Women of African Cycling — Jennifer Kanini Salome (Kenya & Dadarides)


How did you start cycling and why? 

I learned how to ride a bicycle at age of 12- 13 years. Like any other girl, I would ride to the posho mill, fetch water, it’s something I liked doing. When I joined boarding school and university I did not have the time nor did get information about cycling as a hobby or sport until 2015. Then I was working a full-time job and always looked forward to weekends. 

I participated in a 50km amateur category and came in the top 3, that was my turning point. I spent 2015 – 2016 looking for a new job that would have a part-time arrangement. I was successful and in 2017 I can say I was surviving for a decision I made and I wasn’t turning back. 

What do you love most about the sport? 

I personally love cycling because it has helped in many ways to become more disciplined. It was life-changing for me and I really turned out healthy and fit.  

How do you think we can help more women get bikes? 

Well, women will always reach out to women’s groups or individuals they see cycling.  Many will ask how to start, the benefits, what kind of bikes they can buy but the key point is getting them involved in the conversation, guiding them, seeing if they have a bike, and what is their interests. That is what matters.  

“Create an environment where every woman can send an inquiry and stand to respond.”  

That is what I tell myself. 

What is your greatest achievement with getting women on bikes? 

I can confidently that I have 70% achieved the goals I set in getting women on bicycles. 

The approach was diverse and I always said it will work out.  In May 2018 I began a women’s group, Dadarides (www.dadarides.co.ke). In September 2018, it was registered as a community-based organization. Dadarides’ main objective is promoting women, mobilizing & doing group rides, mechanic skills, hosting women’s events, and guiding women and girls who wanted to compete in local races. 

Down the line to date Dadarides 2021 has  

  • Competitors 4 racers ( Alice M, Sally, Megan& Nazleen). This is a long-term program whereby girls will sign up with Dadarides team races.  
  • Women Learn To Ride (4 trainers -2 women/2 men)- Year 2019- 2020 I have had women writing me for a training session whereby one is learning from 0 steps, the majority being at age of 36 – 52 years. The number continued growing and every week Dadarides gets 3-4women who book training sessions at a fee. Being a charitable organization, the trainers have to get allowances that can sustain them during sessions and this comes from the $15 paid by the client. 
  • Bicycle Mechanic and workshop Location – As much it was a challenge, 2020 I had to open a shop where it was convenient for me and my trainers to store and keep client bicycles 
  • Grant 2020 December the Dadarides was one of the beneficiaries of National Government Action Affirmative Fund through the Office is Nairobi County Women Representative Esther Muthoni Passaris. This funding will be used to purchase bicycles, tool kit & implementation of 3 bicycle parking areas in Nairobi. 
  • Charity and awareness tours for the first time Dadarides will ride from Nairobi to Mombasa in 3 days. This is a fundraiser whereby we intend to give back to Ngong Forest Sanctuary where we have most of our activities taking place. The funding raised will be used to renovate existing washrooms and add changing rooms. 

I am a racer and my hope is I will continue racing and supporting my team, and more to see Dadarides grow. Sometimes I look where I started, and where Dadarides is today. The youth are committed to volunteer and many times they get income out of the work they do. That gives more power to get ideas on what to do next. 2020-2021 I have been working closely with 5 Dadariders and that has made it easier to get where we are today. My hope is to get partners, sponsors that support the team with better bicycles and investors.  

 “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want” – Zig Ziglar  To donate to support the women of African Cycling please do so HERE.  All donations are tax-deductible (27-3113955). Thank you!