Leaving For Kampala

As I write this, am packing and unpacking and repacking. I’ve sat on the suitcase and finally managed to have it closed. Now I have to figure how the rest of my stuff is going to fit into other two small bags. The situation looks hopeless. To get away from this depressing mood, I’m thinking of motorcycles. My current wallpaper (desktop background) is a picture of the kind of bikes used at the 30th edition of the Dakar Rally. [Google it.]


The bike used in the Dakar rally, super cool, eh?

The bike used in the Dakar rally, super cool, eh?

On my list of things I want to achieve this year: Learn how to ride a motorbike. Check. Learn French, next target. When I get back to Nairobi, I’m applying for a motorbike license. Some are still asking me, why a bike?

I’ve been trying to explain how I’m trying to be unique. Graduation may not be for another three months, but when it finally arrives, most of my fellow graduands will be arriving for the rehearsal ceremony in borrowed/begged/rented/stolen cars to impress. I, on the other hand, will be on a motorcycle, which is way cooler and more impressive not to mention different.

Nonetheless, my motorcycle lessons were interesting. To start with, there was no theory and even if there was, I don’t think I would have understood much of my teacher’s Congolese Kiswahili. So here are the parts of the motorcycle as I understand them:

Umbriage: (I hope I have spelled it correctly, that is how it is pronounced): I suppose this is the clutch. Located on the left handlebar, you have to hold it when shifting gears and release it so you can shoot forward. Which is what I’ve been doing when I’m starting up the bike. You’re supposed to release the clutch slowly so you can leave smoothly but I usually let go so fast, the bike almost leaves me behind. Takes practice though and am almost getting the hang of it.

The Tia Moto Thing: Usually on the right handlebar, it’s the part that gives you power so you can accelerate. The vroom vroom part just before you leave. Accelerators on bikes have a different name though, am sure. Too lazy to google. It’s easily my favorite part of the bike. Vroom vroom!

Honi: the horn. At first I was honking all the time, because most people you find on the road don’t move out of the way. No matter how much you honk. So I’ve learned to just honk a little warning so they don’t make any sudden movements and then I’m the one who moves out of their way!

The brake: I find it easier to stop by stepping on the break instead of down-shifting until you stop, though stepping on the break shuts down the bike so you have to kick-start it into life again.
The lights of the bike I was using to learn were not working so I was just shown theoretically using my imagination. I have to remember to use the left side of the road in Kenya because in Rwanda they drive on the right.

I don’t know many other parts of the motorbike but I suppose that’s what mechanics are for, no? But… that’s what the internet is there for. Or is there a good book on motorbikes that anyone can recommend?

The day I was able to ride on my own, turning corners, starting and stopping, was my best day of learning. There was no teacher behind me, just me and the bike. Sometimes they’d shout instructions when am passing by: shift gears, sit properly (they want me to sit relaxed but I’m usually too tense, leaning forward wanting to be one with the bike.)

I overpaid for the lessons, I was supposed to have 17 hours in total, one hour daily. These guys came late and left early and missed some days, and we hopelessly tried to make up for the lost lessons. Then they told me that when I’m leaving, I should leave them a present. They gave me an example of someone they had taught who bought one of them a brand new mobile phone. Ha!

In the end though, it was totally worth it.

P.S. Tonight, I’m taking the bus to Kampala. Time to say hi to some friends over there before coming back to Nairobi.

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12 Responses to Leaving For Kampala

  1. Ben says:

    The tia moto thing? Really sweetie? #Unatuaibisha 🙂 But have a safe journey back….btw umeshinda, two months and you made typhoons like that…I would sell your kidney to have your CV right now

    Time to revamp my CV, include the first class and the presidential meeting somewhere… I figured out it’s called the throttle.


  2. Bomseh says:

    Good to see you are learning good interesting stuff. Keep blogging.

    I always try to learn something new all the time


  3. Kbaab says:

    Riding a bike! *shudders* I would never want to learn how to do it unless my life depended on it. I have a massive phobia of falling and bruising my knees. *don’t ask*. But good on you babes, I think chic riders look sexy on their bikes. #NoHomo. 🙂

    Safe trip.

    Something about the thrill of riding high-speed but in the open, almost like flying! Thanks.


  4. cesky cess says:

    I agree with Kbaab; it’s sexy. I’m scared of bikes though. I happen to live in Milimani (Rich estate) so no mats, but i’d rather use a tuk tuk, take a cab or just walk to town than use the bike. Do I need to tell u that walking usually wins in most cases?


    You don’t have to insist that Milimani is a Rich estate, it isn’t! 🙂 but at least it has clean paved roads so walking is not a problem… I’d love to use a motorbike in such a neighbourhood. I don’t like traffic if am on a motorbike.

    And Word refused graduands. Let me edit that.


  5. cesky cess says:

    Rich estate I insist! 🙂


  6. tonymalesi says:

    interesting …lol they told you to leave them a present?it shouldn’t be that way..but now that you learnt alot maybe just sent them something small.


  7. jacquendinda says:

    I hope you are going to dress in those leather pants and jacket? , you know, complete outfit and all?

    of course. I’ve been shopping!


  8. Anonymous says:

    I would love to learn how to drive a motorcycle too. But then I’m afraid; afraid that I might end up having some scratches and wound just like my cousin. His very first time riding a motorcycle was his worst experience in his entire life, as how he used to describe it. Even when I ride motorcycles, I always pray that nothing wrong would happen and that I would get home safe and sound. Hopefully things would work out well with you.


  9. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations for learning how to drive! Don’t ever forget to wear a helmet. It’s a very helpful gear against head injuries. I used to drive a motorcycle before but I stopped because the city police warned that motorcycle accidents have been at the top list of major accidents these days. One can never be too careful. Godspeed!


  10. Sean Franco says:

    I am trying to learn French, too! And getting a motorbike license is such a cool idea. 🙂


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