Kenya: Cycling, running gain popularity amid the pandemic
In Kenya, as the country grappled with the pandemic, outdoor activities such as cycling and running gained popularity. In Nairobi, a group of cycling enthusiasts came together to bond over weekend cycling trips.
However, as CGTN's Wilkister Nyabwa discovered, this has also served to highlight the danger that awaits on roads that are shared with motorists.
The morning chill still lingers when a group of men, women and children in colourful gear assemble to warm up in a parking lot.
They gather under the collective banner of the Spin Kings-riders keen on honing their cycling prowess.
Though the group was founded in May, it had been years in the making. When Bernard Asin started cycling, it was a means to visit his girlfriend. But on the way he discovered a new love.
Bernard Asin, Co-founder, Spin Kings Kenya: "I stole my brother's bike to go and see my ex-girlfriend, that's how I started cycling. I did 5 kilometres I was tired, I had to push myself to do 10 kilometres and that's how I fell in love with cycling."
In May, as the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down normal activity, Asin co-founded Spin Kings which trains beginners, and also organizes rides for elite and semi-elite cyclists, for free.
All a participant needs is a well-serviced bicycle and time.
He adds, "I sat down and I saw how can I give back to the community, because guys were undergoing the pandemic, the stress of the pandemic and all that, so we saw a bicycle is the easiest way of releasing pressure and all that."
9 year-old Dahlia Kanyaa is one of the youngest riders in the group. "I and my father as well as my sister were like, let's start riding. So we started riding around the estate. JOIN "My father got me a road bike for my 9th birthday. I was very shocked. And then after that I started going to very far places."
They ride in formation. Children are flanked by elite riders. And motorcycle riders create a barrier between the riders and other road-users. It is a partnership borne out of necessity. In recent weeks, several cyclists and motorcyclists have died on the roads.
Samburu West Member of Parliament Naisula Lesuuda has sought to address this by introducing an amendment bill.
"If passed by parliament and subsequently assented by the president, the legislative amendment proposal will ensure cycling, walking lanes and all infrastructure that aid in attaining sustainable road transport systems in Kenya are in place and prioritized."
"Road safety is all of us. We show up in different ways. Today I am a biker. Tomorrow I'm a cyclist. This morning I was a pedestrian. Later in the afternoon I am going to be a driver. So I show up on the road in these different forms and my life matters. Every life counts," Njeri Mwangi Motorcyclist, The Throttle Queens submits.
Their message shared, on this last ride of the year, riders covered 56 kilometres. And then they took a break, as they planned to ride together into a new year.