The Tears and Lessons of a Broken Bike

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Are there times when you find yourself constantly pumping into your mind negative thoughts that dampen your spirits? This internal war was raging in me when I parked the Growler at the usual spot in Karura Forest’s parking lot. This spot is a mere inches away from the calm forest. During the drive to the forest, thoughts of a failed romance from the past kept raiding my mind. Why couldn’t I just kick them out? I tried, but it was like kicking a river in an attempt to get rid of the flowing water.

The secret of countering this is to nurture a constant flow of positive thoughts that will be equally unstoppable. Nature – forests, ocean and rivers – has a way of washing away negative thoughts and replacing them not just with new, positive thoughts, but also positive energy.

After parking, she walked with me to the washrooms. I fished out my Samsung phone and glanced at it. 6.25AM.

“I can’t believe that there are people who are still sleeping at this moment, missing out on these blissful sights and sounds of a forest at dawn,” I told her.

“Listen to those birds,” she said, craning her ears, smiling in her eyes.

“But I suspect that those who are sleeping would counter that we are also missing out on blissful sleep.”

She shook her head, “you can’t compare sleep and nature.”

I totally agreed. We share a deep passion for nature. That’s why I love going with her to Karura Forest.

What would be even better is to sleep right in the arms of nature! I thought. That’s why I still dream (I should start planning) of owning a tree house. Like the one I love visiting at Eagle Camp in Mida Creek, Kilifi County. It’s like a human nest that is etched up there in the trees. 

Fifteen minutes later after she was done drinking a hot cup of tea, I was on my bike and she was on her feet. I was cycling slowly so that she could keep pace. But at the beginning of the Middle Track, it was time to part ways. I was chasing an average speed of 13km/h over a distance of 50km. My best speed over that distance was 11.5 km/h. I wasn’t happy with this personal record and felt that this particular day, Tuesday 04 August, was the day that I was going to up my game.

I sped off. Oh my, that sweet feeling is coming soon. I thought. Indeed, barely five minutes later, it landed with a bang. Whoooooa!

I was cycling really fast. A few months earlier, I would press on the brakes during this gentle, lengthy descent along the Middle Track. But not any more. These days, my fingers keep off from the brakes so that the bike can simply roll down and gather speed. At junction 20, I turned right and rolled on.

Meanwhile, she was walking briskly along the Middle Track. She walks very fast, even faster than my sister Nashibe, who is quite a very fast-walker.

That sound isn’t from a bird. It must be a monkey’s chatter. I wish I could see it. The monkey. And some birds too. I also wish that I could see those little gazelles that David likes a lot. These thoughts are rotating in her mind like a conveyor belt. There was a time when she used to call me Champion. But these days am David. Plain old David. Well, even leaves of trees form, grow, sparkle, dry up and drop to the ground. But on the other hand, the river keeps flowing. The morning breeze keeps blowing. Whether you will go the way of the leaf or the river and breeze is up to you.

I overtook her at another point along the Middle Track. Earlier on when I turned right at junction 20, I had taken a detour that took me further back the Middle Track.

Almost one hour later, my bike started creaking and groaning. I ignored it and instead just peddled it. Crrrr….kakakak…. I ignored those sounds and instead focused on the ever fresh, ever melodious chirps of birds and the sweet rustle of Ruaka River. But alas, this rustle couldn’t stop the bike from becoming wobbly and breaking down. I braked and jumped off. The peddle’s crank had broken apart from the chain wheel. I could no longer ride the bike and had to walk it back to the Parking, which was almost five kilometers away.

In the words of Bwak, the Bantu Poet, “in the journey of life, don’t ignore unpleasant noises because they will grind you to a halt.

Before the bike broke down, I had cycled for 25 kilometers, at an average speed of 13km/h. Even better, there were portions of the ride when I cycled my fastest speed ever. 44.3km/h.

Crrr…. Kakaka… Don’t ignore these sounds when they crop up in your spiritual life, relationships or workplace. Whenever and wherever your hear them, pay attention, and deal with their root cause.  

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