I roll out of sleep in the morning and, with one eye open, I ask myself: “Is today a good day to ride?”
Do ducks swim?
I thumb my phone and open Google Maps… Where can I go today? After a while I agree with myself, “Yup! That sounds good!” The plan is to do a loop around the Aberdare Range: Nairobi – Nakuru – Nyahururu – Nyeri – Makutano – Nairobi.
At about 8 am I’m ready to leave. The weather laughs at me, it starts raining. I’m tempted to go back indoors and snuggle up with a hot cup of tea and continue bingeing on “The Real Hustle” series… I hit the start button and thread my way out through the rain, a smile on my face.
I get rained on most of the way to Nakuru, but thanks to my gear, I remain bone dry. As I enter Nakuru, my hands are freezing. I’m also a bit weary because of being buffeted by strong side winds. I stop at the first restaurant I see and order tea and chapo. The tea is ok. The chapo is the most horrible I have had in a while. I chomp all of it down, refuel, and hit the Nakuru – Nyahururu road.
The road is scenic. The rain has eased. It’s warmer. It’s an awesome ride. I stop at the view point to admire the Rift Valley. An elderly man carrying some soap stone plaques approaches me. He gives me the usual tourist run down: The Rift Valley runs from Israel to Mozambique, and it’s nine thousand and blah blah blah kilometres, etc etc. He points beyond some mountains and tells me the shimmering I see is Lake Baringo. He points down into the valley at a house with a black roof and tells me he lives somewhere near it.
I start taking some photos. He offers to take some and I hand him the camera. He tells me he used to be a photographer, but those days cameras used large bulbs for the flash.
I ask if I can take a photo of him. He says “Okay, let me sit here and pretend I’m carving something.” Now I believe he used to be a photographer. His name is Kamotho. I promise him that if I ever pass this way again I will print and bring the photo with me.
As I leave Nyahururu town heading towards Nyeri, something on the side of the road catches my eye. I make a U-turn, get off the road and stop at a small shed with bodaboda riders around it. This is what caught my attention:
The owner comes around. The other riders are cheering him, because someone with a big bike made a U-turn to come look at his bike. I ask him if it actually works. He puts the bike into neutral, starts it and plugs something somewhere. Yes, it works!…