And I am here to tell you a story or stories depending on how you look at it. But first, I must confess I am not a good story teller. I think in short paragraphs and suffer from the need to be very economical with my words, so I hope you bear with that.
Now, when I was in class 5 or 6 ( about age 10) my mama decided I was old enough and ready for adventure. This adventure includes being the family messenger- I should have reported the family to the ILO. But I digress. So she taught me to cycle or rather began to teach me to cycle and then we took it up from there. You see back then, we had maybe 2 or 3 bikes and we had cousins of my age living with us. My first bike ride was a single speed (famously called black mamba) adult bike.
When I was relatively confident on the bike it was decided I could be sent on family errands and this is where drama begins. As they say in documentaries, this story has not been told before. On many occasions when I was sent to an errand, I could come back without incident but whenever there was an incident, it was real news. You see, since I was still small in size, the saddle was out of reach and would ride off saddle, I had challenges when I met a herd of cattle. I think in this period, half my encounters with cattle always ended badly. I always rammed into a cow, fell, bruised myself and damaged something on the bike.
Fast forward to years later when I had become really good, I had a head on collision with another cyclist. I have scars to show for it.
Poverty or deprivation can be and is humiliating. Going to borrow a bicycle meant having to tell all your problems as you seek the ear of the owner. A guy would come and say you know that sister of mine who is married at X, the husband is sick and their grandmother died and I was hoping you have no commitment with your bicycle this Saturday I borrow it to attend the funeral.
Coming to university and then settling in the city did come between me and cycling and for a good duration of time I didn’t cycle until some doctor dared suggest that I was growing fat (cue George Carlin sketch on language) and unhealthy. I wasn’t about to start going to the gym, nor run ( I find running tiring) and so I bought my first mountain bike. I had my first accident on tarmac in a market area when I took a very sharp bend. I did what we always did as children, check if the bicycle is still sound, ride off away from public glare then check if you hurt yourself. I still do this to date.
Since this first fall, I have had a collision with a car, fell of a bump, and I can’t recall any other accident.
I have had a moment of fame when we rode to Longonot with a friend, hiked faster than those who had driven and cycled back to Nairobi.
What I love about cycling is the opportunities to see places that it creates. My limitation while on the saddle is usually how far can I go before it is dark. I swear by bananas and chapati. I carry enough water and money just in case.
Go out and cycle.
(This story will be modified in the very near future)