Today is world bicycle day

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)

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

18 thoughts on “Today is world bicycle day

  1. Carmen says:

    If your wish was to encourage others to take up mountain biking I’m not sure you accomplished what you set out to do, Mak. :). Sounds like too many bruises for me!
    I have a three-speed bike that I drive on pavement — it has a basket in the front and high handle bars; it makes me feel youthful.


    • makagutu says:

      Luckily most of the scars have healed. I think the ones that i have left are from the major incidents. The fall at a bump is a monument to stupidity (I wasn’t holding the handlebars when i hit the bump).
      Bike will keep you youthful

      Liked by 1 person

  2. judyt54 says:

    I had a bicycle when I was younger, and living outside of town, it was a joy to hurtle down the hill and then back up another hill to get to school. The trip home was a lot slower, since the return trip was uphill for about five miles of the eight mile trip. In those days we had no gears, and like yours, mine was one speed and really good brakes. By the time I out- grew it, banana seats had become the only way to travel, and I simply could not tolerate them, so I passed on a new bike.
    I miss that kind of slow freedom, though. Maybe next year. =)

    You tell stories much better than you think you do. Never apologize for that.


    • makagutu says:

      There is something enjoyable about cycling.
      I used the single speed bike for all sorts of things; haulage especially. I could transport loads of up to 80kg on that bike, then uni came between me and all that.

      You are too kind Judy, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. renudepride says:

    Happy Bicycle Day to you, my Kenyan brother! May this day bring to you many trips on your bicycle that are all safe and free from any incident or injury – to yourself and to others, be they human or mammal! Many naked hugs! 🙂


  4. I never drove a car, so bike, bus, or walking was my transport. Now I have the mobility scooter, which is great for me. I can carry all my groceries, etc., without breaking my arms trying to handle the bags.


  5. basenjibrian says:

    Given how many miles I obsessively ride (despite being quite…plump-even vigorous exercise can overcome only so much an addiction to ice cream and other fattening foods) I am surprised how few crashes I have had. Until the past couple of years. Like two years ago, I was riding on a perfectly paved suburban street when my bike stopped…and I didn’t. first real broken bone in my life (collar bone). I thought I was fully healed, but two weeks ago, the damn shoulder started aching again! Grrrrr.. The travails of aging!

    I also was thrown into the side of a parked SUV b y bad pavement. A carbon frame is no longer beautiful when it is completely shattered into three fragments.


  6. Naked Johnny says:

    Anyone interested in participating next year for WNBR – World Naked Bike Ride ? I have participated in about 9 of this summer event. San Francisco (2), Portland (OR) (2), Chicago(3), Mexico City(2). These are well attended with thousands of riders. Google this if you have not heard or seen one local TV news, event is held in July World Wide.
    Naked Johnny
    *Nude cycling is quite an experience. Great feeling of freedom.

    Liked by 2 people

    • makagutu says:

      Hopefully cyclists in Nairobi will get to this level. I think we really are conservative about going around in public naked

      Liked by 2 people

      • Naked Johnny says:

        Would you Makagutu be one of the naked bikers ? Dad & I dig WNBR and have done about 9 rides all over the North America & Mexico City is a good one Keep naked for us man . .

        Liked by 2 people

        • makagutu says:

          Oh yes, I would ride

          Liked by 2 people

          • Naked Johnny says:

            If we were there and it was reality — my nudist Dad and I would proudly ride naked with you and you could cum stay naked with us where ever we could find a place to be outdoors naked . . must be lots of open spaces . . .would be get in trouble in your country if we were caught outdoors in country/wilderness ?? Like to know more . . Do you have chance be NKD daily, too, like Dad & I live naked 24/7 – Nice chatting with you nudist brother Makagutu

            Liked by 2 people

      • Naked Johnny says:

        My Nudist Brother Makagutu:
        Can you chat with me via email–
        instead of on here ?

        Naked Johnny (check my profile for email)

        Liked by 1 person

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