Our second feature in the photo series Women and Motorcycles delves into the riding world of Nyambura. If you read the first feature about Peanut, you definitely spotted her in her fierce Kawasaki. Nyambura strikes you as a fearless assertive woman. Inside her free spirited soul is also a curious , cheeky and stubborn lady. She is inspired by the dusty, muddy fresh-aired outdoors. Aside from riding, she is passionate about music, art and loves the company of those who have a wild love for life. Her riding story is one that will inspire you.
When did you start riding and what motivated you to take up riding ?
I began riding in 2016. My love for adventure, fun and freedom thrust me into the riding world. The feeling of getting into the open highways, going to places I have never been, and sometimes getting lost while at it is something that makes me want to take my bike with me always. Riding brings to me fulfillment. I would never trade this. It’s a way of life for me as I also get to meet new people with the same free spirit.
Did you have to go through formal training? How was the training experience ?
I started learning how to ride through adhoc training in the backwoods of Kajiado County. One of my farm employees coached me on a Yamaha 125cc in the open savannah lands. I loved it because the place was free of traffic, with only Masai cattle herds and occasional gazelles and wildebeests. However, I had to later sign up for formal classes at InkedBiker Rider Training in Nairobi so that I would gain proper knowledge and experience when it comes to handling a motorcycle. This also helped me build my confidence when it comes to riding in intense traffic situations such as those in the city. My riding instructor, Mica (DJ Mitch) was remarkable. He trained me to ride a motorcycle as a life lesson.
Is riding part of your daily commute or more of a recreational activity?
Riding is a recreational activity for me. This is because I require a four wheel automotive to go about my daily engagements
How has it been for you as a female rider?
I am having a really wonderful experience learning and growing my riding skills. I cannot quite pinpoint a specific challenge because I am a female rider. Any challenge that comes my way is viewed from a personal perspective and not in reference to me being female.
I recall having fear when joining a main highway. This was one of my greatest challenges. The driving culture in Nairobi particularly is a force to reckon with. I really felt exposed on two wheels in as much as I was fully armored with proper riding gear. But I knew I had to face this fear head-on. This is when I realized sweating profusely was not just an idiomatic term (grins)
My mother was also quite apprehensive when it came to riding. Like most loving mothers, she viewed motorcycle riding as a dangerous activity for ladies.
All in all, I’m lucky to have had a strong support system from the biking community. They are a phenomenal bunch of people and they have really helped me grow through their constant encouragement and mentorship. Mentors are really helpful when it comes to practice, protection and fun, all this bundled up with the love for riding motorcycles. I always find myself wishing I had taken up riding way earlier.
What’s your first/current and dream Bike and what did/do you love most about those bikes
My first bike was an RTR Apache 180 cc. I really loved the fact that it’s previous owner had it modified with a loud exhaust. I was in love with that bike but had to sell it. My current bikes are the Yamaha 125 cc (training bike) and the Kawasaki 1000 cc named “Blaze”. This one is a true beauty. Here is what I would say about my dream bikes: ” I would ride each of them for a season if I can.”
Share a notable/ memorable experience you’ve had or undertaken with your bike or generally as a female rider
It was a Sunday evening and a group of us were riding back to the city from a day trip to Nyahururu. When approaching Uthiru along Waiyaki Way, we got caught up in a snarl up around 7:30pm due to an accident on the highway. One of the guys in the riding cohort motioned me to start lane splitting between cars. While at it a driver from one of the cars rolls down his window and calls out, ” Sasa Brathe”. I lifted my helmet visor and shrieked back, “I am not your brother” only to notice the children in his car cracking up with laughter. That was a memorable light moment!
How has biking impacted your lifestyle / life
The confidence boost I got from overcoming my fear on the road has enabled me overcome a lot of fears in other areas in my life. Being a rider, I’ve become a lot more sensitive on the road when driving a car. I am very conscious about other road users, particularly riders. I also have a great sense of awareness especially because one must always be on high alert as a rider.
Word of advice to aspiring female riders as well as your general biking mantra
Be you, Do you. No apologies!
Nyambura and Peanut together with other three amazing ladies will be riding to Mombasa from Nairobi to commemorate the International Female Riders Day in May 5, 2018. We wish them safety and the very best of memories and experiences