If you’ve followed my previous posts, you’ll know I am a big fan of okada but, lately I have been having doubts. This relationship feels like what eminem and Rihanna sang about. Also, I have had too many weird experiences with bike riders this year that have made me rethink. But anytime I make a personal decision to avoid bikes, Lagos traffic shows up like…
I just remembered that Lagos State banned okada in many Local Governments earlier this year. Fast forward to December, people are entering bikes even more than before. It is almost impossible to ban bikes in a state with constant traffic- even the enforcers use bikes. In light of this, I have decided to use my personal experiences to give you this crash course on entering bikes. Pay attention.
1. Always act like you know where you’re going: there is no fixed price for bike trips so, the riders often charge whatever they like. Once they notice that you aren’t familiar with your destination, they hike the price and tell you that the place is far. Some of them will even follow longer routes just to prove that the place is far (aren’t they wasting their fuel?) You can use Google Maps to find out the distance, but that doesn’t always work. I remember the day I checked it and it looked far, only for the bike man to stop me in front of an estate and told me that I would have to trek the rest of the way as bikes were not allowed to enter. This was after I had agreed on the price thinking it was cheap going all that way. I trekked ehn.
2. Use the money in your hand as leverage: how many of you have noticed okada men look at the money in your hand when bargaining the fare price? It’s advisable not to hold money, but if you must, hold less than you plan to spend on the ride so that you can tell them that is all you have.
3. Appearance Matters: always judge a book by its cover. If the rider looks dirty, he probably has body odour too. If he looks like he just finished smoking, he probably drank too. If he looks young, he’s probably adventurous (reckless) too. If you have been entering bikes as long as I have, you can spot a good rider. The main reason why I enter bikes is to avoid traffic so, there is no point entering okada that will be stuck in traffic, or will drive me under a tanker.
4. Wear a combination of glasses and facemask or a face shield: this is basically for facial protection. When you’re on a bike, the wind hits your face continuously, whether it’s fart from somewhere, or the rider’s body odour or bad breath, or if he spits when he talks, amongst others. If you notice after a bike ride, your face, especially your nose and the corner of your eyes are dusty. Also, there is corona outside. There’s also the fact that your face is uncomfortably close to the back of the rider’s head and anything can happen. I remember when we hit a speed bump on the road and the next thing that happened was…
okada man: wetin happen na
5. Don’t enter when it’s raining: there is really no point except it is an emergency. Even if it is an emergency, look for other options. First of all, you’re definitely going to get wet. For some reason, I feel like you’d get drenched faster than someone who’s walking. Also, the rider’s eyes are closed 80% of the time. Think about it, if you can barely keep your eyes open even as you’re shielded by the rider’s back, how do you expect his eyes to be open?
6. Avoid them in muddy or flooded areas: you are basically exposed to everything when on a bike. In muddy areas, the mud, in collaboration with the back tyre does backflips from the floor to the back of your shirt. So, if you were wondering how the back of your shirt got stained… yes. In flooded areas, your shoes have a 70% chance of getting ruined so, except you’re going to lie down on the bike, avoid them. I remember wanting to use okada to cross the flood in front of LUTH gate, only for the rider to enter a pothole and we both fell inside the flood…..all for a bachelor’s degree.
7. Avoid Arguments/Conversations: 90% of the time you will not hear what he is saying so, just keep to yourself. Your voices are going to be drowned out by the wind and engine noise so just keep quiet. If he talks to you and you don’t hear, just reply, “hm” or “asin ehn” or “nawa oo”. Works every time. But never be shy to talk to him about driving carefully, even if you have to shout. The passenger is more likely to be injured than the rider in a bike accident so speak up.
8. Avoid overloading/sharing: always try to enter bikes alone. I know it is cheaper but, please. Especially if the person is a stranger. It always gets awkward when bodies are clustered in a small space like that. Do not carry excess luggage too. I have seen some weird things.
9. Don’t be scared to hold the okada man’s waist: I’m serious. It is okay to do that, or you can just hold the frame of the seat. Stop feeling too big to support yourself cause anything can happen. I’ve seen one guy fall off a bike while it tried to go round a pothole. He fell backwards and into the pothole and the bag he was carrying fell flat on his face.
10. Legwork: if the bike goes off while you’re on it, move your right leg backwards because there’s an ignition near the leg rest which is started by pushing it down hard with the leg. So, if you don’t want to get stomped, remove your leg.
With these few words of mine, I hope I have been able to convince, and not confuse you🤣. I honestly hope you have been able to learn something from this course and I am sure I covered a lot. Basically, you should only enter okada when absolutely necessary, even though that’s everyday for us moving from the mainland to the island everyday. Remember to stay safe and enjoy this Christmas.
Quick Question: what is wrong with you people (ladies especially) who sit sideways on bikes. What is the colour of your problem??
Remind me of anything I forgot in the comments. Don’t forget to like and share😁