Tayiani Sempele is a motorcyclist, business owner and model living in Nairobi, Kenya. She chats with us about getting into motorcycle touring on her Hero Karizma and being a part of a new growing demographic of women motorcyclists in Kenya. [Rashmi Tambe, Editor]
Name: Tayiani Sempele
Languages: English, Swahili and Maasai
Years Riding: 2+ years
Current motorcycles: Hero Karizma ZMR 223
Past motorcycles: Premier Gy 150Cc
Kms Per Year: 10,000
Written about: K24TV Feature, Daily Nation Article
Please introduce yourself. Hello, my name is Tayiani Sempele. I am 27 years old and the second born in a family of seven kids. I was brought up in a small village called Narok in Kenya. I come from a nomadic tribe – the Maasai – that likes to travel and look for greener pastures for their livestock. Hence I have a scattered extended family whom my parents always visited a lot during the school holidays when I was young. I guess that’s where I got my spirit of adventure and my desire to travel and see places.
I went to school to study Tourism and Hotel Management. I worked in the hotel industry for two years before deciding that I wanted to do something on my own that would create more time for myself and my young family. My husband and I moved from Mombasa to Nairobi and started a cyber cafe, and later a salon. I started modeling after school when I realized that I loved eating healthy and exercising. I am hoping to be able to work with bike modeling soon. I also have a seven year old son. It is a challenge to run a business, a family and also find time for riding, but I manage to squeeze it all in to my life.
I am an enthusiastic person who values life and the beauty that comes with it. Motorcycling gives me that, and I totally enjoy riding my bike. I have done several long distance trips but all within my country. My rides are usually 200-600 km away from home. I am really looking forward to travelling outside my country and across different borders on my bike!
Please describe your path into motorcycling. My husband rode a 200 cc Raleigh and I was his pillion for about three months before I decided that I really wanted to learn how to ride. I saw how he had fun riding off-road and thought – “Ah, this is the bike I want”. He bought me a 150 cc off-road bike after two lessons. It was quite tall for a starter bike but I did not want to start small. I could only tippy-toe it, which was a little depressing and fun at the same time. At the time, I was scared of the ccs on his bike. Now I look back and laugh at the thought of me being scared by a 200 cc bike.
Describe your current ride. My current motorcycle is a Hero Karizma Zmr 223 cc manufactured in India. Several people I ride with bought one as a beginner bike and they are quite comfortable riding it.
Have you made any close female friendships due to motorcycling? Several! When I first started riding my bike I was worried that I was the only female biker around so I set out to look out for other lady bikers. I was quite surprised to learn that I wasn’t alone. I have made a lot of friends and we have traveled together. We did the International Female Ride day together and it was such a head turner for several people since motorcycling for women has just begun being popular in Kenya right now. We rode round-trip from Nairobi to a town called Naivasha for lunch.
Do you have any motorcycling heroes?
I am my own hero, together with all the women out there brave enough to sit on a motorcycle and ride. Most especially, those who are not scared to strap on their luggage and travel the world by themselves.
Are you interested in competing or racing? I am not into racing at all. I actually don’t think I will be participating in any races since I have seen several occasions where fathers, brothers, friends died while racing. I have nothing against racing but since I know it puts my life at risk, I don’t try it.
Is there any other kind of motorcycling that you’d like to try your hand at? I have tried dirt biking before and I must say I love it so much. That’s where my heart is. I am hoping to get myself a dirt bike soon and go do some serious off-road riding. There is a lot to learn and enjoy. Cruisers are also something that I would like to try because they seem so comfortable.
Do you do maintenance and repairs on your bike? No. My husband would do maintenance on my off-road bike. I get my current bike serviced by the company that sold it. I intend to have them continue servicing it since they understand it better.
If you could change one thing about the world of motorcycling, what would it be? I would change people’s perspective of bikers. We are not outlaws. We are simple people with careers, families and a thirst for adventure.
Courtesy of globalwomenwhoride.com