In Summary

  • Charles Kimiti is the only deaf bike racer in Kenya.
  • Communication is his major challenge during trainings due to lack of a consistent sign language interpreter.
  • He participated in the latest Sleek Superbike Series race held on 18th June 2023 and finished 4th.

Charles Kimiti is the only deaf rider participating in competitive bike racing in Kenya. On 18th June 2023 he participated in the latest Sleek Superbike Series race and finished 4th overall out of nine participants.

READ Also:Joy Nkatha, the Lioness in the Lions Bike racing den

Kimiti’s major challenge is communication during trainings and prays he finds a consistent coach who understands sign language. On normal rides on the road, he is also challenged by lack of hearing moving vehicles or horns. He has to be extra vigilant.

Kimiti’s Inspiration to race

Wooden Bike made by Charles Kimiti in his childhood – Picture courtesy.

His excitement to ride started as a child when they used to make bikes from wooden structures and slide with them downhill.

The love for sports grew due to rejection and stigmatization he received while in a hearing school. He was seen as a dumb boy who could achieve nothing in class and was always sent out to go and play.

“I was seen as a dumb boy who couldn’t get anything in class and yet it was because the teacher couldn’t communicate in sign language. I used to be sent out to go play and that’s where my love for sports also grew.”

READ Also: Safaricom Awards Faith Kipyegon KES 2 million for breaking two world records

As a grown man Kimiti met Peter who was already a rider. He then introduced him to a biking group called Kuul bikers and encouraged him to race. Although communication became a challenge between them, Peter had to learn sign language. The rest is now history and Charles Kimiti is the only deaf racing biker in Kenya and good at it!

Challenges Kimiti faces while riding and racing.

Charles Kimiti pauses on the racing track – Picture by Picha Za Wanga

Communication is his biggest challenge because he is the only deaf racer. Getting a dedicated trainer who can engage well in sign language during sessions is challenging and most instances he learns through observation. He has also had to train by himself, riding alone.  

He has managed to get a lady pro-bono interpreter who helps during trainings though not consistently due to other commitments.

“It would improve greatly if I can get a permanent paid interpreter good in sign language. The lady interpreter is doing it out of free will and at times when she is engaged with her own work, I get stuck.”

Without a meaningful income generating activity, money for fuel, bike repairs and spares are also challenging.

An old bike is a great hindrance for him while racing.

On normal roads, just like any other biker he faces bullying from vehicles on the road. Above all, he cannot hear car sounds or horns to be alert.  However, he says that one need to use eyes and side mirrors to drive or ride more than the ears. For him the eyes coordinate so well with the brain making him a very careful driver, rider and racer.

READ Also: Omanyala wins Kip Keino Classic; Ruto, Raila attend

The government turns deaf on him.

Charles Kimiti (Center) and the Deaf Community – Picture Courtesy of Picha za wanga

Kimiti laments that besides being the only deaf bike racer in Kenya, the government has turned deaf on him. Many would have expected that by now the government would have at least recognized him and assisted him in any way.

“I think it is because bike racing is not a popular sport in the government’s eyes, or it could be an expensive venture for them. What you saw yesterday is individual sponsored sport. We hope the government can pick it up just as it picked up 100m race with Ferdinand Omanyala recently.”

READ Also:

Together with the hearing community, they suggest the government can also build good motorcycle racing tracks for the nation as what is in use is a borrowed facility of the go carting races.

It is the hearing community that currently support him. The last initiative managed to get him Racing helmet through Throttle wear Ke, Riding suit through Rev Kathy Kiuna and Comanche bikes, Racing boots through Imran Hamza, Gloves through hogsback_chapter_hog_surry_uk & I RIDE 4 Helmets. His old bike repairs for the last race by Car & General, Fuel by Thika road Nyumba kumi Bike community. Jacaranda beach resort with Other Kenyans raised some funds too.

Kimiti’s Prayer

As a family man with three boys, Charles prays for an income generating job so he can take care of the family. In the recent race, all his sons attended and could be seen excited about their dad’s performance.

He also prays he gets sponsors on board who can help him get a new bike, better training and bike maintenance costs.

Fellow bikers are confident that with the skills earned he can advance to 300cc, 600cc and 1000cc.  

Written by:

Ghetto Radio Managing Director, a Leadership Scholar, Social enthusiast, humanity is a core pillar. Musician and music lover. I am Unbwogable!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • GhettoRadio 89.5FM
  • Radio