Grace Mwari shifting gears in growing motorbike culture

On this week’s African Voices Changemakers, CNN International’s Arit Okpo meets biker Grace Mwari who explains how motorcycles can be used as tools to empower women whilst showing people the beauty of East Africa.

Mwari was introduced to biking while living in India when her housemates invited her on a motorcycle trip to the Himalayas. She tells Okpo about that trip, “That really got me hooked to motorbikes. And I’ll never forget that trip. It was something like a trip of a lifetime. It was the changing moment in my life.”

On her return to Kenya, Mwari decided to keep up the hobby and joined a biking group, “When I came back in 2015, I found this huge family of bikers and there were many ladies who are in the group. And it was such great support from the ladies.”

As well as offering training and friendship, the women’s biker club has become a social support network for the ladies. Mwari talks about their bond, “Coming here and feeling the sisterhood in the women biker community, it was really something special for all of us.”

CNN hears that the other women in the group see Mwari as a guide and are keen to learn from her experiences in the Himalayas. Wamuyu Kariuki speaks about their friendship with Mwari, “Grace has been quite a mentor to all of us. We are so happy that now she is doing real training for women.”

Mwari also works as a tour guide for Off-Road Adventure East Africa. Her motorcycle skills help her give visitors unique experiences away from the major tourist spots. She speaks about this job, “On the bikes, you get to see the real country. It’s not anything touristy and that’s the only way you can give people an authentic experience.”

Mwari may already be an inspiration to her fellow bikers and tourists alike, but she hopes that she can do even more in the future, “I hope we can empower more and more women to do what they feel is right for them. With time, we are going to grow the biking community of women in Kenya and empower more women not to be scared to face their fears and get through them.”