The Tourist sheltering from the ravegeous storm of Nairobi
Waking up from a bed I never lay on at Mum’s Palace, I had a lot of work to do on this fine calm Tuesday. From blogs updates to government offices visits, Tourist and I were going to be le pigeone’ voyage (The pigeon on the move). Another awesome day of cycling fun and a successful feeding program for street families, I and my fellow cyclists made our divine mark by caring for the less privileged. A well spent afternoon training and mentoring my students, it was now past time for heading home. This time, I had more weights to ferry westwards. Some shopping, my tools bag, clothes, lunch containers, shoes and 4 bags, it was gonna be fun riding home while pushing weights. I saw the western horizon nearly as dark as my skin pigmentation.”We will miss the rain my big boy,” I said confidently, oblivious of the coming rain from the north-east. The city clock close to Aga Khan Primary School said it was 6:45pm, I was not worried for I had 45 minutes to make it before the curfew takes full effect. My nasal cavity picked up the scent of vapor and wet tarmac; the rain was as near as was Westlands. Just as we zoomed on the roundabout’s curve, the first raindrop hit my right hand. Then my body’s right-side started receiving raindrops as the road started gaining a wet nature.”Very well, let it pour, if I be caught by the corona cops because of this then let it be, for I am the Rider the Rebel,” I assured my state of mind, fixed on an unknown future under the unforgiving downpour. As the rainfall soaked me deep after championing above Safaricom Hill, It was apparent that I needed to protect the most important documentation in my Maui bag: my data book. So I entered Shell petrol station; the attendant was apologetic that the wet weather has caught me along the way. I told him that this is the perfect time for a great ride, true rebel state of mind. I wrapped my bag with an umbrella coat, strapped on and rode back in the rain. By now the highway turned into Rive Nzoia as the gushing waters tried to sweep Tourist and I downstream east. His dark Wild Cat front tyre cut through like a bullet through water. I had now gained about 5 more kilos as I was soaked wet: sneakers, jersey, padded short, boxer, warmers and bandana. All dripping in water.
Reaching James Gichuru, the waters were pooling into a pond. I was amazed by the flooding when a car zoomed past my right and drowned me in brown water. All I could see was brown wet elements skidding across my clear cycling glasses. Some of it made its way onto me tongue’s tip as I quickly shut my mouth. I spent the next 5 minutes spitting out the last of the dirt water from my mouth. The thought of a busted sewer system just taunted me deeply. An army truck full of Administration Police slowly passed me before Delloite at Waruku. Fear tried to creep into my chambered organ but I could not let it win so I glanced to my left at the darken reflection and flickering sidebar lights of the Bike from Beijing on Delloite’s windows. I smiled at how fast I was zooming, assuring that this journey will not end in a corona isolation camp. In that lonely stretch to Kangemi, I pondered why am I getting soaked with the BEAST yet He scares the rain away. Then it hit me: Mum let me park Tourist in the house. She asked if He was clean and I lied that I washed Him (Crime number one). She later on asked me if I washed my cycling gear and to avoid a long story I said yes as I went to air them outside since I will not head home the next day (Crime number two). In short, never lie to your mother, Mother Nature will punish you definitely. As I laughed at my predicament, I was in view of the police truck. The officers were still inside, cowering in dry form from the relentless cold rain. There it was again, this time flooding across the tilted highway: Sodom Sewer River. “Yuuuuck!” I exclaimed as a personal car zoomed across the filth at 65kph. I looked behind, the next cars were 100 meters away and coming fast. I summoned much strength and pedalled as fast as I could up to Total Kangemi to save myself from drinking filth again.
Along the bridge, looking east, the rain seemed not to stop. My gloves were dripping steady waterfalls. My cycling senses picked up an obstruction seconds into the future and they were right when a Toyota Hiace came onto the slip road connecting to Kaptagat Road. I was the one on the wrong but the driver mercifully drove more to his left to help me avoid the mud waters to the right. Back onto the right lanes, Tourist and I soldiered on, the strong shall continue. He has strength in Him much more than Leakey Hero’s expensive toys. I was safe up the climb to Total Kangemi and across the bridge to Kaptagat Road. Down the slip road, a Toyota Hiace came zooming in; I was on the wrong but the driver showed mercy as he drove further left. I was grateful. Getting back to the right lanes, I rode like I was unconscious; still in posture, time felt like it stood still. It dawned on me that I was already at Uthiru Roundabout. The drop down ILRI was tricky as BEAST just screamed ‘super drop super fast’. I was wise to brake 80 meters before the speed bumps. That is the mechanical nature of wet brake pads on wet steel rims as the system skidded to find its grip. Safely on rough terrain, BEAST and I were home and the rain poured even harder. He was sparkling clean and I was happy about it; a bath by Mama Nature, it reminded me of the Stormy Ride 2 Machakos we both were in 4 years ago.
Now the mess: My data book got half soaked, my shopping as well, my tools were dripping as well and all bags had to be washed properly. I had a lot of work to do tonight. It was 2am when I finally had my eyes shut, two long sleeved t-shirts and two trousers on as I curled to slumberland. Life is stress but cycling kills the stress. Tomorrow Sam and The Tourist conquer the tracks again.