|Posted on August 30, 2016 at 6:55 PM|
Over the past few years, more and more women in Africa, Rather lets zero in to Kenya, have started riding their own motorbikes rather than “pillion”. They’re doing it as a hobby and usually to prove a point; whether that’s around solo travel, strength, ability or simply to fulfill a long held dream.
Meet Grace Mwari who helps me to burst the myth of feminine fragility- and of female dependence on a men for mobility and protection -and how biking provides women with independence.
Grace Mwari’s life is surrounded by motorbikes, extreme sports and lots of travel. She rides a Kibo which is her office bike and works at Kibo- whose first solution is its flagship K150 motorcycle. Designed in Holland, made in Kenya and built for Africa, it is proudly the first purpose-built motorbike. She also rides a KTM Duke 200 and uses it for long adventure trips. Occasionally she rides a KTM EXC-F 250 off-roading rides and enduro races and been riding since April 2014.
What does being behind a two wheel bring out in you as an individual?
“It brings out humanity and gratitude. On two wheels I have met the most beautiful souls. People in off grid villages who have very little but so much to give. Poor kids without shoes or clothing but can afford to infect you with a smile. I love to spend time and chat with these people whenever I ride solo” There is so much about life to learn from them. I hardly take pictures because it’s not funny. They deserve better than just to be displayed on photographs. I feel bad when tourists just pose with them instead of helping them. Passing some knowledge is a way of helping too. It’s the least you can do. My favorite was the Tibetan family that took care of me after an accident on the Himalayas. They made me Tibetan butter tea (po cha), rubbed my freezing feet and hands and shared their home with me and my friends. I feel gratitude for what mother nature holds and its mainly felt when I ride through mountains, rivers, bush and lakes. The joy is too much I can’t explain. I am in love with the wild.
What they all if not majority, can agree on is that, getting behind two wheels, brings the sort of confidence and power that many women can still only dream about and the trend is fast catching on.
There is a sudden growth in women biking, what’s your take?
The sudden growth in number of women taking up this activity – one traditionally associated with macho men – is a direct result of progress and some sort of empowerment.
It’s awesome. It means women are not afraid anymore to express themselves and do what makes them happy. I feel very good about it. Girl Power!
Does Riding require any extra muscle or testosterone power?
Riding a bike does not require any extra muscle or testosterone power to which Grace agrees with me. “Especially for a lady all you need is to be physically fit and have a positive mind” Though some ladies have found the courage to follow their passion, most interested in biking and sooner or later drop the idea.
Social causes that impact women and girls in the country through the biking club?
The female riders are acutely aware of the privileges that allow them take the wheel and feel the wind in their hair. It’s why most are also active in the social causes that impact women and girls in the country which is why Grace and A few members of Dirt Masters support a community based organization in Mau Narok. That is run by 3 Masai women who rescue runaway girls from FGM. They also move from one village to another to educate the community on matters regarding FGM, HIV, self-hygiene and early marriages. The women are now using motorcycles to commute between villages in their day to day activities.
A woman on a bike is the best thing to happen for women’s empowerment. Because even one woman on the road can inspire many others – and the chain reaction will lead to liberation.
Never start your motorcycle without safety gear on. The best lesson for a rider is self-control and it must be embraced.