A community of female commuter cyclists, navigating Nairobi on sheer wheel-power.
See, it’s not so bad.
Hi there. I’m a female cyclist myself, although I’ve been falling behind more and more of late during long rides because my knees are now completely overdue for surgery. But that said, I do enjoy the sport and hope to connect with you and your group soon. My friend organises the Watamu Triathlon (22nd April this year). In case you and your friends can join, it would be nice to get to know you there. Otherwise, I’d appreciate it if you can provide an email I can write to. I’m particularly interested in your regular weekend schedules.
Thanks and cheers.
Sad about your knees. What happened to you? You should consider swimming for your rehab after surgery. Cycling may be more damaging. I have a cycle group on Sundays and Saturdays. Sometimes the whole team of 8-10 peeps shows, sometimes only three and other times just Shariff goes on his own.
Incidentally, I have a Triathlon sprint relay team preparing for the Watamu Triathlon. I have information from Aida Rajab about registration accommodation. etc. Drop me an e-mail and we can chat some more and plan to meet up.
Hey,am looking for a cycling team/buddies who meet on Saturday.I live on Ngong rd near Nakumatt Prestige.Benard (Benard Muinde on Facebook)
Join North Nairobi Cycling Club on Facebook for Sunday and weekend rides. Also check out Kenya_mtb Yahoo group.
Hi, i didnt know how else to get in touch 🙂 we met last week at the partnership forum, could you please drop me an email, thanks!
Hi. What is your e-mails address firstname.lastname@example.org
Ghost from the past. I lived in Nairobi as a boy from age 13 to age 19, 1968 to 1974, when my father was posted there with the US government. It was in Nairobi that I began to expand my cycling routes from the neighborhood to longer rides, and I remember the area with great fondness.
We lived about 7 miles from the northern edge of the city, a distance I scrupulously clocked with my mechanical odomoter, the kind with the little striker clamped to a spoke hitting a star wheel on the recording device. Best time about 17 minutes inbound with Muthaiga Mini Market about the halfway point; return circa 21 minutes as it was largely uphill. Bikes, variously, home-built (first of many, 1970, age 15) using Indian roadster frame with flip flop Czecho 700c rear, 15 t fw, and 24″ Westwood front; no brakes ’cause none would fit (I wore a 1/2″ deep groove laterally across the sole of my right Converse Allstar from jamming it against the tire to slow down.
Later bikes included my next project, a ’60s Varsity reconfigured with Benelux pull chain rd pulling a 1/8 chain over the 16/18 sprockets tack welded to the Sturmey Archer 3 speed AW hub, and my first real “10 speed”, a half stepped Raleigh Sprite. I rode these all over the countryside, with many memorable trips up to Limuru or out on the Rift Valley road back to the airport and home through Muthaiga.
Most of my riding was on the old Limuru Road betwee Rosslyn and downtown; I well remember the potholes, the “country” buses racing side-by-side around blind corners, and the flocks of early morning cyclists coasting downhill, keeping to the middle of the lane to avoid the potholes. Climbing, I’d often be stuck in the black exhaust cloud of a battered bus or truck as I mashed up the hills in the big ring (only wimps used the small one). In high school I daily rode the 7 miles direct to the then-named Nairobi International School, then after school raced the school bus to its stop at Westlands shopping center (long before any mall), later proceeding down Kenyatta Avenue, through town, up through Muthaiga, and home — some 15-20 miles, IIRC.
I was very fortunate to have lived in Nairobi during that period, probably — from what I read — the country’s halcyon period.
I expect that with 6 times the population and decades of politicians’ grift, riding is not nearly as pleasant as it was 40+ years ago — I remember being the enchanted solitary rider up the new Limuru road after it was put in just north of Rosslyn in the very early 1970s — miles of rolling, smooth blacktop with just the occasional motor vehicle and no other cyclist whatsoever. But of course, back then, you could not find anything except Indian rod brake roadsters ane the very occasional cheap Indian single speed knockof of the Raleigh Sport.
Back in the US, for the last 25 years in Albuquerque, NM, I recall Nairobi’s sapphire skies and cotton clouds; we too are at 5,000+ feet with similar skies and clouds.
I’d be interested to hear about riding conditions in modern Nairobi and environs.
2X custom Rivendell fixed gear road bikes
1X Rivendell Rambouillet 2X7
1X immediately pre-suspension Fargo, 2X9
Wow! Sounds like you lived in Nairobi before it really became Nairobi. would you be able to share images of your route back then?
Sorry, no photos — I wish I had some myself.
I hear that the coffee that used to extend for miles from just north of Muthaiga past Rosslyn is now all gone; is that right? We lived in a big, pink stone house with the driveway at the crest of the hill just before the turnoff to Rosslyn Academy. The Kenya Chief of National Police lived catty-corner across the road, the old Limuru road. There was a Shell station about 1 mile from our driveway along the road toward Muthaiga, then another 1/2 mile and a road turning off toward some houses, more coffee, and roads leading toward the International School; then just bush and coffee all the way to the Muthaiga Mini Market intersection. Back then the old Limuru road was a potholed, narrow 2 lane blacktop. My father would hit 70 in our Australian Falcon, but I recall hitchhiking (I did that a lot age 14-15, just before I started cycling everywhere) and getting a ride with a young Brit in a (original edition) Mini Cooper S and hitting 80+ on the quarter mile straights. (There was a laughable “Speed checked by Radar” sign just north of the hill leading up to the Mini Market — no one to read the radars, I daresay.) I also remember drafting “country” buses, catching them on the downhill and keeping up as they climbed the next rise — dangerous because, with the tight curves and my position about 5′ behind the bus, they would jink right or left and leave me heading straight for the unprotected dropoff. I daresay, spinning out in my 48/14, we must have gotten close to 45 mph. I also recall drafting the slower vehicles on the flats at 30 mph or so — back in those days there were plenty of smaller vehicles with sub 30 hp vehicles on the road — Renault 4s, DKWs with small 2-strokes, DAFs with continuously variable transmissions; all sharing the road with big Jaguars and uber Mercedes and the omnipresent 403s and 404s and even a hot fellow on an old Harley with suicide shift on the tank.
But what I remember best were afternoon rides on the new Limuru road just north of Rosslyn. Miles of smooth, rolling blacktop passing farms with windmills, one car in 5 miles, and no other cyclists. Even the roadside totos were few and far between. And a trip to the top of one of the Ngong hills near Karen, pushing our bikes on the red dirt road, where the air was crystal clear, the cows hundreds of feet below visible as through the wrong end of a telescope, and where we could hear the clank of the cowbells and the calls of the herders.
Oh my! your comment is like time travel for me, an 80s kid, There’s no coffee at all in Muthaiga nowadays. Most European consulates as well as the huge imposing US embassy have thir residences there. The first hint of coffee is in Gachie far back and beyond from Muthaiga, beyond International School of Kenya. And even there it’s quickly being replaced by housing developments. Large coffee farms are now relegated to Thika (Kangema Farm among others). Karen is now mostly housing and fenced off plots not less than half an acre each. The shell petrol station and Muthaiga Mini-Market still stand almost unchanged.
Just this weekend we did the début Koffee Trophee off road MTB (see their page on Facebook). One of our ShecyclesNairobi contributors came third in the women’s category. Beautiful trail, some precarious single tracks through a wooded section and across a dam, that would be a thrill for serious pros.
The start of the race and camp-site was on a 100 year old property called Manyika House (see their website) owned by Kangema Farm. I am not too big on colonial nostalgia what with the negative connotations it has to-date and the bitter neo-colonial currents that persist today. Still it’s a beautiful property.
Oh, I forgot to ask: I’d love to see current photos of the route between the big roundabout just before the fire station past St. Francis Xavier church (still there?) toward Muthaiga, and from Muthaiga ( see that the mini market is still there; it has just opened when we moved to the city in 1968) northward toward Rosslyn. I suppose it’s all office buildings and housing developments and strip malls? I’m very grateful I saw Nairobi when I did.
When next I go riding in Karura, I will be sure to do a post on the route towards Muthaiga. 🙂
Thanks, please do!
Wonderful website! I’m a man but a fully agree with everything you said. Where can I get a descent bike to enjoy Nairobi like you do?? 0718833309. You would really help me out. Hope to hear from you! Charles
See Wheels of Africa and Cycloville Kenya both on Facebook. they have great bikes for under 15k
Also check out “Cycloville Kenya” on Facebook.
the blog is soo interesting, ill have to join one cyling group when ill be back in nairobi next year that’s. your are soo inspiring thanks
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