Many of you know my passion for motorcycling and my unyielding desire to hit the road, bask in the wind, and escape from the monotony of everyday life.
However, I am also a firm believer in the power of motorcycling to uplift women, shatter stereotypes and limitations, open doors to new opportunities, and help them pursue their genuine aspirations.
Today, I invite you to follow me to Tanzania.
To a country where motorcycling is popular but primarily reserved for men. It’s like an unspoken law around who can participate based on stifling cultural norms, traditions, or financial constraints. As a result, women face significant discrimination regarding mobility, job prospects, and their right to make choices.
But then there are Germana and Mariam, two women from the Kilimanjaro region, who have had enough of being held back. They demand to ride, earn a living like their male counterparts, and live their passion.
But let me take you back to the starting point of this bold riding tale.
In 2021, during a motorbike trip, I stopped in Rudungai, a sleepy village nestled at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. While taking a break, a young woman approached me. Dressed in a long floral skirt and cheap plastic jandals, she demanded my bike and began racing up and down the dusty village track as if the devil were behind her.
I was stunned. Obviously, motorcycling ran in this woman’s blood.
However, as it turned out, she didn’t have a license and could only utilize her talent on the village’s dusty back roads far from the watchful gaze of Tanzania’s notorious police checkpoints.
But the woman’s beaming face as she sat astride the bike didn’t leave my mind.
Fast forward to 2022.
Through our assistance, this trailblazer, Germana, and her friend, Mariam, are now among the few Tanzanian women who have obtained a motorbike license. That’s a considerable achievement in a country where women neither ride nor drive. In fact, it’s revolutionary.
But the story doesn’t end here.
In June 2023, my Tanzanian biz partner and friend Amani and I had the chance to invite Germana and Mariam on their first-ever motorcycle safari around Mt. Kilimanjaro. A 250-km loop packed with fun, laughter, falls, and great insights.
It was one of those trips that will forever remain in our hearts. Have a look at what it was like!
Both women are now determined to leverage their motorcycling abilities to generate income by starting a motorcycle cab (boda boda) business. Boda boda is profitable in Tanzania because it’s the backbone of most rural areas’ transport systems.
But Germana and Mariam have a goal beyond just earning money.
They want to make traveling safer for women by providing women-only services. By doing so, they hope to improve the mobility and self-determination of their passengers and support each other in achieving this mission.
This will be the first-of-its-kind business run by women once they own their first bike.
I founded BIKE ‘N SOUL to inspire female motorcyclists to pursue their passion and support each other. And to empower women like Germana and Mariam in the countries where we’ll be touring to gain mobility and catch their goals.
“A Motorbike for Rudungai” is more than just a bike. It’s a gateway to Germana’s and Mariam’s economic as well as social well-being, aiming at making a lasting difference in the lives of many Tanzanian women.
Mobility gives women autonomy and choice. Thank you, Kerstin, for facilitating this process through motorbike riding — Pablo Pereyra (sponsor)
Because part of Germana’s and Mariam’s future boda boda business profit will go toward a revolving fund to support like-minded women ready to follow in their footsteps.
The notion that women can ride bikes and earn a livelihood for their families is empowering and revolutionary. While we are beginning this journey with Mariam and Germana, we are confident it will pave the way for countless other women in Rundugai, Kilimanjaro, and across Tanzania—Christina & Kenny, Moshi/TZ (mentors)
We still have a long way to go, but all great things come from taking a first step.
And if something is tugging at your heartstrings to help us turn this passion project into reality, please join. By contributing to a motorbike, you can help Germana and Mariam become Tanzania’s much-needed mobile ambassadors for empowerment, equity, and a fairer tomorrow.
It’s high time!
When we support women in their growth, everyone wins. I am thrilled to support this initiative. I hope you’ll join me—Merry Lynch (sponsor)
When I inquired about the differences they’ve noticed since they began riding, Germana and Mariam replied, “People treat us with more respect.”
Worth doing all of this, wouldn’t you agree?
Nashukuru kwa msaada wako wa ukarimu Thank you for your heartfelt support