A young and really fearless woman is being recognized as one of the best female power bikers in Lagos.
Utibe Abasi Nkanga
Her name is Utibe Abasi Nkanga and, popularly known as Queen, she is said to be the “Queen” of the road.
The 41-year-old woman who hails from from Akwa Ibom, is 5’2 in height but that hasn’t stopped her from striding where women fear to tread.
She is widely known for her biking skills on the road.
Nkanga, a mother of two who rides a Honda CBR600RR recently spoke in an interview with Global Women Who Ride.
While speaking in the interview, she talked about how she started riding, and revealed that the daunting Lagos traffic was a big motivation in taking up bike riding.
She said: “I am a Nigerian from the South-South Zone, from the Akwa-Ibom state, to be precise. I have 2 kids. I have lived for most of my life in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria.
“I have a job that ensures a lot of travelling, which I enjoy. I like sleeping, dancing, having educational intellectual interactions. I love discovering new places and mastering different ways of doing things, no matter how unsophisticated. I believe there is always something new to learn, no matter what your age, societal standing, degree or pedigree is.
“I understand the power of languages and am always look forward to learning new languages with their various ways of allowing one to express oneself. I believe in teamwork and believe that everyone has a role to play on this planet. I also enjoy carpentry and have designs of things I would love to create whenever I can find the time in my busy schedule. I usually design my clothes, but have them made for me. I’d love to go into interior decorations. My style could be called Afro-centric. I don’t shy away from the stage and have had a very brief stint in acting.
“Careerwise, I am into administrative affairs and just concluded my Masters in Conference Interpretation at the University of Ghana. My Bachelor’s degree was at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. I have also attended the Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil and the Faculdade Classica de Letras at the Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal.
“I have always wanted to master the control of machines like planes and jets but couldn’t as the academic structures for such dreams are sadly lacking here. So I settled for learning to master the art of riding. This was as far back as 1986.In the 90s I realized that I could not achieve my dream of being a pilot. In early 2004, I resolved that I would at least have a power bike.
“At my place of work some Nigerians and expatriates used to ride to work on their bike which was looked at as very strange and foreign. They would meander and weave their way through traffic while most of us were stuck in nerve wracking traffic in Lagos. When I said I would have my own bike, I saw total disbelief in their body language.
“In 2009, I took my savings and bought my first bike. It was a 1998 Kawasaki Ninja 250. I wanted to learn on the smallest capacity bike before progressing to something bigger. I then called on a biker friend to help me link up with whoever would be willing to teach me to ride. I found a riding school but the instructors did not have any faith that I genuinely would and truly wanted to ride, because women are seen as domestic animals – fit only for domestic chores!
“It took a while to overcome the fear of the road as I did not know how to drive a car. I also had concerns about my size as I am very petite and even the 250cc felt like a ton! I finally found an instructor who understood and I had to undergo a brief mental training on getting my acquired skills and knowledge to the roads. All this in 2009! Ever since then it has kept getting better.
“I ride a Honda CBR600RR. I love the fact that it is a very cooperative bike. I can normally service it myself and because I am attentive to every sign it shows it never seems to have any problems whatsoever. I initially found it extremely heavy but I learned to overcome that and gradually found ways to manage the weight issues. I have not seen anything to dislike in it. If anything, I would like to upgrade to the latest technology of the bike.
“When asked what the biggest challenge she faced when she was first learning to ride, she said: “I could not understand how heavy the Suzuki (125cc) was.
“Now I look back and I laugh at myself! I was also extremely resistant to increasing to third gear and could not get my brain to allow me to increase my speed!”