Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tips for Riding a Motorcycle in Rural Africa

*Note that these tips are for those riding - not driving - a motorcycle in rural Africa.  Some of these will not be advisable to the driver.

  1. Check all sense of manliness at the curb.  Nothing is more humbling to this state of being than men riding two or three deep on a motorcycle.
  2. Keep your eyes squinted and breath through your nose. When the nose fills with dust,  breath through your teeth - picking bugs and dirt out of your teeth is better than sucking them down your throat.
  3. Pack light.  There is nothing like clamoring to your stuff while trying to grip the driver with your knees to make your life flash before your eyes.
  4. Get ready for celebrity status. If you thought walking through a crowded city quartier would bring you attention, then just wait until you come zipping through the village between two men on a motorcycle.  All eyes will be fixed on you and your bewildering presence.
  5. Keep a weary eye on the road.  Your driver is most likely taking the path beat into the road by other motos.  This path is not the smoothest, just the one that he will take.  If you can see when the bumps are coming, perhaps you won’t fall off.
  6. Beware the passing vehicle.  When the seldom vehicle does pass, close your eyes and mouth.  If possible, hold your breath and wait out the 30 second dust bath.
  7. Lean how the driver leans.  It may feel uncomfortable as he is already sitting in your lap, but sitting straight up will only make him wobble - and who needs that?
  8. DONT TALK TO THE DRIVER.  This will only cause him to turn his head to the side, taking his eyes off the terrible road for periods of time that you will not be comfortable with.

This has been a public service announcement from the Fothergills; your friendly Nazarene Missionaries to the DRC.


  1. :-) I never rode on one but I seen people riding them. Sounds like an adventure for sure. Love your posts!

  2. I so understand, that was how we got around in Ghana. Motos(what they call them) are crazy.