Ogbonnaya Kanu is a motorcyclist, who has ridden bikes across Africa and in 29 countries around the world. According to his profile, he recently became the first Nigerian to ride from Nigeria to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa. Born in Lusaka, Zambia, to a Nigerian father and a Bulgarian mother, he is on a mission to change the way Nigerians are perceived around the world through is biking tour. Kanu trained as an engineer.
PT: What or who inspired your love for motorcycles?
Kanu: I met a client at work who turned out to be a biker. He introduced me to motorcycling and taught me how to ride. That man, Segun Obagun, is a brother to me.
PT: When did you get your first bike?
Kanu: Segun gave me his bike to learn with but when he told me how much it cost I lost my nerve to ride. I immediately got in touch with another friend and both of us put up the money to get our first bike, a Suzuki 400 RF.
PT: Why did you decide on touring?
Kanu: Well, this just came naturally for me. In my job, I travel a lot and I do like driving. Touring on a motorcycle was just the next best thing.
PT: What was the first long distance riding like?
Kanu: First day trip was to Port Harcourt. My position was simply “1 kilometre at a time” and that was it. I remember I could hardly sleep the night before because I was so excited. I had all I needed to make the trip ready days before.
PT: Who finances your adventures?
Kanu: This is a very funny question. God has given me the enablement to enjoy my bike.
PT: What is the benefit of going on such adventures; for you and the communities you visit?
Kanu: Travelling opens up our minds to other people and their cultures and ways. The bad things make us appreciate what we have and the good give us targets to aim at in our personal lives and our public lives too.
PT: How many countries have you covered so far?
Kanu: So far I have ridden in 29 countries of the world and 26 of those were with my Nigerian registered bike.
PT: What are the biggest challenges you have faced on your adventures?
Kanu: Every challenge is the biggest challenge until you overcome it. But you need to read my book, Breaking Limits to understand the details.
PT: Can you describe briefly a typical overland crossing? What happens when you get to a water body?
Kanu: I have never come to a water crossing where there wasn’t a passenger ferry service. This might be a dugout canoe or a luxury liner with space for cars and bike to drive on. There is always a way and at the most, some passengers will not get on the boat while the bike and I do.
PT: You say you want to promote biking, how do you intend to overcome the stigma of danger and death surrounding the sport?
Kanu: Ignorance is usually the reason people are afraid and that breeds the stigma. I believe that as people see the other side of motorcycling, the potential it can have to the economy with job creation and possibilities, then so many hurdles will disappear. That has led me to write and publish my book and very soon we will be launching our Foundation to support needy children get educated. We run a motorcycle school and are actively involved in our of the foremost motorcycle clubs in Nigeria.