Theirs is an enviable mother-daughter bond, one bound by the love for two wheels. Anne and her nineteen year old daughter Nyambura are bikers. I couldn’t help but be more fascinated by the fact that the whole family rides- Dad, Mom, Daughter and Son. I caught up with Anne and Nyambura and this is what they had to share.
When did you start riding and what motivated you to take up riding ?
Anne: I started riding in March 2017. Before that my husband had pillioned me to work for about six months
Nyambura: I just started riding. However, I had always wanted to ride. Perhaps due to the the media influence I had gotten. It just looked so enticing and ‘badass’. At that time, I was unaware of the private biking community in Kenya. So when I saw one of my cousins take up riding, I knew for sure I wasn’t attracted to some cult movement (chuckles)
Did you have to go through formal training? How was the training experience ?
Anne: I went to AA and I found the first 3 lessons very amusing since I had to carry the instructor. I thought that was funny.
Nyambura: My first time on a bike with me as the rider was with my dad. He taught me the basics of biking… But I had to go through formal training later on at InkedBiker Rider Training (Shout out to DJ Mitch and John). I had an amazing experience!!! It was so much fun. What I loved most was the fact the trainers are really patient and they allow you to learn at your own pace.
Is riding part of your daily commute or more of a recreational activity?
Anne: Riding is part of my daily commute. But I also do it for recreation.
Nyambura: Having started riding at an early age, one thing I’d say is that I don’t feel the urge to take up driving like my peers. It just seems ‘meh’.Funny enough not many of my friends have seen me ride. Only my really close friends know and they think it’s pretty cool. My other friends however, have seen me as a pillion with my parents. That in itself has brought me some fame (grins) . “You’re parents are so cool,” has become a statement I hear more than “How are you?”
How has it been for you as a female rider?
Anne: There is the challenge of being assumed to be a guy when approaching security checks. A male guard would be all over you searching you before you can even alert them you are a lady. There is also the misconception that riding is meant for men. A cop would stop me and get shocked when I remove my helmet. ” Ooh, ni Mwanamke” is the cliche response. I therefore approach them talking so that my voice ‘betrays’ me or i quickly remove my helmet. All in all, my husband has been a great support together with the few people I have interacted with during group rides.
Nyambura: It’s not really a challenge but I do not enjoy the stares I get when walking around places in gear and a helmet in hand. I have however learnt to walk my path with pride!
What’s your first/current and dream Bike and what did/do you love most about those bikes.
Anne: My first bike was an Apache 180. I love it because I can lift it up whenever we fall or it falls. It is okay on bumps and rough roads too. I am however releasing the Apache to my daughter as I take on the ZMR. I like its shape. It makes one look so cool. My Dream Bike would be the GS 600. I am hopeful that will be the bike that will take me to South Africa on my 25th wedding anniversary, which is in 4 years time (smiles).
Nyambura: I am currently riding the Apache 180 although sometimes I ride my mom’s ZMR Karizma. I love the fact that I have the opportunity to experience two different bikes. They are both commuter bikes which serve me well. I am relatively new to riding and as per now I do not really have a dream bike. I’m a bit into everything (speed, dirt, cruisers… I want it all). I would want to first explore and experience the different bikes this world has to offer. I’ll probably have a dream bike later on in future.
Share a notable/ memorable experience you’ve had or undertaken with your bike or generally as a female rider.
Anne: Few weeks ago, I took my nephew to the US embassy to get a visa. So I packed my bike at Warwick next to another Apache that looked exactly like mine. I removed my gear because it was hot and I didn’t know how long I will wait. I just sat there on the pavement. After sometime the owner of the other Apache came and when he noticed my Apache right next to his he started smiling, removed his mobile phone and started taking pictures. I was just watching him. I liked the way he assumed that the bike cannot be mine.
So I beckoned the watchman. The watchman approached him, “Ohh you are taking pictures?” “Yap, I am just amused this bike is exactly like mine, sijui ni ya nani”. Then the watchman says, “Hii bike ni ya mwanamke huyu”. Then he points at me. The guy didn’t know how to react. So I stood up shook his hand and introduced myself to make him feel at ease. While I was still waiting a lady rider came and she was very excited to meet me. She had been riding for 3 months but had never met a lady rider. So there is a stereotype in the air that ladies should not ride. Even lady riders don’t believe there are other lady riders out there. (grins)
Nyambura: Sometime last year we rode to Nanyuki as a family and spent the weekend walking around in the same clothes. That was amazing! I once rode my dad’s bike while he pillioned on another in Limuru. The road and scenery was very beautiful. That was my first ride ever on a public road. I am also looking forward to my first group ride Touring the country is also a major wow. That would be lovely! .
How has biking impacted your lifestyle / life
Anne: When I started riding I felt like a whole lot of a very heavy load had been lifted off my shoulders. I had not realized how much stress the traffic jam had laid on me. I am able to achieve so much in a day. I can manage to attend to several issues in a day just because movement and fuel has been made so much easier and cheaper.
Nyambura: Accesibility! Bikes make everything so much more accessible. (“Ni hapa tu”~Biker Proverb). The 24 hours just feels longer Timing has become a bit of an issue when I am not commuting with the bike (What is traffic?). I’m still trying to decide whether this is a good or a bad thing . Minimalism is key! Carry only what is needed. This was a major one! Especially because non of our bikes have the top box.
How does it feel to have your daughter riding too and what experiences do you hope to take up as Mother and daughter in regards to riding?
I am happy for her. She will never have to experience the jam stress. She therefore has a lot of opportunities to achieve more. I started riding at 49 she is only 18. I have saved her 31 years of jam stress. She will only drive when she has to. So I guess driving will be fun for her rather than a nightmare. We shall go places for sure.
Nyambura, how does it feel to have your Mom and Dad riding too and what experiences do you hope to take up with each or both of them in regards to riding?
It’s great. I am not only learning on the road but i have my parents teaching me a few things here and there when riding. Handing me some tips and tricks. I can also get to share the joy I get from riding with them.
Word of advice to aspiring female riders as well as your general biking mantra.
Anne: Life is a gift from God. And God wants us to enjoy life. Most aspiring riders I have met talk of fear. Fear will only make you a slave. It is God who protects us even when we are not riding.
Nyambura: Expect alot of “Haya huyo ni Dame” comments.
We wish Anne and Nyambura the very best in their riding endovours. They are a true inspiration