06h00 / 14th July, 2012. Bikes started rolling in to the meeting point. I was No 6 on the roll. I arrived just in good time for fuel top up. One of the fuel attendants tried to ascertain their safety owing to more than normal hooded men arriving at their station albeit unannounced. My response in his local language gave him the needed assurances.
We were all gathered for one reason, to escort our club’s Treasurer – Mr. Kanu Ogbonnaya (FotoDadi) on his Euro tour. FD as we popularly refer to him was to start his trip from Lagos to France amongst other European destinations that morning. Everyone on the escort team was as charged, maybe even more charged than the dude himself. For a moment, it flashed through my mind. Europe is several thousands of kilometers away. In my mind, I concluded that I must undertake this trip before I turn 45. I pulled out my camera, had a few clicks and before I could tuck it away, Blow our Road Captain gave the matching orders, destination was FD’s house. We met a few more guys there, others joined us as well.
On arrival, we waited downstairs and generally tried to play catch up with some things of interest to us. The talk mostly centered on rides, safety and more rides. While at it, B9 who only arrived from an Abuja rolled in. No one would have thought he’d make it. As usual, all attention shifted to his bike. The bike did not only recently join the fleet, its livery is also a sight to behold and the owner fully compliments this bike. His ‘kackings” is not only on point but suits him too. Besides, even Obama will green with envy on the amount of green bills that’s gone to his safety and outlook.
The break before the fast
Nuff said about B9. FD owns this day and back to him. While we gloat about his trip, STIXX got the signals from who knows who? His sharp movement and his gaze in the direction of the 2nd floor apartment of FD gave him out. It’s the regular invitation to treat from FOTOMUMI (FD’s wife). It normal comes as sandwiches and some bottles of soda at the minimum. Like a procession into a morning mass, all men follow suit in quick succession. As usual, we were not disappointed. We met DB on set while FD was trying to download what I guess he must have called the “BMW Diagnostics” on his phone. Phew! That dude sure likes some gadgets.
Techie on final touches
Whatever that was, it must be some tools used to check the workings of his BMW R1200GS – the bike on which he’s making this epic trip. I came into the room last. I took a quiet swipe at him and was marveled at his calmness. On his table dining set laid his brown gloves. In my mind, I thought “these hands will conquer countries, climes, lands and continents”. The sound of FotoMumi’s unmistakable voice brought me back to consciousness. “Would you like to have something to eat? She asked. I quickly latched on the sandwich and soda runs. That came in a few, just in time for us to hit the road.
We set out
We head out. FD took whatever of his little package that was left behind. My aproko instincts kicked in. I wanted to see them give their goodbye kisses. To my disappointment, FD made this herculean ride so ordinary. They decided to go for that “simple” hug instead choosing not to kiss and tell…ish!
In final preparation, he took a gigantic glass hitherto seating idle on the table and downed its content in one big gulp. You need all the hydration you can my bro. I was so sure the Sahara will take its full share of that concoction. He came downstairs a moment later, checked took a last walk around his bike and gave us the signal to roll.
The human compass
As usual, he took the lead. The roars of the bikes filled the air. The residents of Marwa Gardens surely knew a gang came visiting. The last of the pack joined us at Mobil by Airport Hotel. We rolled via Awolowo Road, to the railway crossing and Abeokuta Road. We snaked through the windy roads of Egbeda to the LASU – Iyana Iba road. We had our first stop at the instance of FD. He wanted to be sure we are all complete and to take a new road which supposed to be a short cut. In my mind, I wondered where road this Ibo boy does not know in Nigeria. In Ibadan, FD was the one showing us the way. He knows all the back roads from Abeokuta to Ibadan, Ijebu-Ode to Epe and possibly Abonema to Uyo.
Before I could spell my father’s name, we were on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway. That road was pretty fast and must have saved us like 10 mins of ride if we were to take the Iyana Iba axis. His “street credibility” cannot be overemphasized as he took charge of the trip and meander our ways through the chain of cars on the busy road. The pack must have really enjoyed the ride. A few hitches here and there and we arrived Seme.
…and he rolled
Not one given to so much emotions and time wasting, he bade his farewells and rode into the horizon having cleared custom and immigration. He would ride for hours unend in the days ahead.
He made good progress…
His status on BB gave the tell tale signs. By the second day, he was in Boboudoiulasso, Burkina Faso. His rear tire also laid credence to his “claim”. Again, I thought for a second, where went that humongous glass of liquid he downed on his way out. Better still, how many of those has he gotten since he left. My mind raced to roads, dirt, dust, wind, gas, sweats, fatigue and all the usual condiments that come with rides of this nature. Alas! It’s worth it. I growled under my breath, “I must do this before 45”.
Bamako welcomes an adventurer
By Day 3, “my guy don enter Mali”. I wondered if he understood a word of French to have crossed the francophone countries. I could imagine him stammer and stutter as he tries to communicate with our French neighbours.
For now, he journeys through highs and plains of Africa enroute the cold clans. While we wish him well in his quest and pray for his safe arrival, watch out for his progress reports by being a part of this page.
Please, feel free to leave your compliments, well wishes and words to him. He’ll surely get it.
Until my next update; find, aim and shoot at whatever life brings your way.