Saturday, March 18, 2006

africa by okada

And five rode into town... Fabrice and fellow Okada riders

This is Fabrice Dubesset, a Frenchman who is riding through Africa on a Honda 125 motorcycle - popularly known as ‘Okada’ in Nigeria. Dubesset, who has left a comment on this blog before, worked at the French Cultural Centre in Lagos for the last year and half. But his time is up and thinking on his return journey to Paris, Fabrice hit on the idea to travel back back - by Okada.

Frenchman on Okada

According to the French Cultural Centre, Fabrice “never knew how to ride a bike before coming to Lagos. But when he got here the stress of ‘go slow’ became overwhelming, so he had to do something about it. So they advised him to buy a bike. He didn’t know how to ride a bike then. He has to learn it and spend some time to get used to it which he did not hesitate to do. Then while riding it, he has begun to realise the fun it entails. He has a close contact with the people, nice people in short. Sometimes at night, in the dark, people don’t look at his complexion. They just shout ‘okada, okada, okada! stop!’ But when they realise he is not one, they burst into laughter, and he will laugh with them and then continue his way. This is how he came about the idea of going on a tour across Africa on his bike. He didn’t attach premium to the idea at first and dumped it.”

The tour will take eleven weeks and will cover a distance of about 6000km across eight countries. The route will take Fabrice through from Lagos to Dakar through Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina-Faso and Mali. He will be able to catch a total eclipse of the moon in Cape coast on March 29. From Dakar he will ride off to Guinea and back with a friend. Fabrice hopes to depart for France aboard a cargo with his bike on June 1.The departure to France is scheduled on the 1st of June.

All things being well, the man and his beloved Okada will end up in Paris. You can follow Fabrice’s progress on his blog.

*Fabrice Dubesset blogs in French


Blogger Renegade Eye said...

Interesting post. Are bikes like that common in Nigeria?

3:27 am, March 18, 2006  
Blogger the flying monkeys said...

tout à fait un blog (Fabrice) intéressant.


10:37 pm, March 18, 2006  
Anonymous mw said...

Renegade Eye,

Yes, bikes known locally as 'Okada' are a major commercial carrier of the masses in many Nigerian towns & cities. They're much cheaper than the buses and never get cut up in traffic. Okada riders can carry up to 2 people at a time and are hugely popular, though travelling on them can be a bit unwieldy at times.

10:32 pm, March 19, 2006  

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