The perfect ride doesn’t last long, life is like that. There are mechanical failures, broken bones, weather battles, monotony and bad attitudes in store the more you ride.
Few talk of monotony of the endless road, the rolling landscape is beautiful for a few kilometres then it takes a drudgery similar to watching paint dry.
You clear your mind on the ride, yes you do, for a time, and then you are left alone with your thoughts. Then even your thoughts desert you after a while.
There is a constant shift between nothingness and awareness as you eat up the Kms on your bike.
There are those who romanticise riding, give it time. It’s not that romantic. It’s tiring, the constant mental awareness of your surroundings, always looking out for hazards, always mitigating risks, putting on and taking off all that riding gear. The weather battles, it’s hot, it’s cold , it’s raining.
Don’t you just want to lean back in the back seat of your car, listening to music, reading your favourite book and sipping on something mildly alcoholic and chilled as your driver navigates traffic?
Malibu: Lynet vaa helmet (Lynet put on your helmet) Me: Siendi mbali (I am not riding far) These were Malibu’s words everytime I posted a video or picture on a bike without a helmet on. This was the same reasoning I had when I took a new bike out for “practicing” on the day I crashed.
I graduated from InkedBiker Rider Training in June of 2021. This was a dream come true. Having wanted to ride for so long, after graduation I wanted to try every bike I cane come across. But owning my own bike was the ultimate goal.
My Keeyway KLight 202 Arrived in Kilifi on 16th July 2021
On Sunday the 18th , I felt that I could not wait any longer. So the plan was to rush to town for a small errand, come back, gear up, then go ”practice”. But the devil is a liar. I decided to get a feel of bike before doing the real riding.
The “real riding” is yet to happen. I have been benched for a whole month, something that could be avoided had I geared up. Lesson learnt the hard way. Do Not Ride Without A Helmet.
We researched quite a bit about the right adventure gear and just like you guessed it, the highly recommended Klim, Olympia, Alpinestar, Revit and many other brands that you will come across online are all not sold in Kenya and also go for top dollar price.
For the safety of ourselves far away from home, we ignored the price tags and dug deep into our pockets for good adventure gear. Dos went for the Bilt brand while I went for the Olympia brand because they make adventure gear specifically for women. For the boots we both chose the SIDI adventure boots.
The adventure riding gear is bulky and heavy in design. This is because of the kind of riding involved, being long distances, bad weather, sometimes dangerous terrains and therefore it is developed to give utmost protection in those conditions. It however gets quite uncomfortable when you make a stop for bathroom breaks (ladies will understand this much better), lunch, snack or rest as well as for short rides with other activities off the bike. Traveling on a bike does not come with the luxuries of a large wardrobe or even several riding gears or outfits to match every occasion. You must choose your items carefully and correctly, we learned this the hard way.
We had our motorcycle for transport and so we found ourselves riding to the beach, to hikes, BBQ, city walks, museums and other places that would require us to be off the bike with a different set of activities. Meaning, you have more hours off the bike, walking and participating in other activities that require one to be light and comfortable. The gear does not give you this. For example, in Zambia I did the Vic falls on both Zambia and Zimbabwe’s side, walking for about 20 kilometers in total in converse shoes. The result from doing this in the wrong shoes was two days of nursing my sore feet. Similar mistakes continued, in Namibia we collected kilos of sand when we went for desert quad biking in the wrong outfits. We had jeans and fleece jackets as it was still winter. We would have been better with a different fabric jacket. Hiking in cotton t-shirts and many more mistakes we made. Ordinarily riding in a cotton t-shirt is not a bad thing but if off the bike you will be hiking, you need the right and more comfortable wear.
It would be very uncomfortable for us having to carry extra clothes for the other activities and looking for safe storage which was rarely available. Our panniers and bags were already full with our travel documents, equipment and clothes and therefore would not be of help. We would also mostly ride one bike to these events and storage of gear was always an issue.
Everytime we would ask ourselves how we can make the transition from the bike to the rest of the off the bike activities easy, fast and comfortable? This is how Throttle Wear began. Throttle Wear is where these questions are being answered.
Outdoor and adventure clothing is not cheap. It gets more expensive for us as it is all imported. Throttle Wear objective and dream is to make bike life a comfortable and fun lifestyle all round with safety as our priority. We also want to address the issue of accessibility and affordability of outdoor and adventure wear.
There should not be a reason why you should not ride to any event or for any activity.
Throttle Wear riding leggings with armor pockets for both knee and hip pads comes with a load of benefits. They will convert all your trousers into safe riding trousers, they will offer you the reinforcement of the trousers incase of a crash and road rash. They act as thermal layers during the cold weather as they are made of a warm and soft fabric. You no longer need to carry extra clothes for your gym or yoga. You can use the same leggings. For only Kshs 2,000 for men and Kshs 1,800 for women, the benefits outweigh the price.
Share your gear to glamor story with us. What has been the experience transitioning from the bike to off the bike activities? How do you cope with all the gear?
Doctored Track Dayz is an initiative by Dr. David Karuri (BladeDoc of BladeDocNetwork) and Ricky Mc Dermott (aka Rickster the Bearded Guy) to provide advanced rider training. It came about to fill the need for progressive advanced motorcycle safety training courses in Kenya.
All our courses are conducted in a safe controlled environment (a designated tarmack track) to ensure learner safety and allows more focus on learning skills.
Our instructors have a combined 50+ years of riding all over the world.
The skills taught are designed to improve your riding skills, make you aware of your motorcycle and its capabilities&limits, and to provide road and safety awareness whilst enjoying your motorcycle.
All riders of all motorcycle classes are welcome to DTD training.
DTD course progression (summary): *details can be shared on request):
Intro To Track (Track orientation, cornering, braking, throttle control)
Novice (advanced steering, cornering, braking and throttle control techniques)
Intermediate (vision, counter-steering, racing lines)
N2N EASBC Racer (a combination of the above in one course, targeted toward entry level competitive track riding)
Track Tech Advanced (skills surrounding racing techniques for avid track competition)
Advanced Pro Racer (skills for the highest level of conpetitive riding)
How did this idea come about? I belong to a small team of ‘Random’ bikers who enjoy ad hoc rides and therefore one guy – Bryson, suggested that we plan for a Malindi ride. My adventurous spirit kicked in and I immediately confirmed without much thought. Of course, I had to request for annual leave at work in advance and luckily it was approved. The next step was to carefully explain to my dear family and one of them thought I had lost it and the rest were okay, considering they have already gotten used to my random weekend rides. But they were and have been quite supportive. Physical and psychological prepping is also important for such a long ride. I exercise at least 3 – 4 times a week for about 45 mins -1 hour per day (jogging/taebo/walking/cycling/swimming when the weather is warm) and I try to drink lots of water with healthy eating. My entire aspect of life is generally positive/flexible despite anticipated challenges.
A WhatsApp group was created on 15th June and 4 of us i.e., 3 gentlemen and I started planning and discussing the way forward. I have a Zontes 200j, the guys have Benelis i.e., 150cc and 300cc and NK CF Moto 250cc (*Gosh! I hope I got the ccs right!). The plot thickened as the days progressed.
A tentative plan was shared: Accommodation plans – we all booked via Air BnB and Booking.com thus getting affordable rates. They were all centrally located within Malindi town with proximity to each other and near to the sea front with beautiful scenery and viewpoints. Other prior plans included: Setting up of emergency contacts on phone/ICE form Inventory on parts/spares/1st Aid kit and insurance Roles i.e., directions/scout, mechanic, 1st Aid Possible meet up to iron through team dynamics. Great place to agree on certain details like how early to leave, stops Bike servicing Road legality: licensing
During the evening of 2nd July, we organized for a WhatsApp call/group meeting to iron out the maintenance, inventory, and ICE prior to the trip. When discussing shared resources, it was discovered that Brian had more resources than meets the eye! In short, he was the ‘resource personnel’ for the trip and thus deserves the MVP cup: Camera 1st Aid Kit Tubeless repair kit Portable jump starter kit Ring & Fix Spanners & Allen keys sets (*we all had a few from these set) A number of small petrol cans
Day 1: (Approx 730km) We planned to meet at 4.30am at the Total petrol station in Juja – Capital Centre, fueled and checked/filled our tyre pressure and then departed and around at 5.30am. It was quite cold, rained a little bit and dark as we rode through the Embu-Nairobi highway via Thika. I painfully hit a pothole at a steep corner as we were heading to Thika town and thankfully my bike and I were alright. I prayed that I do not hit another one and thus was quite keen as I continued to ride along.
We stopped briefly for a bathroom break/check-out in Matuu and Mwingi and continued with the ride. At some point we stopped to check the GPS and confirm the route in a small town (*few kms before Garissa) and some boda boda riders who spoke their local dialects approached us and started asking us myriad questions. This made us uncomfortable considering some questions were tribal/nationality related.
We quickly decided to leave and rode until Garissa and arrived at around 11.30am. We debriefed about the first few stretches of our ride – it was a smooth tarmacked road. We ordered for a heartful lunch at the Almond hotel. Considering it was warm in Garissa and we had geared up heavily, we had time to remove the layers of clothing and remained light and ready to continue our journey. We left the hotel at 1pm and headed to the Total petrol which is situated along the road leading to the main town.
The road after Hola/Tana area, at some point was quite desolate, the tarmac was worn out and there were numerous potholes. I was quite uncomfortable, a bit scary as I made a little prayer of protection with my mind wondering a little bit into the horror world; considering 4pm was fast approaching and Brian and I were left behind since I had to wait for him to fix the left part of his bike’s handle which had a hanging lever. It was quite a long stretch of around 30-40km before we got to the better part of the road which was well tarmacked and found Bryson and Marvin waiting for us. It was such a relief to be ‘out of the woods’ 😊.
Shortly, we arrived in a Garsen at around 5.30pm which is a small town with a few business-related activities. There was only one petrol station and obviously not Shell or Total and we were a bit wary of filling up our bikes with the petrol. We agreed to carry in our cans and only add if necessary. So, we left the center at 6pm and after about 5km my bike stalled. My heart almost stopped and yet we had approximately 200km to cover to Malindi. We all thought different things, but the truth was my tank was empty. I had expected the fuel tap to blink as a sign but apparently it didn’t. Anyway, I filled my tank and we had to refill the emptied cans and continued with the journey and refueled again with the spare cans we carried after around 150km. Luckily, we arrived safely and exhausted in Malindi at around 8.30pm!
Day 2 and 3: The team was just ‘soft living’ in Malindi and Watamu. The highlight on Day 3 was Manu joining us when we were out and about in Watamu. It was a pleasant surprise since we have only been chatting but have never met each other in-person.
Later in the evening, I suggested to the team to change the route (* a change is as good as a rest😊) due to the long distance and the few challenges that we experienced along the route which posed as a health/security risk. The team joined me in the same spirit and shared their eagerness to experience a different route i.e. Malindi-Mombasa-Nairobi.
Day 4: (Approx 587km) The team met at the Total petrol station in Malindi near the roundabout heading towards Kilifi at around 6am. As usual, we fueled and a had brief meeting about the route and started the journey at around 6.30am. The road was well tarmacked and smooth all the way. There were several lorries, public and private vehicles plying the route. We stopped briefly to take breakfast at a ‘kibandaski’ and took a few pictures at the Kilifi bridge.
We rode through Kaloleni – Mariakani route and had a brief bathroom break at a Petrol station on the way. We stopped briefly at a Total petrol station in Mariakani to check and confirm the route.
From Mariakani we rode all the way to Voi. It was enjoyable riding along this route although there were a few oncoming vehicles that would overtake dangerously and push us off the road. We arrived in Voi at around 11.30am and stopped at aTotal petrol station to refuel, have brunch and a bathroom break, then departed at 12pm.
As we continued with the journey, we made brief stops at Mtito Andei, Sultan Hamud, Makindu and Makutano without any mishaps.
On reaching Athi river area there was crazy ‘tight fitting’ traffic which posed a challenge when lane splitting. We tried to carefully maneuver our way due to the myriad lorries, private/public vehicles which eased a little after Syokimau as I branched off to Kyang’ombe route -ICD business park -Lang’ata at around 7.20pm (*home at last and to so was the rest of the team!!!)
“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s about learning how to ride in the rain!” “Failing to plan, is planning to fail!” “We learn flexibility and adaptability!”