Travels & Trips

Night ride to Naks

I get extremely delayed that day and leave my house at 6:35pm. The plan was to sleep at Lake Bogoria but reaching there is now impossible. I could still make it to Naivasha! For various reasons I cannot delay this ride (get the Turkana trip madness that follows here) so I summon all my concentration and head out.

As I ride up towards Limuru, it dawns (dusks?) on me that this is my first real night ride. On the highway I hate most riding on!

Turns out most traffic is coming up from Nakuru and few cars are going down.

I stop for the mandatory viewpoint picture. It’s actually really pretty watching the lights of cars lined up like perls along a road down the escarpment.

The photo sucks. I know. But try it. It’s beautiful

Most vehicles traveling in my direction are trucks. Which I don’t mind because they provide great shelter from oncoming random overtakers.

One I love most. We’re doing well at 60 together, him unknowingly making sure I’m perfectly safe from oncoming mats, though on the uphills at 30kmh I’m extremely tempted to overtake and bounce. My cam isn’t recording but I feel the urg to have a picture of the back of the truck. It’s written The Chosen One and so I stick it out on the slow uphills and we’re at Soko Mjinga before I know it!

He pulls over and 10 workers surround the truck in what I assume will include arranging of vegetables.
I stop behind him and innocently pull out my phone to take a snap.

Big mistake! My Kikuyu is, eh, limited, but clearly the crowd is not impressed. On seeing I’m white they address me in Swahili and I assure them that the truck driver is my friend and decide to bounce before it gets tricky.

The road down the escarpment to Naivasha is fairly empty. I’m actually enjoying this and see myself in Nakuru before 10. Remembering that the last 12km before Naivasha have bumps, I stick with what my headlight can illuminate: 55ish.

Mid lane position. I spot an oncoming badly lit truck. But I do see it. The black SUV behind me clearly doesn’t. I can hear the engine right in my blind spot and in that split second wonder why exactly the driver decides to overtake me now, while the previous and the following minute he would have a free lane for his stunts. Obviously he’d reconsider and get back into his lane!

You know what happens next: He squeezes between me and the truck. I hoot and slow to 35 or so. Ride on the white line. My side mirror scratches the car’s side. My bike wobbles. He passes me and slows down. Yeah. Slows down AFTER nearly pushing me to fall. Not BEFORE. It’s like he’s checking his mirror before speeding off.

Drivers don’t realise that stopping to apologize and paying for the damage would go a long way. Their story line is their car being burnt by a boda mob, which obviously happens once against every 10,000 cases of hit and run which leave bikers injured or dead or stuck with repair costs, often without their income generating asset.

I stop on the narrow gravely side of the road to breathe and realize there’s a 3 metre deep ditch. The mirror’s glass is gone. Riding to Nakuru without a mirror now? The adrenaline is still pumping through my body. It’s not a safe spot to park.

I enter town and shops are being shuttered. I chat up some bodas at a stage. Naweza pata spares mahali saa hii? It’s only 9, mapema sana.

David leads me to a busy garage where I get a new side mirror mounted in under a minute (zile za soo mbili). It’s not my model but does the job. My digital dashboard excites them and we chat a bit. I’m told that between riding to Naks during the day or the night, one is likely to choose night. David refuses to take some little fuel cash from me. This is biker to biker support.

I continue to Nakuru and it’s a breeze. The moon is bright and the shadows of acacia trees are gorgeous.
It helps that I know the route well to feel safe cruising with the trucks and mats. Weighbridge, Gilgil, Kikopey for selfies with my new mirror.

What a close shave.

I enter Naks and Maps guides me to the first best Hotel I picked from Google. I text David a thank you, affirming that I made it.

So I tried a new thing. Exhale!

This was Day 0 of my “round Lake Turkana” ride with Djo. Get the whole 12 days blow by blow account here. He’s an observant traveller, experienced adventure biker, fantastic writer and even better photographer… You MUST subscribe to his stories!


2 replies on “Night ride to Naks”

Thanks, Gerry!
Keep checking for new posts… or subscribe to the blog for updates šŸ™‚

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