One important thing I did not give much thought to, and no one mentioned to me before I started cycle-commuting, is the hills of Nairobi. I am talking the areas of Nairobi within a 5-10 kilometre radius of Nairobi Central Business District, which form part of my daily commute. As a motorist you hardly notice the inclines, as a pedestrian working in CBD Nairobi, at the end of a long work day, it’s the first of arduous tasks before you can lay your tired head down.
I took Valley Road numerous times when going to school as a child; often down-hill very fast as my dad drove like mad when we missed the JIMCY school bus, or uphill onto Valley Road in the old JIMCY school bus from Uhuru Highway.
Valley Road’s steep gradient is best experienced on a bike; the painful uphill and the gleeful downhill, hugging the curb along the white line WEEEEEEEEEEE!!! Cars and 24 or 62-seater buses zip past at crazy speeds, even on the curve at the Milimani Road Junction. Watch out for the deeply set random manholes on Valley Road!!
Something about this road says ROAD RESERVE STOLEN!!! The walls and gates are flash right against the road you wonder how those who live or work in those compounds access safely, especially on the descent side of the road, and more so at night.
So, when my pal who is recovering from surgery and cannot wait to ride again told me she is excited to be getting a single speed Dutch bike brought in to commute in Nairobi, I quickly burst her bubble by counting out the climbs in Nairobi. Dutch country is mainly flat, so single speed riding is a breeze. Not so in Nairobi, you just need to check out the Black Mamba riders pushing their fixed gear bikes uphill even in sections that look flattish to get what I mean.
This last picture was the scene that was nearly the death of me in Live To Die Another Day.
Happy Cycling in Nairobi and beyond! ❤ Nairobi! ❤ Cycling!