First Boda Boda Race!

This past weekend, Owen and I attended the local boda boda race put on by the sacco and a local bank. The race hosted over 70 riders including two women and nearly a dozen “mzee” (old men) each competing in their own categories. Every racer competed on a “black mamba” bicycle (single speed weighing 40 lbs) and rode either 105km (main race), 75km (mzee race), or 55km (women’s race) on potholed pavement and rutted up dirt roads. Owen did some filming on the course from a motorcycle and stopped at a few check points to watch firsthand how one person marks each racer’s bib by with a marker as the riders race past. Needless to say, I am sure many of the racers never get marked at the checkpoint. The finish line attracted quite a crowd and I was able to show off a boda boda bike with our tubes installed while talking about Baisikeli Ugunduzi and us starting operations in Kitale. Meanwhile, a local won each of the races with Titus (one of BU’s test riders) taking 1st place in just under 3 hours with over a 7 minute lead on 2nd place. The finish line quickly became congested with finishers, people protesting which position they had taken, spectators, and bikes from those who had already finished. In typical Kenyan fashion finishers raced into the crowded finish area and inevitably bumped into people standing around. Fortunately no one was injured. There were around a dozen racers who did not finish due to bike breakdowns including a broken fork, flat tires and broken chains. The awards ended in some heated debate about which place people had taken and whether or not out of town riders should be able to receive awards. While not without hitch, the race was a great event and gave boda boda riders their day in the spotlight. We look forward to the next race and the role that Baisikeli Ugunduzi can play in sponsoring future races.

A few of the BU test riders ready to ride!
Riders line up at the start in downtown Kitale
Titus rides in for the win!