2022 - Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 7... The Re-Oinkening


Pack Dog
Nov 8, 2012
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Nairobi, Kenya
Honda XR650R
Welcome to 2022, Pig fans!

We're back with our seventh consecutive year of Honda XR650R domination in Kenya! Strap up your boots and clean your visors, cause we're ready to roll!

We've already been on our first of what I hope shall be many rides this year, and this thread will be where I blather on about it as I have for the last six years, which, for ease of reference for my lazy ass, are linked here:

2016 – Pig Arrival… First impressions and tweaks, Rift Valley exploration, Magadi, Loita hills, Amboseli… figuring out which tyre lasts (answer, none of them), White Caps and kuku choma

2017 – Pig Initiation – New converts to the way of the Pig, more Rift Valley, breaking things, getting faster, new tracks, Shompole and Nguruman, Aberdares, Chyulu Hills & Kilimanjaro, Epic trip to the far north White Caps and kuku choma

2018 – Pig Maturation – A changing Rift Valley, New tracks and new Pig riders, a sunken XRR, wildlife, a Tanzania reunion with the Dar Bikers, North to Ol Olokwe, 5 XRRs to the north for Xmas, White Caps and kuku choma

2019 – Ultimate Pig Fest – Most active year ever, tons of valley, getting properly quick now, lots of solo riding, epic ride to Ethiopian border, epic ride to Suguta Valley, epic ride to the Mountain of God in Tanzania and much more including White Caps and kuku choma

2020 – Hellfire Corona Pig – Discovering Little Lake Magadi, four BRPs escape to Eburru Forest, epic ride to both sides of L Turkana and a return to Suguta Valley, many small ones to round out the year… White Caps and kuku choma!


2021 - Pig Resistance - Suswa galore including new routes, Little L Magadi, Lobomoto to Natron, assembling and breaking in my new XRR, epic ride to the North and Lake Logipi at last, some Spanish Vespa action, more epic riding to Mathews Range, Tugan Hills and Baringo, and finishing up the year by breaking my friend Kolobus' leg... shame!... and riding with Dakar Legend Joey "Juju" Evans... and White Caps and Kuku Choma!

As far as biking CV's go, that's not a bad one. And at the age of 45, I don't see any compelling reason to quit, so without further ado, here's how we begin our seventh season:


Above: That's Mount Kilimanjaro, baby!

To be continued...



Race Dog
Jan 20, 2012
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KTM 690 Adventure
Looking forward to more great & inspirational stuff with the Pigs & friends :thumleft: 


Pack Dog
Nov 8, 2012
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Nairobi, Kenya
Honda XR650R
Ok, we gotta get out of Nairobi!

Wry says: get over to my place for toast and eggs and we’ll head out at 8. So, like an idiot, I showed up at 7:30 and we were on the road by 9. To be fair, we did have our toast and eggs and even a very nice Earl Grey tea. I was attacked by his vicious dog though, so it was all a bit of a mixed bag.


Above: At Wry’s place, the red bikes glowing in the early light, I was mauled by the formidable beast called Lassie or Assie or something or other. Real Napoleon Complex that one has… a lot like Wry… anyway. I survived.

I’m ahead of myself. What’s the plan, Stan? Were we just winging it? No siree, we were well organized. Day 1, Wry and I would blitz the Najile road, slip under Suswa’s volcanic gaze, hang a leftie on the lookout for giraffe and crash along Little Magadi, blast a transport section up to Ngurumani for beers and retire to our perennial, horseshoe-shaped Ewaso Nyiro river campsite where the cool water and warm beers would wash the heat away! Onward.


Above: From Wry’s house, we are literally 15 minutes from the dirt and views down valley and past the Ngong Hills. Endless hours of fun to be had down there.


Above: Our track of choice for covering ground is the quick rip to Najile.


Above: Past Najile and off toward Mosiro, in and out of rocks, feshfesh and riverbeds


Above: To the very rustic little village of Oldebe for warm Cokes and lots of annoyance from the local drunkard who features prominently in the video to be found at the end of this RR. Only real losers, I mean fans! will get that far before finding something better to do.


Above: Down the cut-off to Little Magadi, a nice little track between bluffs


Above: A wee little weaver bird nest… so many variations on this theme in Kenya. I kind of love them all. See, even bikers like me can have a soft spot for nature.


Above: Ripping around in the riverbeds for a bit, I missed my exit but executed a perfect pirouette, which was a miracle cause I usually low side trying.



Above: Just as we planned it: Giraffes! A nice big herd of them. Pop quiz: What’s a group of Giraffe called when they’re standing still? When they’re running? Any muppet who knows both without Googling gets a gold star!


Above: Wry showing a bit of initiative, flexing his throttle wrist


Above: The wonders of modern cell-phone photography never cease. What a stellar job this camera does of flattening and distorting perspective. This is a 5-meter-deep ravine!


Above: Some way down the road, the tulip-shaped anthills appear (they’re only shaped that way because goats rub away the bottom layers)


Above: and a bit further on… a cattle traffic jam in the roly-poly rocks

We arrived at Little Magadi in no time it seemed. We picked a tree with mottled shade and views of the lake and settled down a bit for some tinned fish and assorted bitings. It was hot down there at mid-day, but it was still unnecessary for Ryan to remove his clothes!


Above: At the thorn tree café in Little Lake Magadi, it’s apparently clothing optional!


Above: Another shot with confusing perspective… the lake is a dozen meters below us here but the camera makes it look like he’s on the shoreline…


Above: Place is dry as a bone and hot as hell… no reason not to pose like an influencer though. Don’t forget to ring that bell and subscribe!

All the while we were having lunch, Neb was sending us pics he’d taken of the area from his plane a couple weeks back. It’s that damn plane’s fault we never ride with him again, though as excuses go, that’s a pretty damn good one. Anyway, he had identified a few deep Masai wells dug into the mud off the side of the ridge we were on and we made a few attempts to find it. Alas, his directions were as poor as his fashion sense (imagine 6’2” string bean with bear fur for leg hair in running shoes, black socks and board shorts) and we never saw them, but it’s a very cool place. One day we’ll ride down there, but this time around we were more interested in luke warm beers and the river.


Above: The mud flats


Above: Me checking out the mud flats


Above: My beautiful steed hoping I can walk back up the hill in MX boots. It was touch-and-go if I’m honest… I cultivated something of a Dad Bod over Christmas… but I can still ride!

The track from Little Magadi to the transport super-dirt to Nguruman is a ripper and in a blink of an eye we were at the Stop Over lodge (or whatever) for some warmish coolish beers. It was bloody hot. I’m pretty sure Wry had melted inside his helmet. With a beer in us and fuel in the bikes, we set off for Ol Kirimatian and our sandy, feshy, rocky campsite on the riverbank. In the water in no time and staying there most of the afternoon, I was happy as a Big Red Pig in Kenya.


Above: Nguruman shots… Jesus Wry… you should really try some face lotion or something. It looks like you’ve aged a decade in half a day! Or maybe somebody put your face in the Liquify Filter in Photoshop! No… you need the face cream.


Above: The healing, opaque waters of the Ewaso Nyiro… they don’t call it Muddy River for nothing.

That night we fought with crappy British Army waterproof matches to get a fire lit. Having lit the fire, we fought with my bike to get it out of the way of the flames. Having fought the bike, we heated ration packs of delicious, hearty meals and a Shin Ramun pack spicy enough to peel paint. Once the beers were gone, it was on to some top shelf whisky, but we were temperate as schoolmarms for tomorrow we’d be up before dawn.

And at night, we slept like the dead… until our mattresses deflated and left us both on the sand. I always say it, Kenya’s hard on kit, but it’s the best place to use it.

To be continued...



Pack Dog
Nov 8, 2012
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Nairobi, Kenya
Honda XR650R
Up in the dark, Wry proves his worth at last by producing a fancy-schmancy coffee press thingy AND by figuring out how to start another one of those useless matches. By the time I was out of my tent he had the kettle on. Of course, the muppet turned off the stove and we couldn’t have a second cup, but it’s the thought that counts. Muppet.


Above: Darkness and coffee, a bush pig in Ol Kirimatian

We were up early in order to meet Holesaw who would be racing us to Torosei. It was like an oldschool Top Gear challenge. Wry and I were taking the dirt around lake Magadi, through a burned out volcano and up through a tough track to Torosei and Holesaw would be hitting the big tracks south of Nairobi. He had 120km to go and we had 70 or so. I’d calculated it would take about 2.5 hours for each of us. Off we went.


Above: View down to our camp as Wry is preparing to head out. Sunshine hadn’t even touched the river yet.


Above: Riding along at a cracking pace, hopscotching to make time, I paused at another anthill and paused to take a pic. While Wry and I were conferring a bit, up walks a Proud Masai Woman. She greets us, we greet her, and then she points and says: Hiiii niii yahnguuuuu! Which means “that’s mine”… referring to the anthill. Then, she stuck out her hand for payment. I may or may not have told her where she could stick that hand plus a few other items including the anthill in question. We left her in the dust wagging her finger at us. Pole mama, maybe the next idiot will pay, but I think the anthill belongs to mungu!

On we ripped, within view of Mt Shompole that sits half in and holf out of Lake Natron. Farther down we passed through Oloika town, the garbage scattered everywhere resplendent in the morning light. Then it was into the riverbeds and up into Longomot, the dead volcano with a track running through it. It was tricky as ever. Tree cover keeps you seated, but rolling rocks knock you off balance.


Above: Shompole in the distance


Above: Wry in the distance


Above: Longomot in the distance


Above: Perhaps Wry has piggie envy


Above: Making dust into the rolling hills of the once great volcano


Above: Wry remembering why they call them “wait-a-bit” bushes… it took me a spell to remove this branch from his jersey, rucksack and epidermis


Above: My bike makes any scenery shot look better. I think I photograph this tree every time so I’ll remember it when it’s cut for charcoal

Much to our surprise and chagrin, once we popped out of the volcano, the track that only a couple years ago was little more than a path through the rocks had been well graded. This means more traffic which means more destruction. The cancer spreads deeper into the ecosystem, destroying everything in its path, but alas… that’s development. The upside for us Pig riders is that bigger tracks are faster tracks, and the lack of commitment to maintenance means that these will surely revert to some state of nature soon.


Above: Got easy all a sudden


Above: And just like that, we were in Torosei. On the outskirts actually, not keen to be mauled by kids, fools and drunks so early in the morning.

Holesaw was nearby as well, so I was displeased to notice a puncture, and even more displeased to see that my stupid ass had allowed my side cover to melt on the exhaust, taking my luggage and my throttle cable and a spare tube with it. I lost the GL heat shield ages ago and have been semi-successful making my own, but not this time. Nuts. Then I remembered: It’s that Joey Evans! His Juju from last December that broke my other Pig’s shock is still lingering around Kenya, reaching out to strike us unsuspecting Red Bike lovers! I'll get you for this, Joey Evans, one of these days!

Above: What a mess…


Above: Step 1: Swap tubes and reinstall. Step 2: Go to the village, pull 2 pieces of discarded roofing sheet out of a thorn fence in front of a shop (the filthy mess that characterizes all Kenyan villages has its benefits… like when Bear Grills finds a water bottle discarded on an otherwise pristine island), roll them up and stuff them under the side panel. Take 3 jubilee clips from Holesaw (cheers mate) and bodge the thing together. Bob’s your uncle. Onward.


Above: Hello Holesaw (blue), lets ride this riverbed…


Above: My track out of Torosei really really sucked for the first many kilometers. We’re talking thorn bush hell. Both Wry and Holesaw looked like Heroin addicts when we stopped, so full of cuts and punctures from the ride. But eventually, it got better.


Above: The highlight was a nice steep descent nobody was expecting. I made it even more interesting for myself by starting off with my sidestand down… that’ll wake you up. Fortunately, I’m a pro, and with a flip of the foot, brought it back up and was on my way. Ohthankgod.


Above: Doubletake Herman following the “road”


Above: Down in the riverbed that rips past Oldonyo Oruk. There are many vids of us ripping past each other at the end of this endless tome. Patience, grasshopper.


Above: Oruk in the distance, Pig in the foreground

In Namanga at 2pm, we ripped to the long Kopje just on our side of the Tanzania/Kenya border, near the dry Amboseli Lake. It’s a funky little feature, so we stopped to play around a bit on it. There’s a rock shelter there that you can imagine humans have squatted beneath looking for animals for millennia. Cool spot.


Above: Long Kopje in the distance


Above: Wry is a pro






Above: FFS Wry, you look a hell of a lot better in this pic than in some of the others… you must have a wicked beauty filter on your phone! Sorry though ladies, he’s married!


Above: From the Kopje, it was a quick rip on dry lakebed over to the K&D Hill where you get the best views of Kili if she’s out (she wasn’t) and the surreal zombie savannah below.



Above: Up on K&D hill


Above: Who has 2 thumbs and loves Kenya? Often we spot elephant from here, but no luck today. A few giraffes in the distance and little else. It was very dry.


Above: Holesaw departs. It was now 3pm and we’d been riding for 7 hours already. It was time to make tracks to our awesome accommodation: Elerai Camp on the far side of Amboseli National Park




Above: The last bits of track are all rolling rock.

Finally, we made it past the far gate of Amboseli Park and in no time we were on our way into Elerai. They have their own conservancy, but unlike many others in Kenya, they don’t prohibit bikes despite the presence of elephant and buffalo. Mindful of that, we went at a reasonable pace into the park, which was overgrown with lush grass as well… funny how management makes a difference, eh? And sure enough, there were the elephant.


Above: Elephants just behind the bushes off the road



Above: I’ll always stop to watch elephant. They didn’t seem bothered by us in the least. We were also at a respectable distance.

We roared into camp, and since we’d all been there before, the managers dispensed with too much formality and let us get into our rooms ASAP. In no time we were in the pool with beers overlooking the massive green savannah.


Above: Wry and Holesaw caught in a romantic moment. I thought I overheard them plotting a second honeymoon, but I may have been wrong.


Above: After the pool sucks the heat out of  your bones, you retire to the lounge chairs for a bit of sundowner action. Elerai doesn’t disappoint.

That night, your big, mean bikers were tame as pussycats. A few beers and a bottle of wine (oooh lala) and we were out for the count. Each of us scuttled off to their own private safari tent and snored away the night.



Pack Dog
Nov 8, 2012
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Nairobi, Kenya
Honda XR650R
No massive rush to get out of bed, I nevertheless was eager because Kili would be out. Unzipping the floor to ceiling fly on the tent, I poke my head out and there she is. It’s astonishing how big that mountain is, and you only notice it when the clouds are off which is mainly first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. Spectacular.


Above: Kilimanjaro from Tent 8

Plan for the day. Step 1: Get a cool selfie with Kili before the clouds roll in. Faksake, you’d think that would be easy, wouldn’t you? Well, we didn’t get out of camp until 9 and by the time Wry figured out how to hang his phone in a dead bush long enough to do the selfie, the clouds had arrived. It was comical… and quite interesting that elephant were casually roaming around in the bush just beyond all the shenanigans. Step 2: Fling ourselves at the trail and rip home, meeting Panic on the road somewhere to hit Oleopolos up for some, you guessed it, White Cap and Kuku Choma!


Above: Our hard-fought groupie… thanks Wry!


Above: Wry gets his own pic with the big mountain


Above: An hour later, we’re hopelessly lost in the tomato and swamp village from hell trying to find the road and Kili is hidden in clouds already.


Above: Wisely, we avoided the straight and narrow, opting for a roundabout track through the tall grass instead. That, folks, was black cotton soil. Abandon hope, all ye bastards dumb enough to enter yonder.

At last, we emerged onto the top road North of Ambo and flew. It’s a Pig Rider’s dream. Fast, drifting, 5th gear stuff. Still… if there is so much as a bit of shrubbery on the roadside, a wise biker slows down a notch… here there be monsters in the shape of goats, bush meat on the hoof and, worst of all… sheep!


Above: Screw it, I’m gonna fly!


Above: Holesaw was having too much fun to swerve around bushes, so he went right through them, picking up thorns for his collection

Soon we’d turned North toward Selengei and since we were behind time after our debacle in the tomato, stone and swamp village, we took the big track and made up for it.


Above: Ripping tracks, just a blast to ride


Above: Roads less travelled, more travelled, whatever, I’ll ride 'em all


Above: Holesaw giving her the beans through a mucky river crossing. You’re a champ, mate!


Above: Then stopping 15 feet later to spit out the manure in his mouth and wipe off his face! Ha! Muppet!


Above: In Mashuru for oil and fuel and shade. It was time to climb the mountain. Don’t know the name, but it’s the Maparasha Hills’ closest neighbor. First, though we had to cross the river, and some clever buggar seems to have bought and fenced it for many kilometers.


Above: After much faffing around to find the river crossing, we ripped up to the hills and over, on some fun tracks with nice views and few humans.


Above: Holesaw heading up to the top before we hit the big dirt over to the tar


Above: As if by magic, Panic was riding by just as we were stopping for a Coke. Piggy reunion in the bush! Can’t beat it. From there, Panic led us back to the Marble Quary, Mi-46 and up to Olepolos for that well-earned beer and choma. A lot of nasty thunderstorms played along the horizon, but where we were going, we’d be sure to be dry…


Above: A nice rain cloud pelting it down, but we’re turning right, so all good… only a few sprinkles and that amazing rain in the desert smell of Africa... got to love that smell!


Above: An hour and a half of riding to Olepolos and another hour of waiting for the kuku and we were stuffed and happy (Holesaw is happy too, that's his happy face)… unfortunately, the rains which everyone said wouldn’t come… they came...


Above: Not keen to ride wet AND in the dark, we took off in a downpour.


Above: Soaked in seconds, we made our way off Olepolos, down behind the Ngongs and up into Ngong town. Thankfully it was dry up there and we hooliganed our way back home in no time.

That, friends, is a good way to start what I hope will be an excellent year of riding and general life stuff.

Now, watch the video and enjoy:

And for those of you really hanging in there, a standing group of Giraffes is a Tower, and a group on the move is a Journey. Similarly, a group of parked BRPs is a Threat and on the move they're known as a Thundering...

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73 Peanut

Race Dog
Nov 25, 2017
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BMW R1200GS Adventure
Very enjoyable.  Cool banana hammock.  :imaposer:


Pack Dog
Nov 8, 2012
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Nairobi, Kenya
Honda XR650R
Well, a couple weeks later and I got around to "fixing" my broken headlight and doing something about the perennial issue of burned bags... I can't lose another banana hammock... I just couldn't bear it!


Above: Perspex rock deflector on the headlight (temporary until I can get a replacement), and a serious improvement to the OEM pipe.

I'm ready to roll! Tomorrow in fact... yes!



Pack Dog
Nov 8, 2012
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Nairobi, Kenya
Honda XR650R
High-brow musings here folks. Serious philosophy. Probably over most of your heads if I'm honest. Ready? Here goes: Biking is never bad, but some days are much, MUCH better than others.  Very profound, no?

This brief tale illuminates both ends of the spectrum.

Last week was on the biking-is-awesome-I-never-wanna-quit end of the spectrum. For no particular reason at all, I got the notion to take myself on a solo mission to do our usual 100km dirt and stone loop without stopping, twice in a row, back-to-back. Like a little solo rally. Bike was prepped, so off I sped. Started the clock at the quarry, blitzed Saikeri, Najile and Ewaso and paused long enough to shoot an “I’m still alive” message back to Panic (sort of like a checkpoint) before ripping the stony SGR track back to the starting line. Once there, it was another quick break for a snack and a pee and I was off again, making absolutely ripping time. It was one of those moments where there is nothing in your head but what’s happening in front of you and the bike seems to have vanished or become an extension of your own body… must be as close to flying as we can get without falling out of a plane. Making even better time this loop, I ripped back to the quarry in time to meet up with Panic for lunch. Finished both laps in 3 hours flat. Just fantastic to ride like that… just me and the bike. Worn out, and happy, I trundled home. Bike took it all in stride and I felt great.


Above: Me starting my second lap of the solo rally raid in the Kedong valley

Fast forward a week, and it’s time to do another little rip. Panic had recently rebuilt my other XRR’s shock after an unfortunate incident caused by that Joey Evans guy (link to the damning evidence of his sabotage HERE) and I was keen to see how it rode. It’s set up by Precision Concepts and it’s like riding a cloud… a very fast and noisy cloud. Panic was keen to join, and his buddy was in town so I lent him my other XRR so he could join. He's ridden the world over and raced the Roof of Africa, so today would be just an excuse to stretch the legs. All good, we set off and headed down the valley, taking the same track as my previous day’s solo rip.


Above: Three XRRs wait quietly in the cool morning… I love that two of those are mine!


Above: At the quarry for a check-in. All systems nominal so far.

And then, not even to Saikeri, Panic’s mate has a puncture… on my bike… oops. Turns out a thorn had been left in from my last ride and decided to become a nuisance today. Thankfully, we’re all old hands at roadside repairs, and Panic’s mate had it sorted in no time. Great. Back on the road!


Above: A bit of roadside repair work… first puncture (yes, “first” implies there will be more).

The morning was heating up and we were ripping along nicely. Dust clouds rose up above the greenery as we sped along.


Above: Panic making his piggy fly


Above: Panic’s mate approaches the launch pad and...


Above: Lift off!

All was going swimmingly. It wasn’t yet eleven O’clock and we were in Ewaso. Plan was to alert our neighbourhood eatery of our imminent arrival and place orders of spicy chicken and beers once we got up on the SGR a ways. So off we went. I was ahead throwing myself up the rocky track with a happy devil-may-care attitude. I stopped at a lookout and waited… nobody. Did a few pivot turns in the dust. Still nobody. Crap. Back down the road I find the guys doing the puncture gesture… pointing repeatedly at the tyre while limping along in search of shade. We pulled up under the railroad and made quick work of another puncture… again on the bike I lent out… again from a previous injury (a patch I fixed may or may not have come loose…). I’m feeling pretty bad about that, so I get busy with the repairs. But nobody’s throwing blame and everyone helps out and we’re back on our way.


Above: Second puncture repair…


Above: With plenty of comic relief… I can only quess what the Masai guys watching us thought. I’ve censored the image so nobody can ever identify Panic's shy buddy.

Fine. Two punctures on a 100km ride. Not great, but not unheard of. It’s rough out here. I always say Africa is hard on gear, but it’s the best place to use it. So off we went. This time I’m in the rear taking it easy… sort of… once their dust was settled, I twisted open again… it’s inevitable. But it didn’t last more than a few kms before I was sitting on my rear rim. As an adjective, “flat” is simply inadequate for what I had. It was inverted. It was dead. And the culprit? A cut the size of my pinky in the tyre. I run Tu-Bliss in the rear though, so I got out my bacon strips and went to work… the tyre already had been punctured in a similar fashion months back and the patch job was holding, so I’m pretty confident by now. But this time, it was a bit tricky… the gash was so big, I had to use 3 strips to close it.

The hardest part of using the bacon strips is getting them out of the package after they’ve melted in the heat, but I had them shoved in the crack and I was ready. Chuffed at how quick the fix was, I was pumping up as the guys arrived… but what’s that sssssssssssssound? Another hole! This one wasn’t quite as big, but it went straight through the tyre in 2 places… it was a pinch flat… of the tyre! And one of the holes was right down near the rim where the rim. It was touch and go, but the bacon strips sorted these out as well. By now, I’m sweat drenched (zero shade at mid-day in Kenya) but I’m back on my wheels… for another few km when I hear “PATOOOOEY! PHLUPPBLUBBBLUBB” and the rear goes flop. That big wad of bacon strips had been spat clean out of the tyre like a fat Southern landowner unloads his wad of dip. Now I’m down to my last few strips… getting worried I’d have to pull out the Tu-Bliss inner ring thing which is hell in the bush (I've had a bad experience in the past... see HERE). As the saying goes, if you’re going through hell, keep going, so I plugged the hole again and put a zip tie around the tire and rim for good measure and we limped out of the valley, onto the tar and on to our beers!


Above: Some of the carnage to my rear tyre… and my clever zip tie retaining device (pat. pending... should have used a larger one... just a prototype). Didn’t take a pic of the other two holes, but they were held on with a zip tie too for good measure.


Above: Bikes and beers and spicy chicken

Arriving at last, we all had a laugh. By most metrics, it had been a shitty day of riding! But as we sipped our cold beers and recounted the nonsense of the day, we couldn’t help but laugh. We had a few funny moments, some quick riding and good camaraderie out in the sunshine on a weekday! Hell, at the end of the day, you can’t argue with another old saying I’m fond of: Even the worst day of riding is better than the best day at the office!

We live to braaaap again!

Jan 28, 2015
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KTM 640 Adventure
Thanks for keeping us updated, as you said, punctures, and niggles aside, sure as hell beats a day of not having a ride...
Every time I go out, which isn't often enough, I mentally kick myself for not going sooner.. haha
keep up the good work, and thanks for the report


Pack Dog
Nov 8, 2012
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Nairobi, Kenya
Honda XR650R
A few weeks have passed without riding and it’s just too much to bear. So when Wry tells me there’s a plan afoot to ride to Suswa after work on Friday for a perennial get-out-of-Nairobi overnighter to celebrate Holesaw’s imminent departure from Kenya (wait… celebrate’s not the word… what is it… commemorate!) I was in! At one point there were seven bikers promising to join, six on Pigs, but as sometimes happens it became a bit shambolic. Panic and I couldn’t coordinate departure times so we each rode solo to the mountain via Saikeri, Holesaw and Fimflam came together down the SGR with Fimfam splatting and poking a hole in his clutch cover, and Wry who had been slammed with work had to skid down the tar alone until he met up with the other two muppets. But, it all worked out and we were drinking coldish White Caps at the crater rim by dusk.


Above: I was loving the afternoon rip. Started out a bit slow but picked up pace as I went. I was following some tracks that I was pretty sure were Panic’s owing to the lines taken and drifts put down, but I was very sure they were his when I saw the tracks launch on a jump we always take. With the extra baggage for camping, the XRR soaks up every bump and feels 100% planted. Love it.


Above: I arrived a bit after Panic. By the time our tents were up the other muppets arrived. Long story short, we got busy putting back the beers and shooting the shit. We’d organized beers for 6 riders and pete had brought enough for seven, but we managed to put them all away the five of us AND a bottle of scotch… we were howling. Haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. We were quite concerned the moon wasn’t ever going to rise and speculated that Putin might have nuked it. Then Wry got on about pigeons flying upside down in Wyoming pooping into space and that’s the reason the moon is white.  And then there was something about Wry having a Pokot wet-nurse when he was 14 years old? It's all a blur. Just a bunch of nonsense all in all, which is just what these outings are about. Nobody around to get offended by our bullshit.

In the morning, remarkably clear of head, Wry hooked us up with proper coffee and we packed up the bikes. Panic patched Fimflam’s side cover with steel putty and took off for home. We were nearly packed up when I noticed Flammy’s muffler was dangling… no bolt in one place and a broken mount in the other. Spent a bit faffing around with that and then we all parted ways.


Above: Morning at the crater’s edge


Above: Misty mountaintop

I rumbled off the mountain, up the tar to Ewaso and turned on the little track over to the SGR. Instead of following it, I crossed under it and followed the track straight up the escarpment. Rocky as you like, good fun in the morning though I was definitely not feeling 100% clear eyed… The others went to Ewaso for fuel (Fimflam’s bike was pissing fuel from a stuck float valve) and then ripped it back home past Saikeri.


Above: My baby high above the hazy valley


Above: Flammer giving the beans. Keep the rubber side down man!


Above: Tortoise the size of a football on my track to the SGR. A bit camera shy. Made me think of the two muppets who couldn't get their shit together to join us!

Another great night out. Next ride needs to be longer! Holesaw, hope you'll be able to come back to join us!




Pack Dog
Nov 8, 2012
Reaction score
Nairobi, Kenya
Honda XR650R
Too long! Way too long. It’s been too long since the last ride! So Saturday morning I saddled up and took off at 6AM for the top of Mt. Suswa where Panic and another mate from school had gone the night before camping. It had been raining a lot the previous week and mud was everywhere, but it was dry enough along the SGR to make a wonderful morning of it. I found them on top of the crater rim sipping coffee and looking at the view. After an hour of faffing about, we were ready and bid the hill adieu.


Above: Panic’s mate was up from Tanzania on this one of a kind Suzuki 800cc DRBig. This thing is tricked out though… XL600LM tank and matching home-made side panels, improved brakes, longer swingarm, custom boda-boda headlight, massive bash plate etc etc. It was something to behold. I don’t think anybody was dumb enough to make anything like it, even back in the day. 800cc single cylinder air cooled monster it is! But would it hold up in the Rift Valley, and how would she compare to the XR650Rs?


Above: Me and my piggie already muddy at half past six. Felt so good riding, I didn’t care if it was gloomy or muddy.


Above: The SGR looking down over a rather green valley, much better off after some rain. It wasn’t really slick but something kept me throttling back a bit. Maybe it was a subconscious effort to avoid punctures!


Above: Still took less than two hours to reach the guys, and with all the water there was zero dust.


Above: At the crater rim just as some sun was peeking through the gloom. Such a beautiful spot.


Above: But hiding beneath Panic’s mate’s tent was this evil bastard! These give me the creeps! Freak me out worse than scorpions.

Once packed up, we climbed abord the bikes and set off down the mountain. Panic’s mate had to be in Tanzania that evening, so we debated the route and settled on the quick rip up to Saikeri. Once in sight of the Ngong Hills, we slid over to the tar for a minute then deposited him on the road to Mi-46 and the Kenya Marble Quarry. For Panic and I, it was a ripper. His mate (who also owns an XRR, but hasn’t fixed her up yet) said the BIG “felt like a steam battleship following pimped speed boats” racing down the track. Odd to compare bikes and watercraft, but I get his point (and previously he'd said we spring around like weasles... so maybe this is better). The DR is a beast of a thing, but the extra weight, much of it unsprung, plus a lot less travel puts it in that vintage category along with the XL600. Great, reliable, fun and happy bikes, but nowhere near the XRR in terms of desert riding capability.


Above: Panic and his mate at Suswa. Friendship lasting over 30 years and still riding bikes! Hell yeah!


Above: The BIG in action


Above: Green down in the valley, sunshine making her debut


Above: I missed the air by a millisecond… Panic racing up and out of the valley


Above: The BIG takes a less springy line


Above: After bidding farewell to our Tanzanian buddy, Panic and I had no choice but to ride to Olepolos for beers and kuku choma.

Fantastic day out. Short and sweet. Hope to meet the BIG rider again soon, but astride his XRR!