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.
Is riding part of your daily commute or more of a recreational activity?
It takes up both purposes because it is a faster and easier way to get around. I only fail to ride if I need to carry bulky stuff or the weather is not friendly. I would otherwise ride every other time . Recreational rides happen a lot with my biking family. To be honest it is hard to imagine life without them
How has it been for you as a female rider?
You call for a lot of attention from strangers as a female rider. Some Bodaboda guys get shocked that a lady can handle such a ‘big’ machine. Other times random drivers would honk (or even wink) at you just to say hello. Pedestrians will stop you and begin to ask how much the bike was, how fast it is or if it can go to Kisii (grins).
It took time getting used to all this uncalled for attention given I am pretty laid back. I am however grateful I have with time learnt to accommodate the strangers and keep my focus amidst the many stares and disruptions while on the road.
Most people tend to think that by virtue of riding you are hardened and therefore a little roughening up will do you no harm. We are still ladies gentlemen. Treat us as such (smiles).
All in all, amidst such challenges, staying true to yourself helps. Go at your pace too. I remember riding just around the estate for two months before hitting the main road. Listen to yourself!
My family and my biking family have been a great source of support and encouragement.
What’s your first/current and dream Bike and what did/do you love most about those bikes
My first and current bike is the Pulsar AS 200. I have named it Evie. Evie has been good to me all through. It therefore gives me peace of mind when I ride.
My dream bike would be the Honda Transalp. There is something about big bikes that gets me.
Share a notable/ memorable experience you’ve had or undertaken with your bike or generally as a female rider
We once road to Machakos via Kangundo road with a friend. We were not aware that the road was recently done and there was an upward stretch of about 4km with loose chippings. Gravel is a rider’s nightmare on the road. We had to ride at a snail’s pace all through the stretch. The fact that the road was clear only made us feel worse. There is always that urgency to speed off while on a clear road but we could not do so.
This was a bummer. It was such a tense ride that required utmost caution. Our feet were on standby incase the bike skids off the gravel and our hands were holding tight to the handle bars. We had to be agile and delicate in the way we controlled acceleration and braking. I remember heaving heavily out of relief when we got off the tarmac.
How has biking impacted your lifestyle / life
Biking has given me an open mind when it comes to learning all sorts of things. It has also taught me a great deal about knowing and handling my risk appetite, not only in biking but in other dimensions of life
Word of advice to aspiring female riders as well as your general biking mantra
You can do anything you set your mind to. Be brave. Take action. Dare to Dream. Pray everyday. Thank God for everything. Not forgetting, take God with you everywhere you go.
Any special activity you’ll be undertaking in celebration of International Female Riders Day on 5 May?
I will be riding together with my biking family at Inked Sisterhood to Naivasha and back. This is a wonderful day to all Female Riders across the Globe. We are celebrating “US”