Tag Archives: Kenya

High-Tech Bags: Motorcycle Luggage Buyers Guide

High-Tech Bags: Motorcycle Luggage Buyers Guide | Rider Magazine. Very thorough run down on the luggage options for your bike. As kit technology improves our options the choices we have to make become more complex. So, amongst all this don’t forget the basics, weight up front is good; it balances the suspension and improves handling. Ted Simon knew this and had a great pair of cowhide tank panniers made in Nairobi – way back in the seventies on his first trip.

Nairobi Couriers

These guys are doing it right!

Metal top box with lock and side inserts. Nice pink lid.

Small glass fibre box. Lighter but less room.

Big bespoke box. Lots of room.

Front racks. These are really useful. Not seen so much in the US or Europe but really handy. Austin Vince from Mondo Enduro was a big fan.

Nairobi Traffic – still dangerous

This happened in front of me last night. The car was pulled over ahead of a culvert to let a very heavy truck pass by on a narrow road at night.

The truck glanced the front wing of the car and then, weirdly, instead of stopping just kept driving. He mangled the whole side of the car in the picture and then smashed into us as well. Luckily we were in a 4 x 4 this time.

A Kenyan policeman, with an AK 47, happened to be nearby. As the truck continued to move off after the crush he ran up the road after it, made his weapon ready and then dragged the driver out of his cab. Great work and better reactions than a policeman at home!

The driver admitted it was his fault and added that it was his first day on the job. This wasn’t enough to sort the situation out and he will be lucky to keep his job! The driver of the car was a Doctor and very upset. He threatened to sue for attempted murder, adding to the tension. As he said, “you don’t do that if you are a normal human”!

A reminder of the unpredictability of the roads here. Ride safe guys.

‘Tumaini’ – KiSwahili for ‘Hope’

If you look at the side of the blue truck container you can see the word ‘TUMAINI’ which in KiSwahili, the lingua franca of East Africa, means ‘Hope’. So who wrote it on a normal commercial truck and why?

Well, it’s a mix of the amazing African characteristics of positivity and optimism, partly a blend of religious metaphors of salvation and also a symbol of the daily struggle most face here.

Now have a look in the shadow of the truck between the wheel axles. Sitting quietly in the shade is the truck driver. He’s just getting on with fixing something in the cool at the hottest point of the day. He hopes to get it fixed. He hopes to get back on the road soon. He is Africa.

East African destination ideas

This is Mombasa harbour in the morning sun. It’s low tide and the locals come down to the beaches and swim, run and exercise. In the day they get a ‘boda boda’ taxi into to town for work or to see their mates. These are Chinese copies of CG125s; the local bike industry is increasingly dominated by Asian imports. They seem fine so far.

As destinations go Mombasa is a good one to finish at or, equally, a good waypoint. There’s an international port to ship your bike if required (enquire with Seaforth Shipping locally) and an international airport.

If you ride in or out then the road north will head through Nairobi’s urban jungle to the dry plains of Northern Kenya and then up through Ethiopia. Challenging riding with off road tracks, difficult navigation and limited fuel stops.

If you ride south then it’s black top highway into Tanzania and on. Perfect African riding.