Taiyelolu shares her interesting adventures while Lagos city cycling.
She also shares some insight on how governments can encourage a healthy cycling culture.
Tell us a little bit about you?
My name is Taiwo, but I prefer to be called Tai or Taiyelolu. Don’t call me Taiwo.
What fuels your passion for cycling?
I’m not a morning person. If ‘what is so good about the morning?’ were a person, that’ll be me. I don’t want to think; I don’t want to talk; I don’t even want to be awake. Cycling has changed that for me.
Now, by 6 am, I’m alert and ready to face the day on two wheels. Something about the monotony of putting feet to pedal and not thinking further ahead than the road I can see appeals to me.
I cycle for fun. Most people assume it’s for health reasons but, that’s just the icing on the cake. Most times, I chug a can of a soft drink after my evening rides. My enjoyment of it comes from feeling the breeze on my face, enjoying spurts of nature: sunrises, sunsets, citing new plant species, hearing birds, little kids waving and smiling at me, finding dogs on their morning/evening walks. There’s always something to see.
How has your ‘Lagos city cycling’ experience been? and tell us about your funniest/craziest cycling experience you have had on Lagos roads.
Cycling in Lagos is exciting, invigorating, dangerous but mostly comical. People in cars, treat you as irritant junior siblings, standing between them and the next Lagos traffic ahead. As such, if they aren’t trying to race you, they are tailing you cautiously in fear that you have plans to dent their vehicles. Random men shout out ‘encouragements’ because, obviously, without them, I would stop cycling and curl up on the road in tears.
My funniest experience would be a neighbour trying to race me on his bicycle. He breezed through the first kilometre. After which I caught up. By kilometre two, he had fallen behind, panting and sweltering.
“Na wah oh, how long do you cycle, madam?” He asked when he caught up.
“About 2 hours−” I started.
“Every week?” He cut in, “that’s not bad.”
“−Every other day,” I finished. “Just an hour day and night.”
His eyebrows, nearly disappeared into his forehead, “Good night, abeg. It’s not you that will kill me.”
What is your advice for persons set to take up cycling as a sport or hobby?
Enjoy going downhill.
Enjoy the breeze in your face.
Enjoy the speed.
Take it all in.
Because at the bottom of every valley is the ride back up and that will hurt like a b****.
Tell us about your most adventurous ride?
My most adventurous ride should be the ride to Ikorodu, it really should. It was the longest distance I’d ever gone, 46.8 km and spanned 3 hours plus, it was gruelling and it is top 2.
However, my real most adventurous ride was on June 12th when I was able to finally ride again after 4 months of not being able to, for health reasons. That felt like my birthday. I hadn’t done in it so long, I didn’t think I would be able to. I stopped a lot and had to drink water like crazy but, in the end, it was wonderful
How do you think we can promote the cycling culture in this part of the world?
I think the collaboration initiated by Governor Seyi Makinde between the Oyo state government and Awabike, to ease movement within the state secretariate, is a great step in the right direction. What you need is more people cycling in given locations. Then it becomes less a peculiarity and more of a fixed feature on the road. With that would come the need for adjustments in making space for cycling; like buses and trains equipped with bicycles carriages, bicycle lanes and bicycle rental spots.
Blank cheque: Road bike or MTB?
What’s the difference? Anyone that makes me go over speed bumps without feeling like my entire body is quaking gets my vote.