Ride Your Own Ride by Lucy Monyenye

Riding my own ride

I can’t stand vibrations, let alone vibrations in between my legs!! Hold up, get your head out of the gutter, you dirty little soul😈. We will get back to the vibrations shortly.

I have been riding for a while now, hit 3,000kms!!!🥳🥳 and I have had a top speed of 107kph (6 months later!!!😢). Some good advice I received when I started out was ‘ ride your own ride‘. This, I was told, should extend to all rides solo, group and couples😍.

As a newbie (uh huh, am still learning and did I invite you to a graduation? 💁🏾), you are learning (1) to look for harzards, (2) your bike, (3) to wave when you see the other biker pass by (I still struggle to release the handle and wave, at times I end up noding after he/she has passed🤦🏾‍♀).

With all the amount of learning taking place, you are bound to have information overload. It helps to know yourself, what works for you, and stick to it.

A. You are bound to meet so many other riders, trained by different people and using different styles. A buddy of mine, once told me (if you are alone on an empty road, like the southern bypass, achilia hiyo engine because the car coming behind you is speeding and will chota you. This advice makes sense, but it doesn’t apply to me, especially newbie me. See, when I speed, my heart races which means am about to panic. Once I panic, I will not remember how to use the controls and slow down/come to a stop if I need to.

Lesson one: if you are giving advice, package it in a way it will be helpful to the recipient; on the flip side, don’t take everything thrown at you.

B. Group rides are a great opportunity to meet new people, see other bikes and fall for the bikes🙈 and pretend to also like the owners. 🏃🏾‍♀🏃🏾‍♀ Remember how we talked about difference in training, this is the ground where it plays out. Some people will ride at the middle of the lane, others will be at the edge of the lane, others will keep racing up and down while pulling stunts.

Lesson two your fellow bikers can be hazards on the road too. You need to watch your side mirrors check their indicators, brake lights and movements. It is not just about the other road users, your mates on that ride are hazards too. You need to have enough reaction time and distance. At times this may mean falling back and letting the ‘fun’ ones take the lead and at other times it may mean pulling over/turning back. I will trust your judgement on the particular instances and not give further guidance. Provided you are clear on your abilities and your weaknesses (we all have them) you should be okay and make the right calls, when need be.

C. Still on group rides, there is an excitement that builds when we are in motion in large packs. This could, easily, lead to confusion and give false courage.

Lesson three Know your limits to the point that you will have fun in that larger group.

I find some of our pipes irritating and can’t ride around them😬. I am not a fast rider, I only speed up when I need to, all other times am enjoying the views at speeds of 60-70kph. Remember those vibrations I mentioned? When I rev at the wrong gear, the bike produces this very annoying vibration, it also produces them when am at high speeds, I think it is a problem with my rev matching…🤔 we shall figure it out.

So in most group rides you will find I have my own sweeper who will go at my speed and let me do my thing.😊

The last one was amazing☺, he’d speed, stop take water and relax. I would pass him. He’d give me a head start of about 5-10mins then he’d hop onto his bike and ride behind me and pass. We did this repeatedly for a distance of about 170kms. By the time we arrived to meet the large group, I wasn’t tired and I had enjoyed my own little quiet ride within the main group ride. 🙃 The return journey is where I hit 107kph, yea I had confidence, having used the road before. 😎

D. As a planning note it may be useful and more coordinated if you access ride rules and plan before hand. It may also be useful to organise people according to Nyumba Kumis that way teams are grouped before the D-day and show up ready.

Lesson four: communicating to a large crowd without a public address system is difficult, let alone informing them all the rules, stop over points and grouping.

Just as you ensured to get proper training and gear, devote some time to understand your self, how you react to different situations and be comfortable controlling that machine. Learn to ride your own ride and you will always have fun!

Now my child, go forth and….🏍🏍🏍🛵🛵🛵

WINDS FROM HELL – could be from elsewhere too by Joan Kariuki


WINDS FROM HELL – could be from elsewhere too 😂😂

Anyone who knows me well knows I have a special name for winds. “The harsh Kisser”. I love open roads and there is nothing better than riding on an open road, but winds can just turn your joy to tears. Well for me, that has been the case a couple of times but the worst happened in Lesotho. (I will tell you about all the others over a cup of coffee 😉). In Lesotho 🇱🇸, we got into 40kph winds. By the way, we are in Argentina now and have been monitoring the weather and the highest speeds of wind we have seen are 55kph. 👀😳😱. I have no idea how this will go, but we must ride.

Over the last 5 months we have encountered winds of different magnitude.
– Head on wind
– Cross winds
– Those that love to push you from behind.
– Those ones behind a truck (they are different) they flap you like a flag.
– Those that decide to change directions all of a sudden and finally
– The whirlwinds.
In all these types of winds ONE RULE is constant *COUNTER STEER*. If you are riding with your partner and Bluetooth is on, you hear this a million times. I love him and every time he screams it, I respond, I love you babe and all is well.

That brings us to RULE No. 2. Be in love 🥰 with the wind, it’s the only way you will survive. Love conquers all remember. I mean, do not panic, do not give up. Bond with the wind. When your mind is positive and calm, everything works well.

But what happens if the wind throws you off guard, puncturing you confidence and deflating it totally. Causing you fears and all. For me I some times cry 😢 but that has never helped so don’t.

Here is what you do and please note, some of the things are not taught in class, actually majority so let’s have an open discussion after this and hear 👂 everyone’s input.

1. You have to be quite observant of wind on your route. Check the weather before, if not, anywhere you see windsock or turbines that is an indication of heavy winds area. Dust high up from farms with no activity like ploughing indicates a whirlwind coming. Never allow yourself to cross a whirlwind. Slow down or stop and let it pass. It’s just a few minutes. We had some in Zambia and Namibia a couple of times .
2. If you get scared, panic, or uncomfortable, slow down and stop. Gather your strength again. I call this wind 101 stops. They help to just get the focus again.
3. Don’t ride to slow in the winds, you will be blown off. Remember how a paper jet flys. Same theory. Counter the wind with the speed.
4. Never do a hard stop with the winds. Observe your environment and gear down as you slowly come to a safe stop in a safe area. Some of the places are next to a cliff or off-road and you don’t want to put yourself in more danger.
5. If the winds are too strong for the bike to stay upright, put it down. Again safely to avoid oil or petrol leaks. Safety first always. Technically may sound not possible but bikes are different and in different conditions. You never know .
6. Riding in the winds makes you more tired than usual. Your body is constantly fighting to stay upright and keep bike steady, sometimes you struggle to keep head straight from crosswinds. You end up with many muscle aches after, please give your body some TLC after. Stretch, use ointment if need be and a good hot shower or cold shower works. Rest well if you have to ride the following day and any day ofcause.
7. There are times and terrains to avoid riding in strong winds. – -SERIOUS OFF-ROAD -will keep your speeds low and not good to ride with strong winds. SANDY AREAS – you will have sand dusts blinding you and building dunes on the road and can cause serious accidents as well. MOUNTAIN PASSES – are not to be ridden in strong winds, they come with steep gradients (both down and climbing) and sharp corners. Not forgetting the high cliffs and wind surges. If riding in LONG OPEN FLAT LAND like deserts – winds can be very strong and very unpredictable. Extra caution is required.
8. I would like to add riding skill levels to this list. Most winds in Kenya are manageable but there are area like northern Kenya where they can be extremely strong. If you are looking to venture into cross country adventures, winds are inevitable and it’s good to get experience in riding with the wind.
9. Everyday is a learning day and each day brings new chapters to our existing subjects. Keep riding, experience is the best teacher.

Masomo Monday- Crash Chain/Ladder of Risk

Today we hope to learn a couple of lessons on the how and why of crashes from Shakis’ experience. Comments and Observations are welcome.

I woke up nice and eary Saturday morning excited🤗😃 to meet up the ladies for Ceri’s visit. The weather is beautiful🌞 outside, It’s going to be an amazing ride🏍🏍, I tell myself.
I take my bike for a wash. Can’t show up with dust for the week.
I get on the road headed to mombasa road.
As I join limuru road, I remember a pal of mine wants a tv stand like mine. So I start looking out for the fundi by the road where I got mine from with the intention to pass by on my way back home later on.

I look up…Alas😬!! Lami imeisha! I slid off the curb nicely, I just saw a cloud of dust! Did I just fall stupidly like that??! How could I forget the bike goes where you are looking???
I get up. Switch off the bike. Skiza the body for any alarming pains, luckily am fine. Just minor aches here n there. I pick up my bike,inspect for damages. Rear brake lever is bent, exhaust pipe imeachana kidogo, left side mirror is spinning like a compas (but I fix it)
Rhoda comes to my rescue. Tests the bike. It’s good to go home. (Shout out to her!!❤)

Truth is I completely didn’t pay attention, lost focus and was careless. What if I had veered into incoming traffic?? What if the side of the road wasn’t clear?? I put my life in danger but I also did get lucky. I thank God. Part of me feels like I had an opportunity to redeem myself and get back before the fall but I panicked.

Lessons learnt:
1. Don’t get too comfortable on the road and lose focus. One small mistake could be the difference between life and death.
2. All the gear, all the damn time!!ATGAT, ATGAT, ATGAT!!
3. When you realize you have done a mistake or you could fall, keep calm and try to redeem yourself;as long as you lessen your risk.

Ride Safe.

Celebrating women in motorcycling- Damaris

As we await to commemorate the International Female Riders Day in May 5, 2018, we continue to celebrate women in motorcycling. Today’s Hadithi Picha feature highlights Damaris’ motorcycling journey.

Here is a snippet from the original blog post:

Damaris graces our fourth feature in our amazing photo series, Women and Motorcycles. She is one adventure loving lady and always up to trying out new challenging things. Her love for venturing into roads less traveled led her into the world of motorcycling. So far she thinks it is the best ride of her life yet. Let’s plunge more into her motorcycling world:

When did you start riding and what motivated you to take up riding?

I began riding in 2015. All along I was passionate about the two-wheeled automobile. However, I was drawn to them particularly because of the convenience that comes with them (read bodaboda). At this point I thought all bikes were like the conventional bodabodas until I met other bikers after my training. I realized there were beautiful beasts out there and this only fueled my urgency to ride.

How was the training experience?

I did my training at InkedBiker after coming across them on the internet. Training was amazing especially after I gathered enough courage to start riding with my feet up. The bike became so light and motion was so exciting. I especially loved it when Malibu (the lead trainer and founder) would just let me go on countless rounds around the training field.

To read more about her biking journey, head over to Hadithi Picha’s Post