I’d always contemplated the term freedom in my head. Everyone has their own interpretation, for some it is having abundant finances, others it is time but for me it is would be the adrenaline of learning something new, a new sport, filled with speed and agility and reflexes. For me, my freedom is riding on a motorcycle.
Yes, you read me right, riding is my freedom.
For quite a while now I’m sure you’ve all come to the realization that I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie (as did my friends when I suggested a trip to Dubai while including an activity to sky dive from the top of the tallest building on earth, the Burj Khalifa – they called me a nut case and refused the deal). Well, only second to that would be the high you get from riding on a motorcycle.
It all started about two years ago when I started watching Moto GP and luckily a year after that I meet a few fellows on a short trip out of town. They had sport bikes, the fast kind, I’m talking 600cc and over; they looked fast just standing there. In my life i had never seen anything as beautiful up close; from their mean looking headlights to their sleek curved running lines with sharp edges and humongous bold rounded tires, they simply looked breath taking.
I once heard someone say, “You haven’t really fallen in love until you’ve ridden on a motorcycle that’s screaming at its red line blasting unimaginable speeds in mere seconds.”
So I chatted up the group with millions of curious questions until they finally asked me to join them for a while as we had some quick bites. They satisfied my hunger with unending stories of speed and conquer and explanations of death defying circumstances. The whole time we’ve chatted I’ve had a grin stuck on my face as a little boy would when hearing a turbo charged Subaru revving its engine for the first time.
I was blown away!
From the leather riding gear to the hard shelled riding boots to the customizations on their helmets (like little red bull horns to accentuate the riders personality); I loved everything about the lifestyle.
As the evening came and the conversations came to an end, one of the bikers (I’ll call her Bee, why? – because she was swift, agile and rode a 750cc that stung like a bee on gear shifts) offered me a ride back to Nairobi I could not help but grin to my ears, I said yes and this kicked off the most amazing experience of my life.
Outside the cafe as the others charted a route, Bee offered me a spare helmet and an extra set of ear plugs and gloves she had with her; like she knew she was going to meet me on her trip when she left her house that morning.
The moment of reckoning came as she turned on her beast and least to say it was nothing like what I’d imagined it from watching Moto GP; it was roaring, loud, commanded a presence, terrifying yet exciting. I was bubbling up inside with excitement mixed with fear, it was the best kind of feeling. I sank down to the exhaust just to hear the revving clearly, Bee giggled at my naivety. She checked on my helmet making sure it’s nice and secure and gave it a slight tap on the left side making a faint beeping sound for a second. I shrugged it off.
Before I sat on the passenger’s seat, she explained to me some safety guidelines on riding; I was ready for anything, I was there, in the moment, it was happening, to none other than me. It was a feeling I couldn’t really explain it to you even if there were words.
I hopped onto the bike and as it started to move I began to feel my blood boil. My body was hot and so was the bike, and the girl and the atmosphere. At first she rode at a steady pace doing 85-90kmh for the first twenty minutes or so, just to ease me into it. That was until I heard a faint voice in my helmet saying, “Alright people, let’s kick it up a notch on my count.” I asked who or what was that (looking around). I was kindly greeted with light hearted chuckles and a voice that said, “Sorry sport, we forgot to tell you about the Comms (communications system) in the helmet, hope we didn’t freak you out. This is (I’ll call him Jake). Now hold on tight and enjoy the ride.”
Bee reached out to me over the Comms and asked whether I remembered about the safety guidelines and the aggressive riding positions, I responded yes. Thus, began the most incredible chase I’ve ever experienced. They blasted off one by one in formation with us being the last of the tail and I swear to you it looked like a scene from Moto GP; we were Rossi chasing down the nemesis Lorenzo and Marqeuz. Believe me, Bee was that good. Dodging traffic and sometimes blasting through the bigger bikes (1000cc) leaving them in nothing but dust. For a moment there I was the happiest man in the entire world.
The leans of the bikes in the corners as the riders in front of us dragged a knee; the speeds of doing 270kmh in straight road slingshots, the winds that blasted all around us but somehow managed a gentle breeze in my helmet to keep me from sweating up; the sunsets at different locations; it was a spectacle; a marvel to behold. I kept commenting on every little scenery and skill of the riders. I’ve never been so ridiculously high on life. At that moment I knew, THIS WAS WHERE I WAS MEANT TO BE, out on the road conquering the twists and turns.
At the end of it all only one conclusion came to my mind, it’s not the bikes that enthralled me as such but the bonds the lifestyle formed amongst the bikers. That’s what I wanted to be a part of, the community. I was a rider from that day on, even if I didn’t have a bike, I was a rider at heart and there was no going back.
Car owners, aside from car enthusiasts, usually talk about freedom and convenience, but how frequent are they out on the road for a drive, not for anything else but for pure enjoyment?! Rarely! For car owners, the dreams don’t turn out as glamorous as it’s cut out to be, but not for the bikers, they know what the real deal is; the speed and the convenience; the voices that call to you to ride in the middle of a business presentation, the never ending joy of discovering your bikes limits and capabilities; the freedom and power it hands you.
It’s really quite something. Then again, freedom is a different poison for each of us.
I can only hope to someday share this passion for riding with some of you readers out there; on the road with the blazing winds answering to the calls of glory.
Until next time my fellow riders and readers, may God keep you safe on your travels. Cheers.