Boda boda Photo: Courtesy

The expatriate, as is well known, enjoys his Land Rover, that gloriously green box that has served his sort well for decades and decades.

And yet, he fully respects other forms of transport.Apart from motorbikes.

Motorbikes, he loathes. Oh, and those ‘Hoverboard’ things which, let’s face it, don’t ‘hover’ at all. And yet, hoverboards can be forgiven, as they remain few and far between in Kenya, a country where it is almost impossible to find a flat surface.

But motorbikes, no: they’re everywhere, and they can not be forgiven. True, the motorbike must be one of the few truly revolutionary developments, along with MPesa and the donkey, that have seen the Kenyan economy and people’s ease of living change overnight.

We can now all get swiftly and CHEAPLY from ‘A to B’ thanks two these two wheelers.

And yet, it remains questionable whether boda bodas are either safe or ethical.

If you’re on a motorbike, all your vulnerable bony and fleshy bits are hanging on the outside, like a male stripper’s gonads. Fall, and you’re injured. It’s not like driving around in the expatriate’s Land Rover, which is a vehicle with a body made from the same material as aircraft black boxes.

Anyone who has seen a boda boda weave in and out of traffic knows full well that the passenger (sans helmet, sans padding, sans sense) runs a 50/50 chance of ending up either at home or in the morgue. Not a good gamble.

And why, at junctions to housing estates do so many boda bodas congregate? Surely there can’t be that many commuters to support all these drivers’ livelihoods?

The naïve and slightly racist expatriate will compare it to his incredulity on seeing markets with stall after stall of identical products.

There are economic and social reasons for such things, my dear expatriate colleague; please discover them.

Most annoying about the motorbike, however, is its ability to simply ignore the rules, helmets and traffic lights. They seem capable of ignoring red lights and zipping around roundabouts even when cars are already streaming from the right.

Of course, the traffic police allow them to do this. Perhaps the traffic police don’t classify motorbikes as vehicles? I have no idea.

Of course, the expatriate snootily pretends that what he objects to is the illegality and irresponsibility of these vehicles when, in reality, he of course is really profoundly jealous, as his lumbering Land Rover can’t nimbly pass any other vehicle, but rather just sits there in traffic, stuck and solid.

It’s at time like this that he considers buying a motorbike, like those expatriates suffering from mid-life crises.