parallax background

The Chronicles of Ubuntu Ride 2022

The untold story of big bikes
26 January 2022
Benelli TRK502 in Elba Island, Italy
1 February 2022

By Dumsane Teddy

How it started

Talk about an adventure of a life time…6:00am Sunday morning and the alarm goes off. Meet up point for my local NK is Quickmart Rongai at 6:30am. My body is not cooperating. Still feeling tired from a weekend of poor sleep and arrival from Busia the previous night. I pull myself into the shower and get ready regardless. It takes me longer than normal. At 7:30 I am ready to leave, geared up and travelling light. Off I go to Shell Sabaki, the meeting point for the larger Ubuntu ride as my local party had already left. I arrive a few minutes past 8 and it’s a wash with 2-wheel sweetness. Bikes of all shapes and sizes represented, the biking community in full display…not to forget the pillions😉.

The Rebels Assemble

We set off to Machakos Peoples Park for breakfast where another display of the growing biking community is on display. As we have breakfast with Dan, Mutua, David and Jose we hatch a plan to do an adjusted route. I loop House into the plan and he obliges. The route will lead us from Machakos - Wote – Makindu – Emali – and back to Nairobi, at least that is the plan, lakini ya mungu ni mengi!

The Twisties

So the real Ubuntu adventure category begins (don’t argue with me). Joining the party is Dan-Gs 800, Suzuki Gixxer 155-Jose, Honda 125-David, Yamaha FZ-06-Mutua, Benelli 300-House & I on a 302S. We set off enjoying the open roads after Machakos town hitting speeds that were largely firsts for me (chezeni chini). We head down to Wote for a brief stop over then proceed to Makindu (the loose chippings on this road should be dealt with). From Makindu we join Mombasa road and head to Emali for our pre ordered lunch. By this time, it’s a little past 2pm and we chill reminiscing about our previous experiences. The food is quite delectable, lakini thufu missing. We dig in none the less. Having been ordered by a man, mboga was MIA as well courtesy of Mutua so we substituted it with some teargas. We debate about the route back and opt to take the back route through Mashuru and onward to Isinya – Kiserian.

Long Treacherous Stretch Home

At around 4:30pm we leave and that’s where our projected 2 hour or so journey would turn into a 9hr character development course. 17 clicks in, David suffers a puncture but is unable to get us to stop. Screaming down the stretch, we stop some 8clicks down the road for some selfies and watch some giraffes majestically trotting the African Savannah. We call to check up on him and turn back on learning of his predicament. I go ahead and keep him company as the rest get a repair guy at Duka Moja and pillion him to the site. A few minutes, 2 sealed punctures and a few selfies later, we set off.

It’s now almost 6pm.The open road is calling, with very little traffic but with lots of animals crossing so be on the lookout if you choose to use this route. The throttles are almost maxed as the trip picks up pace. At Mashuru we encounter yet another hurdle, The GS loses power and comes to a halt. Seconds later it comes on again and we set off. 2 short kms later, it begins to overheat and Dan parks on the side. On examining the bike, it had enough water so House checks the fan which despite his best efforts comes up short. It’s now going to 7pm and on the road we go but again, we only manage a few kms before it heats up again. We stop and decide to tow the bike to the next town for storage. At this point, David and Jose had gone ahead. It is now a little past seven and extremely dark as there were no lights anywhere close other than our headlights. House and Dan get on a bike and find the nearest homestead where with the help of Dan’s rudimentary Maasai, they are able to secure a rope at a fee.

Once back, the bike has seemingly cooled so House decides to ride it a little further to reduce the distance. It won’t start. He goes,” mteremko iko side gani, skumeni tushtue!” We push the bike downhill for a while but with no success, at this point I strap my helmet onto the bike since I was burning up from all the pushing. I give it one last try and it comes on. Typical House, just turns and sets off with my helmet. “Helmet yangu House”, I shout but with no success. I rarely ride without a helmet (extremely sensitive eyes and nose). At this point I feel like my heart is about to beat right out of my chest (fitness is important, wah!). I walk back up the hill to my bike. Armed with only a balaclava, I set off with the rest following. A Km or less down the road, the bike is on the side again.. Ghafla bin vuu, hapa ndio basic math ikageuka titration🙆. Dan is now visibly stressed lamenting, “Hii place nikiwacha bike, nitaipataje kesho nikirudi”. We decide to have House’s Benelli 300 tug the GS and have Dan pillion our only pillion on my bike since only House and I had previous experience towing. Off we go. The things going through my head hapa, wacha tu. Chui ikiruka saa hii hapa being on a dead bike with zero accelerating ability, nitafanyaje? Simba iko kwa zone hapa na ikam na njaa ya wiki moja, nitatoboa kweli? But si mwanaume ni kujikaza!

Gradually we increase speed and do a healthy 60kph or so. A biker from Kitengela also joins the party and says he can have us park the bike safely at the Hospital premises in Imaroro Centre. On arrival, we decide to check the fuses on the GS which we hadn’t done before.

At this time, David and Jose join us. David had another puncture and they had to change the tube. David offers fuses which House replaces, but still no luck. “Uko sawa tuendelee”, goes House. We continue towing. With the bumps and declines on the route, communication was key. When to slow, how slow to slow and so on so as not to bump into him as the rope was quite short. 50 or so kms later, we arrive at the junction to Isinya. Short break and off we go and things get interesting, the route now has more traffic and trailers. After 2 trailers pass really close to us, House decides to pick up the pace. Towing at 100kph as I sing gospel songs in my head. Having little to no control, I just focus on staying on the bike and on the tarmac. Thankfully we get to Isinya town safely. We decide to get some refreshments, charge our phones and refuel the bikes.

By this time Mutua and the other biker had proceeded towards Kitengela. We debated the route from Kiserian to the Rimpa junction. Would the Benelli 300 be able to haul the GS up the steep incline? House roho juu, “twendee tutapanda”. Who am I to refuse. 2Kms from the junction, our first towing hurdle. The rope snaps. We have to stop and tie it back again making the rope even shorter. Now there are barely 2 feet between the 2 tyres. On reaching the junction, we took the right down to the town and there after picked up a bit of pace down to the shallow bridge and began our ascent. The bike held its own and shortly we were over the hill. As we descended down toward Rimpa, a Probox guy flew past us like a hawk trying to snatch a drumstick. I was convinced we needed to get off that road and used the back route through SGR Station and onwards to Olekasasi never mind it being half unpaved.

Home Stretch

Dan now leads the way to his place taking us on a route with so many corners up and down through buildings to the point I wasn’t sure how we would go back out of the maze. A trench on the road sends the Benelli down to the ground. Luckily damage is minimal only the left crash bobbin bends slightly. David and Joe help lift the bike and we continue. Finally, at a few minutes past 1am, we arrive at Dan’s place. 6hours after our intended arrival time. This bunch of crazy, 120km bike towing Ninjas finally made good on the promise to get the job done. We bid Dan goodbye and we set off again to our respective destinations. I arrive home with the appetite of a Nyangumi. Alas, there is left over Shawarma and some saucy chicken which I dig in to my satisfaction. Thereafter with gritty eyes, I turn in.

At dawn, I’m still tired and decide to pull a Koala during winter move. The only thing that doesn’t ache is my hair. But at least I have breath.

This is how we embodied the spirit of Ubuntu!!!!

I Salute to all you ninjas of the day.

Can’t wait to see what the rest of this year has to offer.

PS: If you have an incapacitated bike but you still want to go on that random, tupigie simu lakini ukuje na kamba yako. Hatushindwingi!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *