Live to Die Another Day

7 Feb

I love entering Valley Road from Community hill alongside the NSSF building. There is a nice rush when the traffic is let through and you hurtle down onto Valley Road, no peddling. This morning it went well until an MOA Compliant bus (Grrr)  decided to suddenly change lanes as we entered the GPO roundabout. The curb is rather high at the traffic lights so there was no way for me to escape onto the pavement.

I stiffened my arms to keep the handle bars and steering stable and gripped the bars tight and stared at the front wheel, willing it to stay straight. The side of the bus was a mere fifteen centimetres away, and if the bus had touched my pedal I would have fallen to my left and gone under the rear wheels. The temptation to remove my feet from the pedals as I slowed down was intense.

With my heart thudding in my throat I navigated the roundabout and concentrated on getting past the bus stop before the convoy of City Hoppers, Kenya Buses and a Double M onto Kenyatta Avenue. At the Kimathi Street-Kenyatta Avenue traffic light stop I pulled up next to a City Hopper near the traffic light island, I was planning to push the bike across with the pedestrians and find a spot to recover from the near-death miss. The City Hopper bus driver leaned out to look at me.

“Madam, huogopi kufa?” (“Are you not afraid to die?”).

I put on my bravest mug and shrugged, my heart having dropped back into my chest.

“Kweli ukona roho…lakini usitamani sana kuendesha baiskeli city centere.” (“I have to hand it to you, you’ve got heart…but don’t take too much delight in cycling in the city centre.”)

He has a good point.

The streets in the Central Business District are way too narrow to accommodate a cyclist on the left. It’s best to take the lane like other vehicles, or simply park your bike and walk.

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3 Responses to “Live to Die Another Day”

  1. Celeste Wamiru February 13, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    What an experience!! i could actually feel the tension and anxiety as i read!! I agree with the City hoppa guy, uko na roho!! Bravo for doing this, its awesome, a breath of fresh air!

    • shecyclesnairobi February 14, 2012 at 6:53 am #

      Hi Celeste!

      Glad you enjoyed that. There are other female cyclists in Nairobi. I have met two so far and heard of another who cycles into CBD from Eastlands (that is a rough route) especially as you enter the end of Jogoo Road into Landhies Road towards Haile Selassie. I hope you get inspired too. 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. TheNBOHills: ValleyRoad « shecyclesnairobi - August 29, 2012

    […] This last picture was the scene that was nearly the death of me in Live To Die Another Day. […]

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