The Second Date – Part II by Monyenye

Hello there, welcome back! While we were taking a commercial break… I rode a VW bike and my pal a Benz bike and we were having so much fun testing the bikes abilities. Only for me to wake up in bed!😤 Just hope I was not making Vroom noises 🙈 lest my neighbours must have wondered what was going on, wait they may have thought I was watching a movie🤔… Okay am now overthinking and digressing, let’s circle back. 🙃

During this ‘searching’ period ‘ what is your next bike?‘ and ‘ when are you getting it?‘ has been the bane of my existence!

I get attracted to things because of how they look and I like them because of how they make me feel when I interact with them. unfortunately, this means that we have to have a taste of every thing thrown my way and maybe test it? 😋 I will start by admitting, kuonja onja has never been my thing, but we are on a mission and I need to step out of my comfort zone if we are getting me a second date.☹️

As we go through this journey, please remember that I do not have brand loyalty or country interests. Am simply searching for my second date, hopefully, one that will check all (or 85% of) the boxes we created in Part I.

As I was asking around, some guys started throwing countries at me. Don’t look for Chinese. Japan and Indian are pocket friendly and built to last. If you want to dig a little deeper with pride consider going German. First, I do not have vast knowledge on matters bikes, which means I don’t understand the country arguments thrown at me. Put simply, if you ask me to name 3 brands from each of the countries mentioned, I wouldn’t know (I actually don’t, just the BMW – everyone knows that one).🤷🏾‍♀️ Actually, not everyone who throws countries around understands what they are saying – some have spent so much time listening to people who don’t understand it, should I say GIGO? 🏃🏿‍♀️🏃🏿‍♀️

We quickly establish that countries cannot be my reference point for this search, time to make the filter specific to what am looking for. This time, I go back to my people, tweak the question to what bikes would fit my checklist and request to be shown where I can see the said bikes (eeeh am from a generation that believes what they see – online searches and getting a tape measure to see what the measurements on those sites translate to in real life ain’t my thing – I tried🤦🏿‍♀️). Bikers are very friendly people and can give some solid guidance. Some owners are so nice they even let me have a feel. 🙏🏿

Any comments read below are purely my opinion and should not be taken as gospel truth.

One of my pals points out that I should aim to get a 400cc or 600cc – according to him a simple jump of 50cc or 100ccs won’t give me discipline. I need power that will keep me grounded and disciplined on the road, that I will hold onto for a couple of years. His explanation made sense to me. Untill I went for my first two tests. 🙆🏿‍♀️

Duke 390
This particular lunch hour is a bit sunny, yet we are gearing up for July, talk of the weather being weird😏. I head to Karen to see and have a feel of the Duke 390.

Bike arrives and it is parked next to Kadudu. The clearance is the same, so that box doesn’t check. I seat on it and realise Inaisha kabla ianze. As in, it is not long enough. Then I wonder when I go glamping⛺🏕️🗻🏔️, where the luggage will be tied to?

I like the fact that it is largely naked, I think with a change of tyres, I can freely play without worrying that a simple fall could break a fairing. It is a good bike for the streets. I have a quick chat with the seller and head back home to go see another bike later on.

Suzuki DRZ-400
The owner is a super cool person!!! We say hi, a little chitchat then head to the bike. First, the bike is very high. It just showed me how short I am (show off!🙄). Clearance box✅ it is a supermoto, and the owner tells me that on the original offroad tyres its height is enhanced.

So I sit on it (tiptoe-ing with one foot), switch it on and ride around the parking lot. I ride at max 20kph, with my legs dangling off the side the whole time (my rationale was, if for any reason we were to start falling on either side, I’d easily put the foot down so the bike didn’t go all the way down). 🤣🤣🤣 The power left me feeling very tiny, like in biking world I have been doing nothing, I am yet to even crawl, sijui tutaanza kutembea lini!🙆🏿‍♀️

Both these two bikes are in the same capacity range, so they humble me enough to go back to my comfort zone 150-250 cc bikes.🙈

Kibo 160
I like the Kibo, I trained on it, it was super easy to work with and it is all terrain and light weight. But, I have had this long standing fear about the seat – it is so long and I always fear that if am in traffic someone will just kalia the seat and be like ‘ madam twende‘. My fears are valid.😌Additionally, during my recent ride to Kisumu, I was on a naked version of Kadudu that was faster going uphill than the K160. ‘Kibo you are good, we had fun at training, I will always cherish those training moments. It is not you, it is me.’ 😞

BMW experience
Hapa, please allow me to leave out the CC’s and specific models involved so you don’ t start guessing my height and weight. ☹️ I will keep this experience short and hopefully sweet?

My test is with this pal’s bike. Being myselofu, I jump on the bike and try to lift it off the side stand, I could not, tad bit heavy. My pal helps me lift it off the side stand. I refuse to release the side stand as this thing is heavy. I need that extra assurance of knowing if am tired I can release it back to the side stand. 😢

I switch it on and can’t bring myself to ride even for a metre. The whole time he was right next to the bike holding it! 🤣🤣

P. S. This was not the S1000! That one I reserve the story for a coffee date, it needs acting out as I narrate. 🤓

Sym NH 200T

I like how it looks, I rode with it in another ride and figured, why not! I reach out to BM and a test ride time is set. I am given some quick basics on the bike am testing and we hit the road.

First thing I notice is the upright riding posture, it felt weird! 🤣🤣🤣🤣 But it is what I have been looking for, so… ✅

Then I easily accelerate to 80kph on gear 3 and it doesn’t strain. But there is some ffffffff sound am hearing. I am not used to the sound, but figure the bike am testing is not new, maybe it developed issues over time.🤷🏾‍♀️

It is easy to ride, I am liking it but that ffffffing sound is still there, now am worried and I start to listen to the sound closely. The test ride ends and I tell Raul, the bike had this funny ffffiiing sound. He laughs and says it must be the fan! 🤦🏿‍♀️

A week later a pal gives me hers so I can get a better feel and I decide to take it to Magadi. By the time we get to Kisamis I have monkey butt. 🙈After Kisamis the road is not even, I notice I can feel the vibrations. 😳 When we get to Magadi, my lower back is hurting, the seat is uncomfortable for me, with my back issues it is beginning to look like this is not the long distance bike I thought it was. I pop a painkiller, take some water, have a snack and we start heading back.

On the hilly stretches it maxed at about 80kph, but this could be because of the break in period (you know how they restrict RPMs during break in, yes that!).

We get back to Nairobi, am too tired and in so much pain with a resolution!🤣🤣🤣🤣

Sign off
Everything good comes to an end and this onja onjaing story has to stop before I get confused.😜

One thing remains, after market support! All the brands I have tested have local support and parts available. But 2 of the brands I am inclined to have quite some tales on customer service.

I have picked the evils I can live with, it is the foundation of a good relationship, eih? 😌

The Second Date – Part I by Monyenye

This will hopefully be a two part series. First, I need to set the scene, light some candles, give her some limelight as I reminisce and prepare to bid her farewell.

I have been riding Kadudu 155 for sometime now, almost 1yr! Yeeeeii!!! 🥳🥳🥳

She (yes, you get to choose what goes between your legs😋) has been graceful and allowed me to learn so much and I have grown over our time together. Our journey started one midmorning when I decided to walk by the shop to see what I could get, I saw her, she looked at me, I looked back, we locked eyes and the fate was sealed, there and then. 🥰🥰

She is/was my first, I was her first too. This builds a connection deeper than I can explain and makes the farewell painful almost like a heartbreak! 😞 A day after she arrived, I took her for some laps around the hood then parked her outside my building, the side stand was not all the way out, she fell and broke the right indicator. That first fall is painful, it left her and myself scarred. I have carried the pain with me.😢

Over the course of our story, we have made some really good memories. I have also got to observe her and see what her limitations are…. Come on she exposed some of mine… This assessment thing goes two ways, it is only fair. Asi! 🤷🏾‍♀️

So over our time together, I have realised I like to play with mud and that, at times fun begins where the tarmac ends and I want to be part of that fun. So the quest for my second date started…

Mbio mbio I started to build up a checklist for my second date. This was largely based on her limitations and what I enjoyed doing that she did not have/like. 🙊

I am clear on a few things:
A. I want good ground clearance – I once took her to a farm and the fairing that runs on the side down over the engine with some sort of mesh linking both side fairings was mowing grass – and causing a drag as I pushed her through the field. Story for another day! 🤣🤣

B. I don’t want her/him overly dressed (a lil’ bit naked is welcome 😉 who said you should always leave stuff to the imagination, show me what you got!) – that pain you feel when she falls and the fairings are hurt is just too much. 😔

C. I want a little more speed – she vibrates and sort of struggles at above certain speeds, ahem!😜

D. I want an upright riding posture – my physiotherapist insists on this one. I am tired of paying, so I might as well listen. 🙈

E. I want one that is not too heavy, If it ever falls, I need to be able to lift it. Those early days when Kadudu and I first met, I tried to give her a beating above my skill level, she fell. I tried lifting her up, she was too heavy. So I sat by the road side and waited for help. 😢 Then my boss passes and rolls down his window to ask if am okay. How I made it to the office before him that day, is still news to me. 🤣🤣🤣

F. Oh am also not looking to inherit a spot at a garage, yea, not dealing with historical drama.🙅🏿‍♀️

Armed with my checklist, I spoke to a few friends, started the search and started checking boxes.

Commercial break, for someone who struggles with empty dates, this search can really be draining. I mean, people go for so many dates, asking the same questions and sit through that agonising experience over and over. If something integral doesn’t check out, we are so not doing this again, in fact, it is over before it has a fighting chance.

Now we can get to finding my second date after the break…..

Riding in Cold Weather – Quick Tips!

Riding in cold weather is depressing, the bike takes its time to start, your helmet fogs up, your freezing, the roads are usually wet from light rain , it’s usually darker than usual so you see less and are less seen. Just sucks! I would rather drive .

Dress for the Weather

Layer up. From your base , to your outer shell which should be water proof and wind proof. The idea is to trap heat , keep your body warm. An armored jacket with a fleece lined removable inner lining works wonders, don’t forget your base layers. And don’t forget your , hands with waterproof gloves and your legs too, and warm cotton or woollen socks to keep your feet nice and toasty. But also don’t layer up so much that you restrict your movement or visibility.

Anti Fog Inserts , Balaclavas and Neck Socks

When it’s cold you keep your helmet closed, and without an Anti Fog Insert on your visor, your visibility is compromised. Get one. Balaclavas and neck socks keep your head and neck warm, get 2 , always great to have a spare.

Check your bike and the weather

Check your tyre pressures especially through this season. Let your bike idle a bit at the start , the engine runs smoother when it’s warm. Watch the weather, as long as the roads stay dry you should be fine, but always proceed with caution. And it gets dark pretty fast in this weather, wear a high Viz vest. Keep your headlight on all day.

Road Trip To Tanzania -B.C by Njeri Mbogo

ROAD TRIP TO TANZANIA

Day One: Nairobi to Diani – 606kms
Day Two: Enjoying Diani
Day Three: Diani to Moshi – 533kms
Day Four: Moshi to Nairobi – 379kms

5 friends. 2 countries. 1518kms covered.

Bikes:
Benelli TRK 502
Hero Karizma ZMR, 223cc
Bajaj Pulsar NS 200
Suzuki Gixxer 155cc

Documentation Required for the trip and at the Border points:


1. Passport OR Temporary Pass (applied through e-citizen for KES 350)
2. Yellow Fever Certificate. The lifetime vaccine is available at Port Health at Wilson Airport for KES 2500
3. Valid driving license
4. Identification card
5. COMESA Insurance
6. Original logbook. This is to be surrendered at the border point however since we were crossing through two different points, we surrendered our original logbooks at Customs HQ and received authorization letters. We then received form C32 that was stamped at the border exit and entry points.

Day One

Day One:
Route: Nairobi – Voi – Mariakani – Kaloleni – Mtwapa – Mombasa – Diani

The morning was gloomy and it was raining but nobody and no weather was stopping reggae. We were to set off as 5 bikers, however, 2 couldn’t make it due to unavoidable circumstances. Riding on Mombasa road in the rain was terrible, to say the least. Even after the anti-fog tricks on the visor, visibility was poor mainly due to the splatter of dirty water from the car ahead so one had to keep positioning themselves better. It was finally dry after the Machakos junction and bright and shiny at Emali which was our first stop. We had a quick bite to eat and drink and set off to the next stop which was Voi town. We pushed off the road by oncoming vehicles more times than we could count, the shoulder on the way to Voi served as a good escape. There was no shoulder to escape to after Voi. The road was patchy and uneven as the tarmac appears to have chipped off. We encountered a near miss when we came across a saloon car that overtook a trailer at a bend and refused to move or slow down for us to pass. It was a close shave and we thank God.

Riding through Mombasa to the ferry was tiring. TIRING!! The road was being constructed in some parts and there were so many tuktuks and lots of disorganization. It was also the last leg and we were honestly tired and irritable. Crossing the ferry cost 50 shillings and they let motorbikes through to the front of the line. Riding out of the Likoni Ferry through Likoni was absolute chaos, suffice to say we will not use that route in the near future. We got to Diani at around 8 pm sweaty, tired but happy. We stayed at Upani in Diani.

Day Two
The two bikers left behind the previous day were able to set off on this day and we decided to stay in Diani enjoying the water (pool and beach) as we waited for them.

Day Three
Route: Diani – Lungalunga – Horohoro – Same – Moshi

We set off to Tanzania through exiting Kenya at the Lungalunga border and crossing over to another building and entering Tanzania through the Horohoro border. It took us about 3 hours which was a longer process than anticipated as there were network challenges at both border points. We were dripping sweat literally…sweat my fren’ albeit having fewer layers. At the border, we presented our documentation and received c32 forms which is a temporary exportation form for a motor vehicle/ cycle into a foreign territory.

To note, there’s an NMB bank ATM at the border point that accepts VISA. Outside the gate, there are locals with Kenya and Tanzanian shillings for exchange.

The road from Horohoro to Same town was super. Well tarmacked, well marked and complete with road signs (including zebra crossings for those with wheelchairs). We saw about 4 rainbows and the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro as the sunset. It was beautiful. The road was the total opposite from Same to Moshi. To make it worse, we rode at night which made it more challenging. We must applaud drivers in Tanzania as we were not pushed off the road at any point.

To put it politely, it was a challenging ride. We were tired before we got to Moshi and had to stop and take a break to snack on something na kuchochana; the encouragement session was much needed.

We finally got to our home for the night and that is just a story for another day

One of the many rainbows we got to see

Day Four
Route: Moshi – Arusha – Namanga – Nairobi
We were tired from the previous days ride so we had a late morning just chilling and talking. Had some delicious breakfast and set off to Nairobi. The ride from Moshi through Arusha to the Namanga Border was enjoyable. So enjoyable that we didn’t fuel because the route master told us Namanga ni hapa tu. The Gixxer and Pulsar ran out of fuel on the main tanks but we were able to ride with the reserve tank fuel to Longido town which was before the Namanga border.

The process at the Namanga border was seamless as it is a one-stop border point so all processes are under one roof. We made it back to Nairobi safe and sound having enjoyed the ride and learned some things about ourselves and each other.

Tony’s point of view
This trip was eye-opening for me in different ways. Tanzania is a beautiful country that is begging to be explored. Awesome views of mountains and lowlands. (Too bad we didn’t get enough time to take as many pictures as we could). The roads are just meant to be ridden and ridden and ridden some more.

This trip has taught me a lot considering it pushed each one of us to the last ounce of energy in our bodies. Such a journey needs friends who bring different traits to the group. You need a clown to lighten up the mood when you are tired and feeling you are about to give up. You need an organizer who will make sure you have your documents in order as well as speed up the group when you are being lazy. Most importantly, you need each other. You need to communicate with one another. You need to trust each other as well as be comfortable with your pack. In case of any emergency or obstacles encountered, you know your squad has got your back. You also need to tolerate each other when the going gets tough, you are tired and you are yet to reach your destination for the day.

This will be healed by a shower, food and good night’s rest. You also need to be open to the idea of sleeping anywhere when you get tired or the dark sets in before you get to your next stop. The crucial thing is to make sure you are in a safe and secure place for you and your motorcycle, a place that has a bed you can put your body to rest as well as have food to fuel your empty self. It is important to fill up your bike with fuel when it is running low so you can enjoy the trip knowing you are covered for the next 200 or more kilometers. Kindly set your expectations of people, places or hotels realistically as you may be disappointed when reality checks in. Vitu kwa ground huwa different, ask the ladies about their experience at Secret Garden in Moshi.

If possible, start your journey early so you can have as many stops as you want to take pictures as you explore new places and make memories. Invest in a GoPro or something of the sort to record your travels to cherish them in the future. It is never that serious, go out and ride as well as meet people with similar goals as yours and tour together while having.

React, Respond, Initiate

What will you do next??

The first almost always leads to bad outcomes.

When things are uncertain it’s easy to react.

Responding is smarter, it forces you to think about the action to take once you identify a hazard.

It’s also easy to get into a rhythm of responding, to others’ actions and movements.

How about the last? How do you Initiate? How do you get other road users to respond to your actions? How do you anticipate the hazards and resolve them even before they develop. How do you stay 3 steps ahead of the risks and hazards on the road?

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