? Ah yes shame. Our National shame.

Just a day ago there was a small accident on Thika road near Kenol and we ended up with 8 lanes on that two way road and a night long gridlock …. smh

How many times have you been pushed off the road because some asinine driver was overtaking when he didn’t really need to?

How about those times when a boda overtakes you in your lane as you over take another vehicle.

Or that near miss as you turn into an exit, intersection or driveway, just because a driver a few car lengths behind was too impatient to wait for you to complete your turn!

Don’t get me started about the trucks, buses and matatus that completely disregard motorcyclists. We are road kill to most of them.

Times like this I would wish to channel my inner Ragnar and go medieval on them!

A day will come when we will leave the mad roads of Midgard and ride triumphantly on the Bifrost Bridge to the gates of Valhalla.

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I am NOT an organ donor

Is there a safe space for motorcyclists on our roads?

The following is an excerpt from a conversation we had with Mimie below, who finished her rider training and bought her bike a few weeks ago.

My first days of riding I got mixed reactions everywhere.

When leaving home I dropped the bike because it lost power as I was ascending with the choke was on (smh). In full sight of my family, so not what I had in mind for day 1.

I then got into work late because it took me an hour and a half to cover a 30 odd kilometers stretch of my commute.

My collegues were already getting into their classes so they were all like, wait up, wow! let’s see this awesome bike and its rider getting into our compound.
As I remove my helmet and they recognize me, all they have to say is “naona umeamua kuwa organ donor”!!!

And when I got home after I had dropped it trying to ascend that morning , mum told me to sell the bike and she shall help top-up the difference to get a small car🤣🤣.
Well I was like just to be stuck in traffic again no thank you.

Many people see motorcyclists as adrenaline junkies and mid life crisis victims. Other road users don’t respect our right to be on the same roads as they are. Incidences of tailgating, brake checking, being pushed off and generally bullied of the roads are on the rise.

We have had candid conversations with several riders who have quit riding as the risks on the road far outweigh the joy of riding.

Is there a safe space for motorcyclists on our roads??

Guide to Dating a Biker – a girl’s POV

Everyone thinks bikers look cool- even my mum (. There’s something that evokes a sense of danger and freedom at the same time that calls out to you.

And if you are the girl or boy dating a biker, you are the envy of all the girls or boys. You could both be bikers, which has its own set of rules of engagement, or one of you is the biker.

Here’s our mini guide, and not in any order. And ps, don’t take this all too seriously.

First off- expect the unexpected. Biker dudes set up the most romantic dates. You just never know whether you’ll end up going for an outdoor outing at The Forest, or a random ride to Wote twisties. Basically, most of your dates will be outdoors so get used to it.

Be prepared to be jealous a lot! Your girl or guy will always be the one drawing attention. Get comfortable with it, and when you do the indoor dates (read Java and movies) keep your hand close and your attention on your guy/ gal.

You know how cool it looks to be a pillion, bikers make the worst pillions. So just get used to not riding the same car. Get helmet comms so you can tell your partner if you see something interesting to point out. Or learn signals and develop your own sign code.

Dating a biker dude is like dating a Subaru guy- they spend lots of money on their bike, or mostly their gear. When he or she says I’m broke, it could be that he or she splurged on that 15K pair of riding boots or jacket that goes with the helmet.

Don’t take it personally if your partner suggests deodorant- biker jackets smell, as does the helmet, so clean them both regularly. Invest in a couple matching jackets, and look cool together.

When you go to your partner’s place, remove your jacket and please don’t place it on the seats- can you imagine all the gunk it carries?

Don’t be a serial biker dater. Bikers gossip like the Mean Girls. Your story will be everywhere, and even before you date anyone, they will be knowing all about you.

On the same line, if both of you are bikers, try and keep your lives separate- have your own group of friends and haunts. There’s nothing worse than breaking up, everyone knows about it, and you keep running into each other.

The BroCode is real. Much as you can, don’t date a biker’s partner (especially when they are still together). And no revenge dating either. It just creates a vicious cycle.

If you are the kind of person who wants your every call answered and text responded to immediately, you are in for a long wait. Four one, your partner could be riding or using that as an excuse not to respond. So chillax.

Lastly, remember you are not alone. Football widows and salon boyfriends can relate. Be ready to have a lot of me time if you aren’t a Biker, coz Bikers love me time.

That 10 minutes of “I am going out for some milk” could most probably turn into a 3 hour random ride coz he/she metsome guys on the highway. Or they just couldn’t resist the me time the ride offered.

Ride Safe

Inked Ride to Lemon Valley in Elementaita :- Lessons Learned

As the day for the ride drew closer, the apprehension rose due to the rainy weather. But, riders being riders, the resolve was still high so we opted to proceed with the ride.

We left in groups however because one person had a morning engagement and the other had bike trouble and needed to see the mechanic before hitting the road.

The ride to, was uneventful save for low visibility as we approached Kijabe, we maintained slow speeds and got Naivasha and the sun was out.

We had breakfast in Naivasha and proceeded to lemon valley in Elementaita.
The cottage and views were breath takingly beautifully. The hotel however had a birthday party that evening and the music was loud but we mentally sang along most of the night.

After a filling and delicious breakfast, we headed out for Nairobi after the morning rain subsided.

The ride back was quite a learning experience. Once we rode past Naivasha town, the rain started, a few kilometers later the fog and cold set in.

From the ride back we had a few personal lessons collated here:

Lessons learnt from the ride:
1. Be cautiously prepared; we told ourselves we could outride the rain but alas…so always putting on rain gear, warm jackets, padded trousers carry bungee cords or luggage nets for bags, waterproof rucksack covers.
2. Lane splitting on a busy high way; this requires tact. Some person found it useful to warn the driver of the vehicle she was following about my intention well in advance and consequently she was more confident.
3. Use of hazards; visibility at some points was 100 meters or less. The use of hazard indicators in fog to increase visibility and we noted not all bikes have these so its important to know which bikes have these and ensuring they are on in such weather conditions.
4. Riding in the rain; items like Turtle wax are essential to an easier ride , we didnt have this and it would have been helpful for us to have the water not obstruct our visors! (And toothpaste for fogged up visors)
5. Full coordination: prior to the ride back we should have checked again for full instructions and directions to avoid getting separated. Never leave a rider behind, if one of your party experiences a mechanical problem be patient and once it’s solved you can all get back on the road.
6. Similar to no. 1- Rain gear, wear it when leaving or leave it behind. The rain can be heavy so stopping to wear it sometimes doesn’t help since the time it takes to stop and gear up you could already be soaked.
7. Layering; Thermal wear should be considered especially when riding in cold/rainy weather.
8. Make your own decisions on the road. As much as there’s a riding plan, one needs to own their decisions, for instance when to overtake, comfortable speed etc

Thermal wear should be considered especially when riding in cold/rainy weather.

Check out Yummy Mummy’s Vlog on the ride.