There’s everything sassy about a biker boyfriend…
Sound bike knowledge, vast riding experience, priority to safety, ‘always prepared’, love for motorcycles and adventure, in control, to mention but a few endearing fundamentals of a great biker.
Used to the comfort and speed of an almost-sports-car, being a cager (now I reckon), I was clueless of what amazing road adventure a motorbike truly is. Then my boyfriend happened on me…InkedBiker!
The first time I got onto his bike, he’d come to pick me up from work at dusk. I dressed the spare reflective jacket and helmet he’d carried for me, got onto his Apache 160 and headed home. I will not belabour my vice grip on InkedBiker and claustrophobia inside the helmet. Got home safe, but that earned me my first lesson on ‘how to ride as a passenger on a bike’. Do not hold the rider uncomfortably tight or lean on him;place your hand on his hips, this will help keep you in touch with his movements.
Position yourself perfectly for a turn, just look over the rider’s shoulder in the direction of the turn. If the motorcycle is turning right, look over the rider’s right shoulder; if it is turning left, look over the rider’s left shoulder. Try not to move around more than necessary and as for the helmet, y’gotta get used to it honey. Safety first!
Woosh! I braced myself through subsequent rides to get it right and not distract InkedBiker on the road. Yes, it’s gotten easier and better with time.
Rides on the Yamaha Crux S was, well…okay. Easy to weave through traffic, but oh boy, lacks the torque to take on the hills. It definitely tickles when all vehicles and bodabodas zoom past us on the hill, and for a moment it feels like our bike is stationery…thanks to InkedBiker’s great sense of humor while on the road as we share a couple of such laughs.
I love the Sunday morning revving of the tall DR650, after the routine pre ride inspection drill (T-CLOCS and FINE –C) of checking the bike’s in order; my signal that it’s time to leave the house, dress my helmet, jacket, reflector strip and head for church. I quite like its height, works just fine with my heeled boots.
InkedBiker truly knows his bike’s performance. I must admit, the choice of rough and bumpy roads makes the ride worthwhile. Now that I’m oriented, no more vice grips, but savouring the changing scenery in this Nairobi concrete jungle, not to mention caution on a few crazy drivers, who seem to care less for other road users not in the least riding a motorcycle.
Another key lesson learnt from observing InkedBiker is the rule of thumb ‘be prepared’. One sunny Sunday afternoon, a cruise on Thika Super Highway ended up at Safaricom Safari7’s. (Kenya did not win the cup L ). It was time to leave, when the blue skies turned to dark grey clouds threatening to ruin the afternoon. Before I could spell m.i.s.s.i.s.s.i.p.i, InkedBiker from his backpack (or is it bag of tricks?) had removed a rain jacket for my use for the journey back. Oh, and I still had to wear the reflector strip on top; reason being, visibility is key to ones safety on the road! Ofcourse, his gear being waterproof and reflective already, no reinforcement was required. The deluge made it very slippery on Thika road, requiring sufficient caution and control of the bike, no fidgeting as a passenger even when huge paddles are splashed on by the crazy cagers. Thank God I now know how to handle me as the passenger.
Christmas time, on the roaring Virago535 was just awesome, cruising around deserted Nairobi roads. What a treat! But while on the Virago chatting can only happen when stationery at traffic lights (these pipes are loud), so we have to figure out a way of communicating. Working on bluetooth headsets for the helmets, or 2 way radios with throat mikes.
I’m still fascinated by InkedBiker and his skill to ride various bikes…and of course I enjoy the spoils of the bike adventure. Riding with my boyfriend has proved to be a great time of bonding, new sites and sounds, adventure and having a good laugh whenever possible above the throttle sound. And as they say, ‘couples who ride together, stay together’.
Several rides later, I have taken up the challenge…I am now learning to ride! Both by observation and taking lessons from the best, InkedBiker! Learning the different bikes, learning risk management, street strategies, learning and riding and loving it, with all its sass.