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)

Critical mass Nairobi- February edition

If you are a cyclist and live in a city with other cyclists, you can all meet up once a month for a critical mass event. It helps to create awareness to motorists that there are other legitimate road users who may not necessarily be driving. And this is important especially in countries where planners, city managers and road engineers have never thought of integrated road design that takes care of non motorised users.

In the video below, for those who want to meet the face behind the blog, my bike comes into focus towards the end of the clip and disappears.

Critical Mass Nairobi

It appears my friends in Nairobi got it all wrong with the dates, but that doesn’t matter. Wiki has this to say about CM

Critical Mass is a cycling event typically held on the last Friday of every month; its purpose is not usually formalized beyond the direct action of meeting at a set location and time and traveling as a group through city or town streets on bikes.

We hold ours last Saturday of the month with an aim to create awareness to the city’s bad drivers that we exist, that it is possible to share the road.

has nothing to do with bicycles

i know this bike

this young one will be a future champ

even kids came out for cm

this view was better than it looks like in the photo

dude was cycling like a boss